It is Grammy time once again. I'll be liveblogging all night, so watch and refresh with me. To see how my predictions held up, just click here.
6:52: According the awards handed out before the ceremony, I'm 8/15 on my pics so far. My main regret is not tabbing Skrillex to sweep the dance categories. Also notable is Gotye's win over fun. in Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. I think that favors him and Kimbra for Record of the Year, which I predicted "We Are Young" would win.
7:03: Taylor Swift kicks off the show with " We Are Never Getting Back Together" with a carnival concept. I'm still getting used to Taylor The Pop Star instead of Taylor The Pop Country Star. I believe it in the studio, but she doesn't have that Shania vibe though. Still, decent performance.
7:10: Ed Sheeran is joined onstage by Elton John. What would the Grammys be without a collaboration with Dwight? I prefer it more when it's not expected (Eminem, Lady Gaga). This is just to basically give a stamp of approval to someone most Americans have not heard. The just okay performance reflects that. It was pleasant, but I already forgot about it. I want some hardware handed out already!
7:18: Come to think, I'm not sure there has ever been a good performance on that small stage in the middle of the audience. Nothing memorable at least aside from maybe The Civil Wars last year.
7:21: Would have rather seen Kelly Clarkson or Carly Rae Jepsen take Pop Solo Performance, but Adele is still loved. 9/16 on picks.
7:28: I like that fun. aspire to make stadium anthems, but that performance of "Carry On" felt inauthentic in every way. The "rain" being poured on them screamed "WE ARE HAVING AN EPIC MOMENT THAT YOU SHOULD BE AWARE OF." There might be riots if they win Best New Artist.
7:43: Just an alright performance by Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley, but major points for Miranda's pink microphone. Miguel pretty much tore things apart with "Adorn." Best of the show so far. Wiz Khalifa was non-factor and I question why he was involved. I'm inclined to believe that most music fans that are aware of Wiz already know Miguel, so there's no need for him to give him a rub.
7:52: fun. wins Song of the Year, just as I predicted. I still like their chances for Record of the Year. Album, not so much.
8:10: Justin Timberlake goes with a big band setup for his performance and it fits perfectly. If the entire album is going to sound like this, I'm stoked.
8:14: Frank Ocean wins for Best Urban Contemporary Album. Not a shock. The big surprise is that Nas was actually on the main telecast handing out an award! So glad he's being seen as elder statesman of hip hop in mainstream eyes. Oh, also, Mumford & Sons performed "I Will Wait" a while back. It was about as rousing as you'd expect.
8:29: Maroon 5 and Alicia Keys take the stage. I'm so leery of these special collaborations because they're usually so limp. Hardly any chemistry and no true innovation. Perhaps I'm being grumpy because it's not like it was a bad performance. It was just formidable. And Kelly Clarkson just won for Best Pop Vocal Album, beating out fun. This hurts their chances for Album of the Year, which I think is now down to Black Keys, Frank Ocean and Mumford & Sons.
8:39: Black Keys also won Best Rock Performance a while ago. They're still on pace for Album of the Year. Rihanna and gives a lowkey performance which I've already forgotten. "No Church In The Wild" also takes Rap/Sung Collaboration. The-Dream does most of the talking and I'm impressed that he came dressed more for a high school basketball game than the Grammys. His resume speaks for itself, so I can't even be mad.
8:54 The Black Keys just ripped through "Lonely Boy" accompanied by Dr. John and Preservation Jazz Hall Band. It's the liveliest thing we've seen tonight.
8:58: Kelly Clarkson knocks it out of the park with her tribute to Patti Page and Carole King. It was heartfelt and technically on point. I wish more of the performers would follow her lead. Zac Brown Band just Best Country Album. The Grammys are obliged to hand out awards to Best New Artist winners the next time they're nominated, right?
9:16: The Bob Marley tribute includes Bruno Mars, Sting, Rihanna and Stephen and Damian Marley. Oddly enough, it starts with Bruno's "Locked Out Of Heaven," which was the wrong call. I did have fun while watching it, but I wish they had artists who were influenced by Marley and included some of his political leaning. So much wasted potential, even if it was entertaining.
9:30: It's weird living in a world where a song like The Lumineers' "Ho Hey" can peak at #3 on the charts AND be accepted in front of a Grammy crowd. It's more fitting for a smaller stage, but it's a great segue way into Jack Where's "Love Interruption." It's the one transition that's really worked. Rock seems to be winning the night because White gives another raucous performance that brings the crowd to their feet. fun. also takes Best New Artist, as I expected, but I still can't see them taking Album of the Year.
9:45: Carrie Underwood has a dress that lights up. Not that she needed it. Her voice already speaks for itself, but I wasn't too hot on the song. Gotye takes Record of the Year, which I felt might happen due to the Pop Duo/Group win over fun. It's worthy and it upholds the integrity of the awards.
9:51: Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Kenny Garrett doing a Dave Brubeck Quartet tribute and it's barely three minutes long? Booooooo!!!!
9:55 Neil Portnow comes out to do his annual shpeel, but is helped this year by Ryan Seacrest and Justin Timberlake to up the charisma factor. I think fewer people might have changed the channel.
10:04 Tribute to Levon Helm includes Mavis Staples, Elton John, T-Bone Burnett, Mumford & Sons and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes performing The Band's "The Weight." It's everything the Marley tribute should have been. You have an actual collaborator in John and artists where you can see Helm's influence on. They took an old song and brought some life to it without making you long too much for the original. Terrific job by all.
10:11: Juanes performs a short rendition of Elton John's "Your Song." He's a talented guy, so I wish they made better use of him. His acoustic cover felt like something I might have seen on American Idol or The Voice where the judges would say something like, "You really made that song your own."
10:22: Frank Ocean does a minimal take on "Forrest Gump." Having seen Ocean in concert before, I know he doesn't move much, so it was very wise to have a video accompany him. It was effective on TV and it allowed the focus to stay on him and the song. Some flubbed notes, but I thought it had emotion, which a lot of the performers haven't been able to bring.
10:32: Mumford & Sons take Album of the Year, which I should have seen coming given the units it sold and the Grammys' focus on improving its credibility. Not the most diverse group of nominees this year, but I'm okay with this win. The show closes with LL Cool J and Chuck D being backed up by Tom Morello, Travis Barker and DJ Z-Trip. I wish that the only hip hop performance on the show was not rock/rap hybrid. It felt outdated and only slapped together because it might have been more palatable to a general audience. The Grammys have yet to fully understand hip hop and this performance is further proof why. Why not let LL and Chuck D perform some of their most well-known hits instead? Why not include more hip hop artists? Fingers crossed that Kendrick Lamar will get some general field nods next year.