“The 2010 Grammy Awards” Or “Ouch, My Cerebrum Hurts”

In the wake of the 2010 Oscar nominations being announced a day earlier than I’d expected, I thought it would be appropriate to write a day-late lackluster review of the Grammys.

First, some clarification. Yes, I watched the Grammys. It was the first time I’d sat down in front of the television, turned on the digital converter box and watched some broadcast TV in weeks if not months. Also, I’ll state right now for the record that I did not know the Grammys were on. We were sitting around watching skiers break limbs in preparation for the Olympics when I got a text from my Aunt Jane about how bad the Grammys were sucking. “Grammys are on?” I remarked. She said that Grandma was opting to watch a re-run of Doctor Phil on her DVR. Hindsight proves that Grandma is wise beyond her years. Not knowing this at the time, I watched the Grammys.

My living room’s viewing audience waned throughout the course of the show, dropping from the initial five of us to a die hard two, who were not really so die hard as somewhat comfortable on the couch and distracted by some reading materials. Still, a 40% retention rate, while pretty abysmal, is better than the Grammys should have expected this year. I won’t leave you hanging waiting for the final verdict on 2010’s first real awards show (Golden Globes and WGA don’t count) — it was horrible. It was utterly, inexcusably wretched. Even for the Grammys, an award created to perpetuate mediocrity and failure in the music industry, there’s a group of television producers somewhere who should be truly ashamed of themselves. I’ll do a rundown here, but I’m not going to put any more work into it than the producers of the Grammys put into their job. So let’s recap:

Beyonce wins a Grammy for “Single Ladies”. Okay, whatever. I’m going off of what I read for this, I didn’t actually start watching until after 9. So, jumping straight there:

Steven Colbert wins a Grammy for his Christmas Album that he didn’t write. I didn’t know he had one. Remember when Barack Obama used to win Grammys? I’m sure he’s duly ashamed.

Kings of Leon win Record of the Year for “Use Somebody”. And here I was all year cringing at the sound of it on the radio and thinking it was a new single by Lifehouse. The guys from the band thank Johnny Walker for inventing booze, and announce that they don’t intend to be interrupted from drinking too long to accept this award. Very classy. *hiccup*

Highlight #1: Jamie Foxx performs, and it’s really stupid. Then T-Pain appears from under a cloak or towel of some sort, and does a silly dance. Jay Z looks as bored as a mobster laying low at his daughter’s dance recital. Suddenly – don’t space out, America – SLASH takes the stage, and shreds Jamie Foxx’s face off (3:05). We are all surprised, confused, and dismayed. Except for George Clinton, who appears to be having the time of his life. Sorry, Jamie – you can’t blame everything on the alcohol.

Green Day wins best rock album for “21st Century Breakdown”. And the nation weeps. And Billy Joe Armstrong, trying desperately not to seem 40, says he’s going to go drink with Kings of Leon. I remember when Green Day was having this moral dilemma after “Warning” because they felt like their music was getting shitty and they were running the risk of majorly selling out, so they decided to retire from music. Then they didn’t, and they majorly sold out. Over the last 15 years, Billy Joe Armstrong has metaphorically personified the stardom, then accidental suicide of Terry Kath and subsequent handing over of Chicago to Peter Cetera and, in effect, Linda Ronstadt. If that is too esoterock for you, just trust me that it’s a tragedy in many ways. Moving on –

Leon Russell belts one with the Zac Brown Band. This was tolerable, and had no place in the travesty that was the Grammys. Still, I can think of no more than 3 people who would appreciate this segment, and the chances that any of them watch the Grammys or read this blog are not in my favor.

Highlight #2: Taylor Swift must not have a monitor on stage, because she is noticeably flat. Her voice sounds strained and her pitch is terrible. Then Stevie Nicks comes out, and the two of them sing a couple duets. It is embarrassing and painful to watch. If this were the 50’s, the House Un-American Activities Committee would be having a field day. I’m pretty sure this segment was a Bolshevik plot to generate mass despondence.

Highlight #3: Back-to-back highlights?! You better believe it! Lionel Richie comes on stage. (There are 3 of us still watching at this point.) Scott exclaims, “Hey, he’s got a famous daughter!” Right you are, lad. What’s next, Sofia Coppola’s dad getting some screen time? Lionel tells us it’s time to take out our 3D glasses.

Wait.

What?!

That’s right! If you’d prepared a little for the Grammys this year, maybe you would have already known that you needed to pick up your 3D glasses at any participating Rite-Aid or something. Because it’s time for the 3D Michael Jackson tribute!
Okay, I say to myself, I’m not going to question this too much. It’s gimmicky, but Alice just happens to have her pair of Avatar 3D glasses right here! I put them on. And what the fuck! It’s not even “real” 3D! You need the 3D glasses that Biff’s sidekick in Back To The Future wears, the kind that comes inside a box of Coco Puffs. So now, all the stars in the audience have their 3D glasses on, Beyonce is bouncing up and down, I’m at home watching some little girl with blurry blue and red lines hovering around her play with a butterfly, Celine Deon, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Smokey Robinson, and Usher are singing this sap-ass tribute to Michael Jackson; what the fuck is going on? For the eighth time that day, I ask myself, “Am I insane? Is this all just happening in my mind while I’m actually rocking on the floor of a sanitarium and staring into a snow globe?” And then I figure that’s too far-fetched and accept what I’m seeing as truth. And just because it’s really important that I drive this point home — WHOSE IDEA WAS IT TO PUT A JARRING 3D SEGMENT IN THE MIDDLE OF A NATIONAL AWARDS SHOW?!?!?! This is where I suspect a solid 50% of viewers were lost. Afterward, Prince and Paris Jackson, two dewy-eyed Aryan youngsters, accept an award on behalf of their late father. They seem very nervous and sad, and I find myself very angry at whoever put them up to this. Moving on –

Sheryl Crow takes the stage, looking like Bozo hit her in the face with a Botox cream pie. She introduces…

Highlight #4: Bon Jovi. Ok, maybe at this point the show is getting so bad that every segment is a highlight. Seriously, if you haven’t figured this out by now, it was like watching a train wreck. Except it was easier to look away.
It’s geriatric Bon Jovi hour at the Staples Center, and the crowd is swaying placidly in their seats as John and Ricky pluck away on their guitars and sing at a comfortable volume. Jay Z is not shown, but has probably melted into his seat and is resembling a puddle. Either the audience or the at-home viewers are voting in real time for what Bon Jovi greatest hit the band will perform next. “Livin on a Prayer” wins it (5:00), and I get this sinking feeling that Bon Jovi might be headed to Vegas, permanently.

Next, Jay Z takes the stage with — who is that, his young child? And Kanye West, who is also winning the award, is not in attendance. I’m sure his invitation got lost in the mail, and he is drunk and stumbling in the parking lot of the Staples Center, cursing Taylor Swift. And this time, it’s justified.

Wyclef Jean takes the stage, preaches love for Haiti, then speaks several sentences in Creole. Apparently Walgreens was way understocked on promotional pocket translators, because I didn’t get mine in time. Damn you, Grammys!!!

Adam Sandler makes an appearance, and tells a bad joke that no one laughs at. I don’t think I was paying close attention at this point. Not sure where it plays into everything. I was hoping he’d sing “Ode To My Car”, but at this point I’m almost looking forward to more disappointment.

Dave Matthews does his thing.

LL Cool J takes the stage. Seriously, that guy could lift a Komatsu industrial forklift.

A tribute to all the people who died. Lots of people died! And Teddy Pendergrass died! I didn’t know, and I was sad for the thirty fifth time. But this sadness was a somber kind.

Jeff Bridges and Jeff Beck do a tribute to Les Paul.

Quentin Tarantino weasels his way in to the festivities and announces some rappers who we all know AND love. Enter: Drake, Eminem, and Lil Wayne! Wait, isn’t Lil Wayne in prison for a weapons charge? Guess not!
At this point, I thought that my digital converter box was doing this thing that it sometimes does where it gets all funky and the sound drops out. Then I realized that these long periods of silence were probably because Lil Wayne and Company were swearing up a storm. What’s better than not being able to see a performance at a music award show? Well.

At this point, I went to bed. I found out the next morning that Taylor Swift won Album of the Year! An appropriate way to end the night.

For your amusement at home, I’ve compiled a list of segments from the 2010 Grammys and compared them to precious metals.

Adam Sandler Having Nothing Better To Do
Precious Metal: Bismuth
Value: 51 cents / oz

Jon Bon Jovi Reminding Me of Wayne Newton
Precious Metal: Gallium
Value: $11.69 / oz

The Artist To Win “Best Album of the Year” Having A Horrible Singing Voice
Precious Metal: Palladium
Value: $385.79 / oz

Slash Comes The Closest Ever To Shredding With Ray Charles
Precious Metal: Gold
Value: $1029.41 / oz

Even Michael Jackson Is In The Shadow Of AVATAR
Precious Metal: Platinum
Value: $1414.86 / oz

–Joey Z reporting.

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