6:49 Showtime is near. Checking out some of the awards handed out before the show and seeing how they matched up with my predictions. Some things of note: Black Keys won Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group and also took Best Alternative/Music Album, which was supposed to be a gimme for Arcade Fire. Huge upset. Also, "Empire State of Mind" taking Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration over Eminem suggests that it may not be his night after all. This could have huge ramifications for the general categories, specifically Album of the Year where Eminem is favored.
6:58 I'm probably more excited than I should be that "Empire State of Mind" won those categories. For one, it makes Record of the Year more interesting and "Empire State of Mind" is simply the better song.
7:05 Tribute to Aretha Franklin to kick off the show featuring Martina McBride, Florence Welch, Yolanda Adams, Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Hudson. Right now, Xtina is winning. Florence seems like the only who doesn't belong. Will have to wait till she gets her solo turn. Martina McBride is making a very strong case for 2nd place.
7:10 Yolanda Adams was probably the most rousing so far. It touched something within me. I still think Christina came out tops. Any good reason why Joss Stone couldn't make it?
7:13 Aretha tribute was decent. Not sure I would have started the show off with it, but I can't 100% knock it because it is frickin' Aretha Franklin.
7:14 Final scorecard for Aretha tribute. 1. Christina Aguilera 2. Yolanda Adams 3. Martina McBride 4. Jennifer Hudson 5. Florence Welch.
7:21 "Hey, Soul Sister" wins Best Performance by a Pop Duo or Group. Not a shocker. It was the biggest hit out of the category, if we're being honest, Paramore was robbed!
7:24 Thank you Lady Gaga for making the Grammys wonderfully weird. Also, can't wait to hear the studio version of "Born This Way." Sounds like a keeper.
7:32 The promos for the Grammys made it seem as if this was going to be an amazing Gaga performance that would allegedly have everyone talking the next morning. Decent, but not watercooler material.
7:35 I liked "The House That Built Me" so much that it cracked my top 100 singles of 2010, but Miranda Lambert sounds a little flat during this performance. There's very little of the magic she had on the recording, which sucks because it's a damn fine song and it's the first time that a lot of people will hear it.
7:39 Whoa! Muse performing on the Grammys? Not very often that they have rock acts without crossover hits on the show, unless they're tenured veterans or released an album that got a ton of attention.
7:45 Kind of interesting that Muse would be on the Grammys. Only nominated for two Grammys with no chance of winning and "Resistance" was mostly a hit on the rock charts. Perhaps they're striving to actually include some quality, relevant acts to fill out the three hours. Also, why have there only been two awards handed out within the first 45 minutes? Maybe more people would watch if the races were hyped up more.
7:58 Fun performance overall by B.o.B., Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae. I knew it was going to be fun as soon as I saw B.o.B. rockin' the monocle. I love Bruno's voice when he's going for a softer tone, but couldn't stand some of the shoutier moments of "Grenade," but I did like the doo-wop arrangement. Of course, Monae took over the show with "Cold War." She oozes star quality out of everyone of her pores. We'll be blessed if we see anything else during the night that matches the energy of that performance.
8:07 Showing Justin Bieber play the guitar can only improve his status. I'm sure a lot of people were unaware he could do that.
8:08 Bieber is also okay in my book for bringing up dancers who resemble Scorpion circa Mortal Kombat II.
8:10 I'm not a fan of Jaden Smith as a rapper. Just having the camera cut back and forth to his parents mouthing the words only reinforced the fact that the performance just turned into a talent show.
8:13 I have to admit that was a pretty decent performance from Justin Bieber and Usher. Cool production values and and it was very spirited. I'm sure their fans enjoyed it.
8:15 Best Rock Album was such a weak category this year. I'm glad that Muse won, but I wouldn't consider it a great album by any means. Before I said they had no chance of winning, but I suppose all the older votes canceled each other out. Plus, Muse had an increased profile in the States with "Resistance" becoming a radio hit.
8:26 Smart programming to have Mumford & Sons and The Avett Brothers playing back-to-back on the same stage. Highlights the sort of music that doesn't get mainstream attention.
8:31 Okay, Bob Dylan's voice is shot to crap, but I'm halfway close to getting chills from watching this bluegrass version of "Maggie's Farm." The execution is lively.
8:40 Have Lady Antebellum been closet Teddy Pendergrass fans all this time? This is news to me. I also picked Lady Antebellum to win Record and Song of the Year in my predictions.
8:44 Eh, pleasant enough performance from Lady A.
8:48 Gwyneth Paltrow is actually the weirdest part of this performance, puppets, and Elton John regalia included.
8:53 I appreciated the spectacle of Cee Lo's performance and it also made me smile, but it just didn't really connect with me. The musicianship wasn't there and I think the focus was lost. Scissor Sisters did a much cooler job of working with puppets at the 2005 Brit Awards. http://youtu.be/fEf_-BKT6zg
9:02 Katy Perry gives a another solid performance in what is shaping up to be a decent Grammy ceremony. Less risque than when she performed "I Kissed A Girl" but certainly more memorable overall.
9:06 Nice sweet little tribute to Dolly Parton with John Mayer, Keith Urban and Norah Jones performing "Jolene." It was actually deserving of being played on a bigger state instead of as a lead-up to Song of the Year, which is won by Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now." As it stands, I still favor Eminem to take Album of the Year as long as he can still nab Best Rap Album. A little bit of his thunder was stole with the "Empire State of Mind" wins in the rap categories, but he is by far the strongest choice. Record of the Year will be very telling but it appears that Best New Artist is coming up now. I called Drake in my predictions, but it seems to be popular to pick Florence + The Machine. I just don't see that happening with BNA being her only nomination of the night.
9:23 Eminem gave a good technical performance, but "I Need A Doctor" is far from one of his best songs. Nice to see Dr. Dre perform again. I guess this is all the hip hop we're going to get this year. Sigh.
9:24 I'm completely shocked at the Esperanza Spalding win for Best New Artist. Very deserving and it would make sense that the NARAS would pick someone like her. Young jazz artist who's sings and plays upright bass, writes her own material, sings in English and Spanish. It's definitely the kind of stuff they like to award. Not to mention that the music itself really good. Her 2008 album, Esperanza is ace, folks.
9:28 Still beaming from the Esperanza win! Very happy for her.
9:35 Nice touch having Mick Jagger do a Solomon Burke tribute. It makes more sense than oh, Lady Antebellum performing Teddy Pendergrass.
9:38 How is Mick Jagger able to move around like that at his age??
9:40 So yeah, Jagger just killed "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love." Pretty much showed everyone in the audience how it's done.
9:47 I have nothing against Barbara Streisand. Don't know enough of her music and she's got a good voice, but how is her performing relevant? Don't think she was even nominated. But I suppose if Streisand wants to perform, who is anyone to reject her?
9:52 I've never seen Best Rap Album given so late in the ceremony. I'm sure they did it for the ratings because they figured people would want to see Eminem win. Now I'm starting to think that Album of the Year is less likely for him now that it could be viewed he's already had his moment. Hmm...
10:04 I understand that Rihanna is a big star, but that performance was not worthy of being one of the last ones of the show. Nice chemistry between her and Drake though.
10:05 Not surprising to me at least, Lady A takes Record of the Year. I still don't see how they could get Album of the Year since there is only one crossover hit on that album. The Dixie Chicks were able to do it, but they were much more of a mainstream name and had been nominated in that category twice before. I still think Eminem is going to get the win.
10:12 Something new and strange is happening at the Grammys this year. The programming choices have all been pretty solid, but what's most shocking is Arcade Fire being one of the last acts to perform.
10:25 Arcade Fire wins Album of the Year in an upset, then proceeds to perform again directly after accepting the award. This must be a first and I am loving it.
10:28 Arcade Fire winning Album of the Year is monumental in so many ways. First, it's unheard of for an indie rock album to win this category. They've managed to do something that neither Beck, Radiohead or The White Stripes accomplished. What's also more impressive is that The Suburbs had to have won based purely on merit because there are no big singles as was the case with the previously mentioned artists and there was next to no impact on the larger mainstream conscience aside from debuting at #1. What's also crazy is that Arcade Fire won this award with no other victories in any categories. They were widely expected to take Best Alternative/Music Album, which went to The Black Keys instead. Once they lost that, I'll admit that I completely wrote them off. I'm thinking that most of the votes were between Arcade Fire and Eminem. A victory for Eminem would have been due to outside circumstances such as his comeback and the success of his album, but the album itself is not exactly a masterpiece. The Katy Perry nod is still a joke, Lady Antebellum has no other hits and Lady Gaga's entry was an EP. After all that, Arcade Fire probably felt like the strongest choice to go with for a lot of voters.
10:39 And I'm done for the night. Overall, it's been a pretty solid ceremony. Most of the performances held my attention, but it would be nice to have more awards given throughout during the show, which will probably never happen since most folks watch to see the artists perform.