The Grammys are billed as “music’s biggest night”. The 57th annual awards took place Sunday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. LL Cool J once again served as host. Here is a review of some of the best and worst moments of the show.
Sam Smith is this year’s Grammy darling: Smith was unknown a year ago. This year he took home 4 awards including Best New Artist and Record and Song of the Year for “Stay with Me”. He is a talented singer but it’s a bit dubious that the winner for Song of the Year had to give a writing credit to Tom Petty for the song being too similar to “I Won’t Back Down”.
Country Report: Thankfully, there was no “bro-country” represented. Best New Artist nominee Brandy Clark was joined by Dwight Yoakam during an abbreviated “Hold my Hand”. Eric Church sounded a bit shaky on “Give Me Back My Hometown”. Miranda Lambert gave a high energy performance of “Little Red Wagon” but it wasn’t exactly country.
For those about to rock: AC/DC kicked the night off with their current single “Rock or Bust” and a shortened version of “Highway to Hell”. With Stevie Young replacing his uncle Malcolm on rhythm guitar and Chris Slade returning on drums in place of Phil Rudd, the band showed they can still bring it.
Kanye Watch: Kanye West performed solo and then later with Rihanna and Paul McCartney (Paul’s mic was turned off for most of it). He then went up on stage after Beck won Album of the Year. What seemed to be a joke in reference to his infamous diss of Taylor Swift at the MTV VMA’s a few years back turned out to be serious. Afterwards, he said Beyonce should’ve won. What an egomaniac this guy is.
Prince Watch: Prince showed up to present Album of the Year and showed he will always be the coolest person in the room.
Swift Watch: Taylor Swift may have had the biggest selling album of the year and 3 nominations but she only presented Best New Artist and later introduced Sam Smith and Mary J. Blige’s performance. Swifties like myself will have to wait for her tour which begins in May.
Unexpectedly Good: Katy Perry showed she’s capable of more than bubble gum pop with the moving “By the Grace of God”. This was preceded by President Obama giving sobering statistics on violence against women and a victim of domestic violence sharing her story. Also, the pairing of Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett worked pretty well.
The Queen of Pop Returns: Madonna definitely pulled out all the stops on new song “Living for Love”. If nothing else, the biggest spectacle of the night.
Not so Grande: Ariana Grande has been hailed by some as the next great diva. I didn’t find her song or performance interesting.
Worst Performance: Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani. Terrible song, uninspired, boring.
Best Performance: I enjoyed Ed Sheeran joining Jeff Lynne on a pair of ELO classics in “Evil Woman” and “Mr. Blue Sky.” Sheeran also hooked up with John Mayer, Questlove and Herbie Hancock forming a killer band for Sheeran’s hit “Thinking Out Loud”. But my favorite was Hozier and Annie Lennox. The two sang his breakout song “Take Me to Church” which morphed into the classic “I Put a Spell on You”. Hozier showed some guitar skills and Lennox always brings the house down.
All in all, a pretty good show. But if you’re to have a 3 ½ hour awards show, how about more actual awards? By the way, there will be a Stevie Wonder Grammy tribute on CBS on Feb.16. (Usher did a fine job on “If It’s Magic on Sunday’s show) .
Grammys recap: Sam Smith wins big, show is a mixed bag
Dave Leary signing off til’ next year!!!