Monday, February 12, 2007

The 49th Grammys - How you like me now?

The official theme of last night’s Grammy Awards seemed to be “Nyah, nyah nyah nyah nyah,” or, as Natalie Maines put it, quoting “the Simpsons,” “ha, ha!

Mary J. Blige, whose album “The Breakthrough,” was, as we were so frequently reminded last night, a “breakthrough,” and whose performance last night was apparently also a “breakthrough” of some sort, thanked 55 people in her first acceptance speech, including Jesus, and “Father God” TWICE. By the time she got around to thanking her tape delivery guy (unfortunately, I’m not kidding), they started to play her off, but she plowed ahead, undeterred. They didn’t dare cut her off entirely, though, as anyone who saw the show last night knows what Ms. Blige does to those who cross her - she’ll devote one section of an award acceptance speech to making snide remarks about them: "It has not only shown that I'm an artist and a musician and a writer, but it's also shown that I'm growing into a better human being. Tonight we celebrate the better human being, because for so many years, I have been talked about negatively, but this time I'm being talked about positively by so many people."

Although as a 10-year resident of the glorious San Fernando Valley, I do have to acknowledge Ms. Blige for the following bit of wisdom: “It’s in the valley where you learn who you really are.”


I’ve always liked MJ Blige, as she seemed to have more going on upstairs than CERTAIN so-called “divas” I could name, but after that speech last night, I am really glad I never talked shit about Ms. MJB.

Except I just did. Damn.

Another winner who couldn’t resist gloating was Ludacris, who, besides modestly thanking “all the people who made this masterpiece happen,” also sarcastically thanked Oprah (who famously doesn’t care for the rappers so much) and Bill O’Reilly, whose rants against Ludacris were credited with getting him fired from a muy-lucrative Pepsi ad campaign. Ludacris, who was freakin hilarious on Saturday Night Live, by the way, playing an Elton John-obsessed hair restoration specialist, also theorized that all it took for him to finally win a Grammy was to cut his hair. Not so, Mr. Chris “Ludacris” Bridges. All it takes to win a Grammy is to host SNL, do a couple of high-profile movies for white audiences, and make albums that the kids don’t care about anymore.

So, mission accomplished.

But the biggest “fuck y’all” of the night came from the Dixie Chicks, who won 5 Grammys, including Song of the Year, Outstanding Country (suck it, hicks!) Album, Record of the Year, and Album of the Year. Yes, it’s hard to believe that in a year when the uber-fabulous Gnarls Barkley dominated the airwaves with one of the most popular cross-over songs ever, a song that was immediately covered by artists ranging from Nelly Furtado to The Raconteurs to Cat Power to Shawn Colvin to The Zutons, that they couldn’t snag Record of the Year over a song like “Not Ready to Make Nice,” but such is the way of the Grammys. Maybe if Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse had performed their song dressed as the Dixie Chicks instead of airline employees…

Well, hindsight. You know.

Don’t get me wrong, I really do love the Dixie Chicks, and by “love,” I mean, I love them, and the idea of them, really much more than I love their music, which tends to be a teeny-tiny bit on the over-produced side. Seriously. I mean, LORD KNOWS I appreciate the sentiment being expressed in “Not Ready to Make Nice,” which of course is their answer to all the boneheads who turned against them for not liking our president, but that song sounds like the pitch corrector chewed them up and spit out Ashlee Simpson X3.

But let’s take a look at the lyrics for “Not Ready to Make Nice:”

It's a sad, sad story
that a mother will teach her daughter
that she ought to hate a perfect stranger.
And how in the world
can the words that I said
send somebody so over the edge
that they'd write me a letter
saying that I better shut up and sing
or my life will be over?

Death threats. Okay…you can kind of understand why the Academy of Recording Arts would want to stand behind their gals. And so, fine, I am down with the accolades, but still, you’d think that, given everything that has gone on, that they would have prepared an acceptance speech that acknowledged the controversy in an intelligent way, and showed that, in spite of the conflict, they are bigger than those that opposed them.

No such luck. While the sisters were both gracious, if not eloquent, Natalie Maines acted as if a Grammy, a freakin’ Grammy, would make her enemies eat their hearts out. Her various attempts at acceptance speeches never got any more meaningful than when she clumsily offered that “I think people are using their freedom of speech tonight with all of these awards.” Wow. Talk about an opportunity wasted.

Some other thoughts on the evening:

- So the motherfucking Police play together after 20 years, on international television, for millions of people, and Sting has to go and mess up Roxanne by making it all fake-jazzy in the really annoying way of his. Ugh. How disappointing. At least none of them got fat.

- When Jamie Fox, who joked that Snoop Dogg fled the building and was “Crip walkin’ down the 405” after hearing that “the Police” would be at the broadcast, did not get a laugh, he lamented that “that joke would kill on BET.”

Yes, Jaime, no doubt that the viewers of “Beef: The Series” would be rolling in the aisles. But let’s not set the bar too high, eh?

- What’s up with the Justin Timberlake nose cam? Justin, darling, we all benefit from a little aesthetic distance, especially a man who seems to be hoping people won’t notice that he is, in fact, white. I mean, really, Justin, is it just coincidence that every single person in your 30-piece band is black, or is it some kind of rule that you have?

- I'm sorry, but I love Shakira. She is fucking HOT. Because she dances with abandon, like she means it, instead of dancing with the studied vanity of CERTAIN so-called “divas” I could name, who look more like strippers in need of a pole.

- Note to the producers of the show: when you put a big blow-out orchestra, with a huge choir, and a huge string section, behind every single performance on your show, it kinda loses its impact after a while.

- Stevie Wonder needs someone who is not blind to give him wardrobe advice.

- Rascal Flatts playing tribute to the Eagles was dubbed by Spooney as “Life in the Lame Lane.” Dammit, I wish I’d thought of it first.

- Smokey Robinson: “So take a good look at my face. You’ll see my smile looks out of place. If you look closer, it’s easy to see that my plastic surgeon pulled it WAY too tight.”

- You could see Sam Jackson’s man boobs through his Nehru-jacket-y-thing. Looks like someone has let himself go after finding out that he can’t just jerk off into a film can for $10 million every year.

- Lionel Richie: “Hello? Is it me you’re looking for? Because I am like, so available.”

- Beyonce won the bad wig of the night award, but only because Tony Bennett has won the award so many times he is permanently disqualified.

- By far the best moment of the night was at the end of the “In Memoriam” segment, when James Brown’s cape guy brought out his GFOS cape, and hung it over the mikestand.

Rest in peace, Godfather of Soul. I hope you’re in a better place now, a place without crappy, self-important awards shows.

Glutton for the snark? Read my review of last year’s Grammys.


dad said...


As soon as I heard her say Jesus, I TiVo'd her fast forward so I wouldn't have to listened. When she won the second time, I didn't even wait for her to speak. The powere of TiVo!! Award shows are especially fun to watch when you can TiVo through the speeches, except the rare ones you might want to hear. It cuts about and hour off the program, so you can watch something else the first hour.

I thought the same about Stevie Wonder.

dad said...

Oh, and another thing. When watching the Grammies, if you turn on closed captioning, you can actually know what the lyrics are to all the songs.

The Dixie Chicks were especially nice to know what they were saying.

peteski said...

Hi dad.

I've been to the valley. I know where she's (MJB) coming from.

Its north from here.

michael said...

Anything that vaguely smacks of an in-your-face to Toby Keith works for me. I don't mind if he pumps the flag and his America-love-it-or-leave-it attitude. I do mind when he feels the need to crap on a view that isn't his. Asshat.

As for the Dixie Chicks, well, I do like their rendition of "Landslide" -- a lot -- but after that, most of those country acts run together for me, after about two bars.

Megan said...

I went to high school with Ludacris. He was a dork. True story.

Johnny Yen said...

I'm not actually a huge fan of the Dixie Chicks' music-- too pop for my taste, but I soooooo love that they got to laugh last! I am so proud of them that they stood their ground. And it turns out they were fucking right, with the rest of us.

And for god's sake, not only someone who can see to pick out his clothes, but Stevie Wonder needs a personal trainer or something-- he's going to need his own zip code soon.

Skylers Dad said...

Note to Stevie and Tony:

You know your time is over and it's time to hang it up when you are supposed to be legends, yet still manage to get played off...

GETkristiLOVE said...

The grammy's were on?

vikkitikkitavi said...

Dad - Jeez, Dad, you're hardcore. If you don't want to hear people thank the lord, why even bother to watch award shows?

Peteski - She's actally coming from the Bronx, which is why you shouldn't fuck with her.

Michael - I KNEW you were a Landslide-ophile! Do you close your eyes whenever you hear it, and sing along? Cuz that's hawt.

Megan - Please leave your beef with Ludacris, and your drama, at home, G. Because my goons are all up this mug, tight.

JohnnyY - Stevie Wonder is inexplicably stuck in the 80s, fashion-wise, which is unfortunate because it's making him resemble a giant Weeble. Maybe he's refusing to update his wardrobe until he rights another decent song.

SkyDad - When Tony thanked Target for being a great sponsor, I had such a Alex-Baldwin-doing-Bennett-on -SNL moment.

Kristi - Are you trying to annoy me by pretending to be above it, hockey girl, or by misuse of the posessive?

MonstrousJoe said...

Cee Lo is da bomb-dizzle! Also, I'd rather sub lemon juice in my (insert uber sensitive, non-obscene organ here) than watch another overblown awards show...

MonstrousJoe said...

er, or rub lemon ...

Justice Jones said...

I feel you on the Beyonce comment. I think she thought she was going to take it home with Dream Girls but then Miss Jennifer Hudson came along and literally, stole the show. Good for her! I'm a fan of Beyonce but it's time she take a step back.

michael said...

Booze me up right, and I'll perform it for you. Eyes closed and in a beam of light from above, evahthang. ;)

vikkitikkitavi said...

MJoe: Did you know that after talking to Danger Mouse about what the song "Crazy" would be about, with the back-up running on a loop in the background, Cee-Lo recorded the entire vocal track in one take? I mean, WTF? How crazy talented is that? I love him.

JusticeJ: Even though I think the Be-yontz needs to look up the word "overexposure" in the dictionary, I was fine with her career, until she called Jennifer Hudson fat, and basically said she could have done Jennifer's part better if they'd let her.

Say what? I know the B is young, but she needs to learn a little graciousness.

Michael: Awesome. Can't wait. You have to fly out for my next hootenanny just for that.