Review: The 56th Grammy Awards’ best and worst moments

grammyThe Grammy Awards are always a big event – so big that they’re dubbed “music’s biggest night.”

Overall, I thought it was a pretty solid telecast that would have been made even better with a better thought process regarding the flow of the show. Too much effort was put into mashing together popular artists and not enough thought was put into how that show would actually flow together. It was really disjointed, but the telecast still ended up churning out some memorable moments.

After watching the 56th annual Grammy Awards (and reviewing some post-game tape), I found a lot of things to love and quite a bit to forget every happened.


Pink is a real force. Her high-flying act is pretty impressive, and her song with Nate Ruess is incredibly catchy. Aspiring pop star should pay attention.

Ringo and Paul didn’t play any Beatles songs, but I couldn’t help but smile when Ringo played “Photograph” with his band and the two played a new McCartney composition together.

Pharrell’s hat. Not so much the actual hat, but Pharrell’s hat’s Twitter account.

Willie, Merle and Kris had a great time onstage as a half-resurrection of the Highwaymen (without, of course, the late Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings). Why they added in Blake Shelton, I don’t know, but I was happy they played a medley of “Highwayman,” ”Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” and Haggard’s “Okie from Muskogee.”

Kacey Musgraves beat Taylor Swift for country album of the year. A win for Musgraves and her country-but-ignoring-the-usual-country-tropes was much-deserved and quite a surprise. Swift didn’t look too happy.

Photo by The Associated Press

Photo by The Associated Press

Daft Punk won a lot of awards and they were cooler than cool in their silence (and those white suits and helmets).

Photo by The Associated Press

Photo by The Associated Press

I’ve always dug Paul Williams and I was happy to see him win (and deliver the thank you speech) with Daft Punk for album of the year. He’s also an Omaha native, so that’s pretty cool.

Sara Bareilles and Carole King teamed up to sing Bareilles’ “Brave” and you could tell that she was absolutely beaming to share the stage with King. Sadly, a lot of kids tweeted that they had no idea who she was. Get educated, kids!

Billie Joe Armstrong and Miranda Lambert’s tribute to Phil Everly was pretty simple, but pretty perfect. Armstrong’s vocals held up surprisingly well next to Lambert’s powerful voice.


I think Jamie Foxx thought he was being funny and chummy with Jay Z, but he was just kind a creepy during his brief time onstage. He began with a bad British accent, then made a comment on how good Beyonce looked and it actually go worse from there. Stick to the teleprompter, Jamie.

Who produced the show last night? It felt like someone was asleep at the control panel (possibly by their own doing). The telecast started with a slew of slow performances that put people to sleep. “Boring” was a word I heard a lot. They should have stacked the front end with a few high-energy collaborations to get us interested. I wonder how many viewers dropped out after the first 15 minutes. And then who decided to put a short Lou Reed tribute next to a Metallica performance? Or Kacey Musgraves back-to-back with Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons? Good performances, awful transitions.

Speaking of production, it was a bad idea to show YouTube cover versions of pop songs instead of the actual songs themselves during the awards announcements. Isn’t the point of a music awards show to hear the music? Seemed like a stab at seeming hip, but it failed. Big time.

I was really excited to see Robin Thicke play with Chicago. It sounded like a great match, but it just didn’t turn out very well.

That Super Bowl halftime show commercial with Ditka was just plain terrible. I know part of the Deion Sanders/Terry Bradshaw thing is that they’re goofballs, but that commercial was completely weird. I don’t think it accomplished what they were going for.

Photo by The Associated Press

Photo by The Associated Press

Whatever it was that Madonna was wearing.

Photo by The Associated Press

Photo by The Associated Press

Cutting off Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Lyndsie Buckingham and Dave Grohl was a pretty bad move. It’s not the first time they’ve done so, but the telecast ended with a pretty sweet rock performance from NIN, Queens and their pals. Then was cut short with sponsorship messages and credits and then, shortly before the song was over, they simply cut it off. It’s pretty disrespectful to ask someone to play for you and then do that to them. NIN’s Trent Reznor was pretty upset about it. After the show, he tweeted, “Music’s biggest night… to be disrespected. A heartfelt (expletive) YOU guys.”

The Grammys loved telling us how rare, historical, powerful and intimate various parts of the show would be. They loved to tell us how awesome the Grammys were when we were already watching the show. Please, Grammys, just concentrate on putting on a good show and stop telling us how good it is. We get it.

The sound was pretty bad. I bet the performances sounded fine inside the Staples Center, but it didn’t translate that well to the TV broadcast. Metallica and classical pianist Lang Lang’s performance of “One” would have been awesome if it sounded better.


Of the 20 categories that I predicted, I correctly chose 11 winners. Of the top four categories (album, song, record and new artist), I got three out of four.

Overall, I did better than my usual .500 batting average, which is pretty solid. So, where did I go wrong?

I continue to be vexed by the country awards. Every year, I do the worst there.

I also thought that the hard core hip-hop folks among the Recording Academy voters would outweigh those who would vote for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. I was (mostly) wrong there.

Though I thought Lorde was very deserving, I thought that her absence from the nominations for best new artist meant that Grammy voters wouldn’t care for her enough to give her any awards. I was wrong.



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