Livebloggin’: The 2007 Grammy Awards
Posted by Andrew Unterberger on February 11, 2007
Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide
8:00: The newly-reformed Police open the ceremonies with a version of “Roxanne”. Starts out a fairly faithful cover, but the song goes dub for the second verse. Cool, though not as cool as playing “Synchronicity II” would’ve been. The group links hands and takes a bow, evidently once again able to stand each other’s company. Inspiring.
8:05: First presesnter Jamie Foxx opens his routine with a joke about Snoop “doing the cirpwalk down the 4-5” after he heard that “The Police were opening.” The joke falls flat, evidently tripping Foxx up considerably. “That joke would’ve killed on BET,” he laments.
8:06: As if to prove how current and cutting edge the Grammys have become, Nelly Furtado and Timbaland lose the Best Pop Vocal Collaboration Grammy to Stevie Wonder and Tony Bennett covering Stevie’s “For Once in My Life.” What, did Barry Manilow’s 50s covers album not have any duets on it?
8:09: Joan Baez introduces fellow female musical rebels the Dixie Chicks, who do a fairly solid performance of Record of the Year nominee “Not Ready to Make Nice.” Baez says that she has also been told to “Shut up and Sing,” half the sentiment of which I definitely concur with.
8:18: Prince emerges. “One word: Beyonce” (anything more and the Purple One charges overtime). Beyonce does an impressive “Listen,” bringing the Dreamgirls tally for the night to two so far. Overcompensation for the Oscar snub, I suppose.
8:21: The Black Eyed Peas introduce special Grammy honorees Booker T. & the MG’s; Fergie sounds almost unable to speak in complete sentences. The award for Best R&B Album is announced, going to Mary J. Blige for The Breakthrough. Apparently her first Grammy speech (though I’m almost positive she’s won at least once before), Mary is predictably close to tears. “For so many years people have talked about me negatively, but now I am being talked about positively by so many people.” Mary races to get through her laundry list of Thank Yous as the “Get Off the Stage” music gets louder and louder.
8:28: OK Go has apparently won the Best Shortform Video Grammy for their viral sensation “Here it Goes Again“. This time last year, the phrase “Grammy Winners OK Go” is one I would’ve bet million of dollars against ever being spoken.
8:33: Justin Timberlake is shown talking about what an important song “What Goes Around” is to him, calling it “the best song I’ve written thusfar.” He is then shown performing the song with a live band/orchestra, playing the piano part himself (take that, Rockists!) Eventually he leaves the piano behind, and starts singing right into a mini-camera he holds up to his face while singing. Really necessary?
8:39: Pink and T.I. are brought out to introduce honorees The Doors. Pink looks and soudns drugged out as ever, T.I. is mad classy in an all-black suit and black shirt. Introducing the Best Female R&B Performance, Mary J. Blige is now 2-2 (Indie.Arie, you already had your day). “Let me just be brief about this,” Mary says at the mic, chuckling.
8:41: Jacques Lu Cont wins some Best Remix-related Grammy for his reworking of Coldplay’s “Talk.” Not his best work by any means, and a couple years too late, but awesome to see the dude acknowledged nonetheless.
8:44: Lil’ Jon in a Heineken spot getting off a private plane and handing a twelve-pack to J.D. “Two twelve packs I sweep the awards next year!” he exclaims. “I’m with that,” J.D. responds. Now where were commercials like this during the Super Bowl?
8:48: Stevie Wonder introduces the singer-songwriter block of Corrine Bailey Rae, John Legend and John Mayer. Disappointed to see Corrine Bailey Rae play something besides “Put Your Records On” (which VH1 has bullied me into liking, somehow), but she sounds good anyway. Next up is ’06 Grammy darling John Legend, who remains about as bland as he was last year, but it’s a nice flow from the Rae performance. Then it’s John Mayer, who thankfully does a song besides “Waiting for the World to Change.” Some people say this guy is the next Eric Clapton, which is probably true for all the wrong reasons. All in all, a nice low-key moment, definitely a rarity for the Grammys.
8:58: Nelly Furtado, Natasha Bedingfield and Nicole Scherzinger put aside their petty squabbles to introduce the Best Pop Vocal Album. John Mayer, conveniently still waiting backstage, picks up an easy win for Continuum. “I wanna thank Michael McDonald, my manager,” Mayer says. Can we get a “What a Fool Believes” cover on the next one, John?
9:05: Dear God, please spare me from ever having to hear “Hips Don’t Lie” again.
9:10: Dixie Chicks take home Song of the Year for “Not Ready to Make Nice.” Rick Rubin gets thanked multiple times–is there any genre this dude can’t conquer?
9:19: Lots of bad basketball puns abound the introduction of Gnarls Barkley, performing a slow, orchestrated version of “Crazy” while dressed like pilots (a tribute to Airplane!, maybe?)
9:23: Common and Kanye West present the award for Best Rap Album. Ludacris wins, beating T.I. and Lupe Fiasco. “So all I had to do was cut my hair to win one of these, is that what y’all tellin’ me?” Luda asks. I didn’t even notice it was gone, actually. Luda thanks Oprah and Bill O’Riley one more time at the end of his speech–man, this guy really knows how to hold a grudge.
9:34: Terrence Howard gives a gushing introduction to performer Mary J. Blige, now clearly the woman of the evening. “I’m in love, and for Mary J. Blige, that’s for real,” Mary says, leading into a performance of hit “Be Without You.” I still think the song’s kind of boring, but the crowd obviously disagrees, giving Blige a standing ovation.
9:39: Mandy Moore, LeAnn Rimes and Luke Wilson (???) introduce the award for Best Country Album. They humor the other nominees by reading the nominees, but none of them can have any allusions about beating the Dixie Chicks for this, and sure enough, The Dixie Chicks pick up #2. “Well, to quote the great Simpsons, hah-hah!,” Natalie Maines remarks, admirably attempting a Nelson Muntz taunt. “A whole lot of people just turned their TV sets off,” Maines reflects afterwards.
9:42: The Flaming Lips win their second Grammy for Best Instrumental Rock Performance with “The Wizard Takes On…” The one guy voting in this category must be an Oklahoman or something.
9:48: Carri Underwood and some old dudes do a cover of Bob Wills’ “San Antonio Rose.” I never heard of the guy, sounds like an all right song though. This transitions into a Rascal Flatts cover of fellow country greats The Eagles’ “Hotel California” (uhh, I guess…). Carrie returns for a surprisingly soulful “Desperado” rendition, and then joins up for a final performance of “Life in the Fast Lane,” doing an impressively ripping countrified “Life in the Fast Lane.”
10:00: Natalie Cole and Ornette Coleman appear to pay tribute to Lifetime Achievement honoree Ornette and to present the award for Best New Artist. “Hey, we both have ‘Cole’ in our name!” they unfortunately do not remark. Carrie Underwood of course takes home the honors, even though I could swear she’s been around for at least two years already (people have difficulty remembering a world pre-“Jesus Take the Wheel,” I suppose–understandable). 2
10:08: Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci (who looks disturbingly…adult) introduce Smokey Robinson, Lionel Richie and Chris Brown–“three generations of R&B.” Not that I”m the biggest Lionel Richie fan, but I think there’s a little bit of a difference in form and methodology between “Tracks of My Tears” and “Hello,” and “Run It!”–especially since for the chorus, Brown stops singing altogether and just does his highly-choreographed dance thing. This is followed by Grammy regular Christina Aguilera proving how soulful she is for the millionth time by covering James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World,” attempting some of the Godfather’s mic pumps and other signature moves. Bizarre.
10:30: Hey, I didn’t know Freddy Fender and Buck Owens died this year.
10:38: Rihanna and David Spade (“David Bowie and Iman were unavailable”) introduce Ludacris, Mary J. Blige and Earth, Wind & Fire (who seem to need decidedly little persuasion to show up at the Grammys for whatever random position has to be filled). Still my all-time least favorite Ludacris single–I believe Ludacris’ll be able to tackle serious fare one day, but this isn’t the most auspicious start.
10:43: The legacy of Ahmet Ertegun is given tribute by James Blunt’s performance of “You’re Beautiful,” a song which stands for absolutely 0 of the progressions made by Atlantic Records. Bummer.
10:52: Dreamgirls alum #3 Jennifer Hudson announces the My Grammy Moment winner, one of three soul singer chicks with soundalike voices who gets to sing along with Justin Timberlake. Winner Robin Truth looks really confused and sort of upset at her victory. She and Justin do a duet on Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” (I’ll never understand how singers manage to not lose track of all the “I Know” repetitions in that song) before launching into “My Love.” The added punctuations she provides to T.I.’s rap verse are kinda dumb, but aside from that, the girl does all right.
10:58: Tony Bennett and Quentin Tarantino present the Record of the Year grammy. Tarantino seems WAY too jazzed to be presenting the award with Tony Bennett, and about all the extremely unexciting nominees (“YOU’RE BEAAUUUUUUTIFUL!!! JAMES BLUUUUNT!!!”) And of course, it’s a hat trick for the Dixie Chicks. “I’m all out of clever things to say!” Maines exclaims. Pity.
11:09: Chris Rock enthusiastically introduces “The Best Band in the World,” Red Hot Chili Peppers, who support his claim by playing Stadium Arcadium‘s half-baked third single “Snow (Hey Oh)”. Nickelback probably feels pretty left out as the only current million-selling rock band not to get fellated at the Grammys–give ’em another ten years, I guess.
11:13: Al Gore, somehow now the hippest politican on the planet, appears with Queen Latifah (who not so subtly hits on the ex-VP) to present the Best Rock Album. Against all odds, Tom Petty’s latest album fails to trump RHCP, who take the award home for Stadium Arcadium. “Kids, get out there and start more rock bands. WE NEED MORE ROCK BANDS!” proclaims Chad Smith (well, we certainly need more new rock bands), who looks a whole lot more like Will Ferrell than I remembered.
11:24: Don Henley and Scarlet Johanssen present the Album of the Year grammy. Scarlett looks practically unrecognizable, closer to a Simpson sister than the hott indie chick that so many guys fell in love with five years ago. Sad. “So, you’re recording your first album, Scarlett?” “Yes, that’s right Don, do you have any advice for me?” “No.” “(Awkward Pause)”. Nice one. “YES!!!” exclaims Don Henley as he reads the Dixie Chicks as the winners, in a clean sweep. Good for Rick, I guess.