Welcome to Staticblog’s Live Blog of the 50th Annual Grammy Awards
7:00 p.m. Okay, so welcome to Staticblog’s coverage of the Grammys, live from my bed. This kind of reckless behavior on my part is what you call dedication to craft and reporting. But the first thing we see is Alicia Keys, looking stunning, duetting with Frank Sinatra on “Learnin’ the Blues,” and for Natalie Cole-type constructions, this isn’t bad. But is it necessary? Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Still, Alicia brings class when Celine would only bring crass.
7:04 p.m. Carrie Underwood performs “Before He Cheats” with Stomp! (their exclamation point, not mine) creating a sort of odd ’80s industrial underpinning, like somebody decided to mash up Some Hearts with an old KMFDM album.
Alicia Keys — who else? Would you vote against her? This is likely to be a big night for Keys, since she’s one of the few sustaining stars currently on the charts. The sad part is that even though her disc is currently No. 1, it only sold 61,000 copies this week. As the good folks at The Business mentioned recently, that’s in a nation of 300 million people. Sad.
7:17 p.m. Jimmy Jam, chair of NARAS, kicks off the friggin’ Time! Morris Day, Jerome Benton, O-EE-O-EE-O. There’s not a thing wrong with this, though from what mad dream did this spring? And now they’re backing up Rihanna on “Umbrella.” Yes, this is mad mash-up night, but in this case it works fairly great. Rihanna might not be a great singer, but she would have made an awesome robo-funk starlet in the Prince constellation. She’s even got the Sheena Easton hair to prove it.
7:24 p.m. Tom Hanks awards The Band the lifetime achievement award. The only member they show in the audience is Robbie Robertson, which probably won’t make relations get any better between him and Levon Helm. Then, Hanks introduces the tribute to…
The Beatles. Cirque du Soleil is performing to “A Day in the Life.” This is pretty remarkable stuff, and Staticblog friends Matt and Kevin say it’s extraordinary live — brings tears to your eyes.
7:31 p.m. But then comes the cast of the execrable “Across the Universe” singing “Let it Be,” which only brings tears to my eyes because I have to sit through it. Okay, it’s not the worst thing about that film. At least it’s not a bunch of people standing around a closet singing to a dejected, sexually confused ex-Midwestern cheerleader, ”Dear Prudence, won’t you come out to play?”
7:34 p.m. Miley Cyrus and Cyndi Lauper announce…
And the winner is…
Wino, who isn’t there, but will be “performing” via satellite later in the program. I hope she surprises everyone and is sober and amazing, but I also hope to be get a six-figure publishing deal next week.
7:35 p.m. The coolest man in the world, Jason Bateman, is outside Staples Center, talking about the latest My Grammy Moment hoopla, in which an instrumental accompanist competes to perform later in the show with Foo Fighters and an orchestra conducted by John Paul Jones — “from Led Zeppelin — for the morons.” Jason, you have to realize that half the population still spells it “Led Zepplin,” so knowing who played bass, keyboards and did most of the band’s orchestration is like Final Jeopardy for those people.
7:45 p.m. Kanye West is playing in Daft Punk’s house. And there they are in the pyramid. This truly is one of the best visual conceits of any techno act — with full neon outlines for their spacesuits, they look like Jeff Bridges in “Tron.” Nice and inspired. Then he sings “Hey Mama,” and he does it “Eleanor Rigby” style — string quartet and nothing else. West’s singing voice is developing well, and this was a truly heartfelt performance after a visual showstopper.
7:52 p.m. But then why is Fergie singing with John Legend? The melisma monster simply doesn’t have what it takes to share a stage with Legend, and then he just plays the piano and doesn’t sing a note. Travesty, I say. Then they announce …
COMPILATION SOUNDTRACK ALBUM FOR A MOTION PICTURE, TELEVISION, OR OTHER VISUAL MEDIA
Across The Universe, Various Artists
Dreamgirls, Various Artists
Hairspray, Various Arists
Love, The Beatles
Once, Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová
And the winner is…
George and Giles Martin for Love. Sure, there is a lot of love for Once, but I still put on Love and cannot get over how well they took this material and made it sound so immediate and fresh when I thought I had heard everything I could in The Beatles’ music.
8 p.m. Was that Moby in an ad for E-Trade? Or just one of his many, many doppelgangers on the NYSE trading floor?
8:03 p.m. “The one and only Cher” introduces Beyonce, who launches into a pretty cool rundown of famous African-American singers, culminating in a performance by Tina Turner that is surprising on at least a few counts. First of all, I haven’t heard anything from her in years — thought she was completely retired to Switzerland, and was no longer pursuing any visibility in the U.S. She seemed to be done with us.
But then she comes out on stage, and at age 69, she knocks it out. She performed two songs from Private Dancer, “What’s Love Got to Do With It” and “Better Be Good To Me,” but then she brings Beyonce back out and the two women just completely rock the hell out of “Proud Mary.” Beyonce doesn’t exactly hold her own against Tina, but how is that even possible?
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