The best way to get people pumped for next year’s Grammys? Read some lists, sing some songs and make sure you have LL Cool J on hand to awkwardly pump up the crowd. Hey! It was just like the actual Grammys!
That was the idea on Friday night anyway, when CBS hosted “Grammy Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown to Music’s Biggest Night,” an hour-long telecast announcing the nominees for the Jan. 26 award show.
Here were four things that jumped out.
1. Lorde is coming — look busy.
The first audible rah-rah cheer of the telecast came when the 17-year-old New Zealander’s breakout single “Royals” was announced as a nominee for song of the year. Lorde performed it sulkily later in the show, America officially learned that the “e” at the end of her name is silent and copy editors the world over prepared headlines for a potential Grammy night bonanza — “Praise the Lorde,” “Good Lorde Almighty,” etc.
2. “Yeezus” isn’t coming — look concerned.
The past two albums from Kanye West — 2010’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” and now 2013’s “Yeezus” — have been drenched in critical acclaim but were unceremoniously snubbed for album of the year nominations. Meantime, the eclectic list of artists nominated for the most coveted Grammy this time around was surprising in its own right: uber-star Taylor Swift, hip-hop newcomers Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, dance craftsmen Daft Punk, dark horse songwriter Sara Bareilles and rookie rap phenom Kendrick Lamar.
3. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis could own Grammy night.
The against-the-odds rap stars kicked off Friday night’s ceremony with a performance of their ubiquitous “Thrift Shop,” then settled into their seats to hear their names called as nominees for song of the year, album of the year, best new artist. That’s three nods in the four biggest Grammy categories.
4. It sure felt a lot like the actual Grammys.
The show revolved around the performances intended to bridge generations and genres — a tactic that organizers like to call “Grammy moments.” As ever, the results ranged from meh to bleh. Country star Keith Urban and R&B crooner Miguel teamed up for a fine Bill Withers cover while members of Earth, Wind and Fire backed up Robin Thicke and T.I. for a shoulder-shruggy “Blurred Lines.” For more of this kind of stuff, tune in on Grammy night in January.
And for a full list of this year’s Grammy nominees, visit www.Grammy.com.