Awards Tracker

All things Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tonys

Category: Grammy Awards

Poll: Will Chris Brown ever get a Grammy hug?

Chris Brown newsBecause the Grammy is a peer-group award, it reflects how music industry leaders feel about one another. Like Chris Brown. He's never won a Grammy. After his felony assault of Rihanna, Brown did manage to whip up three nominations. But he was shut out when the awards were handed out last February.

Now that his new CD is out, can Brown finally be a winner?

His new music is certainly selling like one. Reports the L.A. Times: " 'F.A.M.E.' entered Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart at No. 1 Wednesday with first-week sales of 270,000 copies, the second-highest total of the year despite — or perhaps partly because of — the singer's tirade after ABC's 'Good Morning America' host Robin Roberts had asked him about his 2009 assault on former girlfriend Rihanna rather than limiting their discussion to the album. It gives Brown his first No. 1 on the national album chart, although its initial-week sales total is slightly down from his 2004 high of 294,000 for 'Exclusive,' which peaked at No. 4 in Billboard."

At the last Grammys, Brown's "Graffiti" lost the award for best contemporary R&B album to Usher's "Raymond vs. Raymond." His collaboration with Tank, "Take My Time," lost best performance by an R&B group with vocals to Sade's "Soldier of Love." He lost the rap/sung collaboration Grammy to Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind."

-- Tom O'Neil

Image: The cover of Chris Brown's new release, "F.A.M.E." Credit: Jive Records

Music goddess Adele beats the Grammy curse [Video]

Adele newsWhen Adele won the Grammy for best new artist two years ago it looked like she might become another victim of the curse that seems to be dogging one of the Recording Academy's four highest awards.

Adele -– let's be honest -– isn't glamorous. She is chunky and, back then, she was relatively obscure compared with some of the other nominees in that Grammy race, such as the Jonas Brothers and Lady Antebellum. It wouldn't have been too surprising if Adele ended up following other past best new artist winners to quick oblivion, much like Paula Cole, Marc Cohn, A Taste of Honey and Starland Vocal Band.

But Adele has recently experienced an impressive career jump. The L.A. Times says that her sophomore album "21" (which refers to her age when she recorded it) is "marvelous," adding, "Overall, '21' shows that Adele, now 22, is towering in the same landscape where some of her contemporaries, beehived or not, have lost all their bearings."

The CD is now topping the sales charts both in the U.S. and in her native Britain, a rare accomplishment matched only by a few artists in the past, including the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Eminem, Coldplay, Susan Boyle and Madonna.

Adele's performance of "Someone Like You" at the Brit Awards last month, below, triggered a sales stampede that drove her CD to the top of the British charts. On this continent, her sales were boosted by TV appearances on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," "Jimmy Kimmel Live," CBS' "Early Show" and "Chelsea Lately."

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Adele's "21" CD cover. Credit: Columbia Records

Why did Fantasia really snub the Grammys?

There are lots of reasons why stars don't bother to attend the Grammys. If their category isn't among the dozen or so included in the prime-time telecast, they snub the show because they don't feel it's worth their while to make the trip to L.A. if they live out of town. Often, they have to pay for the trek themselves, so they're all the more reluctant to dole out the travel costs. Sometimes, they just don't want to face the public humiliation of losing, especially if they've endured a string of painful defeats in the past.


Of course, nominees never confess such selfish reasons out loud, so Grammy fans never know why so many nominees don't bother to attend the daylong ceremony during which trophies are dispensed in more than 100 categories. But, in fact, most nominees don't show. When journalists ask Grammy contenders about their absences, the nominees come up with curious answers.

Prior to the Grammys, a reporter covering the grand opening of the Atlanta Museum Bar asked Fantasia Barrino, an eight-time loser, if she planned to attend the recent Grammys where she competed in three R&B categories. reported, "In her words, she is boycotting an institution that she feels has turned their back on R&B singers with its noticeable lack of recognition in recent years."

The former "American Idol" champ ended up winning best female R&B vocal performance for "Bittersweet" and an embarrassing moment occurred when she failed to show up at the podium to accept the trophy during the non-televised portion of Grammy day. None of Fantasia's categories were included in the telecast.

Afterward, she confessed a different reason for not being present at the Grammys: She wasn't invited to participate in the tribute to Aretha Franklin that opened the show.

On Monday, she telephoned the BET TV show "106 and Park," saying, "They were honoring someone who is my idol, Aretha Franklin, and there is no way I could have sat there and not got the happy feet and wanting to jump on the mike because she is my favorite, so I felt like, you know, at the end of the day I should have been on that stage, so, I kind of did my own little thing last night."

It's possible, in retrospect, that she regrets not attending, considering she finally won a Grammy. She told BET TV viewers, "Actually, I scared my daughter because I just busted out and started crying, and she thought something was wrong with me. You know it's been a long time coming."

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Fantasia Barrino arrives at the Grammys in Los Angeles in 2009. Credit: Danny Moloshok / Reuters.

Poll: Would Lady Gaga have beaten Lady Antebellum at the Grammys if nominated for record of the year?

Lady gaga bad romance newsThe greatest Grammy outrage this year was the omission of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" from the race for record of the year. It was one of the top-selling singles of 2010 (9.7 million copies) and won video of the year at the MTV Video Music Awards. At the Grammys, "Bad Romance" won best video too, plus Lady Gaga's performance of it claimed the prize for female pop vocal.

If the Grammy nominations for record of the year were chosen by the same voting method as other categories -– that is, by popular vote of members of the recording academy –- it certainly would've been nominated, but instead that lineup is chosen by a secret committee of 25 music experts who obviously don't go gaga over pop's trashiest superstar. They preferred another lady -- Lady Antebellum -– who ended up winning record of the year for "Need You Now."

Do you think Lady Gaga would've ruled if she had made the list, which also included Bruno Mars' "Nothing on You," Eminem and Rihanna's "Love the Way You Lie," Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind" and Cee Lo Green's "… You." Lady Gaga was nominated for album of the year for "The Fame Monster" but lost to Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs."

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Lady Gaga. Credit: Interscope

Grammy Awards: Who gave the worst performance? [poll]

Bob Dylan grammyLet's get really snide about the, ahem, least wonderful Grammy performances.

Obviously, Jennifer Lopez was thinking what we were thinking when she squirmed during Bob Dylan's gruntfest with the Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons: Where's that Soy Bomb guy when you need him?

At age 68, Barbra Streisand isn't even trying to sing anymore. She barely walked through "Evergreen."

Soon after Lady Gaga popped out of that egg to sing, she laid a bigger one on stage.

If Gwyneth Paltrow tries one more time to prove she's a singer as well as an actress, she's gotta give back that Oscar.

Christina Aguilera proved that her screaming fiasco at the Super Bowl was no fluke.

Justin Bieber with Jaden Smith: twice as chuckle-worthy.

The only thing worse than Katy Perry's attempt to sing was her attempt to dance.


 A night of bold moves and noisy risks at Grammys

Lady Gaga has all eyes on her egg

Red carpet photos

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Bob Dylan, second from right, performs at the Grammys. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Justin Bieber is 'upset' and 'disappointed' by Grammy slaps

After losing the Grammy Award for best new artist to jazz singer Esperanza Spalding and the award for pop vocal album to Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber was surprisingly candid backstage.

"I worked really hard these past few years and you know, I'm not going to lie — I was disappointed," Bieber told MTV News. "But, you know, I'm gonna come back [next year] and we'll take a few home."

Justin bieber grammy awardsThe losses have inspired him to "work harder than I did last year," he added. "It's going to be hard, but I'm going to try."

He tweeted to his fans, "As for the awards ... of course I wanted to win. Its been & still is a dream to win a grammy. Was I upset ... yes. But I was happy for her also. Someone said to me tonight its not your successes that define u but your failures. I lost ... but I don't plan on this being my last chance."

Some Bieber fans were so furious over the loss that they attacked Spalding's Wikipedia page with insults and threats. One poster told her to "go die in a hole." Later, the page was cleaned up.

Soon after the Grammycast, Awards Tracker asked our readers if Bieber was robbed at the Grammys by losing best new artist to Spalding. As of this writing, there were more than 1,300 responses who voiced their opinions below. There's still time to add your vote.


-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Justin Bieber performing with Jaden Smith on the Grammy show. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Grammy Awards: What you didn't see in the telecast

If you were lucky enough to be in the audience at Staples Center for the 53rd Grammy Awards on Sunday night, you would have been treated to a PG-13 experience. And maybe you would've wished that things had gotten a bit more rock-and-roll. Like Lady Gaga getting in a fistfight with Jennifer Lopez. Or Justin Bieber being caught on camera huffing glue. Anything to remind you that at its core, music is red-blooded and rowdy.

But instead the most off-book the show got was in the profanity department. Say, when a certain scatological expletive was said on separate occasions by two winners. It was the very first thing Lady Gaga said when she won for pop vocal album. And it was nearly the first thing that Win Butler said when Arcade Fire shocked the crowd by winning album of the year. Only his expletive had a "holy" in front of it. (And of course, Eminem got muted a lot during his powerful performance of "Love the Way You Lie," but some of what he said sound more like "friggin'" to me.)

Another dramatic moment came during Justin Bieber's high tween octane performance of "Never Say Never." As the tiny heartthrob pranced on a riser way above the stage, dancers accompanied him to do flips off the riser. But one of them did not land on his feet -- he landed flat on his side. And hard. The audience gasped and there was a tense moment when he lay there stunned. When he got up, he was limping and holding his back. Then, miraculously, he began dancing and flipping again. Proving that Bieber power is truly unstoppable.

Nail-biting was again apparent when Arcade Fire took to the stage. As they played, the lights flashed apoplectically -- those with heart conditions should have been warned in advance -- and trick bicyclists rode circles around the stage. One of the cyclists half slipped a couple of times, and the second time he came dangerously close to sliding into the audience in the pit beside the stage. 

However, the award for the most creative use of the huge space inside Staples Center goes to Muse. During the band's spirited performance of "The Resistance," dancers dressed like anarchists with red cloth over their mouths repeatedly ran onstage to smash the speakers below the riser they played on. Each time a speaker was smashed, it erupted in sparks, and fake security chased the offender off the stage. When the song was over and the telecast cut to commercial break, the faux anarchists continued to run through the audience with security chasing them out the exits in the back.

But perhaps the best part about being in the audience during the show wasn't what you saw, but what you felt. The power of the collective energy in the room. The ebb and flow of potent emotion that swept through the crowd as it swooned and sighed over the wedding footage that played on the sheet behind Katy Perry as she sang "Not Like the Movies"; the ripple of laughter that came when Cee Lo appeared in full plumage; the warmth and reverence paid to Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand and Mick Jagger; the collective cringe at Seth Rogan's Miley Cyrus joke; and the giddy excitement that crashed over the auditorium like a massive wave when Eminem first appeared onstage.

That's the good stuff. And it's what the crowd came for.


Blogging the Grammy Awards

Red carpet photos

Complete Grammy coverage

--Jessica Gelt

Photo: Muse performs at the Grammy Awards. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Grammy Awards: Catch up on our coverage of all things Gramophone

Good morning! It's the Monday after the Grammys and we all survived, despite some harrowing brushes with music industry implosion. Eminem raged onstage and didn't smile once, even after he won best rap album. A Canadian band on an indie label won album of the year, stopping Lady Antebellum's hot streak. But thankfully, most of all, the Bieber ninja drummers didn't attack downtown Los Angeles.

As a reward for surviving it all, we recommend catching up on the coverage on Pop & Hiss, Awards Tracker and Ministry of Gossip. Some specific links for you to check out:

Critic's Notebook: A night of bold moves and noisy risks at Grammys

Arcade Fire shocks Streisand, the universe, with Grammy win

Esperanza Spalding's win adds up to a big night for jazz -- mostly

Dylan, Mumford & Sons and the Avett Brothers bring an acoustic fury

Happy Valentine's Day! The bromance between Usher and Justin Bieber

Barbra Streisand stars at MusiCares concert, R. Kelly stars at Clive Davis' party

Aretha Franklin promises to be at next year's Grammy's

Lady Gaga has all eyes on her egg

Red carpet photos

--Margaret Wappler

Grammy Awards: Happy Valentine's Day! The bromance between Usher and Justin Bieber


The brotherly love between Usher and Justin Bieber made for great backstage fodder at the 53rd Grammy Awards on Sunday night.

When the two hit the stage earlier in evening, they treated the audience to "vintage" video (circa 2007, when Bieber was a freshly minted teen) performing for the first time for his soon-to-be mentor. Bieber serenaded the R&B superstar with his own hit, “U Got It Bad,” before the camera switched to the two having a conversation on stage about that fateful meeting. After they each sang a mini solo set, the pair performed Usher’s megahit “OMG.”

The lovefest continued when Usher shared his feelings about his protege with reporters.

Although he won two pre-telecast awards (best male R&B vocal performance and best contemporary R&B album), most of the questions the seasoned performer fielded were regarding the teen sensation.

“Obviously I would have preferred Justin to have won, but I’ve been here before and haven’t won,” he said before the young star came running to the podium and did a Superman leap from the top step onto the back of his mentor.

“Sorry, I’d rather do this with him,” he said to the reporters who collectively shifted their attention — and questions — to Bieber.

Though he went home empty-handed, Bieber didn’t feel like a loser: How could he with a hit movie ("Never Say Never") and more fans than he can count and already a hot touring act?

“I had a great night. I got to perform with my mentor,” he said, clad in an all-white suit and white high tops as Usher stood overshadowed but beaming like a proud papa. “I first sang for him three years [ago]; it’s gotten so crazy. He gave me dance steps to look at.”

Before Usher left the room, Bieber — as giddy as ever — held a conversation with his mentor through the backstage microphone, where the two solidified plans for quality time overseas (Usher is headed to Paris; Bieber to London).

“I love you, man,” Bieber said, breaking into a wide smile before facing reporters by himself.

— Gerrick D. Kennedy

Photo: Usher (R) and Justin Bieber perform at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards show at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 13, 2011. Credit: Mark Ralston /AFP /Getty Images.

Grammy Awards poll: Was Justin Bieber robbed?

Justin bieber grammys

OK, so maybe it wasn't so crazy that Justin Bieber lost the Grammy Award for pop vocal album to Lady Gaga. "The Fame Monster" was nominated for album of the year; Justin's "My World 2.0" was not.

But what about the award for best new artist, eh? Justin Bieber was clearly the hottest new artist of the year. He set music sales records, whipped up a media frenzy, created hysterical stampedes and crowd crushes at concert venues. He proved that he's award worthy by already claiming this same trophy from the American Music Awards and the MTV Video Music Awards.

Or is there true justice in the fact this Grammy was bestowed to Esperanza Spalding? After all, she's a critically praised jazz artist who needs more public recognition.

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo credit: Chris Pizzello / Associated Press


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