Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon should win the GRAMMY for Best GRAMMY Speech. In recent weeks he’s called the ceremony “ridiculous” and lambasted producers for only inviting his band to perform as part of a collabo (which they declined), and when Vernon stepped up to accept the Best New Artist statue he didn’t change his tune: “It’s really hard to accept this award,” he said. “There’s so much talent that’s not here tonight. With that discomfort I have a sense of gratitude. I want to say thanks to all the voters. [Shrugs shoulders] Sweet hookup.” Sweet hookup!?! Genius. Those words make it that much more of a win for indie nation.
AWESOMELY AWKWARD: DUDES WANKING GUITARS
Hey, look, it’s a (musical) circle jerk, starring a bunch of old dudes. Which is essentially what closed the GRAMMY ceremony when Dave Grohl, Bruce Springsteen and Joe Walsh joined Paul McCartney to go riff for riff on the Beatles’ “The End,” no matter how sloppy or repetitive (Seriously. I’m lookin’ at you, Mr. Main Offender Bruce Springsteen). Still, it was a sight to see, even if it was like walking in on, well… see above.
AWKWARD: BUTTONS HAVE A PURPOSE, GUYS
When Chris Brown accepted his statue for Best R&B Album for F.A.M.E. with his chest half uncovered (those buttons are there for a reason, dude), it was, well, embarrassing (for him). But when one of the dudes from Lady Antebellum took the stage to present a GRAMMY and flaunted the same bothersome chest issue, I wondered which stylist should be fired.
REALLY AWKWARD: FANS REQUEST A BEATING
Meanwhile, a few select Brown fans online (ones that are really, really sensitive to the Rihanna assault fiasco) responded to Brown’s apparent hotness by requesting that he beat them, repeatedly and as soon as possible.
AWESOMELY AWKWARD: MIRANDA LAMBERT & GAGA MAKE NICE
When her hubby Blake Shelton joined the Band Perry in a tribute to country icon Glen Campbell, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award, Miranda Lambert was left sitting, alone, next to Lady Gaga. They swayed a lil’ and sang “Rhinestone Cowboy,” and then they chatted about… perhaps gold scepters, which Gaga wielded? Or maybe shotguns, which Lambert may have wielded? We may never know…
AWESOME: ALL THINGS ADELE
Wow. Adele made her big return last night and she looked simply stunning—it appears the best form of dieting may be going through throat surgery, because girl definitely dropped a significant amount of weight. Maybe it was an all-liquid diet of sorts? Anywho, she looked dazzling. And as she stomped and sashayed through “Rolling in the Deep,” the biggest story of the 54th annual GRAMMYs grew more and more confident, stretching her newly-repaired vocals higher and higher, and motioning to herself on lines like, “You could have had this all,” which are clearly aimed at the ex-lover that inspired her new album, 21. All things considered, that guy should really, really, really hate himself. Also, Adele's acceptance speech for Album of the Year was adorable. She cried. She thanked her mom and even the aforementioned former flame. Then... "Oh, I’ve got a bit of snot!" Too cute.
AWKWARD: JAY-Z & KANYE SAY ‘NO THANKS'
Neither Jay-Z nor Kanye were in the house to collect their GRAMMY for Best Rap Performance for Watch the Throne’s “Otis,” proving that, yes, the real party was clearly elsewhere.
AWESOME: COOL NEW MUSIC COMMERCIALS
Are the GRAMMYs going Super Bowl? Advertisers stepped up their game this year, especially Target and Chipotle. The former ran a heart-warming series of musical ads, including one in which a girl on a school bus sings "Rolling in the Deep," and is soon joined by other kids on backup. Adorbs. Chipotle, meanwhile, got Willie Nelson to cover Coldplay’s “The Scientist,” and it sounded awesome. Burritos: bringing people and genres together.
AWKWARD: COLDPLAY MISFIRE
Speaking of Britpop’s new reigning kings Coldplay: Following his acoustic appearance alongside Rihanna on “We Found Love,” Chris Martin led his merry band through “Paradise,” from their new album Mylo Xyloto, and managed to miss almost every high note along the way. Ooooof.
AWESOME: FOO FIGHTERS FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT
When Foo Fighters’ Wasting Light won for Best Rock Album (it won three other awards, too), Dave Grohl had something to say, dammit: “Rather than go to the best studio in the world … we [recorded] in my garage with some microphones, a tape machine and the best producer in the world, Mr. Butch Vig. It’s about what goes on in here [points to heart] and what goes on in here [points to head]. It’s not about being perfect and using a computer.” It was a heartfelt moment that drew a standing ovation.
AWKWARD: FOO FIGHTERS CONTRADICT THEMSELVES
Not long after that heartfelt acceptance speech, in which Grohl derided computers and heartless computer production, his band performed a special collaboration outside the Staples Center with… Deadmau5, the current mouse-eared king of digital and computerized dance music. The Foos powered through their heavy single “Rope,” which transformed into a dark club jam with Grohl’s vocals run through… wait for it… auto-tune. How do your words taste, Dave?
AWESOME: MINAJ INTIMIDATES RELIGION
Whatever happened onstage (and onscreen!) during Nicki Minaj’s freaked-out, quasi-religious performance of "Roman Holiday," a new song from her upcoming album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, it was like watching a horror flick set in a medieval cathedral (or something). It was a Broadway production, complete with a video skit, starring … writing priests? Check. Dancers in Catholic nun robes? Yep. Minaj deep in an exorcism and floating over the stage? Oh, yes please.
AWKWARD: KATY PERRY GOES ROCK
Dear Ms. Teenage Dream,
I saw that you debuted a new song, a searing breakup ballad called "Part of Me," live last night at the GRAMMYs. Congrats! But I’m sorry to say that I don't like it. Your lite, fun pop hooks, which I love, have gone all big and dark, inching toward rock territory. And what’s with the fire and big-riff theatrics onstage? Look, going rock didn’t work for Lil Wayne, so it certainly won’t work for you either. Please go back to shooting whipped cream from your breasts and singing about fireworks and Friday night. Don't brood. The breakup will pass. I promise.
AWESOMELY AWKWARD: MAROON 5, FOSTER THE PEOPLE & THE BEACH BOYS
Look, I know all of America thinks that Adam Levine of Maroon 5 is hot and has mad moves like Jagger, but he’s seriously cutting into the Beach Boys’ screen time. Both Maroon 5 and Foster the People put in fine tribute covers of the Boys’ “Surfer Girl” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” but neither even touched the O.G. Boys, who sounded wonderful. The GRAMMYs are always forcing these collabos on us, but sometimes it might be best to stand back and let Brian Wilson sing and smile some more. We’ve already seen enough of Levine’s mug, right? Right.
Missed the show? Check out these photos:
Award Show Highlights
From the Red Carpet