Another year filled with the musical kaleidoscope of sound and symphonies just went by, making way for the most highly anticipated night of the year for the music fraternity. Of course, we are talking about none other than the 55th Annual Grammy Awards, which were broadcast live to a worldwide audience last Sunday, featuring all the top performers of the year 2012.
In the days leading up to the award show, the event had been generating an incredible amount of buzz, owing mainly to a memo sent out by CBS, the broadcasting channel, which asked the attendees to keep their dress code modest – a far cry from the Grammys held in the past few years where singers like Pink and Lady Gaga forayed onto their wild sides. While pop starlet Beyoncé and country queen Carrie Underwood certainly seemed to have taken the memo seriously, the night was not without its fair share of revealing outfits, with Jennifer Lopez and former Destiny’s Child member Kelly Rowland among the most notable violators. Although the show’s viewership was not even a close match for the robust TV ratings it received last year, it still went on to be the second most-watched Grammy award show since 1993.
It was a lucky night for pop band Fun, who nabbed the awards for Best New Artist and Song of the Year for their 2012 song ‘We Are Young’. Mumford and Sons beat out the rest by walking away with top honors of the night, winning the Grammy for Album of the Year for their album “Babel”, while British songstress Adele managed to shine once again and waltzed off with the Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance for the live rendition of her smash hit “Set Fire To The Rain”. Gotye received a well deserved trophy for his chart-topper ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’, a fitting response to his exclusion from the Best New Artist category.
The show also marked the return of Justin Timberlake from his 5-year musical hiatus as he performed on his newly released single “Suit And Tie” along with Jay-Z. Bruno Mars sang alongside Sting and musical maestro Sir Elton John was back, this time collaborating with fellow Brit star Ed Sheeran on the latter’s runaway hit “The A Team”.
The list of winners for this year’s Grammys:
- Album of the Year: “Babel” – Mumford and Sons
- Record of the Year: “Somebody That I Used To Know” – Gotye feat. Kimbra
- Best New Artist: Fun
- Best Country Album: “Uncaged” – Zac Brown Band
- Best R&B Album: “Black Radio” – Robert Glasper Experiment
- Best R&B Performance: “Climax” – Usher
- Best Rap Album: “Take Care” – Drake
- Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: “No Church in the Wild” — Jay-Z & Kanye West feat. Frank Ocean & The-Dream
- Best Pop Vocal Album: “Stronger” – Kelly Clarkson
- Best Pop Performance Duo or Group: “Somebody That I Used to Know” – Gotye feat Kimbra
- Best Rock Album: “El Camino” – The Black Keys
- Best Rock Performance: “Lonely Boy” – The Black Keys
- Best Urban Contemporary: “Channel Orange” – Frank Ocean
- Record of the Year: “We Are Young” – Fun feat. Janelle Monáe
- Best Country Solo Performance: “Blown Away” – Carrie Underwood
- Best Country Performance Duo or Group: “Pontoon” – Little Big Town
- Best Pop Solo Performance: “Set Fire To The Rain” (Live) – Adele
Highlights of the night:
The night can be best described as a mix platter of both hits and misses:
- Miss -Taylor Swift’s KICK start: Swift initiated the show with her hit ‘We Are Never Getting Back Together” that left many wondering which of her exes she was targeting this time. She was joined onstage by a whole circus of characters, including stilt walkers and fire breathers, with the entire performance seeming like a leaf taken out of the books of divas like Madonna or Lady Gaga.
- Hit - Swift and her enticing enthusiasm: After opening the show, the country star did not let her lack of wins deny her from filling the Grammy broadcast with her familiar (and often excessive) excitement. Swift barely seemed to touch her front row seat all night, and participated wholeheartedly with her generous applause, standing ovations, stationary dancing and sing-along with nearly every performance of the night.
- Miss - JT’s return in retro style: Although his new single has received rave reviews, Justin Timberlake’s much anticipated comeback performance seemed to have fallen a little short of what was expected from it on the awards night. The rendition seemed high on conceptualization yet lacked originality, often seeming reminiscent of Bruno Mars’ performance for Grammys’ 2012. Jay-Z took the stage for “Suit & Tie”, before Timberlake slowed it down a little with “Pusher Love Girl” from his upcoming album ‘The 20/20 Experience’.
- Hit – Elton and Ed in sync:The fellow British singers Elton John and Ed Sheeran collaborated in pleasant harmony on Sheeran’s hit “The A Team”. It wasn’t, of course, as memorable as the John-meets-Eminem Grammy moment in 2001 when the duo performed on “Stan”, but it was definitely better than the John-Gaga collaboration in 2010 where the pair battled it out at the piano; John singing ‘Your Song’, and Gaga belting out ‘Speechless’ in an effort to pay tribute to each other’s talent.
- Miss – LL Cool J’s strange fascination with the ‘hashtag’: Host LL Cool J seemed to be overselling the social media coverage of the show, reading out tweets from viewers. The whole thing, however, came off as forced instead of adding any value to an otherwise fabulous night, and LL’s inexplicable repetition of the word “hashtag” about 10 times in one sentence did not help things either.
- Hit - Rihanna’s demure performance: Rihanna set aside her usual sizzle to show her vocal chops on the subdued “Stay” in collaboration with Mikky Ekko. While some critics called the performance ‘drab’ and ‘boring’, most gave it positive reviews and praised Rihanna for her attempt to bring out something new. Dressed in a black gown, a more demure outfit than her sultry red carpet dress, Rihanna slowed things down with her performance and proved yet again that there are many shades to her singing prowess. The fact that she showed up at the awards show with her on-again infamous boyfriend Chris Brown, however, did not exactly earn her much love from the viewers.
- Miss – Jack White’s Profanity: White gave an amazing performance of “Love Interruption” with Ruby Amanfu, but snuck in one little extra goodie: the use of a not-so-nice word, which he probably uses at ease in his casual conversations but was completely off the track for a live television broadcast. That surely must have caused some frenzy backstage with the profanity going live on air without a ‘bleep’!
- Hit - Bob Marley’s star-studded tribute: A tribute to reggae great Bob Marley brought together a slew of artists onstage. Bruno Mars opened the tribute with a his own number “Locked Out of Heaven”, followed by a duet with Sting. They were joined onstage by Rihanna and Marley’s son Ziggy for a group performance of “Could You Be Loved.” This was an undeniably energetic and sweet moment of the show.
- Miss – Alicia Keys and Maroon 5 ‘Fire’ up together: Maroon 5 paired up with Keys and opened the performance with their song “Daylight.” Keys, on the other hand, continued to show off her Fire as a performer as she sung her current hit while playing the drums instead of displaying her usual love for the piano. The mash up, however, proved to be a little overwhelming as their individuality seemed to have been lost in the duet.
- Hit - Heavy ‘Weight’ champions!: The best all-star performance of the night was a tribute to Levon Helm, the former drummer of The Band who died in April. It was an absolutely mesmerizing version of “The Weight”, highlighted by the powerhouse vocals of Mavis Staples and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes. The addition of Sir Elton John and Mumford and Sons to the mix brought the house down!
- Miss – Grammys’ flexible definition of “new”: The band Fun has been around for a few years now, releasing its first album in 2009. Yet, Grammy voters still found the band a suitable choice for Best New Artist over the far more deserving Frank Ocean. Not to mention the fact that Gotye was rudely left out of the New Artist category altogether.