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Grammys Winners Are Not the Showstopper

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So there I was last night, tuned in to the 55th annual Grammy Awards. I expected to see a sharp production, great performances and spot on live mixes. A Grammys show is probably one of the best free concerts an “omni-genre” music appreciator like me can ever want…sort of.

LL Cool J’s opening monologue in praise of music and the community it encourages was a good start. It got a trifle long, in my thinking. If I’d have been asked to host the Grammys, I ask myself, “How would I have edited that speech?”

The first act, Elton John with Ed Sheeran was a good start, I thought. But by the third act, I have to admit I was bored.

The Miranda Lambert/Dierks Bentley performance didn’t impress me nearly as much as a bad mix and shaky performance by them. Miranda’s dress and the “up-skirt” camera angles were not very becoming, either. But not so much that worried me as did the technical aspect. “Uh-oh, the union guys on the mixing desk are having a hard time on the faders,” I thought. It’s going to be a lackluster night for everyone’s mix.

Fun. in the rain was interesting, but the band didn’t hit the mark as far as polish on the performance. They might have been worried about equipment malfunctions even if they were using waterproof electronics.

The first award of the night, Best Pop Solo Performance was a let down. Of the five nominees, I would have liked it better if Kelly Clarkson or Katy Perry would have won. “Set Fire to the Rain” in my estimation is not nearly as cool a song as “Stronger” or “Wide Awake.” Sorry, Adele. I think you were just as surprised as anybody for winning with THAT one.

Even with the sputtering start for some very high powered artists, I want to be clear that I don’t EVEN propose that I could do that; I’m glad they are making the effort, but as for the first three acts, only the Elton John/Ed Sheeran duo came close to working in the first thirty minutes of the show

Perhaps the next “cool place” to look for cool spots? The Grammys, yeah! But five-minute-plus breaks? Come on! No wonder the show never runs on time.

When we got to Song of the Year, I must admit that I like Fun. as much as anyone. But “We Are Young”? Please. “Some Nights” would have been a better choice. Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” would have been (dare I say it) a stronger choice. But Clarkson must now surely be – wait for it — stronger for it. I would’ve liked it alright if even Carly Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe” won over “We Are Young.”

Sorry, Grammy Association members. I know yours are the votes that count, but your choice was not near as cool as the other two mentioned.

The right choice for Pop Album of the Year: “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You).” Go, Kelly! Zac Brown Band also appropriately received Country Album of the Year. Next best choice would’ve been Louisiana’s own Hunter Hayes.

While I know that many might groove to it because of the (in my estimation) sort of leaning to reggae, I was disappointed that Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” won Record of The Year. Either Black Keys, Kelly Clarkson or Taylor Swift would suit me better, I think, with Kelly at the top of that list.

I do disagree with Justin Timberlake’s assessment that the 55th Grammys was “the best Grammys ever.” Surely, there is another that trumps it in terms of performance level and technical skill. But that’s another research project through an archive of 54 nights of Grammys.

In an earlier note, I said that it was Kelly Clarkson in the “show stopper gown” of the night. I must change that assessment and say it was Carrie Underwood.

Her gown for her performance of “Blown Away” is the show stopper. Yeah, it “blew away” all the other girls’ wardrobe choices. I thought it might have been an LED studded gown, but I’ve since learned it was a kind of projection screen thing. Either way, when I saw it, I had to think, “Now THERE is the night’s perfect opportunity for a wardrobe malfunction.”

I love it when the artistry and technology of music comes together.

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