Some artists — with and without trophies — outshined others at the 55h Grammy Awards Sunday. Chris Richards writes about the unofficial winners and losers at the awards ceremony:
J.T. wasn’t up for any awards, but he probably knows that at the Grammys, hardware isn’t always paramount. There are still millions of hearts and minds to win from behind the microphone. The Grammys telecast reinforced that idea, with more than 30 performers but only 11 trophy presentations.
You still had to win on one front or the other, which made R&B visionary Frank Ocean the evening’s biggest disappointment. His excellent and deserving debut album “Channel Orange” lost best album honors to Mumford & Sons, while his wobbly performance of “Forest Gump” failed to eclipse the quiet intensity he summons so easily in the studio. (He didn’t go home empty-handed. “Channel Orange” won best contemporary urban album, and he shared a Grammy with Jay-Z, Kanye West and The-Dream for best rap/sung collaboration.)
The Black Keys were victorious on both fronts, romping on the Staples Center stage with Dr. John and winning three gramophone statuettes, including best rock album. (Keys frontman Dan Auerbach took another one home for producer of the year, non-classical). Meantime, fun. split the difference, taking home two awards after serving up a half-throttle rendition of their latest single, “Carry On,” beneath an artificial rainstorm.
Even soggier: host LL Cool J’s opening monologue. “A Grammy isn’t just a shiny trophy to hold on to,” the rapper-turned-actor declared at the start of the show. “A Grammy is a dream come true.”
A tribute by Bob Marley received a standing ovation, writes David Malitz:
And why wouldn’t it? Is there a more universally loved figure in music than the late reggae legend? His son Ziggy emerged for a bit of “Could You Be Loved” with Bruno Mars, Sting and Rihanna and now everyone would probably rather listen to “Legend” than watch the last hour-plus of this show.
And if you haven’t yet seen last year’s documentary, “Marley,” add it to your Netflix queue immediately.
Depending on your feelings toward semi-coherent, giggly acceptance speeches, Kelly Clarkson’s latest was either cute … or unbearable.
@GuySebastian: Has Kelly Clarkson had a few?
@Gawker: Taylor Swift should take notes from Kelly Clarkson on how to turn modesty into schtick.
Clarkson also said she had no idea who Miguel is (Miguel, not Adele — though CBS confusingly cut to the songstress). Jon Caramanica points out the two are actually label mates. That’s awkward.
One of the most talked about performances came from Mumford & Sons, partly due to Taylor Swift’s reaction in the audience. Jessica Goldstein wrote:
Johnny Depp, looking spray tanned and like someone has taken method-acting the Captain Jack Sparrow thing a little too seriously, called Mumford & Sons “sublime” when he introduced the mandolin-lovin’ foursome. Their performance was straightforward – as in, they literally stood at the edge of the stage, “Seasons of Love” style – and played “I Will Wait.”
Johnny Depp is a hero to hipsters everywhere. Hipper than a dog-eared copy of “On the Road,” smoking a cigarette in that dive bar no one knows about but the two of you. Mumford & Sons inspires nothing but ire in the hearts of hipsters everywhere. SO MUCH INTERNAL HIPSTER CONFLICT.
(Also: Internal Hipster Conflict = kind of a great band name, if anyone is in the market.)
Taylor Swift is singing along at the top of her lungs (or maybe just lip-synching; can’t be too careful in these post-Inauguration days.) “I will wait for you!” she cries, as if to undo the emotional wreckage she hath wrought by singing just an hour ago, “We are never, ever, ever getting back together.”