Head-scratching performances. Infuriating decisions. Pointless segments. Yep, it was another Grammy Awards show. I didn’t watch it live, since I don’t have to do that for a living anymore. But I skipped through it — and checked out the full list of winners — and had a few random thoughts.
Hey, Alicia Keys: Rhoda Morgenstern called. She wants her wardrobe back.
1 | Camila Cabello, J Balvin, Ricky Martin, Arturo Sandoval & Young Thug | Havana, Pégate, Mi Gente
This year’s big opening number goes the extra mile by trying to check off as many inclusive/diversity boxes as possible. Which is good, I guess. But why does every award-show Latin-pop production number have to look like a regional-theatre production of West Side Story?
2 | Shawn Mendes, Miley Cyrus | In My Blood
Nice to see Shawn has been working on his arms. But I bet Miley could still kick his ass. And he knows it.
3 | Kacey Musgraves | Rainbow
Another nod to diversity. Nothing wrong with that. But personally, I prefer my Musgraves upbeat instead of uplifting. But uplifting is how you win big at the Grammys.
4 | Janelle Monáe | Make Me Feel, Django Jane, Pynk
Watch this performance and then explain to me how Monáe didn’t go home with all the Grammys last night. Anybody?
5 | Post Malone, Red Hot Chili Peppers | Stay, Rockstar, Dark Necessities
The musical equivalent of what the Earth looked like just before that asteroid walloped it and killed off all the dinosaurs. And not a moment too soon.
5 | Dolly Parton, Little Big Town, Maren Morris, Kacey Musgraves, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus | Tribute to Dolly Parton: Here You Come Again, Jolene, After the Gold Rush, Red Shoes, 9 to 5
Of course Dolly took part in her own tribute. And good thing she did. Between Katy Perry mangling Here You Come Again and Miley bellowing Jolene — it’s a sad song, for crying out loud, not a Viking battle cry — somebody needed to save the day. Not sure what the point of the Neil Young song was, but hey, whatever Dolly wants. Side note: Dolly should introduce her wigmaker to Kacey Musgraves.
6 | H.E.R. | Hard Place
I loved this. Partly because it was a solid performance. But mostly because it undoubtedly introduced a deserving artist to millions of people who had never heard of her before. The Grammys needs to do more of this.
7 | Cardi B | Money
I enjoy Cardi’s antics as much as the next guy, OKurrrrr? But she definitely got upstaged by the Busby Berkeley staging.
8 | Alicia Keys | Maple Leaf Rag, Killing Me Softly with His Song, Unforgettable, Clocks, Use Somebody, Boo’d Up, In My Feelings, Doo Wop (That Thing), Empire State of Mind
Good thing there was no cover charge at “Club Keys.” And exactly why did she want two pianos?
9 | Dan + Shay | Tequila
Just what we need: More wimpy country guys wailing wussy ballads.
10 | Diana Ross | The Best Years of My Life, Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)
Do the kids still say hot mess? Cause this rambling, self-aggrandizing performance surely was one. And her birthday’s not until March. And 75 my ass.
11 | Lady Gaga. Mark Ronson, Andrew Wyatt, Anthony Rossomando | Shallow
Whether you love her or loathe her, you can always count on Lady Gaga to bring the crazy. And that oughta count for something. Bonus points for best spangled catsuit of the night.
12 | Travis Scott, James Blake, Philip Bailey | Stop Trying to Be God, No Bystanders
The most interesting part of this rage-in-the-cage set piece was the old Rush T-shirt Scott wore. Where was Alex Lifeson when we needed him?
13 | Jennifer Lopez, Smokey Robinson, Ne-Yo, Alicia Keys | Motown 60 — A Grammy Celebration: Dancing in the Street, Please Mr. Postman, Money (That’s What I Want), Do You Love Me, ABC, My Girl, Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone, War, Square Biz, Another Star
Why would you let freaking J.Lo turn the Motown songbook into a dance-aerobic workout video when Diana Ross is right there? Why?
14 | Brandi Carlile | The Joke
After you listen to this powerhouse ballad, go back and listen to Musgraves’ song again. Then tell me which one is better. I guess that’s why Carlile cleaned up in the Americana categories. Having said that, she needs to find another song to sing. And I’m sorry; adult twins who dress alike is just creepy.
15 | Chloe x Halle | Tribute to Donny Hathaway: Where is the Love
Short and sweet and every bit as awesome as they always are. Give them a couple of years and they will be huge.
16 | St. Vincent, Dua Lipa | Masseduction, One Kiss
Can’t get enough of St. Vincent. Already had enough of Dua Lipa.
17 | Fantasia, Andra Day, Yolanda Adams | Tribute to Aretha Franklin: (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman
Trying to duplicate Aretha Franklin’s force-of-nature power and not quite pulling it off is either the worst possible tribute to the Queen of Soul or the best. Not sure. On the plus side, at least they kept Miley away from this one. Side note: Can somebody please let Andra Day make another album so she can stop appearing on every single tribute concert?
(SOME OF) THE AWARDS
Record & Song of the Year: This is America | Childish Gambino
Dude wins two of the biggest awards of the night — along with Best Rap/Sung Performance — and doesn’t show. That says everything you need to know about Donald Glover. And the relevance of the Grammys.
Album of the Year: Golden Hour | Kacey Musgraves
Personally, I would have gone for Janelle Monae. If only to keep her making albums instead of switching to acting. But clearly Grammy voters love Musgraves, since she took home four awards.
Best Rock Album: From the Fires | Greta Van Fleet
Best New Artist: Dua Lipa
Points for throwing shade at exiting Grammy honcho Neil Portnow in her speech, but honestly, this should have gone to Chloe x Halle. Lucky for Greta Van Fleet they didn’t win: The angry old white guy contingent would have stormed the arena with pitchforks and torches.
Best Rock Performance: When Bad Does Good | Chris Cornell
Fair enough, I guess. But only because nobody else in the category stood out.
Best Rock Song: Masseduction | St. Vincent
Over Ghost, Bring Me the Horizon, Greta Van Fleet and Twenty One Pilots. No wonder people say rock is dead.
Best Alternative Album: Colours | Beck
The Grammys always give Beck way too much love. Arctic Monkeys and St. Vincent clearly need to start kissing more butt. Or at least the right butts.
Best Reggae Album: 44/876 | Sting & Shaggy
Well, at least you don’t have to ask if the voters were high when they chose this over Black Uhuru and Ziggy Marley.