Grammys Media Roundup
Just like everyone blogging and Twittering at home, each media outlet coast to coast had its own take on the 2009 Grammys.
The New York Times focused on the show’s turn away from awards presentations and towards live performances, mostly praising the shift. They mentioned, of course, the Grammy tradition of nominating younger stars but ultimately rewarding veterans.
The LA Times has extensive coverage, along with some delightfully snarky fashion blogging and a celebration of M.I.A.’s offbeat style. In the main piece of analysis, Ann Powers writes that if you’re going to down, you might as well go down swinging, or in this case, singing. The music industry continues to decline, but that didn’t stop the Grammy’s from throwing a party full of loony, lively collaborations.
Chicago Tribune Pop critic Greg Kot leads with the controversial story that was the talk of ceremony – Chris Brown and Rihanna’s no-shows after Brown was linked to an assault. He also shouts out to Chicagoan Jennifer Hudson for keeping it classy and strong in the wake of the murders of three of her family members.
The Boston Globe’s coverage was buried on their website, and included interviews with the staff of Boston-based Rounder Records, who released the Robert Plant and Allison Krauss album that swept that show. The piece also speculated that the Jonas Brothers lost the Best New Artist trophy as karmic retribution for their less-than-perfect performance with Stevie Wonder.
The Grammy’s deserve their low ratings if they continue to award older artists and stiff the young ‘uns, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The paper also pointed out that the best selling artists of last year turned in the worst performances, citing the Jonas Brothers and opening themselves up to a deluge of tween hate mail.
Rolling Stone posits that performances, along with Blink 182’s reunion announcement were the big news of the night – none of the awards were big upsets. The site praised Radiohead and Paul McCartney for turning in some of the evening’s best sets.
Spin's Charles Aaron posted a somewhat non-sensical essay that basically comes down to driving home the time-honored point that the olds win the Grammy’s.
As you might expect, People didn't have much business analysis here, but a nice round-up of memorable quotes and fashion slideshows.
Vibe’s live-blogger writes that the Stevie Wonder collaboration made him not hate the Jonas Brothers. He also concludes that the Grammy’s hate hip-hop.
Gawker declares MIA is the hero of the Grammy’s for bringing it while nine-million months pregnant.
The title of Idolator's post -- Live Blogging the 2009 Grammys Where The Winners Don't Count As Much As The Ability to Bring In Raings -- sums up Idolator’s take on the show – who cares who wins, as long as people are watching.
Stereogum posits that the olds will win everything, and we’re so much cooler than you.
Grammy Week: Chillin' With Clive
Busting a move. That's what Island Def Jam Music Group president/COO Steve Bartels and Universal Motown president Sylvia Rhone were doing onstage last night at Clive Davis' annual pre-Grammy night soiree. Akon and Wyclef, the night's final performers, had the staid Beverly Hilton Hotel ballroom jumping as they bounced on and off the stage and onto tables (Jean closed with a backflip across the stage) as they ran through hits like "The Sweet Escape," "Soul Survivor," and "911."
But it was on Jean's "Sweetest Girl (Dolla Bill)," which features Akon and Lil' Wayne, that Bartels was pulled onto the stage and standing between Akon and Jean began waving his arms in the air like he just didn't care -- much to the raucous delight of the audience. And Rhone more than held her own in the dance department when she joined Bartels onstage, doing a mean rendition of the bump.
Setting up the audience for Jean and Akon's energetic antics was Alicia Keys, wearing a billowing strapless brown and white polka-dot dress. Priming the audience first with the female empowerment-themed "Superwoman," she segued into her current crossover hit "Like You'll Never See Me Again." Then she brought the crowd to its collective feet as everyone joined her in singing the anthemic "No One," joined by a Mardi Gras-mask-clad Jean on guitar.
The evening's other performers included the Foo Fighters, Fantasia, Daughtry (accompanied on "Born on the Bayou" by Nickelback's Chad Kroeger and a black top-hatted and guitar-wielding Slash), David Foster accompanying Josh Groban and Andrea Bocelli (to a rousing standing ovation) and newcomer Leona Lewis who after performing her current single "Bleeding Love," sang a mesmerizing cover of "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." Davis noted that the British newcomer's stateside debut album is coming in two months.
Davis' party remains quite the draw. Everyone from astronaut Buzz Aldrin to Raquel Welch was there, The laundry list of names includes industry veteran Seymour Stein, Gamble & Huff, Quincy Jones, Lindsay Lohan, Carrie Underwood, best new artist nominee Taylor Swift, Janet Jackson and Jermaine Dupri, Island Def Jam chairman Antonio "L.A." Reid and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones, Missy Elliott, CBS executive Les Moonves, Tracy Ullman, Natasha Bedingfield, Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr., and songwriter/production teams the Underdogs and Stargate.
After the party, J.I. heard through informed sources that rumors of Michael Jackson's appearance on tonight's Grammy Awards show are just that. That Jackson is back in Las Vegas and definitely will not appear. Guess we'll just have to stay tuned....
Grammys: The Red Carpet-Eye View
Over at our sister blog, Mobile Beat, mobblogger David Chung's got his tux and his laminate and he's making a night of it posted on the red carpet at the Grammys tonight, snagging shots and details as the assorted stars make their entrances. Point yourself over there, and don't be shy about coming back throughout the night as he reports in with photos and more. Visit Billboard's Mobile Beat @ the Grammys.
Grammy Week: A Classic Wake-Up Call
I'm sure you can imagine what Grammy Week is like in Los Angeles - hundreds of musicians trashing hotel rooms for fun, scaring other guests and freaking out hotel management.
Especially those guys trained as classical pianists - really, have they no shame?
OK, we're kidding. But 25-year-old Chinese wunderkind Lang Lang did have a rock-star kind of showdown at his hotel.
Lang, who is receiving the Recording Academy's President's Merit Award, also will be performing "Rhapsody in Blue" with Herbie Hancock during Sunday's telecast. "I started practicing this morning in the hotel room at 6:30," he says. "My neighbor knocked on my door and said 'STOP PLAYING!' And I said, 'I'm preparing for the Grammys!' He said 'Oh, the Grammys? Then it's okay.'"
See, what those rock stars need to learn how to do is throw their weight around...yeah!
Grammy Week: After-Party Preview
You know how your Grammy party winds up with everyone dodging the last soggy piece of pizza in the box? Yeah, famous people don't roll like that.
The Recording Academy gave a sneak peek at the preparations for the official post-Grammy celebration today. It will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center Sunday night, right after the Grammys finish up next door at the Staples Center.
The soiree will have a theme of "an evening at the opera in turn-of-the-century Europe." Yeah, it sounds complicated, but it's much more of a prettier notion than, say, "gluttony."
Here are the stats from Wolfgang Puck Catering, which is providing the food for the event: There will be (among other things - the fun facts list is an entire page long): 15,000 hand-cracked eggs, 200 pounds of Valrhona Organic Chocolate, 1,600 pounds of prime rib, 1,200 pounds of Snake River Farms filet mignon, 350 pounds of artisan cheese, 600 pounds of lamb osso buco.
The event producer is Along Came Mary, and they will wrangle dancers, circus performers and the always ominous mix of live and fake statues.
But wait, there's more! Entertainment will include performances by Natasha Bedingfield, Cyndi Lauper, DJ Chris Cox, Fourplay and the Gibson/Baldwin Grammy Jazz Ensembles.
Among those in attendance will be Recording Academy Chair Jimmy Jam, who will be fresh off stage from performing with Rihanna and the reunited The Time.
"A few years ago we started trying to make the Grammy celebration after the show a bigger event," he says. "We're very much taking a page out of the Governor's Ball...a lot of the people I talked to last year came through with the intention of going to other parties, and ended up staying the whole time at ours."
And will he have worked up an appetite after working it on stage? "Somebody asked me if I needed to practice my steps - and no, I already know all those steps. It's just remembering them," he laughs. "I have to dust off my shoes and see if some of those old suits still fit."