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Why The Grammy

Awards Sucked Big Time

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Taylor Swift on stage in 2012. Image by Eva Rinaldi and used under the terms of a Creative Commons License.
What Has This World Devolved Into When Taylor Swift Outperforms The Heirs To Bob Marley, And The Combined Force Of Chuck D And Tom Morello Get A Commercial Played Over Their Set?

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By Jeff Moses
Modern Times Magazine

Feb. 11, 2013 — So the 2013 Grammy’s are mercifully over and I couldn’t be more happy. There were just so many completely egregious displays that quite frankly I think the academy owes all those who sat through the three and a half hour, disgusting display, an apology.

Justin Timberlake had the audacity to call it “the best Grammy’s ever.”

I’m not an avid watcher but if that’s the best we got, we suck.

It seemed like the same eight to 15 artists and bands were nominated for all the awards, and though I realize there is a possibility that those artists were just the best, I have a hard time believing that is the case.

There is also a possibility that the “academy” are just a bunch of lazy old men nominating the songs that get the most radio play for a self congratulatory circle jerk.

I’d choose the latter over the former (that it was a old man circle jerk).

The show started badly thanks to the TV Guide channel red carpet pre-show when the three hosts seemed at times bored, at times rude, and at times too starstruck to provide any sort of commentary or interviews at all.

The climax of the inept red carpet show was when host Chris Harrison asked five times Grammy nominees Little Big City if it was their first trip to the show, and then later in the interview called them rednecks.

But Harrison’s faux pas was able to go relatively unnoticed because the rest of the show went by one disastrous decision after another starting with the one-hour time delay here in Arizona.

I do not know whose fault that was or how many states had to deal with it, but seeing friends on the East Coast posting about what’s going on at the show while here it had not even started yet was irritating to say the least. The next glaring mistake was that 45 minutes after the “awards show” began, only two awards had been awarded. Between the uncomfortable stage time for presenters who had no personal chemistry, the robot-like interactions with host LL Cool J, and the commercials — which had to have taken up two thirds of the entire show — it was not an interesting 45 minutes.

Even with Taylor Swift’s above-average performance of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” featuring fire spinners, clowns and assorted circus folk, and Elton John’s first appearance of the night.

Also, all of the female nominees for the first award, Best Pop Solo Performance, made it appear as though the generally old and male dominated academy is starting to see that maybe women are people, too.

Beside the all-female category, the show’s saving grace may have been the few truly spectacular live performances.

Justin Timberlake performed with a 1930s style nightclub band called the Tennessee Kids, which lead to a duet with Jay-Z, who came straight out of his seat to the stage.

The Black Keys, Dr. John, and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band put on an excellent show playing “Lonely Boy,” although I might have only enjoyed it because I saw those three bands at Bonnaroo 2011.

Possibly the best performance however was Jack White, in his black and teal ‘sparkley’ paisley tuxedo thing.

White made the most of his two-song set, playing one acoustic song with an all-female back up band, and following that with a harder, edgier electric song.

The multi talented virtuoso was really the only act that got the crowd on its feet and really seemed to have evoked some emotion in the theater.

But then the rest of the academy’s tomfoolery took over, and I quickly forget the all-female category, and the good performances.

Some of the performances were just forgettable, like Mumford and Sons, Maroon 5 and Alicia Keys, and Wiz Khalifa and Miguel.

But others were just downright bad, like the truly uninspired Bob Marley tribute, which by all means should have been awesome.

Ziggy and Damian Marley, Sting, Rihanna and Bruno Mars just failed to capture the essence of the reggae legend , perhaps they should have done more than “Could You Be Loved.”

The absolute worst moment, however, was the closing performance when LL Cool J, Tom Morello, Chuck D, Z-Trip and Travis Barker hit the stage. After the initial excitement, the fact that Chuck D and Tom Morello were standing on stage playing for “the man” really set in.

Then just to suck the last remaining respect I once had for the two former revolutionary artists, an add for Delta airlines and one of the other corporate sponsors played over their performance.

A terrible end to a terrible night, even for an awards show.

Jeff Moses is a freelance writer and photographer from Teaneck, N.J. currently living in Mesa, Ariz. He has been published in The Mesa Legend and The Highway Herald. Contact him by calling 727-385-0624.
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