Monday, February 12, 2007

GRAMMYS


We've gone to the Grammys four out of the last seven years. Each time it's been worth it; you get to see a lot of the best acts in different genres all in the same night. Sometimes you'll see act's you'll never see anywhere else. It's not usually worth watching on TV. The dynamics are not the same as seeing it in person.

Tonight, the show opened with the Police reforming. Next, Tony Bennett and Stevie Wonder shared the Collaboration category for a song Wonder wrote when he was 17 ("For Once in My Life"). Wonder thanked his mother, who recently passed away, and Bennet thanked "Target, for being a great sponsor."

The Dixie Chicks won five, and three were major categories. I'm happy to see that, as I've mentioned before, they are a much better group now that they've stopped worrying about making the radio stations and their record label happy.

Seeing Smokey Robinson and Lionel Richie was cool, but they were outdone by newcomer Chris Brown. Christine Aguilera stole the show with her blues performance homage to James Brown. I've seen her sing twice in person and both times she's blown me away. She is SO much better in person than in the recordings she has done. Gnarls Barkley and Shakira were also entertaining.

American Idol winner Carrie Underwear sang a couple of songs quite well, including "Desperado." She also won three Grammys, including New Artist. Last year Kelly Clarkson sang at the show and was just plain awful.

The Grammys had their own version of American Idol, with most of the auditions taking place long before the show, and judged by professionals, with viewers able to pick from the final three during the course of the show. I'm assuming they had clips on the web site to judge as otherwise you're just picking a pretty face. It was a little weird that all three finalists looked a LOT alike. They were all thin young black women with similar hairstyles. The winner Robyn Troupe (misspelled Robin Troupe on A.I.!) sang several songs with Justin Timberlake, and wow, she was amazing. WAY better than most of the American Idol winners.

All in all, the show was good, but not great. It ran quite long. We left after 3 1/2 hours when there were still two categories left. The star quotient was not as high as in the past when we were lucky enough to see Paul McCartney, Eminem, Madonna, and U2. For the first time, the house mix was terrible. Frequently the announcers were completely inaudible. Once, a presenter was cut off in the middle by what sounded like playback of a previous announcement. The bands were VERY loud, louder than usual for the venue, and very muddy sounding. Finally, it seems as though the number of ad breaks has doubled in the last few years (which may account for why the show is so long now).

Nonetheless, it was a great time. Next year is the 50th show, it's expected to be great. We'll be back.
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