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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 13, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 07
Grammys were a hit and miss; Smith wins four awards
Arts & Entertainment
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Grammys were a hit and miss; Smith wins four awards

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

What has become more of a compilation concert than an awards show, The 57th Grammys will go down as entertaining, but nothing special. Of the 23 live performances, featuring an all-star lineup that kicked off with legendary metalheads AC/DC, only a handful of them were worth re-watching on YouTube. Of the awards themselves, only nine were actually presented on the 3.5-hour telecast; the remaining 74 were given out during a Premiere Ceremony that ran another 3.5 hours. If you happened to be watching 'The Walking Dead' or 'Better Call Saul' instead, here's a quick take on what you missed.

Best in show: Annie Lennox and Hozier rule the night with spellbinding performance
I was curious about this collaboration going into Sunday night's telecast, joining pop icon Annie Lennox and Irish newcomer Hozier, both strong advocates for equality. Not only did it work, it proved to be unbeatable and unparalleled. Hozier opened with a captivating rendition of his Song of the Year nominee 'Take Me to Church' and then handed it over to Lennox, who belted out a mesmerizing cover of 'I Put A Spell on You,' appearing on her Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album nominated work Nostalgia. (She lost to Lady GaGa and Tony Bennett's Cheek to Cheek.) It was perfection!

Honorable mentions for best performance
Ed Sheeran is still Grammy-less, after being nominated three years in a row. But he should be very proud of his swooning collaborations with John Mayer and ELO frontman Jeff Lynne; they were both incredible. The pairing of Beck and Chris Martin was excellent, too; I thought they complimented each other wonderfully, their voices couldn't have blended together any better. Brandy Clark teamed up with Dwight Yoakam for a beautiful, stripped-down version of 'Hold My Hand' from her nominated album, 12 Stories. Academy Award frontrunners John Legend and Common delivered an emotional performance of 'Glory,' while AC/DC shook it all night long (well, actually ten minutes long) by doing two songs back to back, complete with Angus Young wearing his signature schoolboy outfit. And, though Madonna didn't kick ass like Annie Lennox did, she consistently gives us interesting, eye-appealing performances and 'Living for Love' was just that; it was colorful, well choreographed, and devilishly playful.

Worst in show: Rihanna, Kanye West, Sir Paul McCartney debut horrible song
I expected much more from this trio of superstars, one of them a global legend responsible for some of the biggest all-time hits. What they delivered was a song that sounded as if it was written on scratch paper backstage minutes before they performed it. 'FourFiveSeconds' is the title of the single, and it takes about that time to figure out you have better things to do than listen to the rest of it.

Honorable mentions for worst performance
Despite being a pain in the ass, Kanye West is also a really bad vocalist. He sang 'Only One' all by himself, accompanied by a lone keyboard, but he should've borrowed Madonna's backup choir, Hozier's band, and maybe the humility of Sheeran; West was just trying too hard. Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani, both gorgeous to look at, put me to sleep with that sappy Maroon 5 number. I know Katy Perry's performance was supposed to be powerful, but I thought it was boring and lacked energy of any kind. And, while I absolutely love Ariana Grande, I wish she'd chosen a different song from her album My Everything; she also seemed a bit stiff, perhaps nervous.

Joan Rivers receives posthumous first Grammy
Melissa Rivers and son Cooper accepted a posthumous Grammy for their mother, and grandmother, in the category of Best Spoken Word Album (includes poetry, audio books and storytelling). 'My mom would have been thrilled,' said Melissa during a short acceptance speech, in which she said her mother saw comparisons between musicians and comedians. This was Joan Rivers' first Grammy; her remarkable recording What Becomes a Semi-Legend Most was previously nominated in 1985.

Album of the Year goes to Beck, deservedly
There have been stunning Grammy disappointments in its 57-year history, one of them being Celine Dion's win for Album of the Year in 1997. Not only did the Canadian screecher beat Beck's Odelay en route to the podium, she also took out three other worthier records: The Score by The Fugees, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness by the Smashing Pumpkins, and the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack featuring a stellar all-female lineup led by Whitney Houston. Beck's latest, Morning Phase, is a rainy day album; a moody and slow-tempo record that begs to be listened to when you're alone with a bottle of wine and a heavy heart.

St. Vincent, Aphex Twin, Tenacious D, Pharrell Williams post surprise wins
The multi-talented St. Vincent managed to overtake two giants, Jack White and Arcade Fire, in the Best Alternative Music Album category, becoming only the second female artist to win this award since 1991, its inaugural year when Sinead O'Connor was honored for I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got. Aphex Twin earned his first golden gramophone for Syro, toppling Deadmau5 and Robyn with Royksopp for Best Dance/Electronic Album. That win satisfied many critics, who included the recording on their year-end best albums list of 2014. Not so great was comedy duo Tenacious D's victory in the Best Metal Performance race, denying true acts like Mastodon and Anthrax the opportunity to snag a Grammy. Pharrell Williams, meanwhile, scored two huge upsets, beating the heavily favored Beyonce for Best Urban Contemporary Album and then squeaking passed Sam Smith, Sia, Taylor Swift, and John Legend for Best Pop Solo Performance.

Sam Smith takes home four gramophones
British singer-songwriter Sam Smith had the best night ever, earning four Grammys total. 'Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)' was named Record and Song of the Year, while his full-length debut In the Lonely Hour nabbed the award for Best Pop Vocal Album, and as expected, he claimed the Best New Artist gramophone as well. The openly Gay performer postponed his February 2 show here in Seattle due to vocal exhaustion, but a rescheduled date is in the works.

Nick Jonas needs a stylist, as does Rihanna and the chick who wore that orange mesh dress
I would've preferred Nick Jonas showing up to the Grammys in a tight pair of boxer briefs, though sadly he arrived fully clothed. There lies the problem. His plaid gray suit was awful, like something plucked from a Fingerhut catalog, but a lot worse. He completed the outfit with marshmallow white, laceless high top sneakers. Outdoing him was Rihanna, who strolled the red carpet in a Pepto Bismal-colored, double-tiered frilly gown that resembled a giant pink jellyfish. Yet, tragically, the absolute eyesore was Joy Villa - no, I have no idea who she is, either. But regardless of her nobody status, she got people talking on Monday morning about her bright orange, all-mesh, peekaboo dress with matching headpiece. It was a fiery disaster; I wanted to roast s'mores on it.

Rosanne Cash nets three Grammys
Singer-songwriter and recipient of good musical genes, Rosanne Cash went home with three Grammys, consecutively handed out during the Premiere Ceremony. Her 2014 single 'A Feather's Not a Bird' triumphed in the Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song categories, while her full-length recording, The River & The Thread, finished atop a strong field of Best Americana Album entries that also included works by Nickel Creek and Sturgill Simpson.

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