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StaticBlog’s Live Coverage of the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards

George Lang Published: February 13, 2011

7:04 p.m. Welcome to the StaticBlog live coverage of the Grammys, in which LL Cool J kicks things off with a tribute to Aretha Franklin featuring five singers who, despite undeniable talent, are in no way capable of carrying out her reign if the Queen of Soul were no longer able to fulfill her governing duties. Christina Aguilera oversang and melisma’d to such a degree I thought she was singing in Esperanto.

7:06 p.m. On the other hand, Florence Welch can hold her scepter. Damn. Her “Think” caused a rethink. Limey’s got Northern Soul.

7:09 p.m. You see, what Florence and Yolanda Adams prove is soul does not mean strangling every single syllable on its way out of your mouth, Xtina. Jeez. Martina McBride’s doing okay, but she’d be doing a lot better if she’d kick the woman standing to her left.

7:14 p.m. Aretha’s lost weight, looks healthy. Good — the line of succession’s a little wobbly.

7:19 p.m. So they brought the pretenders to the throne back out for …

Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals
“Glee” cast – “Don’t Stop Believin’ (Regionals Version)”
Maroon 5 – “Misery
Paramore – “The Only Exception”
Sade – “Babyfather”
Train – “Hey, Soul Sister (Live)”

And the winner is Train? It’s telling how weak the field was when Sade, which is only nominally a group, was part of the list. At least it wasn’t the karaoke team.

7:26 p.m. So “Born This Way” sounds a little too much like “Express Yourself.” I think Germanotta owes Ciccone some Lira. Sure, people have been calling Gaga the new Madonna for the past two years, but “Born This Way” is a little too on the nose, and the only thing missing from this Blonde Ambition-like performance was the cone bra.

7:33 p.m. Oklahoma’s Blake Shelton nicely introduces his fiance, Miranda Lambert, singing “The House That Built Me.” I’m liking the understated arrangement — definitely goes against Grammy style. Well done.

7:38 p.m. Lenny Kravitz, dressed as M’shell Ndegeocello, introduces Muse. How many times can you borrow the beat from “Rock and Roll Part 1″ without being arrested in Thailand?

7:50 p.m. Seacrest introduces BoB, Janelle Monae and Bruno Mars. I’m not sure why, but we’re nearly an hour into this mug and we have given out one award. Nice monocle, BoB. We better get more than just cooing out of Janelle. About 80 percent of the talent is concentrated under the pompadour — scratch that, the female pompadour.

7:55 p.m. Well, having said that, Mars was pretty damn good.

7:56 p.m. Oh yes — “Cold War.” Great performance, but I hate Grammy mosh pits. Looks more like the floor of the NYSE than a Descendants gig.

7:58 p.m. Zac Brown and Dierks Bentley announce Best Female Country Vocal, and it deservedly goes to…

Miranda Lambert. Kind of a bum year in this category. She beat another Oklahoman, Carrie Underwood, who was equally deserving, but Jewel? LeAnn Rimes covering John Anderson’s “Swingin’”? Gretchen Wilson? What happened here?

8:08 p.m. Eva Longoria is saying things. And then it’s all downhill from there. Justin Bieber, unplugged “Baby.” Literally.

8:10 p.m. Then, after a ninja drumline intro, Beebs comes back with Jaden Smith and performs “Never Say Never.” Somewhere, Shawn Cassidy is at home ogling the 15-minute stopwatch he keeps handy for such occasions.

8:13 p.m. Paulie Perrette, who at 41 does an awesome imitation of a 28-year-old — and I mean that sincerely — takes the stage with Paramore to announce Best Rock Album, which is a strange award this year, because I guess it means artists over 40 and Muse. And the winner is…

Muse. As Jay-Z says, “On to the next one.”

8:20 p.m. Selena Gomez and Donnie Wahlberg announce Best Pop Vocal Album and it goes to…

Lady Gaga for “The Fame Monster.” Seriously, trying to play off the only person who’s selling albums these days?

8:27 p.m. Had no idea that Kyle Chandler of “Friday Night Lights” was the lead singer of Mumford and Sons.

8:32 p.m. Avett Brothers are absolutely killing it. Okay, Phil and Kev, I’m on board.

8:35 p.m. The Mumfords and the Avetts are backing up Bob Dylan, who is gargling with rocks and battery acid to the tune of “Maggie’s Farm.”

8:39 p.m. This is all the Lifetime Achievement Winners get? A mention? Where’s the Ramonesmania medley when you need it?

8:40 p.m. Lea Michele and Clay Matthews introduce Lady Antebellum singing the chorus to Teddy Pendergrass’ “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” in what feels like a last-minute perfunctory tribute. They’re much better doing their own thing. “Need You Now” sounded solid.They’re going to win when…

8:45 p.m. Kings of Leon and Hannah Montana announce:

Best Country Album
‘Up on the Ridge’ — Dierks Bentley
‘You Get What You Give’ — Zac Brown Band
‘The Guitar Song’ — Jamey Johnson
‘Need You Now’ — Lady Antebellum
‘Revolution’ — Miranda Lambert

And so it is done. Lady Antebellum takes it.

8:47 p.m. Jamie Foxx introduces Cee Lo Green doing the expurgated “F— You!”

With Muppets!

And Gwyneth!

And Muppets!

8:59 p.m. NPH comes on to introduce the woman he just had sex with on Monday, Katy Perry.

9:01 p.m. So much is being done to prop up this talent, and we’re not talking about underwire, kids! I’m here all damn night! And it feels like it!

9:07 p.m. John Mayer, Norah Jones and Keith Urban serve up a serviceable “Jolene” and then announce…

Song of the Year
‘Beg, Steal or Borrow’ — Ray LaMontagne
‘Forget You’ — Cee-Lo
‘The House That Built Me’ — Miranda Lambert
‘Love the Way You Lie’ — Eminem Feat. Rihanna
‘Need You Now’ — Lady Antebellum

And the winner is…

Lady Antebellum, giving a teary acceptance in an upset victory. Would have loved some love for Cee-Lo, but I suppose that’s what (expletive deleted) gets you these days.

9:12 p.m. Seth Rogen makes a joke about getting high backstage with Miley Cyrus and gets a bunch of groans. Seriously? I mean, search Miley Cyrus on Google Image, and the first thing you get is a prompt for “Bong.” Well, on to Rihanna:

11/04/2010 - Rihanna - Rihanna Turns on the Westfield Christmas Lights in London on November 4, 2010 - Westfield Shopping Centre - London, UK - Keywords: strapless grey shirt, strapless gray shirt, necklace, pendant, jewelry, pulled back long wavy red hair, white hair bow with red polka dots, LMK73-0000-051110 - False - Photo Credit: Landmark / PR Photos - Contact (1-866-551-7827)
11/04/2010 - Rihanna - Rihanna Turns on the Westfield Christmas Lights in London on November 4, 2010 - Westfield Shopping Centre - London, UK - Keywords: strapless grey shirt, strapless gray shirt, necklace, pendant, jewelry, pulled back long wavy red hair, white hair bow with red polka dots, LMK73-0000-051110 - False - Photo Credit: Landmark / PR Photos - Contact (1-866-551-7827)

Who is, of course, the most interesting thing going on here, because about half of the next five minutes gets dropped out of the mix while Marshall Mathers and Dr. Dre perform.

9:20 p.m. Jewel and John Legend announce:

Best New Artist
Justin Bieber
Drake
Florence and the Machine
Mumford and Sons
Esperanza Spalding

And the winner is…

Esperanza! Holy crap, I’ve been waiting a long time to run that photo. What an amazing upset. I’m so happy, I’m going to publish another one:

Great bassist. Awesome mane. Best name ever: city in Argentina and Ted Knight’s kid in “Caddyshack.”

9:28 p.m. It’s the Neil Portnow Toilet Break!

9:29 p.m. I take that back, because Esperanza Spalding is playing:

9:32 p.m. I come out of my fugue state in time for… Bring out your dead!

And they end the roll call of the deceased with the amazing Solomon Burke, and Mick Jagger comes out, sounding suitably charged up on “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love.” Nice choice, great performance.

Minor quibble: I’m reading “Life” right now, and I think we need some Keef up there.

9:46 p.m. Kris Kristofferson introduces his old co-star:

9:51 p.m. Nicki Minaj and Will.I.Am announce:

Best Rap Album
‘The Adventures of Bobby Ray’ — B.o.B
‘Thank Me Later’ — Drake
‘Recovery’ — Eminem
‘The Blueprint 3′ — Jay-Z
‘How I Got Over’ — The Roots

And the winner is…

This guy. Yawn. The Roots were robbed blind.

10 p.m. I know it’s probably too soon, but was Diddy backstage getting stoned with Rogen and the girl from Disney Channel?

10:02 p.m. Rihanna and Drake smoked up the stage with “What’s My Name,” and then Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez acted (pattern developing) like they had been smoking up back stage — what was with that horrible K-Tel “sing the title” garbage, Anthony? You just embarrassed your wife, and given the past decade, it’s clear she doesn’t embarrass easily.

At any rate, they introduced:

Record of the Year
‘Nothing on You’ — B.o.B. Feat. Bruno Mars
‘Love the Way You Lie’ — Eminem Feat. Rihanna
‘Forget You’ — Cee-Lo
‘Empire State of Mind — Jay-Z Feat. Alicia Keys
‘Need You Now’ — Lady Antebellum

And the winner is…

Wow. The modern, country Fleetwood Mac is sweeping.

10:11 p.m. Jason Segel (Muppets!) gets to introduce Arcade Fire, providing the most rock we’ve heard tonight with “Month of May.” Album of the Year? If there’s any justice. At first, I thought the BMX riders were a little suspect (a Grammy calculation?), but then our own Mat Hoffman showed up at the end. Big air!

Kristofferson and the Duck Sauce lady announce what we’ve been waiting all these hours, days and weeks to find out:

Album of the Year
‘The Suburbs’ — Arcade Fire
‘Recovery’ — Eminem
‘Need You Now’ — Lady Antebellum
‘The Fame Monster’ — Lady Gaga
‘Teenage Dream’ — Katy Perry

And the Grammy goes to:

There is a God! Oh the humanity — in terms of indie rock, this is like the moon landing. What the hell did they bleep out from Win Butler? Did he call out Lady Antebellum or something? They cut to one of the LA guys, and he looked like a fish had just jumped into his mouth.

All in all, a fairly entertaining night, and Arcade Fire get to play us out with “Ready to Start.” Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

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