Odi Profanum Vulgus Et Arceo
Welcome to the second Pajiba Real-Time Review of the Grammys. I have no idea why I volunteered to do this, other than a) I enjoy massive amounts of suffering and b) it gives me an opportunity to be the disgusting music snob that I am. Probably more a than b. For tonight’s show, I’m joined by a large, ornery cat and half a bottle of Bushmill’s Irish Whiskey. Let’s boogie.
8:00 - I already don’t know what the fuck is going on. Some dude is singing about Lady Gaga and a bunch of other guys dressed like The Zombie Super Mario Brothers Burlesque Club are gyrating around. And now Lady Gaga herself appears, dressed like Hooker Fairy Barbie.
8:02 - It’s “Poker Face,” which brings all kinds of terrible oral sex jokes to mind. This is one of the weirdest vignettes I’ve ever seen. And holy shit, Elton John (inexplicably coated in crank-case oil) is joining her. Not as weird as the Stevie Wonder/Jonas Brothers combo from last year, but still… They’re doing “I Hope You Don’t Mind.” I do mind, Elton. I mind very fucking much.
8:07 - Stephen Colbert. OK, this helps a little. He greets Jay-Z, who appears unimpressed. “We are here to celebrate our most precious right — the right of celebrities to congratulate each other.” He also tells his daughter to stay away from Katy Perry. Bless you, Mr. Colbert.
8:11 - Colbert announces the nominees for Song of the Year, complete with an iPad joke. That didn’t take long. If Beyonce, Lady Gaga or Taylor Swift wins, do a shot. If the Kings of Leon win, restore your faith in the universe.
8:12 - Beyonce. Mmmm … it’s a good burn. “Single Ladies” is an utterly wretched song. I already hate everyone.
8:13 - J-Lo. She’s still relevant? Who knew. Anyway, she announces Green Day, who perform “21 Guns” with the cast of the American Idiot musical. Green Day has a musical? I don’t even know why I’m surprised. This is life in the post-“Glee” universe. God, this song is duller than shit, even with all the excessive fist-pumping.
8:19 - First commercial break, but they just announced that there would be “a 3-D tribute to Michael Jackson.” Oh, fuck me. Fuck me backwards with a barstool.
8:24 - Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel. Christ she is small. Apparently you can vote on which song Bon Jovi will perform later (tragically, “Wanted Dead or Alive” isn’t one of the choices). They’re announcing Best Country Album, which means there can be no winners here. Taylor Swift wins, and my jaw refuses to unclench. If Kanye jumps up, it’ll make it all worth it.
8:27 - Simon Baker (holy accents!) introduces Beyonce. This is just too much, too soon. I should have started drinking earlier. She comes out with what appears to be a hip-hop SWAT team and she’s wearing a tutu made of vinyl roofing shingles. Woman’s got pipes though, I’ll give her that.
8:31 - Now she’s switching from “I’m Just a Boy” to covering Alanis Morissette. This is like an alternate universe where everything I dislike converges. I gotta admit it though, she’s killing it.
8:39 - Seal. One of the hottest motherfuckers out there. Seriously, I’d sleep with Seal. He announces that Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award. I guess they give those out when your song is covered way too often and used in every schmaltzy emotional scene in shitty TV sitcoms.
8:41 - Pink. Dressed in what appears to be white electrical tape and Obi-Wan’s robes. Pink is one of those women who is both incredibly sexy, as well as terrifying. She just got lifted up into the air in some sort of weird slingshot/trapeze deal. I’ll say this, the 2010 Grammys don’t fuck around when it comes to production.
8:44 - Wow, that’s a lot of crotch. Now it’s wet crotch. I hope that microphone is waterproof.
8:46 - Miranda Lambert and Keith Urban. Hopefully he’s off the pills. They run through a bunch of important-sounding awards that apparently no one gives a shit about. Now they’re announcing Best New Artist. I know, I’m aroused too. Chances that MGMT or Silversun Pickups wins? Any takers?
8:47 - Nope, The Zac Brown Band. Fuck you, Zac Brown. Fuck you and your lowest-common-denominator, idiotic, blitheringly moronic faux-hillbilly bullshit. You’re the reason people hate country music (undeservedly so).
8:51 - A Buick commercial that features an Airborne Toxic Event song? For some reason, my mind is blown by this.
8:54 - Oboyoboyoboy! Miley Cyrus!
Sorry. I’m much better now. She introduces The Black Eyed Peas. I hate this song, but they get points for no reason other than I can’t think of another song that features the word “l’chaim.” Right now Fergie is dressed like Darth Helmet and rapping, and I just don’t want to be alive anymore.
8:57 - I firmly believe that the Asian dude cries himself to sleep every night.
I must admit, the Grammys have really upped the production this year. It’s like they’re saying, “we know this sucks, but hopefully the pretty colors and people dressed like drag queen robots will distract you.”
9:05 - The Jonas Brothers. Some girl in the audience just shrieked at a pitch that made my dogs freak out. They introduce Lady Antebellum, a new country trio (though it should be noted that there are seven people on stage). Their sound is surprisingly original. OK, I’m fucking with you. The best word I can use to describe them is “inoffensive.”
9:09 - Kaley Cuoco and some Latin dude with one name and a panty-detonating accent announce Best Comedy Album. Hmm. I’m genuinely curious and holy balls, Weird Al is one of the nominees.
9:10 - Stephen Colbert wins. Thank God. If George Lopez had won, my fury would have thrown the earth off its axis.
9:17 - Norah Jones and Ringo Starr announce a Lifetime Achievement Award for Bobby Darin. And now, Record of the Year. I don’t have a particularly good feeling. Do a shot if Beyonce or Taylor Swift win, but I’m feeling Lady Gaga on this one.
9:18 - Holy fucking hell, “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon wins. An honest to God fucking rock band won? Am I dreaming? Did I die? They admit that they’re drunk. The Grammys need more shit like this. Seriously. In solidarity, I’m doing a shot anyway.
9:20 - Robert Downey Jr. just used the word “gauche.” This is likely the best five minutes of the night. Yeah, Jamie Foxx, auto-tuned within an inch of his life is next. So much for that brief feeling of happiness. The auto-tuner is a greater crime against humanity than appletinis, I swear. And now T-Pain is up, and I have kicked my drinking into a higher gear.
9:24 - Slash? Slash, Jamie Foxx and T-Pain. It’s like drunken Grammy word jumble! Sweet! Kill me!
9:31 - Katy Perry (looking adorable) and Alice Cooper (looking haggard, to put it kindly) introduce the best rock album. This category is always infuriating. Dave Matthews? Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood? Might as well nominate Lionel Ritchie.
9:33 - Completely predictably, the once-fun and now-bland Green Day wins. DRINK.
9:34 - Chris O’Donnell shows up, sadly not in a nippled Robin suit. Lame. He’s introducing the Zac Brown Band, and I need a break to go pour vinegar into my eyes and stab my ears with pencils.
9:46 - Taylor Swift. OK, I give Taylor Swift a lot of shit, because her music is boring, drab pabulum, but she does play her own instruments and write her own music. So she deserves some credit (even if that music is stunningly insipid). And now she’s performing with Stevie Nicks, who probably wonders how her life got to this point — singing backup to a teenage pop-country chick.
9:52 - Speak of the fucking devil. Lionel Ritchie. He’s announcing the Michael Jackson tribute and holy cleavage, Beyonce. Jesus. Sorry. Distracted. Oh boy. It’s in 3-D. I don’t have 3-D glasses, but I’m half-drunk, so that’s probably just as good. It features Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson, Smokey Robinson, Carrie Underpants, and Usher. Jesus, that’s a murderer’s row of suckosity.
Canada, I will never forgive you for Celine Dion. Take your fucking nationalized fucking health care and fucking cram it.
9:55 - It’s a little film featuring a little girl wandering through a forest. If you hear a light crackling sound, it’s my soul drying up and disintegrating. Oh, and Smokey Robinson looks like he’s made of silly putty. They’re doing “What About Us,” which is a truly terrible song. Two of Jackson’s kids accept the award. They are whiter than white.
10:08 - Wow, Sheryl Crowe has won NINE Grammys? Really? No, really? She’s introducing Bon Jovi and kissing their ass accordingly. I will forever be mystified by both their popularity and their longevity. I don’t know the songs they’re singing and I don’t care. Instead, a gift for you:
Nice eyeliner, Sambora.
10:16 - Mos Def and Placindo Domingo in an incredibly awkward little bit. I don’t think either one of them really understands what the hell the other is saying. They’re announcing one of those weird categories - Best Rap Song Collaboration. Sadly, The Lonely Island does not win, though they were actually nominated. Instead, it’s Jay-Z and Rihanna. I will withhold all Chris Brown jokes.
10:25 - Wyclef Jean is giving the audience lessons in Creole (incidentally, his Creole 101 album? Pretty freaking good), and introducing the Haitian tribute. It’s David Foster, Mary J. Blige and Andre Boccelli. More Grammy word jumble! Boccelli starts doing “Bridge Over Troubled Water” in both English and Italian, and damn. It’s pretty intense. And Mary J. is, not surprisingly, kicking its ass as well. This is a serious collection of vocal talent.
10:31 - That was an impressively not-tacky tribute. I’m shocked.
10:38 - It’s a tribute to Neil Young for being an all around good guy, a plea for music education, and also a thinly veiled and kind of weird plea for us to stop stealing music, all at once. Which is followed by Adam Sandler. One of the stranger segues ever. He’s introducing The Dave Matthews Band. Rowles just started skipping around his living room. Also, Matthews is apparently a master of the awkward white-boy seizure-dance.
10:47 - Time for Best Vocal Performance. Winner: Beyonce. I am so breathtakingly underwhelmed, words fail me. Way to go, Mrs. Z.
10:52 - Mmm… Triscuits. Oh, and LL Cool J. Another Lifetime Achievement Award, this time for Honeyboy Edwards. Christ, they give these things out like handjobs at Seaworld. Anyway, he goes on to introduce Maxwell. I think I still have a copy of Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite floating around somewhere, actually. Decent record.
11:00 - Ah, time for the Dead Folks Tribute. Aw, Teddy P. Only 30 more minutes, thankfully. Also? I’ve killed off my whiskey.
11:02 - THE. DUDE. ABIDES. Jeff Bridges, y’all. Talkin’ about Les Paul and the solid-body electric. Introducing Jeff Beck. Is it bad that I’m most excited about a 65-year old man’s tribute to a guitarist who died at 94? Whatever, this bit is phenomenal. I missed who the singer is, but she’s friggin’ great.
11:12 - Quentin Tarantino is currently embarrassing himself in ways I’d never contemplated. I mean, it’s soul-crushingly awful. And he’s introducing L’il Wayne, Eminem, and Travis Barker of Blink 182. Aaaand the sound is cutting out on my TV (which has been happening all night), for which I am blessedly thankful.
11:14 - Shit, sound came back on. Eminem is actually not bad. L’il Wayne? Less so. Drake comes out and seriously, again with the auto-tuning? I want to find the inventor of that cursed device and pull his ears off with pliers. Also, this song features what sounds like kazoos being played through bullhorns. The kazoos are terrible, but the song was overall pretty decent.
11:24 - John Legend and Carlos Santana appear to be closing it out with the award for Album of the Year. I’m guessing Beyonce, and it just dawned on me that Lady Gaga has been shut out so far. I don’t own a single one of the nominees.
11:26 - I was wrong AGAIN. Taylor Swift. Whoopie-fuckin-doo.
All right, you bastards, I’m done. Once again, they neglected most of the categories I might actually give a shit about. In case anyone is curious, AC/DC won Best Hard Rock Performance, Judas Priest won Best Metal Performance (over Lamb of God, Ministry, Megadeth, and Slayer - I’m calling bullshit), and Phoenix won best Alternative Album. Once again, the Grammys fail to recognize much in the way of real, legitimate talent — at least last year’s had some respectable winners. This year? Not so much. And once again, and perhaps most egregiously, they’ve shown that they barely give a shit about rock and roll, jazz, metal, classical or electronic music at all, relegating them to getting awards in a ceremony attended by goats in a shed built in the parking garage. And thus, I’m off to try to get a head start on tomorrow’s hangover. I leave you with a quote by the great Maynard James Keenan:
The Grammys are nothing more than some gigantic promotional machine for the music industry. They cater to a low intellect and they feed the masses. They don’t honor the arts or the artist for what he created. It’s the music business celebrating itself. That’s basically what it’s all about
Fuckin’ A right.
TK writes about music and movies. He enjoys playing with dogs, raising the dead, and tacos. You can email him here.