I watched the Grammys for the first time in years, mainly to see Mick Jagger perform. I was pleasantly surprised to also catch an aging Bob Dylan take the stage though for most of the song, he was drowned out by a slew of adoring and highly caffeinated musicians.
Lady Gaga tried to steal the show coming out on stage inside a plastic egg. I was reminded of the bass player trapped in a plastic stage prop in This is Spinal Tap who had to be cut out with a chain saw. Frankly, I thought the Stonehenge prop in Spinal Tap was more convincing then Lady Gaga’s egg. But as she would say, “be what you want to be, do what you want to do”, no matter how silly. Silly sells.
Justin Bieber might have been performing at Disney World for a group of tourists wearing Mickey Mouse ears. I’m no Eminem fan but to see the two perform on the same night really highlighted Bieber’s amateurish talent.
The highlights for me came when Nora Jones sang Dolly Parton’s song Jolene with John Mayer and some other guy whose name escapes me. Mick’s performance and tribute to Solomon Burke was spot on. Berklee graduate bass playing vocalist Esparanza Spalding winning for best new artist over Justin Beiber was another highlight as was her performance with a talented group of high-school all-star jazz players.
Lowlights included Rhiana’s performance with Eminem. She was off pitch for the whole song as if she couldn’t hear herself. And Seth Rogen’s joke that he had been getting high with Miley Cyrus backstage was awkward and in poor taste. Attempting to one-up Rogen, Neal Patrick Harris delivered a similarly demeaning joke about Katy Perry that fell flat. And what about the jazz and blues awards? Do they not deserve prime time attention?
Despite the low notes, I enjoyed the variety show. I’ll be back for another helping next year.