Do New Yorkers actually enjoy the idea of leaving the city looking for fun? If they didn’t they will now once they get wind of what is happening right in their back yard in New Jersey. NJ is not just the garden state, it is also a place filled with adventure, fervor, and amusement waiting for us Manhattanites to indulge. One place in particular worth checking out is Big Snow American Dream, which takes skiing and snowboarding to a whole new level. [Read more…] about Adrenaline Pumping Fun For All Ages At Big Snow American Dream
Touchdown! The NFL Experience is a Must For All Ages
If you enjoy football and everything about the sport then The NFL Experience is for you. As enthusiasts gear up for Super Bowl 52, I can see why this interaction is growing in popularity. [Read more…] about Touchdown! The NFL Experience is a Must For All Ages
Sugar East: Lenox Hill’s Fresh Hangout Haven Has Stellar Opening
Let me start this as a slight geography lesson, just in case you’re not too sure where the Lenox Hill section of Manhattan is located, ha ha! Lets just say Lenox Hill is the “downtown” of the Upper East Side directly adjacent to Midtown, expanding from East 60th to East 77th from East River to Park Avenue. [Read more…] about Sugar East: Lenox Hill’s Fresh Hangout Haven Has Stellar Opening
Z100’s Jingle Ball 2013- Great and Not So Great
Mlley Twerked? Shocker z100, shocker.
As a lifelong New Yorker, I have consistently found myself zooming through each radio station to find the perfect song to jam out in the car with. Just like an American classic like Peanut Butter and Jelly, I always know that no matter what, Z100 radio station will always find the right song for me to shake my groove thing to. Yes my groove thing. If you want to make fun of me or judge me, do it. I’m awesome. As long as I have listened to z100 I have also wanted to partake in their biggest event of the year, Jingle Ball. This station always pulls in some of the biggest names in the industry jam packed with a ton of celebrities introducing them and this year was no exception. Now partnered with the “iHeartRadio” with this event and more, the festivities took place last night at none other than the legendary Madison Square Garden. The place itself was of course sold out, and as a 27 year old grown ass man I felt like I could’ve been some of these kids teen fathers, but nevertheless I had an awesome time and the whole show had a really nice vibe throughout the night. There were some definite highlights and lowlights though, so lets take a look at who did best, and who mmmmmmmmmmmm not so much.
Random, random, random celebrities. Most of the acts got really awesome people to introduce them, such as my homegirl Jordin Sparks and the star of my new favorite movie “Pitch Perfect”, Anna Kendrick. Then… there were others. First the z100 crew were great, and I am a huge Elvis Duran fan as I have been since I was about 10 or 11. But… Katie Holmes? Really, girl? The snarky side of me was hoping she was going to introduce a Tom Cruise lookalike and beat him up or something, but that would’ve been too much fun for even me to handle. They introduced Travie McCoy who was somewhere in the crowd but it became more like “Where’s Waldo” in which I couldn’t find him. Not that he was that important anyways. Finally, and this was both a highlight and a lowlight- R. Kelly. I don’t get what he is trying to do lately, honestly. Is he trying to find a younger audience with doing shows like this, where most people don’t even know what his last hit record is because they weren’t born yet? At the same time, I did find it pretty amazing that a decent portion of the crowd was jamming along to his 2000 hit “Ignition”, so that is where the odd lowlight became a highlight. I still didn’t understand why he was there though. Oh, and let’s not forget to mention Lindsay Lohan, who is back in trouble with the court for ordering a hit on Paris Hilton’s douchey brother. One word- GIRLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL.
Fifth Harmony & Austin Mahone. Note that I didn’t include all the big teen acts in here, as the other ones were pretty much incredible. These two, not so much. Fifth Harmony is the girl equivalent to One Direction, in that Simon Cowell himself chose five random girls and placed them in a group. These five made it to the final 3 on “X Factor”, a show that is crumbling in the ratings and that pretty much no one really watched last season (only for the Britney factor of course). I felt kind of bad for them as they were legitimately on for 3 minutes. They did their hit “Miss Moving On” and then some random song and it legit felt like they were doing “Night at the Apollo” and being rushed off the stage due to being booed. Terrible. Girl groups are way hard to market, and that formula really hasn’t worked in ages since the days of Destiny’s Child and Spice Girls. Fifth Harmony really just looks like five random girls plopped together in a group and sing. That’s pretty much it.
As for Austin Mahone, he’s got a great voice but my hope for him is that he is kind of like the Lorde to Miley, in that he’s the anti Bieber. HE LOOKED AND SOUNDED AND DANCED EXACTLY LIKE HIM. Great singer and all, but I think his marketing team should try to distance himself from the Bieber image so that there aren’t that many comparisons. Just saying.
Jason DeRulo- Nothing about his performance was a lowlight, Jason has a great look and voice to him. He didn’t deserve to have the first opening slot, which in my opinion is the forgettable one. He has been around for a long time now, and I was truly confused over who got to perform later than earlier. Fifth Harmony should’ve been first, maybe even Enrique. But not Jason. z100 for the loss here, great performance.
Miley (Kind Of). I have a love/hate type thing with Miley. I get it, but there are times where oversaturation can come into play, and last night she continued to do so. More twerking, more of the same. You have a great voice, you don’t need to pull all these ridiculous shenanigans to get people to pay attention. Just sing. Take tips from Gaga on that. She needs it. Other than that, great job :).
Selena Gomez & Arianna Grande- These are two girls that are on their way to true superstardom, and are doing it in a way that isn’t forced and just the great reliability of their voices and looks (cough cough Miley). Selena looked amazing in this form fitting red dress, and she performed a medley of her hits including “Love You Like A Long Song” and “Come and Get It”. On top of that, she did some bomb ass choreography which really made her set a very flourished show. As for Arianna, she just has that voice that really resonates of a younger Mariah Carey. She did her own version of the popular WHAM song “Last Christmas”, and of course closed her set with her top 10 hit “The Way”. Mac Miller sadly wasn’t there, but she made up for it by putting a simple performance and making it really great. Good job girls!
Fall Out Boy & Paramore- Proving that alternative still has a place on top 40, these two in my opinion were the stand out bunches of the night. Fall Out Boy, who should’ve never dismembered in the first place, put on a rousing rendition of several of their hits, my personal favorite being the closing one with “My Song Knows What You Did In the Dark”. Really a superb performance. I’m a big Hayley fan, and her and Paramore really did a great job with their set as well.
Pitbull- Pitbull proved last night why he is “Mr. International” because he put on the most electrifying performance of the night. Fueled by his current chart topper “Timber” with Ke dollar sign Ha, he really got the crowd’s energy going. Smart move by z100 by placing him somewhat in the middle of this because he really kept the crowd going for what was coming next. His closing out song, “Give Me Everything”, was truly a spectacle to watch. I give this dude credit for making it this long in the industry. Well done.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis- This was their year, and this was their night. I love these guys so much, and it was great to finally see them perform live. My favorite is of course “Same Love” which is such a great message to many people that goes beyond homophobia. Best of the night in my opinion.
Overall, I would give the concert at 7 out of 10. Apparently One Direction was there last year, which makes me happy I didn’t go as I would probably need a hearing aid at this point from all the screaming that occurred. The show was good, but nothing really spectacular that I felt left me hanging for more and more. Some of the acts should’ve gotten more stage time, and some shouldn’t have. What did you think? Sound off here and check out more articles like this on Manhattan Digest!
2014 Grammy Nominations- Shockers, Delights and Kendrick!
The 2014 Grammy Nominations were announced live last night in Los Angeles at the annual “Grammy Nominations Special” they do each year, hosted by LL Cool J. They had some pretty off the chain concerts from some of the biggest artists in the world, and it truly set the stage for a great night to come in February. When I read the list of nominees this year, some I expected, some I was somewhat surprised on, and some I was insanely baffled that got left out. Let’s break each category down and see what went right and what went really wrong.
Record Of They Year-
Imagine Dragons- “Radioactive”
Robin Thicke Featuring TI & Pharrell Williams- “Blurred Lines”
Daft Punk Featuring Pharrell Williams- “Get Lucky”
Bruno Mars- “Locked Outta Heaven”
In my original prediction blog, I had four out of five right (Hooray for me) with Imagine Dragons as an “Honorable Mention” but definitely a contender. Not surprised by any of these as they were all great nominees. Justin could’ve made this category, but I will delve much further into that on the next one. These five songs were really some of the biggest of the year, each of them representing a different genre of music in my opinion. Lorde on that pop/alternative tip, Imagine Dragons are pure alternative, Robin Thicke as the R&B crooner, Daft Punk bringing in the EDM and Bruno Mars giving us straight soul. This is going to be an interesting category of sorts because I don’t think there really is a clear cut winner here. Moving along.
Album Of The Year-
Sara Bareilles- “The Blessed Unrest”
Daft Punk- “Random Access Memories”
Kendrick Lamar- “Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis- “The Heist”
Taylor Swift- “Red”
No Justin Timberlake in this category, I am beyond shocked about that. I pegged “The 20/20 Experience” as winning this award beyond easily and I truthfully believe he was the biggest snub of the night. Kind of sad when you have the biggest album of the year and you are left off such a crucial list. I think Sara and Kendrick are the surprising nominees here, in a good way. I thought Bruno Mars was a shoo in as well for “Unorthodox Jukebox” but I am somewhat glad to see him left off this list as I think Sara and Kendrick had stronger showings. Not shocked by Macklemore, Taylor or Kendrick but for the sake of my sanity I pray that Taylor doesn’t win AOTY again because “Red” wasn’t really a strong showing. It was a continuation of her last album, and I hope when she releases her new effort it has a bit of maturity to it. This is a tough one to call right now, but if I had to be personal on this- KENDRICK. Please.
Song Of The Year-
Pink & Nate Ruess- “Just Give Me A Reason”
Bruno Mars- “Locked Outta Heaven”
Katy Perry- “Roar”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Featuring Mary Lambert- “Same Love”
In my original article, I had three out of five right (Pink, Macklemore, Lorde). Katy Perry wasn’t really on my radar, and this was the category I thought Sara Bareilles had a chance at with “Brave”, which Katy insanely ripped off for “Roar”. I actually had Drake in this category for “Hold On We’re Going Home”, a song he didn’t even get nominated for this year. That to me is frustrating, as it is one of the best tracks of 2013, and its the same sentiment I felt two years ago when his song with Rihanna “Take Care” got snubbed as well. This is a pretty standard list, so nothing too surprising. They could’ve given Miley something in the main categories, especially for the teen voters, and “Wrecking Ball” is in fact a very well written song. That being said, “Same Love” has got my vote. The lyrics are incredible and if there is one award Macklemore & Ryan Lewis should win it is this one folks.
Best New Artist-
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Two out of five in my original predictions, with Macklemore and Kendrick easily getting nominated. The others, I don’t really know how I feel about it. First off, where the heck is Imagine Dragons and Lorde on this? Ed Sheeran has been around for a while, so I don’t get why he is nominated this year and not last year. I am beyond floored that Florida Georgia Line didn’t get ANY nominations, and I thought that they would be the perennial country nominee as well over Kacey, but I am glad to see she got in here. The shocker here is EDM producer James Blake, who is following similar pathways with EDM being recognized in the main categories as Skrillex earned a Best New Artist nod last year. Fun! won this last year, something that I thought was completely shit as it should’ve been Frank Ocean, but this is a pretty strong group across the board. Best New Artist has proven to be an award that is never really cut and dry, and many artists that have won in recent years are the one you least expect (Bon Iver over Nicki Minaj, Esperanza Spalding over Justin Bieber). So James Blake really is the odd one out in this. Macklemore really isn’t a new artist in my opinion because he has been around a lot longer than people think, so once again I would love for Kendrick to take this one home. Country nominees never win this award, so it really comes down to Kendrick and Macklemore in my opinion.
Check out the official Grammy website for all the nominees and keep checking on Manhattan Digest for our official prediction blogs in all the categories for months to come. Congrats to all the nominees, especially Kendrick and my homegirl Kathy Griffin who got a sixth nomination for Best Comedy Album! 🙂
55th Annual Grammy Awards Live Coverage!
8pm Eastern Time tonight, CBS
7:30 pm Eastern: Good Evening! Welcome to what will be the first of many Manhattan Digest awards ceremony liveblogs! LL Cool J hosts the ceremony, which starts at 8 pm Eastern time on CBS. This should be an interesting evening tonight, with the Album of the Year award showing a surprisingly rock heavy slate with Mumford and Sons’ Babel, Fun.’s Some Nights, The Black Keys’ El Camino, and Jack White’s Blunderbuss, with Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange being the sole R&B outlier. Personally, I think that Babel and Channel Orange are the clear favorites, with Channel Orange being my pick to win the whole thing.
That being said, I’m here mostly to look at the show in terms of its’ presentation than to heavily critique the award choices themselves. The Grammy’s are known mostly for being the safest show on the February awards season, often only garnering attention for a killer performance (such as Elton John and Eminem’s killer performance of “Stan” in 2001), or some truly horrendous fashion calls (see Jennifer Lopez’s infamous green dress from the 2000 show). The latter is under intense scrutiny this year, as earlier this week CBS standards and practices sent out a letter vilifying the use of thongs or costumes that allow for exposed “breasts and buttocks”, singling out that earth-shattering corrupter of morals: the thong. Needless to say, my gut instinct is telling me that someone is going to find a way to defy this (odds on favorite here? Rihanna).
I would love for tonight to be a dialogue as we all react to the show together (and get different opinions at the same time), so feel free to use the comments section below and get involved in the conversation! Stay tuned to Manhattan Digest for more updates as the ceremony unfolds!
7:45 p.m.: Some early updates from the red carpet. Generally speaking it looks like the artists are complying with the S+P guidelines, with only a handful of particularly deep plunging necklines (including Miranda Lambert and Ashanti). Similarly the men seem pretty buttoned up, with a surprisingly large number of skinny ties. I think Taylor Swift’s dress was pretty impressive from a fashion standpoint. Conversely, Adele’s floral print design leaves a lot to be desired.
For me though, the highlight of the red carpet was Jennifer Lopez’s angry shrieks of protest after Ryan Seacrest noted that her dress was skirting the lines of what CBS was allowing screaming “I’m just showing a little leg and a little shoulder!”.
7:57 p.m.: Three minutes to the curtain and a large number of the awards have been given off camera already. Notable award winners included Gotye (who won two awards including Best Alternative Music Album, and Best Duo/Group Pop Performance – the latter with Kimbra for “Somebody that I Used to Know”), Skrillex (who also wont two awards for Best Dance Album and Best Dance Recording both for Bangarang), Rihanna (for her video for “We Found Love”), and Taylor Swift (for Best Song Written for Visual Media ).
Additionally it was announced on the red carpet that Ms. Swift will be the opening performance tonight, so expect to see her on your TV screens sometime in the next few minutes.
8:15 PM: And on cue we open with a weird man on a bike with a torch to introduce Taylor Swift who opens the show with “We are Never (Getting Back Together)” in a very sideshow circus vibe that involved a boyfriend strapped to a carnival wheel, trapeze artists, fire spinners and a large amount of pyrotechnics. The performance itself was pretty mediocre in spite of the spectacle, but it seemed like a fine way to amp up the crowd for tonight’s show.
Afterwords, we see our first appearance of show host, LL Cool J. He devotes his somewhat meandering opening monologue discussing music as a vehicle for bringing people together before pitching it to Eddie Sheeran and Elton John to perform Sheeran’s song “A Team”. I love Elton John as much as anyone, but it seemed like he was off for most of the song and it adversely affected the vocal harmonies. I did enjoy the off in the crowd staging aspect that they used, as it seemed to highlight the “lighter song” vibe that one gets when listening to “A-team”.
8:27 PM: LL Cool J asks us to use #Grammys when talking about tonight’s show before kicking it to J-Lo and Pitbull (with a split screen to the infamous green dress from 2000) with Pitbull fawning over J Lo before announcing the nominees for best solo pop performance:
The nominees are:
“Stronger” (Kelly Clarkson), “Set Fire to the Rain” (Adele), “Wide Awake” (Katy Perry), “Call Me Maybe” (Carly Rae Jespen) and “Where Have You Been?” (Rihanna)
AND THE WINNER: Set Fire to the Rain by Adele.
Adele gives a very brief speech (in which she called back to last year’s six wins) before Neil Patrick Harris enters to introduce Fun. (whom have six nominations this evening). Fun. then took the opportunity to play “Carry On.”, which started a little slow but picked up once the instruments kicked in. Once it built, we got a performance with a very strong cinematic vibe, including the obligatory downpour towards the end. One thing did bother me about the performance however, and that is why frontman Nate Ruess wore those Capris?
8:48 PM: Bonnie Raitt and John Mayer appear to introduce Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley. The duo play a couple of country tracks in “Over You” and “Home”. Their performance was perfectly fine and fairly low key compared to the immediately preceding performance before cutting to LL Cool J on American Bandstand in an awkward transition. LL then takes the opportunity to pay tribute to Dick Clark.
LL Cool J then makes an another abrupt transition, introducing Miguel and Wiz Khalifa, whom perform “Adorn” . The performance was sizzling, with Miguel showing off his pipes and performing the standard issue R and B theatrics. From there, our performer then announced the nominees for…wait for it…best country solo performance (because that made sense to me too right?)
The nominees for best country solo performance:
“Home” (Dierks Bentley), “Springsteen” (Eric Church), “Cost of Living” (Ronnie Dunn), “Wanted (Hunter Hayes), “Over (Blake Shelton), and “Blown Away” (Carrie Underwood)
AND THE WINNER IS: “Blown Away” by Carrie Underwood.
8:58 PM: LL Plugs social media again before telling everyone in the Northeast to stay warm and kicking it to Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, whom are presenting song of the year.
The nominees are: “Adorn” (Miguel), “The A-Team” (Ed Sheeran), “Call Me Maybe” (Carly Rae Jespen), “We are Young” (Fun. Feat Janelle Monae), and “Stronger” (Kelly Clarkson).
AND YOUR WINNER: “We Are Young” by (the now completely dry) Fun.
Nate Ruess gives a speech that has the first real crack of the night in “I don’t know what we’re thinking writing this chorus, now that we’re in HD and you can see our faces, we are clearly not young.”. They then thank Jay-Z (who mouths a “You’re Welcome” from the crowd) and Chick Corea before the orchestra kicks in to introduce Johnny Depp. I want them to win more awards now because they are clearly the only people so far who have not taken this awards show too seriously tonight.
Depp is there to introduce Mumford and Sons in 20 words or less. They play their hit “I will wait” in front of a large display of lights and had an excellent performance aside from some sound issues that seemed to keep the backing vocals from coming through, though the remainder of the sound was very impressive.
9:15 PM: We return to Ellen Degeneres and Beyonce (in a pantsuit tonight) whom do a shticky introuction for Justin Timberlake, whom is here to perform “Suit and Tie”. The screen goes black and white, which is probably not a right call because it makes Justin Timberlake look disturbingly like Rick Astley. Jay-Z then climbs on stage to perform his verse. The screen then goes color befor Justin does a new song with a full orchestra and band (Update: The song is titled “Pusher Love Girl”). All internet memes aside, the performance is excellent and realizing the irony in saying this about someone whose only a few years older than myself, he still clearly has it.
Following that performance, we next see presenters Kelly Rowland and Nas, whom announce the nominees for a new category: Best Urban Contemporary Album
Fortune (Chris Brown), Kaliedoscope Dream (Miguel), Channel Orange (Frank Ocean)
AND THE WINNER: Channel Orange by Frank Ocean
During the commercial, we saw a hard release date for Justin Timberlake’s new album, which will drop on March 19th.
Dave Grohl and Pauley Perette (Abby from NCIS) whom are here to announce that Dan Auerbach won producer of the year earlier in the day, before presenting the award for best Rock Performance
“Hold On” (Alabama Shakes), “Lonely Boy” (The Black Keys), “Charlie Brown” (Coldplay), “I Will Wait”, (Mumford and Sons) and
“We take care of our own” (Bruce Springsteen).
AND THE WINNER: “Lonely Boy” by the Black Keys
Following that, Maroon 5 and Alicia Keys perform “Room on Fire” and “Daylight”. While Maroon 5’s performance of Daylight was fine, “Girl on Fire” felt a little flat at points. This was a bit troubling as if there are two vocal artists who not only can, but are expected to let their vocals soar, it’s Adam Levine and Alicia Keys.
Kaley Cuoco and Keith Urban next came out to introduce the award for “Best Pop Vocal Album”. The nominees were:
Stronger (Kelly Clarkson), Ceremonials (Florence and the Machine), Some Nights (Fun.). Overexposed (Maroon 5), and The Truth About Love (Pink).
AND THE WINNER: Stronger by Kelly Clarkson
Kelly comes up and wings an acceptance speech, where she mentions being “stuck to Miranda Lambert” and expressed interest in working with Miguel. It was truly spontaneous and very welcome in this very overstuffed and seemingly overscripted show.
9:55 PM: After a performance from Rihanna that had shades of Adele’s performance of “Someone Like You” from last year, Carly Rae Jespen and Ne-Yo come out to present the award for best Rap/Sung collaboration
“Wild Ones” (Flo-Rida f. Sia), “Tonight” (John Legend f. Ludacris), “Cherry Wine ‘ (Nas f. Amy Winehouse), “Talk that Talk” (Rihanna f. Jay Z), and “No Church in the Wild” (Jay-Z/Kanye West feat. Frank Ocean and the Dream)
AND THE WINNER: No Church in the Wild by Jay-Z and Kanye West featuring Frank Ocean and the Dream.
In a classy move, Jay-Z gave most of the speech to Frank Ocean and the Dream, whom both give quick shout outs. Jay-Z on the other hand, simply thanks “The swap meet, because that’s where he (The Dream) got that hat.”
10:02 PM: The Lifetime Achievement award was announced with The Temptations, Carole King, Ravi Shankar, Patty Page, Glenn Gould, Charlie Haden, and Lightning Hopkins amongst the recipients.
After the break, Kat Dennings comes out to introduce the Black Keys, Dr. John, and the New Orleans Preservation Hall Band. All parties involved come out rocking, performing the Black Keys’ hit “Lonely Boy”. While I am typically not a fan of brass instruments in Rock Music. Adding to the proceedings was Dr. John, whom was dressed about as outlandishly as one could possibly be on a grammy stage, in full Hoodoo gear. It was a great performance, I do with it would have highlighted Dr. John a little more.
This was then followed up by Kelly Clarkson performing a medley including “Tennessee Waltz”, “Natural Woman”, in order to honor Patti Page and Carole King. This then segued into the nominations for best country album.
The nominees are: Uncaged (Zac Brown Band), Hunter Hayes (Hunter Hayes), Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran (Jamey Johnson), For the Record (Miranda Lambert), The Time Jumpers (The Time Jumpers)
AND THE WINNER: The Zac Brown Band’s Uncaged.
10:13 PM: We now get the Grammy’s tribute to Bob Marley with Bruno Mars, Sting, Damian and Ziggy Marley. The tribute started with Bruno Mars, who performed his hit single “Locked out of Heaven”. After the first chorus Sting came out in a fun moment as “Locked out of Heaven” is really Bruno Mars’ attempt at writing a police song. This then segued into The Police’s “Walking on the Moon”. This performance has been the best of the show so far, as Bruno hung out there with Sting and didn’t look out of place, though it looked like Sting initially hindered by the fact that “Locked out” was sped up.
Midway through the performance, Rihanna, Damian and Ziggy Marley came out and performed “Could You be Loved”. This actually created a largeness to the performance that made it feel more worthy of the Grammy stage, eclipsing even Rihanna’s prior appearance 15 minutes earlier.
10:30 PM: LL introduces The Lumineers, whom perform their hit single “Ho Hey”. The performance seemed perfectly servicable, and it seems like they have fixed the microphone problems from earlier. This then swept into Jack White’s performance of “Love Interruption”. After the completion of “Love Interruption.” Jack then exploded into “Freedom at 21”, giving the perfect loud kick after two quieter songs.
Katy Perry is now out to present the Best New Artist award. She marvels at the dedication it takes to get to that point before offering a little solace for those who didn’t win, saying: “I didn’t even get nominated for best new artist, but now I have my own eyelash line!”
The nominees are: Alabama Shakes, Fun., Hunter Hayes, The Lumineers, Frank Ocean
AND THE WINNER: Fun. (Fun has taken two Grammys tonight, I think they are now very much in the discussion for Album of the Year).
I think this one is a little bit of a shocker, I was pretty sure Frank Ocean was going to be a mortal lock for this one.
Hour three right now seems to have been a lot kinder to this show than the first two hours.
10:45 PM: And apparently I jinxed everyone (sorry!).
Hunter Hayes is out to sing (I wasn’t impressed, but I’m not a country guy) before introducing Carrie Underwood, who then sung two of her songs. Carrie’s vocals did not feel particularly impressive, but the lighting for this was particularly impressive as they used Carrie’s dress as a proxy for a projection screen, allowing for a neat visual that worked out superbly.
After this, Prince made a rare appearance to present Record of the Year, looking like a hybrid of Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and Puff Daddy.
The Nominees are:
“Lonely Boy” (The Black Keys), “Stronger” (Kelly Clarkson), “We are Young” (Fun.),“Somebody That I Used to Know” (Gotye f. Kimbra), “Thinking About You” (Frank Ocean), “We are never ever Getting Back Together” (Taylor Swift).
AND THE WINNER: “Somebody That I used to Know” by Gotye f. Kimbra.
11:04 PM: We come back to “Take Five” (no introduction, but it’s one of my favorite Jazz songs of all time, so uh, I know it…and now you do too.) for what I’m assuming is the tribute to Dave Brubeck as performed by Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, and Kenny Garrett.
Neal Portnow and Ryan Seacrest (who’s now the honorary chairman of the Grammy Foundation) are out to introduce Justin Timberlake. Mr. Timberlake comes out to shill for the Grammy Foundation and the new “music educator” award.
We now get the in Memorian Montage, which includes Dave Brubeck, Donna Summer, Andy Williams, Chuck Brown, Robin Gibb, Patti Page, Davy Jones , Dick Clark, Fontella Bass, Hal David, Marvin Hamlish, Richard Adler, Andy Griffith, Ravi Shankar, Adam Yauch (Adrock of the Beastie Boys), Levon Helm and others. Looking back at that last sentence, it seems like every genre of music took a heavy loss in 2012.
This then leads to a tribute to Levon Helm fronted by Elton John, Zac Brown, Mumford and Sons, T-Bone Burnett, Mavis Staples, Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes as they played “The Weight”. This performance had a looser jam band performance due to the larger nature of this collaboration. Elton seemed a lot stronger in this performance than his earlier performance with Eddie Sheeran. This performance is easily in the upper echelon of performances tonight.
11:18 PM: We return to Juanes paying tribute to Elton John singing “Your Song” in English and Spanish in a very intimate acoustic vibe before kicking it to Frank Ocean, who’s performing his single “Forrest Gump”. They start with a cool visual effect where Frank is running on a video screen before completing his run up a hill to his keyboard in person. Frank wrenched a ton of emotion into this one and it created an excellent and haunting performance
We’re down to one last award, Album of the Year, and Adele is here to award it after making a quick crack about she got knocked up after winning Album of the Year last year.
The Nominees are:
El Camino (The Black Keys), Channel ORANGE (Frank Ocean), Blunderbuss (Jack White), Some Nights (Fun.),Babel (Mumford and Sons)
AND YOUR WINNER: Babel by Mumford and Sons.
A pretty deserving winner and one of my favorites from earlier. They managed to spread the love around somewhat with only Jack White not making the winner’s podium during the course of the show tonight.
11:42 PM: We’re down to the grand finale, a performance by LL Cool J, Chuck D, Tom Morello, Travis Barker, and DJ Z-Trip, whom performed “Whaddup”, which was a fun way to end the show if only because Chuck D’s voice IS rap to me, and LL was game. It was a pretty solid performance and I would kill to see the single, though it would not have killed CBS not to stick fee plugs in the middle of the song.
My Final Thoughts: This year’s Grammy ceremony felt a little overstuffed with tons of abrupt transitions and sequences and with a little bit of breathing room we could have cut some of the weaker performances (notably the lacking Maroon 5/Alicia Keys collaboration and Hunter Hayes’ introduction of an introduction). Additionally, at times the show had a somber, joyless feel at points during a night that should be the biggest party for the music industry of the year. That being said, what you expected to deliver did deliver (the Marley and Levon Helms’ tributes, as well your Album of the Year candidates’ performances), so check out those seven performances.
Also some enjoyable moments I didn’t get to point out amid the I Love Lucy Conveyor Belt pace of the show:
- Taylor Swift was rocking out to EVERYTHING. I’m not sure why, but this is really amusing to me.
- The full extent of Kelly Clarkson’s gushing about R+B artist Miguel
- Once the show hit hour three and it slowed down a little bit, it seemed like the show was able to gel a little more as the orchestra wasn’t cutting off awards speeches at the 30 second mark as it did for Fun.’s first speech
Final Verdict: If you haven’t seen the whole show, it’s probably not worth watching all three hours. You owe it to yourself to YouTube up the Marley tribute though, and I would probably check out Fun.’s , Jack White’s, and the Black Keys’ performances as well. LL Cool J was passable as a host, but the role of host honestly felt superfluous with the rapid pace that the show took.
Queen Coco, One-Hit-Wonder, & Warped Tour ’04: Inspirations & Secrets of HFC Style for Repeat Outfit Annonymous
Nothing is more unhealthy and so last season than being a Repeat Outfit Addict. HFC’s Repeat Outfit Addict is a babe who goes through the motions of wearing the same outfits with the only creativity of figuring out when she wore it last. FASHION TRAGEDY! [Read more…] about Queen Coco, One-Hit-Wonder, & Warped Tour ’04: Inspirations & Secrets of HFC Style for Repeat Outfit Annonymous