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Discuss the 2010 Grammy Awards, Live

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David Malitz and Joe Heim
Click Track Blogger and Music Editor
Sunday, January 31, 2010; 7:30 PM

Will Beyonce, Taylor Swift or Lady Gaga make off with the most Grammy awards this year? Washington Post staff writer and Click Track blogger David Malitz and music editor Joe Heim will offer live commentary on the awards. They will be online Sunday, Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Submit your questions and comments before or during the discussion.

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washingtonpost.com: Hey people, David Malitz and Joe Heim here, ready to talk music -- or whatever passes for that at the Grammys this year. The telecast starts in about 30 minutes, but most of the awards were already handed out at a pre-show ceremony. Beyonce is already a 4-time winner, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift have captured two apiece. Chris Richards is on the ground in L.A., he'll tweet while he can (twitter.com/chris__richards) and the Click Track twitter (twitter.com/ClickTrack_Blog) will also be in effect.

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Annapolis, Md.: What surprises are in store for us, i.e. unexpected winners?

David Malitz: Don't expect many surprises. Album of the Year is probably the best possibility for a headscratcher if voters feel like giving Dave Matthews a lifetime achievement award after giving Beyonce and Taylor Swift smaller awards throughout the evening.

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North Hollywood, Calif.: How do they decide which categories air on the telecast and which are relegated to the 99-category preshow? This is the first year Best Comedy Album was moved to the big show. How did that come about?

Joe Heim: It's bizarre isn't it? I think they're doing it just as a way to mix up the entertainment so that it's not just all music.

As for which ones they award, they basically just pick the biggest commercial categories. After all, it's not reaallly an awards show, it's a giant pr ad for the music industry. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but that's the reality.

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Annapolis, Md.: how do we follow David Malitz on Twitter...@David_Malitz?

David Malitz: Oh, you don't want to follow me on Twitter. It's mostly just me complaining about the Wizards.

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Washington, D.C.: Are the Grammys going to be a waste of time this year like every other year?

Joe Heim: No way! This year the Grammys will be awesome. Starting....right now.

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Joe Heim: Wow, I thought that was Elton, but it's Lady Gaga.

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Silver Spring, Md.: No, its both!! Elton John and Gaga. That was cool. Who said the Grammys were boring? I enjoy the live performances more than the awards part.

David Malitz: I think the argument is that the Grammys are more irrelevant than boring. The performances are, obviously, more interesting than the awards. Opening an envelope and reading a name can only be so exciting.

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David Malitz: First award of the telecast is Song of the Year -- which is different than Record of the Year. This is for writer -- and Beyonce's "Single Ladies" wins. The fact that she's not on stage to accept the award almost guarantees she'll win a more important award later.

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Washington, D.C.: Colbert. What a great choice. To infuse the pomp with a sense of irony.

Joe Heim: Yeah, Colbert does a great job of pricking egos. But I was a little disappointed he wasn't funnier.

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Washington, D.C: A reasonable win. This song was this year's phenomenon.

Joe Heim: I think it signals a big night for Beyonce. We'll see how that pans out, but I still think the Grammy voters have decided that Taylor Swift is too young to be the Grammy queen this year. I think she would be the youngest ever to win album of the year.

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Washington, D.C: Green Day gets the Andrew Lloyd Webber treatment. Somewhere in a dirty club in California, punks are moshing in their graves.

David Malitz: That was really pretty bad, wasn't it? And it was a straight rip-off of "All the Young Dudes," to boot. Those punks were probably moshing in their graves when Green Day went to a major label in 1994, though. But I guess the difference was they still made great albums then; nowadays ... yikes.

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Richmond, Va.: Loved the Gaga/Elton duet, but seriously, how could they see through those crystal-encrusted sunglasses?

Joe Heim: And was Elton in semi-blackface? It was sort of like a horror-movie action figure showdown.

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La Crosse, Wisc.: Whos hosting the grammy's?

Joe Heim: It's host-free this year. An excellent cost-cutting measure by the financially strapped music industry.

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David Malitz: Taylor Swift wins for Best Country Album. How can she even pretend to be surprised to win an award at this point? She's 5:2 favorite to win 2010 AL MVP award.

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Joe Heim: Pretty cool entrance by Beyonce and the storm troopers.

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Silver Spring, Md.: I think Lady Gaga is a bigger phenomenon this year than Beyonce.

David Malitz: It's possible that Gaga was a bigger phenomenon this year than Beyonce, just because of the new factor. But it'd be hard to argue that she's a bigger STAR.

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Washington, D.C.: Like her music or no--That's a star. Beautiful image.

Joe Heim: Who? Beyonce? Taylor? Lady Gaga? Elton?

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Where are the songs?: Yeah, I'm an old geezer but seriously..."Single Ladies," Song of the Year? That was a great hook in need of finishing. The best thing about Lady Gaga's performance is that it means she's one step closer to oblivion and Beyonce needs to spend less time on being spectacular. We get it, you're a star. Chill out and find a song that will stand on its own without the lights and diva bit.

David Malitz: We kinda love "Single Ladies" in these parts. Part of why it's great is because it's just that one hook, over and over, pounding you into submission. Like, you WILL give in. As for Beyonce spending less time on being spectacular ... that's simply what she does. And she's also only 28 and will be around for a loooooooooong time so it's possible she'll find that song. But she's not a singer. She is an all-encompassing mega, multiplatform star. That's just how it is.

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Washington, D.C.: Gaga was a bigger and more original phenomenon--and is underrated as a songwriter, underneath the performance art glitz. Beyonce has the broader and deeper vocal talent, and likely longevity as a mainstream artist.

Joe Heim: Well, Beyonce's longevity has already been proven. Gaga just showed up for the party. Who knows whether she has any staying power.

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Anonymous: Really... Beyonce singing an Alannis song....PLEASE :(( :((

Joe Heim: Yeah, that was an odd choice. Why Beyonce, why?

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Princeton, N.J.: Cohen gets a lifetime award and a mere mention. And now, ladies and germs, Pink. It's come to this?

David Malitz: Yeah we got excited for a second ... and then it was the next second and we realized that they were basically just saying his name. "Leonard Cohen." Then we thought, "Maybe Pink will play a Leonard Cohen song." But we're kinda glad that didn't happen. She's still sticking the trapeze stuff, huh.

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Petersburg, Va.: Green Day is getting better with every year, man they were great tonight.

Joe Heim: Posting without comment.

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Joe Heim: wow, Pink seemed to be wearing absolutely nothing by the end of that.

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Washington, D.C.: David-why don't you like Green Day these days? Besides the fact that they signed to a major label. I'm curious. I enjoyed American Idiot so much.

David Malitz: Major label has nothing to do with it. I thought "American Idiot" was OK - bloated, but that was sort of the point. "21st Century Breakdown" was just like most sequels -- bigger, dumber, etc. Maybe I'm being too harsh. To be honest, the big turnoff was when I saw them at Verizon Center over the summer and was completely underwhelmed. But their run from '92 to '04 is 12 great years, so it's still been plenty more good than bad.

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Washington, D.C: That's how I saw Gaga originally--as a stumbling lightweight. As Pharrell likes to say, "I didn't get it yet". If you saw her solo piano/vocal performance on Saturday Night Live--a genuine original, with range, intellect, charm. Will likely flame out in two years--but interesting? Yes.

Joe Heim: Totally interesting, for now. It's just hard to see how she can sustain it. Outlandish can become boring in a hurry if that's all you've got.

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Reston, VA.: So, I figured it out. Everybody's auditioning for their new gig in Las Vegas. Beyonce replaces Celine Dion, Pink joins Cirque de Soleil and Gaga takes over Elton's show.

Joe Heim: Excellent observation. I think you're on to something.

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Joe Heim: I'm a be bleeping my song.

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Washington, D.C.: Well, this is just embarrassing.

David Malitz: Why aren't there any scrolling ads on the screen during this Black Eyed Peas performance?

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Loretta Lynn: She just got the Leonard Cohen treatment, too. At least she got an "I love you" from Keith Urban. These are LEGENDS, people! They deserve more than a passing mention.

David Malitz: Yes, they are legends ... so let's keep them far, far away from Black Eyed Peas, right?

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Washington, D.C.: Hmmm...speaking of underrated seeming stumbling lightweights...Where's Lily Allen?

David Malitz: I don't know, but please have her call me if you find out. Thanks.

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Washington, D.C.: And in a similar juxtaposition, Miley Cyrus will be covering Tom Waits's "The Heart of Saturday Night" while doing somersaults.

David Malitz: But the only reason she'll be playing that song is because she's launching a new line of porkpie hats and she needs a good musical tie-in.

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The state of music today: Be honest. Is anyone who's taken the stage to perform tonight going to get a Lifetime Award in the future? Elton doesn't count, I assume he's already got one.

David Malitz: Yeah, but the whole point of the Grammys has always been to ignore the legends when they are around and then give them lifetime awards much later on, right?

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Re: Single Ladies again: I get it that the hook is powerful, but the guys at Motown who taught these dudes what it's all about would have started with the hook and not stopped. They would have added to it so you got a truly great song and record out of it. If anything, this was a better record than song.

David Malitz: OK, I hear you on this one. So it's not a song that matches up to a Holland-Dozier-Holland classic. That's asking a lot.

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Turned the Channel: I'm a be really sick of this dreadful show...

David Malitz: Got any updates on the Royal Rumble????

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Seriously: Use Somebody. Record of the Year?

BTW, that one Kings of Leon dude was in "Slap Shot," wasn't he?

David Malitz: Oh, didn't you know? The Hanson brothers in "Slap Shot" = Followill brothers in Kings of Leon. You know, I will admit that I was into those first two KOL albums, especially the second one. It was basically "Southern Strokes" but it worked. Then they stripped away any personality and moved to the middle and of course now that they sound like any other "big rock" band, they get the awards. Oh well.

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David Malitz: Did you know -- Slash is the all-time leader in vertical guitar playing. True fact!

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Washington, D.C.: Lights, please.

Joe Heim: My two least favorite "artists" to arrive this year: Beiber and Ke$ha. Ooof.

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Washington, D.C.: There are different ways to measure great songs -- there are those that are great in part because we all know we could never sing them and there are those that are great because they make all of us think we could sing them. Single Ladies is the latter, doesn't pretend to be anything else.

Joe Heim: Nicely put.

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Lady Antebellum...: stinks. I would recommend they start working on a flying trapeze/storm trooper/water sprinkler act. That's been working for everybody else tonight.

Joe Heim: The show does seem to have been hijacked by Cirque du Crazy.

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This show is an award winner: Best comedy special. That Jamie Foxx performance was craptucular. And letting Justin Bieber stand that close to Ke$ha is illegal in much of this country.

David Malitz: We've had so many submissions just now with "Ke$ha," "Bieber" and "illegal." So yes, the people have spoken. You have to admit it's fun to say Bieber out loud. Go ahead and do it four or five times. Do it tomorrow if you're in a meeting.

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Columbia, S.C.: This show is such a load of crap with no credibility. It's all show, no music. The music is certainly secondary to the show. Get back to something real. Quit trying to put on a Las Vegas type show, just let the artists sing their songs.

Joe Heim: I'm not sure you really want to just let the artists sing their songs. That could be a disaster.

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David Malitz: Green Day wins for Best Rock Album, no surprise there. Should I use this time to talk about the time I was on MTV asking them questions with Matt Pinfield in 1997? Or just mention it without really going in depth? Yeah, let's go with that option. It did happen, though!

Leon Russell to Zac Brown Band dudes: "You call that a beard? THIS is a beard."

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Joe Heim: Only two more hours!

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Rockville, Md.: I feel the same way about Green Day as I do about "The Simpsons." They haven't been important/funny/any good for YEARS and yet they're more popular today than ever before. I cling to the good old days (seasons 1 to 8) of "The Simpsons" like I cling to my copies of "Dookie" and "Insomniac" and when I hear the newer stuff, I just have to shake my head. Good for them though, I suppose.

David Malitz: Yes, perfect analogy. Although I think Green Day's 2000 album "Warning" was actually pretty excellent, too.

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Washington, D.C.: Joe: On Gaga, I agree, it's a tricky tightrope walk. She actually has substance as a songwriter and performer (unlike her most frequent comparison, Madonna), but the draw is the outlandish icon making and performance art. Those audiences get satiated and numb fast--and move quickly to the next thing. A shame really.

Joe Heim: I really do want to see what she comes up with next. I hope it is something completely different - just to prove that she can do it.

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Washington, D.C.: Why did that cold sore commercial make me think of the Black Eyed Peas?

David Malitz: I think the better question would be why WOULDN'T it make you think of BEPs?

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Reston, Va.: Wow, this show is going from bad to worse at warp speed. Goodnight Irene.

Joe Heim: I think the "Goodnight Irene" cover is coming up next.

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Washington, D.C.: -Now- is the time for Auto tune.

Joe Heim: Haha, Taylor seems to be having trouble hitting the notes. Tough when you're paired with Stevie Nicks.

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New Orleans, La.: About the only thing I've enjoyed so far is Robert Downey Jr's jacket.

Joe Heim: And Pink's jacket.

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swiftville: Do you think she can sing a lick? It sounding sour in my house.

David Malitz: Yeah, it's not just your house. Says a lot about the state of the biz that Swifty gets so much credit for - 1) writing her own songs, 2) not lip-synching. That's what it's come to. But, uh, y'know. What a sweetheart.

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Taylor Swift : OM-G, she cannot sing. She wasn't even close to being on pitch. And now she's got Stevie Nicks singing a song about high school? Stevie was in high school in the SIXTIES, for God's sake! LOL!!!

Joe Heim: Definitely a tough night for Taylor. But it will all be forgotten with this Michael Jackson moment.

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College Park, Md.: Thinking the same thing I though during Hope for Haiti--letting Taylor Swift sing live is really, really not a good idea. Her voice is just not that strong.

Joe Heim: It's interesting we haven't heard a single Haiti mention tonight by any of these artists. Maybe I missed it.

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Joe Heim: Okay, this Michael Jackson tribute thing is scaring me.

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Re. GaGa: Totally agree with this part of DC's comment: "Her solo piano/vocal performance on Saturday Night Live...a genuine original, with range, intellect, charm."

This old fogy also thought she was a lightweight flash in the pan until that performance. I'll go on record to say that I think she's underrated and that as she matures she'll have staying power. I give her credit for breaking into the 20-something female dance/pop space in a way that sets her apart from the other 20-somethings. Originality and multi-dimensional talent will take her far.

Wouldn't surprise me to see her host SNL and be the musical guest at some point in the next few years.

Joe Heim: We'll be watching.

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What kind of night is it: When Celine Dion is one of the more subdued performers?

Joe Heim: haha.

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Joe Heim: Wow, the Jackson kids. Now that's not too exploitive is it?

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David Malitz: Man, that was pretty sad, kind of a bummer. Hopefully there will be a trapeze performance soon.

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Norfolk, Va.: It's got to say something that Lady Gaga has dominated your discussion tonight long after her performance was over. Clearly she's tapped into something no one else did in 2009.

David Malitz: Good point. I haven't read everything that Joe has said so far but I think one thing Gaga really has working in her favor is that she seems like she's capable of multiple reinventions. So that should keep her around for at least a while.

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David Malitz: Just a reminder that Chris Richards -- who is in L.A. right now, crashing about 7 deadlines -- will be chatting at 9 a.m. tomorrow. He'll have a firsthand account of tonight's show, plus some tidbits from afterparties and pre-parties and other L.A. stuff. So check that out.

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Joe Heim: I'm not being sarcastic when I ask this: Is there anyone reading this who thinks tonight's show has been good?

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Jennifer Nettles can really sing: And that's a real accomplishment, given what we've heard tonight (cough-Taylor Swift-cough). I'm not a big fan of Sugarland but she can really bring it.

Joe Heim: Here's one opinion....

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Jennifer Nettles: Self-indulgent and needs a burrito.

Joe Heim: And here's another.

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David Malitz: Mos Def and Placido Domingo ... I smell a buddy comedy.

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tonight's show good?: I was into the Elton/Gaga performance, then enjoyed Beyonce and Pink, then...nothing!!!

Joe Heim: I agree. There was promise at the beginning and then it fell off the shelf.

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Is this show any good?: Um, no.

But they should give a Lifetime Grammy Award to Bon Jovi's keyboard player's haircut.

BTW, do you think Placido Domingo has any idea who Mos Def is?

David Malitz: Biggest news out of the show so far is Taylor Swift's bomb of a performance. This is when Twitter really shines - so many zings. So so so many zings.

Still have more than an hour to go. If Taylor wins Album of the Year ... yikes. And Placido is a big Douglas Adams fan so he knows Mos Def from the "Hitchhikers" movie.

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College Park, Md.: Placido is a big Douglas Adam's fan? Me too! Whew, small talk is covered if I ever run into him during a cocktail party.

David Malitz: OK, I made that up. Sorry. I need to find ways to keep myself going here. It's been three hours and at least one more to go. Need to fight through the "R&B/hip-hop star + opera singer" portion of the show, longer than expected.

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Jackson tribute: I'm still confused. Were the kids presenting an award, or receiving one? And they were there with their cousins and...um...huh?

(Mind you, I just flipped in at 10 and have been doing a lot of um...wt-huh? to this show)

Joe Heim: Don't worry, we've been watching since the beginning and can't figure any of it out.

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Springfield, VA: Yeah, I was also really into the beginning of the show, but haven't really enjoyed anything since then. I'm hopeful about Maxwell/Roberta Flack, though! And I totally agree on the Mos Def/Placido Domingo buddy movie idea.

David Malitz: Maxwell/Flack has no reason not to be good. The Drake/Weezy/etc could be a good in a bad way. MAYBE (very unlikely) Kanye will make a shocking cameo. Don't bet on it, though.

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Bridge over Troubled Water: OMG!!! Wow and well done!

Joe Heim: One vote in support of the duet.

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Gaithersburg, MD: This show keeps getting worse, I am all for unique duets, but when was the last time Mary J Blige did anything worth while? Bring back Placido, he is at least a real classical singer. This show has really lost all relevance. If lady gaga wins no more grammys tonight it will be a victory for the world.

Joe Heim: And a vote against.

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Harrisburg, PA: Best Taylor Swift tweet:

"Where's Kanye when you need him?"

David Malitz: I liked this one:

@BorowitzReport: God Hoping Taylor Swift Does Not Thank Him

I'm trying to collect some of the best ones...

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Washington, D.C: And in a blast of relevance...the dad from "Family Ties."

Joe Heim: that's funny.

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A tribute to consistency: Adam Sandler...not funny as always.

Dave Matthews...boring as always.

David Malitz: Come on, that part of "Billy Madison" with the shampoo and conditioner ... that wasn't funny? Hmm. Maybe it wasn't.

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Houston, TX: DMB - nice! A band that can actually play live.

And Dave is all dressed up - tie and vest. Feel kind of bad - think it was just in case they won!

David Malitz: Don't rule out DMB somehow stealing album of the year.

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Getting Better: Dave Matthews always helps.

David Malitz: Dave just does his thing. At this point I would like to recommend everyone seek out a pair of songs by obscure indie pop singer Don Lennon -- "Really Dave Matthews" and "Matthews Comes Alive." Two of the funniest songs ever. I promise you.

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Taylor: Do you think she knows already that she was crap tonight? Is she checking her phone and seeing the tweets?

David Malitz: She has to know, right? Information travels fast. She had that "Please please let Beyonce win" look on her face just now, didn't she? I wasn't seeing things, was it?

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Just asking: Is it possible that Taylor Swift's unexpected losses here in the late innings are because the Grammy officials changed the results at the last minute in the wake of her wretched performance?

David Malitz: I think that's a little conspiracy theory-y. Losing to Beyonce for Best Female Pop isn't really an upset. Was there another one she didn't win?

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Usually in Arlington, VA: Watching from Tegucigalpa. The show isn't so bad from here- all the vapid commentary is dubbed, and the Spanish announcers are skipping most of the cheesey back and forth, so that helps. Question for the others posting tonight- did you expect something outrageously amazing? I mean, it's the Grammys, after all, so I would expect expectations to be tempered. The Dave Matthews Band performance cheered me up and helped me forget about my food poisoning for a bit!

David Malitz: That should be on the sticker for DMB's next album - "helped me forget about my food poisoning for a bit!"

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VA: I thought Taylor Swift sounded a lot better than she had at previous awards shows, so I'm surprised people are hating so hard. I guess it shows what I know.

David Malitz: This is a good point -- she ALWAYS sounds awful at these shows. I did think this one was especially bad, though. Also, it's definitely time for some Taylor backlash, isn't it? This serves as a perfect opportunity.

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DC: Represent Roberta!

David Malitz: Yup!

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Barely awake:: Oy, why tuck Jeff Beck in at the end? Everyone who knows who he is has gone to bed by now.

David Malitz: Good point. Drake/Weezy/Eminem after 11 -- makes sense. Jeff Beck after 11? Target audience fail.

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ARGYLE TX: WHO was the little boy with jay z?

David Malitz: An article on MTV.com says it Solange's son. (Beyonce's sister.) Plugging "Solange + son" into Google images, confirms as much. JOURNALISM!@!!

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Ladies and gentlemen...: Jeff Beck on guitar and George "The Animal" Steele on drums!

Maybe they should have thought about spreading out the high-energy performances a bit.

Royal Rumble update: Edge came back and won. Huh, didn't see that coming.

David Malitz: That drummer is eating a turnbuckle backstage right now. Edge, whoa! Very surprising! That'd be like Kanye showing up and winning some big award soon.

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re: Barely Awake: Hahaha...I was going to ask who is Jeff Beck and why do I care. But I guess it's because I'm in the wrong age range

David Malitz: Jeff Beck is like Buckethead without the Bucket? Beckethead? Yikes, it's getting late.

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Joe Heim: Lil Wayne keeping the CBS censors busy.

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Great editing: I wish I was running a stopwatch now, but so far I'm guessing at least 30 seconds of this has been silent.

Couldn't they spring for a professional mute-button pusher?

Umm, wait, now the video went out for me too. That's a bit heavy on the editing.

David Malitz: That mute button guy is going to be having nightmares about that performance for the rest of his days. "BRING BACK ANDREA BOCELLI!!!!"

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Baltimore: Well that was awesome.

David Malitz: Yeah I'd s _____ ____ ______ but I mean ___ ____ ___ inst ____ ___ only time you g ___ ___ ____ am I right?!?!?

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Seven-Second Delay: Hey, I'm in my 50s, but I think Eminem and gang just woke this sleepy awards show up. Great stuff. Too bad CBS has to bleep so much of it.

Joe Heim: Yeah, that has to be a record for most bleeps of a single performance.

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My Ears! My Ears!: Is Taylor Swift the first non-singer to win Album of the Year?

David Malitz: Maybe Taylor is just so aw-shucks nice that she can turn her bad performance into a "let's feel sorry for her" moment like that Kanye thing. Er, maybe not. But she is your Album of the Year winner.

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Ah, nostalgia: Remember that year that Lady Gaga and Elton John opened the Grammys with that wild performance in the masks...

Oh, wait. That was this year! Seems so long ago...

David Malitz: Yes, it's been a long evening. Thanks for hanging out with us, though. We're going to tap out now. Don't worry, in only 9.5 hours Chris Richards will be online for another chat with stories of after parties and other reaction from L.A. So check that out. OK, we're out, goodnight!

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Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


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