Some Thoughts On The Boring Grammy Awards

Now I know why they call it “The Grannies”.
The 49th Annual Grammy Awards proved to be a strong contender for dullest award show of all time.  Although there were some bright spots (a few, notable live performances, some deserving winners), for the most part, it was Snooze-a-palooza.  (Did we really need all those slow songs?  Did Mary J. Blige really believe God is a member of the voting academy?)  All night long, there was very little excitement or suspense.
While it was nice to see The Police rework their classic Roxanne, that was the only song they played.  That being said, their performance was an excellent advertisement for their upcoming reunion tour.  But will they stick it out long enough to write and record new material?  Here’s hoping.
I also enjoyed The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Snow (Hey Oh) (even though I would’ve rather heard Dani California), Christina Aguilera’s impassioned tribute to James Brown (she made It’s A Man’s World her own), The Dixie Chicks’ Not Ready To Make Nice (lead singer Natalie Maines belted it like she meant it), and Gnarls Barkley’s oddly effective reworking of their catchy hit, Crazy, with lead singer, Cee-Lo, looking like a cross between a commercial airline pilot and Idi Amin.
And how about that Robin Troup?  The beautiful, young vocalist was the lucky winner of an unusual American Idol-type contest.  Beating two other beautiful, young singers, she got quite the showcase teaming up with Justin Timberlake on Ain’t No Sunshine and My Love.  It was a surprisingly effective presentation.  I doubt we’ll ever hear from her again. 
And I can’t forget one other engaging musical moment.  During his annual Grammy address, The President of the Academy, Neil Portnow, introduced a 15-year-old violinist and a 17-year-old pianist who quickly proceeded to remind everyone that live music can be still be exciting.  They made the professionals look like disinterested amateurs.  To be fair, though, the sound quality was abysmal.  I heard a lot of bleeding in those microphones.  Disgraceful.
As for the awards themselves, it was nice to see all those wins for The Dixie Chicks.  I didn’t mention this on the site before the ceremony but I felt that they would do well in the main categories.  They ended up winning 5 Grammys:  Best Country Album, Song Of The Year, Record Of The Year and Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal (all for the great Not Ready To Make Nice) and Album Of The Year for Taking The Long Way.  I would’ve preferred seeing The Red Hot Chili Peppers take the last award of the evening but sentiment was running high for the long-suffering Dixies.  And isn’t about time America apologizes to them for the shoddy way they’ve been treated over the last 4 years?  It’s long overdue.
Thankfully, The Chilis didn’t go home empty-handed.  Right after their performance, they were awarded Best Rock Album for the excellent Stadium Arcadium.  During the non-televised ceremony that preceded the needlessly long 3 and a half hour broadcast, the quartet also snagged Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal (for Dani California) and Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package for the above-mentioned double album.
Other big winners included Carrie Underwood who won Best New Artist (the first American Idol winner to do so) and Best Female Country Vocal Performance for Jesus, Take The Wheel (That song also won Best Country Song for songwriters Brett James, Hillary Lindsey and Gordie Sampson.), Justin Timberlake who won for Best Dance Recording (Sexy Back) and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (My Love with T.I.), and Gnarls Barkley who took home gold phonographs for Best Urban/Alternative Performance (Crazy) and Best Alternative Music Album (St. Elsewhere).
For me, the biggest disappointment was the absense of Iggy Pop and The Stooges.  With a new record coming out in a month’s time, wouldn’t it have been awesome to have them play at the Grammys?  It would’ve served as a timely reminder that the Academy has never given this guy his just desserts.  He’ll have to hope for a lifetime achievement award.  Maybe he’ll be alive when they give him one.  If they give him one.
Also disappointing was the lack of respect for performers who didn’t even get nominated despite producing some terrific work last year.  Where were the nominations for Placebo, Morrissey and The Strokes?  What more can they do to get recognition from their peers?  Iggy Pop isn’t the only one who gets routinely snubbed.
Perhaps the biggest problem with this year’s presentation was the fact that even my parents thought the show was an enormous bore.  Mom was constantly dozing off and Dad went to bed earlier than usual.  Not good.  One deadly dull musical act was followed by another deadly dull musical act (minus the previously mentioned exceptions).  Despite some isolated moments of humour (Common and Kenye West, Natalie’s Nelson impersonation, Ludacris sarcastically giving a shout-out to Bill O’Reilly and Oprah Winfrey) none of the speeches registered (No one had the balls to say, “Suck on that, bitch!”  Very sad.) and as a result, the show never had any momentum to sustain true interest.  Furthermore, the good performers were on stage less than the bad ones.
You know you’re in trouble when the most outrageous moment of the night was that bizarre piece of jewelry on’s right ear.  Bring back the cursing and the show crashers and the nudity and the consistently exciting performances.  Anything to re-adrenalize this once entertaining awards show.
For a complete list of winners, click here.
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, February 12, 2007
2:03 a.m.
Published in: on February 12, 2007 at 2:11 am  Leave a Comment  

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