Between the glitz and the glam of the Grammys you are sure to be entertained by the show that has hosted some surprising moments in the past and did not fail to shock in its 54th award season.
The night did have a shadow cast over it from the death of musical legend Whitney Houston who Saturday evening at age 48 was found dead in her hotel room. She was discovered after her absence from a glitzy pre-Grammy party was noted by her hairdresser. A bodyguard attempted to resuscitate the singer, but failed. The cause of death is suspected to be drowning in the bathtub as a result of a drug overdose. Not waiting for the tribute later in the show, emcee for the night, LL Cool J, paid homage to the singer stating that:
“There’s no way around it. We’ve had a death in our family. For me, the only thing that feels right is to begin with a prayer for a woman who we love, for our fallen sister, Whitney Houston.”
After this impromptu and heartfelt introduction the show began its typical series of big winners and noteworthy performances. By the end of the three and a half hour show The Grammy’s settled itself comfortable in the center of attention for all facets of media as fans tweeted, posted, and blogged their opinions of the night. Amid the buzz, Adele is now recognizably one of the queens of the music industry by taking away six Grammys and tying Beyonce for most awards won by a female artist in one night. She dominated all six categories she was nominated for which included: Pop Vocal Album, Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance, Song of the Year, and Short-Form Music Video. Another musical talent that was able to win big was the Foo Fighters sweeping five of the seven categories they were nominated for and sharing a considerable amount of the spotlight with the British sensation.
Another award winner who has stolen some headlines is the front man of the band Bon Iver. Justin Vernon gave a somewhat awkward acceptance speech after the band won a Grammy for Best New Artist. His response was plagued with a hipster disdain for the awards show and softly echoed the feelings he expressed in an interview with The New York Times from December. During the interview he reportedly said
“I don’t think the Bon Iver record is the kind of record that would get nominated for a Grammy. I kinda feel like going up there and being like- ‘Everyone should go home, this is ridiculous. You should not be doing this. We should not be gathering in a big room and looking at each other and pretending that this is important.’ That’s what I would say.”
While his real acceptance speech contained more respect for his musical peers and the Grammys themselves he stuck to his earlier sentiment enough to say, “I’ll take your award but I won’t like it.” Bon Iver’s moment on stage is not the first and certainly won’t be the last time an artist denounces the award show publicly. Perhaps in the future he’ll join the ranks of Jay-Z and Kanye West who simply refuse to show up to claim the awards they have won.
Between winners being crowned there were some incredible performances that included Jennifer Hudson’s beautiful acapella tribute to Whitney Houston with the song “I Will Always Love You” and Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt’s tribute to Etta James with “A Sunday Kind of Love.” Both performances respectively gave their dues to the musical icons that have so recently lost their lives. In a less somber moment, history was made when for the first time in over twenty years the original lineup of the Beach Boys played a medley of songs alongside the musical groups Foster the People and Maroon 5. The lineup was missing the late brothers Carl and Dennis Wilson, but the rest of the group was there for a flashback show that played hits like “Good Vibrations.”
The evening was not a constant showing of class and taste as there were definitely a series of performances that missed the mark while competing with the other big names of the industry. The most atrocious offender was probably Nicki Minaj. In a show that highlighted her new song “Roman Holiday” the singer underwent an exorcism and spoke tongues, cheap publicity stunts that were sure to give her some attention.
While some fans praised Minaj for livening up the show she has also received strong criticism for the role of Catholicism in her performance and is now being blasted by the Catholic League. Not entirely surprising for anyone who watched her be escorted by a man dressed like the Pope and act possessed while pyrotechnics and dancers in robes lit up the stage. One viewer even posted on twitter “Stevie Wonder was the luckiest man in the crowd at the nicki minaj performance.” Ouch.
The evening was at times a somber one, but it shed light on many of the notable successes and heartbreaks of the past year in the music industry. No matter what your musical taste is the Grammys hit a range of notes that would have at least kept you on your toes as the show bounced from history and icons to demons and fire.