LL Cool J started the 54th Annual Grammy Awards with a prayer for Whitney Houston, making a somber beginning to a night of several great performances from the likes of Adele, Coldplay, Rihanna, Foo Fighters, Bruno Mars, Paul McCartney, Katy Perry, Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band, Taylor Swift, Tony Bennett and Carrie Underwood, Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt; and several others.
It was also a night of pointed messages at the Grammys, with Taylor Swift singing “Mean” and giving all her critics the proverbial middle finger (with wide, lit up blue eyes and a button nose that made us forget that’s what she was doing). Katy Perry interrupted her own performance of “E.T.” for a fierce performance of a new single, telling Russell Brand that basically he can say what he wants but he can’t take away the fact that she will continue to amass millions in revenue with her songs, tours, perfume, and anything else she puts her name on. And a gorgeous Adele who sang her hit single for the first time since her vocal cord surgery proving that she is back with a voice as thick and heart-wrenching as ever. It was nice to see her face as the crowd stood in thunderous applause because after all of her success both critical and commercial you could see she was stunned and overwhelmed by the enthusiastic welcome back.
I was glad to see The Civil Wars sneak in a short but soulful performance just before Taylor Swift’s, and really surprised but thrilled to see Bon Iver receive the Grammy for Best New Artist. The Foo Fighters received quite a bit of Grammy love as well and Dave Grohl gave a terrific acceptance speech about what it takes to make a great rock album. Jennifer Hudson sang a beautiful and heartfelt tribute to Whitney Houston that had me riveted to the TV and perhaps a teensy bit misty eyed.
I also must mention Nicki Minaj’s performance which was….um….
I just don’t have the words.
My ears were bleeding, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the theatrical clash of a scene from an exorcism movie and her “performance” on stage. (My husband’s comment after a moment of silence where we were clearly trying to process what we just saw, “Well! That’s what happens when artists are given too much freedom.”) I’ll turn “SuperBass” up in the car and pretend like I can rap just as much as the next girl who would never admit to that, but wow.
Adele really stole the show, winning in every category she was nominated for, making a total of six Grammy awards . The girl deserved all her awards and her tearful thank you at the end for her Album of the Year award was refreshingly genuine and heartfelt (with a reference to her snot and a thanks to her “Mum” and “all of you lot”. She’ll be a music legend, she’s gorgeous and elegant but so endearingly unrefined and unpretentious).
The tragic death of Whitney Houston and the personal lives of the artists definitely cast a shadow over this Grammy Awards but all in all it was really a great show. I don’t watch the Grammys every year but I’m glad I caught this one. In case you missed it and you care to know, the winners are as follows:
Record of the Year: "Rolling in the Deep" Adele, Paul Epworth, Tom Elmhirst & Marc Rankin
Album of the Year: 21 Adele, Paul Epworth & Tom Elmhirst
Song of the Year: "Rolling in the Deep" Adele & Paul Epworth
New Artist: Bon Iver
Pop Vocal Album: 21 Adele
Pop Duo/Group Performance: "Body & Soul" Tony Bennett & Amy Winehouse
Rock Album: Wasting Light Foo Fighters
R&B Album: F.A.M.E. Chris Brown
Rap Album: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Kanye West
Country Album: Own the Night Lady Antebellum
R&B Performance: "Is This Love" Corinne Baily Rae
Pop Solo Performance: "Someone Like You" Adele
Rock Song: "Walk" Foo Fighters
Rock Performance: "Walk" Foo Fighters
Dance Recording: "Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites" Skrillex
Rap Collaboration: "All of the Lights" Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi and Fergie
Rap Performance: "Otis" Jay-Z and Kanye West
Rap Song: "All of the Lights" Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi and Fergie
Country Song: “Mean” Taylor Swift
Country Solo Performance: “Mean” Taylor Swift
Blues Album: Revelator Tedeschi Trucks Band
Latin Pop, Rock or Urban Album: Drama Y Luz Mana
Folk Album: Barton Hollow The Civil Wars
Jazz Vocal Album: The Mosaic Project Terri Lyne Carrington & Various Artists
Gospel Album: Hello Fear Kirk Franklin
Alternative Music Album: Bon Iver Bon Iver
Short Form Music Video: "Rolling in the Deep" Adele
Long Form Music Video: "Foo Fighters: Back and Forth" Foo Fighters