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2015 Grammy Recap - The Good, The Bad, The Just Plain Weird
LL Cool J
What Was The Weirdest Look At The Grammys
The onlyabill Music Awards
As many categories as the Grammy has, some remarkable achievements unfortunately went unacknowledged. Therefore I proudly present the first annual onlyabill Music Awards! Away we go:
The "You Tease!" Award: LL Cool J giving us a bit of "Going Back To Cali."
Reality Bites "You Look Like A Doily" Award: Jessie J.
Would It Have Killed You To Put On Some Pants? Award: Pharrell Williams
The "Sting Should Look So Good At This Age" Award: Annie Lennox
Was That Song Really From Only Last Year? Award: Pharrell Williams for "Happy"
Look At Mike Myers' "Simon", All Grown Up Award: Sam Smith
Man, I Used To Love Her Award: Gwen Stefani
The "Look! They Must Be Getting Ready To Perform 'Black Widow'" Award: The Weeknd's hair.
The "Beck? Like... That Beck?" Award: Beck
Head Fake of the Night Award: Kanye West
And as for the performances?
AC/DC - Angus and the boys open up with "Rock or Bust," which is good because it sounds like AC/DC, but not great because it sounds like the kind of songs bands play in concert to space out their hits. And sure enough, the hit comes next, with "Highway to Hell." Still in all, this is exactly the kind of sound that gets people to come running from the other room to their TV, so a good choice to open the show. Grade: B-
Arianna Grande - "Just a Little Bit of Your Heart." Arianna's talented. This song doesn't let her show it. Just because it's a big, sweeping number with violins doesn't mean its any good. It's also far too early in the show for this time of number, and it kind of drains a bit of the energy AC/DC (and LL, doing a bit of his "Going Back to Cali") opened the show with. Grade: C.
Jessie J and Tom Jones - "You've Lost That Loving Feeling." The highest-profile performance of this song since Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards (a reprise of which, by the way, wouldn't have been a bad idea.) Like "Summer Nights" from Grease, this is one of those songs that girls love and guys tolerate. An interesting pairing of singers, and they did well enough. Grade: B
Miranda Lambert - "Little Red Wagon." All the pyro the Grammys could get their hands on can't distract from an awful performance of a throwaway song. Miranda seems to be trying to channel her inner Kesha, who definitely would have done a better job. Grade: D-
Kanye West - "Only One." The thing about Kanye is as much as we all want to hate the guy, you just can't take your eyes of of him. The staging has Kanye in a red outfit harshly lit with a spotlight from below... I kept hoping he'd pull out a Tron disc. Grade: B
Madonna - "Living for Love." Next up is Madonna, backed up by a trio of singers dressed a bit like the Three Amigos and dancers in castoff costumes from Disney's Maleficent. Madonna looks better than I've seen in years; compared with her last Grammy appearance, if she were a football player, I'd say she took an illicit shot at halftime. While she doesn't dance quite like she used to, she still knows how to be interesting. And the song is pretty dancable, too. Grade: B+
Ed Sheeran - "Thinking Out Loud." Backed up by what can only be described as an all-star cast of musicians, Sheeran basically walks into a can't-possibly-screw-this-up situation and, well, doesn't screw it up. Not a song or performance for the ages, but he reminds everyone why we like him. Grade: B
Jeff Lynne - "Evil Woman," and "Mr. Blue Sky." You pretty much know what you're getting with someone like Jeff Lynne performing two classics. It goes as expected, though the outro for "Mr. Blue Sky" drags a bit. Grade: B-
Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani - Speaking of dragging... there was this. Not a disaster, like Lambert's performance was, but just utterly boring. Grade: D+
Hozier with Annie Lennox - "Take Me To Church," "I Put A Spell On You." Hozier's everybody's favorite band-of-the-moment, and rightly so. They remind everybody why with a good performance of their hit, "Take Me To Church" ... which unfortunately nobody will remember after Annie Lennox shows up and belts out a stunning version of "I Put A Spell On You." And Annie introduces the world to the Air Harmonica, sure to a craze that'll sweep the nation. This is the kind of thing we watch these shows for. Grade: A-
Pharrell - "Happy." Pharrell apparently decided that what the public wondered was how "Happy" would be interpreted by a bellhop from the Beijing Marriott... well, wonder no longer. His earlier speech promised that he wouldn't make things awkward, but here he is making things awkward... At least he went for something weird. Grade: C+
Katy Perry - "By The Grace Of God." One of those songs/performances that isn't good, but nobody will criticize because of the serious subject matter. A lot of snack trays were refilled during this one. Grade: D+
Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga - "Cheek To Cheek." The songs been done a million times - I'm partial to the Fred Astaire version myself - but its always fun to see what people do with it, even if its as unlikely pairing as Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. Tony's got the tone, obviously, but the real surprise to me here was that he's still got the power to keep up with Gaga. For her part, Gaga, who I love, seemed to have to consciously remind herself that it was a duet, but all in all it was just fun entertainment. Grade: B
Usher/Stevie Wonder - "If It's Magic." Solid, but only notable for Stevie's surprise appearance. (Playing a real harmonica, Annie Lennox.) Grade: B-
Eric Church - "Give Me Back My Hometown." Another performance that'll never be in the Grammy highlight reel. My guess is if you like Eric Church, you liked this, and if you don't, you didn't. I didn't. Grade: C
Brandy Clarke and Dwight Yoakam - "Hold My Hand." Dwight's high voice was the perfect compliment to the wistfulness of the lyrics to this one. Still not an earth shaker, but Brandy and Dwight can walk out of the building after this one with their head held high. Grade: B-
Paul McCartney, Kanye West, Rhianna - "FourFiveSeconds": Not a great song, but how can you go wrong with these three together? Grade: B
Sam Smith and Mary J. Blige - "Stay With Me." A great song done by two great (and two very good looking) singers. What could go wrong? Nothing, on this night. Grade: A-
Juanes - "Juntos." All the big American awards shows relegate foreign acts to spot appearances, so for Juanes to sing a full song in Spanish (and not "La Bamba" or something that everyone grew up hearing either) is a pretty big deal. I don't speak Spanish at all... and I enjoyed this performance very much. I suspect a lot of people skipped this one, and it's a shame. Grade: B+
Sia - "Chandelier." - Is that... Kristen Wiig? I'll never forgive her for Gilly, but props to her for doing this. This is one of those art-for-arts sake kind of thing that's easy to make fun of. I wanted to hate it. I didn't. It was awesome. Grade: A.
Beck and Chris Martin - "Heart Is A Drum." Both artists are better than they might get credit for, and the blending works. Grade: B
Beyonce - "Take My Hand." Flawlessly sung, and thoroughly meh. Grade: C.
John Legend and Common - "Glory." Kept waiting for this to take off, and it never really soared. Unfortunately. It probably looked good on paper, but not a great way to close the show. Grade: B-
And now... On to the Academy Awards!