Grammys 2012: The most bloated Grammy show ever?
A first for the Grammys in 2012 was its album of the year winner apologizing for "snot" on her face, as an overwhelmed Adele did when she accepted her album of the year prize. Another first for the Grammys was its embrace of electronic music.
No doubt this was in part fueled by Skrillex, who's take on dance culture carries a rock 'n' roll energy, and was nominated for best new artist. Unable to ignore the rise of electronic music, Grammy producers attempted to capture the immersive feel of dance music by staging the electronic segment in a tent outside Staples Center.
There were two main things wrong with this: 1) Chris Brown and 2) the Foo Fighters. Was it necessary, with all of the artists nominated in the Grammys' 87 categories, to bring up two artists who had already performed? Are the Grammys unable to flip through the Grammy nomination list to actually pick some other artists?
As for the segment, Deadmau5 interjecting into the Foo Fighters' "Rope" actually worked to the rock band's advantage, even if leader Dave Grohl had earlier criticized those creating music with a computer. It showed that if the Foo Fighters ever attempted to stretch out, the band could actually be something special. The lights and fast-moving electronic zips and zaps looked like great fun, but it's hard to translate the electronic music feel for television viewers. The segment was introduced with a brief (too brief) mention of "Soul Train's" Don Cornelius, and surely there could have been a deeper exploration of "Soul Train" during this segment.
While the dance tribute may not have translated to all Grammy viewers, it was still exponentially better than the train wreck that was Nicki Minaj. Lady Gaga was up for album of the year, and this was a take on Gaga-inspired performance art at its most twisted and misguided. It started with a parody of "The Exorcist" and ended with a hip-hop take on "O Come, All Ye Faithful." A little Minaj goes a long way, and she's only ever been interesting in brief guest spots on other people's records.
In an attempt to correct, apparently, a number of its musical wrongs throughout the night, Grammy producers turned to Paul McCartney to close the show with the grand finale of "Abbey Road" -- "Golden Slumbers," "Carry That Weight" and "The End," this time joined by the likes of Joe Walsh, Bruce Springsteen and (SURPRISE!) the Foo Fighters' Grohl.
It was an all-star closing with a trio of songs that are impossible to quibble with, and once again showed that the Grammys are better at showcasing legends than attempting to capture the pop zeitgeist. McCartney uses this trio of songs to close his concerts, and he does so by putting rock 'n' roll energy ahead of finesse, racing from piano to guitar and flailing away at his instrument.
Still, with all the recycled performances -- McCartney among them -- the Grammy show felt more bloated than ever. There's no need, with 87 categories, to give any artist more than one segment, and by going back to the Foo Fighters and Chris Brown, well, Grammy producers only highlighted who wasn't there: Kanye West. The Chicago artist won rap album of the year for his "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," and it's a shame he didn't get the opportunity to bring the weird look into his egotistical mind to life on the Grammy stage.
-- Todd Martens
Photo: Deadmau5. Credit: Associated Press