By Sam Bertschmann
Daft Punk wins Grammys; keeps Katniss in line. Courtesy of Spin.com
Rumor has it the Grammys used to be an awards ceremony. Now, they are possibly the Country Music Awards (see: performances by Hunter Hayes, Keith Urban, Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert and more), Cirque du Soleil (P!nk’s acrobatic routine) or an episode of Glee (mash-ups and elaborate sets galore).
LL Cool J hosted the 56th Annual Grammy Awards this past Sunday from 8 p.m. until the end of time. Daft Punk definitely wrote “Get Lucky” about this year’s ceremony (“I’m up all night to the sun,” indeed).
Because the Recording Academy does not understand the concepts of opening acts and headliners, Beyoncé and Jay-Z kicked off the night with “Drunk in Love.” Good luck following that, everyone except the remaining Beatles.
Thankfully, Blue Ivy Carter can stay hydrated, because proud papa Jay-Z won a “gold sippy cup” for her, otherwise known as the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration Grammy for his and Justin Timberlake’s “Holy Grail.”
“Mack-la-more” and Ryan Lewis took home Best New Artist. Later in the evening, they collaborated with Mary Lambert to perform “Same Love” while Queen Latifah and Madonna officiated 34 weddings, to which Beyoncé wore white.
Lorde gave the second performance of the night with “Royals,” which won Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance. You can call her Queen Bee (but not Queen Bey). Her dance moves suggested that she might be the love child of Kate Bush and a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
The award for “Most Bizarre Set” would go to either Katy Perry, who performed “Dark Horse” amidst some combination of Maleficent, War Horse and the Salem witch trials, or Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons with their mash-up of “Radioactive” and “M.A.A.D. City,” set in an episode of American Horror Story: Asylum.
In recent years, the Grammys have taken to pairing music legends with artists frequently featured on Now! That’s What I Call Music compilations, and Sunday’s show was no exception. Robin Thicke was the first offender, joining Chicago for “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” and “Saturday in the Park.” Others included Blake Shelton with Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard and Sara Bareilles with Carole King. Did “Brave” really need to be mashed up with “Beautiful”? I have heard the former more than enough on those annoying Microsoft Tablet commercials. Be quiet while King is singing, please.
The best of these collaborations by far was Daft Punk and Stevie Wonder with “Get Lucky,” which won Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories took home Album of the Year, Best Dance/Electronica Album and Best Engineered Album (Non-Classical). Judging by their outfits, they have possibly also taken jobs as Panem Peacekeepers.
Beatlemania was alive and well at Sunday’s ceremony. Ringo Starr played “Photograph,” the Fab Four won the 2014 Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award and Starr reunited with Paul McCartney for “Queenie Eye.” Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon were present as well, and it is difficult to determine who was the more uncomfortable dancer: Ono or Swift.
Speaking of Swift, her performance of “All Too Well” was all too much, replete with overdramatic hair flipping and a closing glare, no doubt directed at whichever of her ex-boyfriends gave her the material for that song (I think this one is for Jake Gyllenhal, but who can keep them all straight?). I have never been a fan of Swift’s music, but even I can admit that she has a great voice. Why must she use it for evil?
Dave Grohl had, perhaps, the best night of any Grammy nominee, winning Best Rock Song with McCartney and his fellow Nirvana-mates for “Cut Me Some Slack.” He closed out the show on drums with Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and Lindsay Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac). Because life is unfair, CBS decided that this was the moment to end the already overtime show, cutting off this magnificent jam session partway through. Apparently, Metallica and Lang Lang were more important.