Pop & Hiss

The L.A. Times music blog

« Previous Post | Pop & Hiss Home | Next Post »

2010 Grammy Awards live!

January 31, 2010 |  5:01 pm

Pop & Hiss live-blogged the 2010 Grammy Awards -- typos and all!


8:30 p.m. The Grammy Awards took a bet on youth in 2010, giving its top prize to country star Taylor Swift. The 20-year-old won four Grammys, including album of the year and best country album.

In the last two years, Grammy voters have bestowed album of the year on industry icons. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss won the title in 2009 for "Raising Sand" and Herbie Hancock took it home in 2008 for "River: The Joni Letters." Swift won the prize for her 2008 album "Fearless," which finished as the top-selling album of 2009, moving a total of 3.2 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Though Swift won the top prize, it was R&B star Beyoncé who can lay claim to a Grammy record. She won six awards total, the most ever by a female artist in a single year. Norah Jones won five awards in 2003; her album was recognized for a total of eight that year.

Beyoncé's wins included best R&B contemporary album for "I Am ... Sasha Fierce," and she took home song of the year for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)." She also performed a rock 'n' roll take on her single "If I Were a Boy," and then segued into "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morissette.

Some of the night's other major winners included Lady Gaga, who won best dance/electronic album awards for "The Fame." Green Day, which won best rock album for "21st Century Breakdown," and Maxwell, who won best R&B album for "Blacksummers'Night."

Stay tuned to Pop & Hiss for more on the Grammy Awards, including a complete wrap and a review from Ann Powers.

Read the story: Taylor Swift wins Grammy album of the year

After the jump, relive the Pop & Hiss live blog.

8:26 p.m. ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Taylor Swift's "Fearless."

8:25 p.m. Weirdest intro of the night: Quentin Tarantino playing the role of an angry car salesman introducing Drake, Eminem and Lil Wayne. He seemed to suddenly develop some sort of gangster accent for the rant. Not sure how the performance played in the Staples Center -- and it seemed to look pretty powerful -- but it was largely bleeped on CBS broadcast.

8:05 p.m. Imelda May and Jeff Beck perform a sharp tribute to Les Paul, tackling "How High the Moon." Beck was clear, direct and honored the guitar maker in an impressive display that didn't cloud the vocalist.

7:58 p.m. Maxwell, who already won best R&B album for "Blacksummers'Night," reprises his award-show staple "Pretty Wings," a gorgeous tune worthy of its nomination for song of the year. He's joined by Roberta Flack for a few moments of "Where is the Love." Flack isn't the showstopper she once was, but Maxwell looks honored and thrilled to share the stage with her. One of the more respectful performances of the night.

7:47 p.m.: BEST FEMALE POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE: Beyoncé's "Halo." That's No. 6 for the R&B singer. A foreshadowing of album of the year? Swift, remember, didn't win either top single categories at the Grammys. 

7:43 p.m. Dave Matthews Band gets the string section treatment for "You & Me." In case strings weren't enough for you, how about a marching band? As many layers as the Grammys throw on top of the song, however, it still sounds like the end-credits tune for a "Shrek" film. 

7:30 p.m. Wyclef Jean introduces the Grammys' Haiti benefit segment --  a performance of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" with opera singer Andrea Bocelli and R&B star Mary J. Blige. The Grammys don't do much restrained, and the performance of the Simon & Garfunkel classic is definitely blown up for the CBS telecast. It will be available as a download on iTunes after the show. For what it's worth, this writer would have liked to have seen a little more Blige, and a little less opera. 

7:18 p.m. Jay-Z thanks the "genius that is Kanye West" as he accepts the award for best rap sung collaboration for "Run This Town," but Kanye is nowhere to be found. Rihanna and a heretofore unknown child are on stage, however, and accept the award. "Run This Town" did beat Lonely Island's "I'm on a Boat," and here's betting Grammy voters breathed a sigh of relief that a novelty song didn't win an award. 

7:12 p.m. The Bon Jovi extravaganza. Not to be a Crotchety Old Man Blogger here, and not to take anything away from Bon Jovi's arena success and memorable hooks, but a nearly six-minute bit for a band that only has one nomination this year? Not to mention for an album that kinda tanked? Somebody must have been owed a favor. We have multiple episodes of "The Mentalist" on the DVR, and now we're six more minutes away from them.  

7:06 p.m. What a difference a year makes. At the 2009 Grammy Awards, Taylor Swift was relegated to the kid's table, as she performed with Miley Cyrus. This year, she got to appear with some music royalty, being joined by Stevie Nicks. She may not best Lady Gaga and Beyoncé for album of the year, but she's in their company. To mark the occasion, we propose that the Taylor Swift doll now come with Lady Gaga accessories. To wit:


6:57 p.m. Gimmick alert! Michael Jackson 3-D tribute for "Earth." While no one expected this to be "Avatar," the effects were hit-and-miss, and the song isn't so much as a song as it is a lecture. Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson, Smokey Robinson and Usher do their best to inject some passion into the routine, but it plays out like an ad for the DVD release of "Michael Jackson's This Is It" rather than a tribute. Prince and Paris Jackson make a brief appearance, and tell us that Michael was to perform at the Grammys this year.

6:46 p.m. "You could not make up a success story like this one," Ryan Seacrest said Taylor Swift, who's performing "Today Was a Fairytale," her vehicle for the film "Valentine's Day." The song lacks the energy of some of her hits, but gives us something fresh from the star. But in a Grammy pairing that makes little-to-zero sense, we get Swift and Stevie Nicks for a few seconds of Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon" and then a folksy take on Swift's "You Belong With Me." Putting Swift with such a distinctive rock 'n' roll voice isn't the best showcase for her. Swift's appeal is her good-natured charm and simplicity, but she's also a flat vocalist. 

6:36 p.m. Play ball! Hands in the air, and the crowd is on their feet for "America the Beautiful" with Zac Brown Band. The best new artist winners are joined by legend Leon Russell and perform a medley of "Dixie Lullaby" and "Chicken Fried." Pandering -- half-expected the song to finish in a giant Fourth of July-like fireworks explosion -- but Russell made the best of his few seconds on stage.  

6:32 p.m.: BEST ROCK ALBUM: Green Day's "21st Century Breakdown." The band won for "American Idiot," and beat out U2 for this prize. 

6:22 p.m.: Here's an unnecessary performance: Jamie Foxx and T-Pain singing the Auto-Tune wonder "Blame It." Shots of George Clinton, and a final big screeching gratuitous guitar solo from Slash. At first, it seemed like a nod to 2008, but then it shot back to the late '80s. 

6:17 p.m. RECORD OF THE YEAR: Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody." The rock 'n' roll slow-dance catapulted the Kings of Leon to the top of the charts, and overtook cuts from Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas and Swift to win record of the year. Since record of the year is awarded to the artists and producers, many thought Gaga or the BEPs would take this category, but voters again went the more traditional route. Also of note, without a song or record of the year win, Swift will now truly have a reason to act shocked if she takes album of the year. 

6:11 p.m. Colbert wins best comedy album for "A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift Of All!" He quips, "It's a Christmas album, so I suppose I should thank God."

6:08 p.m. Country's Lady Antebellum performing adult pop hit "Need You Now." It's been an award show staple of late, but it's a pleasant-enough hit. It's a showcase for Hillary Scott, who will be a star thanks to this cut. At the Grammys, the song did have a bit more kick, turning this late-night tale of boozy desperation into a surprising clap-along ditty. 

5:54 p.m. Miley Cyrus introduces the Black Eyed Peas, who like Beyoncé are dressed like their auditioning for a sci-fi film. The censors appear to just miss a curse word, starting with "Imma Be," and eventually going into "I Gotta Feeling." Gotta say, the BEPs don't usually translate well on national television -- the fact that all their songs are are in every other commercial probably does a bit to lesson their appeal -- but they came off ridiculously fun here. They get a bonus point for some dancing robots, and didn't appear to be taking things too seriously. "Welcome to the future," will.i.am said. No one really believed the goofy sound effects and military-like outfits were a sign of things to come, but this was B-movie camp at its best.  

5:49 p.m. BEST NEW ARTIST: Zac Brown Band, the first country artist to win this title since Carrie Underwood, and only the second in the last 10 years. Silver Lake's Silversun Pickups are saved from the so-called best new artist curse. But the Ting Tings were robbed, though the spunky duo never had a chance. 

5:45 p.m. Pink, proving once again that some pretty acrobatics can distract from a boring song, in this case "Glitter in the Air." For those who’ve always wanted to add some circus stunts to their bummer ballads, this was your dream come true. For the rest of us, this was the kind of stunt you see outside the Luxor. 

5:31 p.m. What Beyoncé may as well have been saying to Taylor Swift: “So, you think you're a crossover artist? You ain't seeing nothing, kid.” Queen B rocks it out with "If I Were a Boy," complete with a crotch-grab and all, and then jumps into "You Oughta Know." Yes, the Alanis Morissette song. Beyoncé has done what every artist should do, and that's use this platform to take some chances, and try out something the prime-time audience isn't expecting. She was crawling on all fours, and belting out the lyrics with greater ferocity than Billie Joe Armstrong (see what the theater does, Billie?), even if it was a bit of an obvious attempt to prove that she can do it all. 

5:27 p.m. BEST COUNTRY ALBUM: Taylor Swift's "Fearless." This gives Swift three wins for the night. She noted that it was the first time she’d walked up the Staples Center stairs to "accept a Grammy on national television." First time for everything. I guess when you've won nearly every award known to man,  you have to find new angles. "I just believe I'm standing here accepting an impossible dream."

5:15 p.m. Dear Green Day: The world loved "American Idiot." Its political anthems shot you back to relevancy, and the album’s flashes of theatricality added a welcome bit of bombast to your sound. When the album was turned into a Broadway-bound musical, that was all a bit unexpected, and even deserved we would say. But -- and don't be offended Green Day -- bigger isn't always better. The choir on "21 Guns" was overkill, and there's Never (we capitalized the “N” on “never” for added emphasis) a reason to duet with multiple Broadway singers on the Grammys. Just because people seem to like "Glee," it doesn't mean we want giant choirs with all our punk rock songs. Then again, we appreciate the fact that there was no Elton John. Cheers. 

5:13 p.m. SONG OF THE YEAR: Beyoncé's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)." This gives Beyoncé five total awards.  

5:12 p.m. Stephen Colbert gave a pretty sharp opening monologue, joking that the music biz was saved by a "48-year-old Scottish cat lady with sensible shoes," alluding to Susan Boyle. Will she be at the Grammys in 2011? Let us hope not. 

5:06 p.m. Gaga started pretty electric, her "Poker Face" getting a slight reworking for the big stage. The Broadway (or maybe Vegas?) production had her kidnapped onstage, and materializing with Elton John. And the two traded off on "Speechless" and Elton's "Your Song." It showed off Gaga's vocal chops, but it was another over-the-top Grammy attempt to connect a legend with a current artist. If Grammy producers had wanted to do something truly inspired, they would have put Gaga onstage with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and drawn the connection between the mainstream and the underground. There's 109 categories. The Grammys should use them all when plotting their performances. 

5:04 p.m. You know it's winter when Elton John migrates west for award season.

5:01 p.m. Lady Gaga, in a glittery butterfly outfit, starts with "Poker Face" -- the first few notes a bit theatrical. A tease to the Elton John pairing happening in moments. Gaga is opening the medley with an oldie, but it's the song that put her on the map. 

4:59 p.m. We are live! Stay tuned. Pre-show blogging below:


4:01 p.m. Pop vocal album: The Black Eyed Peas' "The E.N.D."

With the win, the pre-tel comes to an end. Beyoncé will head into the telecast with four Grammys, Lady Gaga has two and Taylor Swift also has two. Only nine categories will be given out on the air, as the Grammys will again go with a performance-heavy telecast, including a 3-D tribute to Michael Jackson. The awards will open with Lady Gaga.

Some of the major pre-tel winners include Eminem's "Relapse" for best rap album, Beyoncé's "I Am ... Sasha Fierce" for best contemporary R&B album and Phoenix's "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix" for best alternative album. The band's "1901" has been inescapable of late, having been featured in a car commercial, but it also likely raised the band's profile for Grammy voters. 

Pop & Hiss will take a slight break, and be back at 5 p.m. for the start of the show. Stay tuned to this post. 

3:57 p.m. Kings of Leon has quickly tallied two wins for its cellphone-in-the-air ballad "Use Somebody" -- best rock performance of a duo or group with vocals and best rock song. The latter bested titles from U2 and Pearl Jam. Kings of Leon lost best rock album in 2009 to Coldplay. 

3:55 p.m. Bruce Springsteen's "Working on a Dream" wins best solo rock vocal performance. The win means Young misses his chance to move ahead of Britney Spears in the Grammy win total, and has to hold at one. 

3:49 p.m. Best alternative music album: Phoenix wins for "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix." Well deserved for the Parisians. Two of the alt album contenders -- Phoenix and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' "It's Blitz!" were titles that should have been legit album of the year contenders. Of late, Grammy voters have been using the "alternative" term as a catch-all for more adventurous rock. 

3:38 p.m. Is Beyoncé in line for a sweep of the major categories? Her "I Am ... Sasha Fierce" wins best contemporary R&B album. Note that best country album was not given out in the pre-tel, so Swift still has some potentially big awards on the horizon. Swift versus  Beyoncé: This is what passes for tension at the 2010 Grammy Awards. 

3:36 p.m. Maxwell's "Blacksummers' Night" wins best R&B album. 

3:34 p.m. Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" takes best R&B song, besting Maxwell's "Pretty Wings." The two will face off in song of the year tonight. 

3:32 p.m. Beyoncé has now tied Swift and Lady Gaga with two awards. Her "At Last" won best traditional R&B vocal performance. 

3:29 p.m. The pre-tel is flying through the genre categories. Beyoncé gets her first award. She's up for 10. Her "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" took best female R&B vocal solo, and Maxwell won for best male R&B vocal solo for "Pretty Wings." This is Maxwell's first Grammy win. 

3:27 p.m. And the popularity contest begins. Eminem's "Relapse" wins best rap album, besting titles from Mos Def and Q-Tip. 

3:24 p.m. Jay-Z's "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)" wins best rap solo performance. One of the weaker tracks on "The Blueprint 3," this award should have gone to the psychedelic rap of Kid Cudi. 

3:22 p.m. Ramblin' Jack Elliott wins best traditional blues album for "A Stranger Here," released on Silver Lake's Anti- Records. "I don't know what they're anti, but I'm for it." 

3:14 p.m.Charlie Wilson -- "Uncle Charlie" -- performs a few seconds of his recent "There Goes My Baby," later offers what will likely be the best mid-song ad-libs one hears on this Grammy Day, telling the crowd he was addicted to crack for 25 years and beat prostate cancer. "How do I look?" he then repeatedly shouts.  

3:09 p.m. Recording Academy chief Neil Portnow takes the stage. The Neil Young benefit on Friday night "raised more than $4 million." 

3:08 p..m. Team Beyoncé, the R&B awards are coming up in an estimated 15 minutes or so. 

3:01 p.m. Prefer red carpet coverage to what we're doing here? Head over to sister blog Ministry of Gossip, which has observations and interviews from outside Staples Center. "I'm so excited to be here but also overwhelmed," alt-country hero Neko Case told the Ministry. "I'm so country mouse! I'm pretty excited by the outfits too. There are some amazing looking ladies." 

2:57 p.m. Coming up soon in the pre-tel will be a performance from Beast, which is nominated for best short form music video for "Mr. Hurricane." Come on, Grammy, if there's time for yet another award show performance from Jamie Foxx tonight, you can put Beast on CBS. 

2:50 p.m. The Grammy Awards aren't worth breaking some appointments for. In accepting the best bluegrass album trophy for Steve Martin, his producer, John McEuen, noted that the comedian-banjo player wanted to keep "his massage appointment." 

2:47 p.m. Swift's "White Horse" wins best country song. She accepts with her co-writer Liz Rose. "We just won a Grammy," Swift said to her partner, adding, "She started writing songs with me when she had absolutely no reason to do so. I didn't have a record label. I didn't have anything to offer her."

2:45 p.m. Swift wins her second Grammy. 

2:42  p.m. "I live in awe of the people I was nominated against in this category," Swift said as she accepted her trophy for best female country vocal solo. Her "White Horse" beat out Miranda Lambert's "Dead Flowers" and Carrie Underwood's "Just a Dream," among others. While Miranda is certainly a better pure singer than Taylor, give Swift credit for sticking around in the pre-tel to hear her categories, opting to forgo a few extra minutes on the red carpet.  

2:40 p.m. Taylor Swift wins her first Grammy. 

2:39 p.m. Best contemporary folk album: Steve Earle's "Townes."

2:35 p.m. Levon Helms' "Electric Dirt" wins best Americana album, besting titles from Bob Dylan and Wilco. The latter's "Wilco (The Album)" didn't really fit in this category, but that's a quirk of having 109 categories. Here's a fun fact: Wilco did not submit its title for album of the year contention. 

2:29 p.m. Here's a long overdue award. One of the trophies given out in the pre-tel was best boxed or special limited edition package. This hotly contested little nugget of an award went to Neil Young for his "Neil Young Archives Vol. I (1963-1972)." It brings Young's Grammy total to one. He is now tied with Britney Spears. 

2:24 p.m. Speaking of Gaga, word, according to E! Online, is she'll be opening the Grammy telecast tonight, performing with Sir Elton John. The pianist, of course, famously performed with Eminem at the Grammys in 2001, but there are fewer social undertones to this pairing, and more a meeting of theatrical minds. This likely means our hope here at the P&H HQ of seeing Gaga and Kanye West perform will go unrealized.   

2:21 p.m. Lady Gaga wins her second award. She has a total of five nominations tonight. Her debut,  "The Fame," won best dance/electronic album, but don't necessarily think this means she's in line for a top album of the year nod tonight. It was expected that Gaga would take the dance fields. She, of course, wasn't in the pre-tel to accept the award, as most of the major artists are either on the red carpet, or plotting their late arrival. 

2:20 p.m. Lady Gaga wins her first award, with "Poker Face" taking best dance recording. She beat out her fellow album of the year nominees the Black Eyed Peas.

2:16 p.m. We're coming up on Taylor Swift territory. First country awards to be given out within the next 20 to 30 minutes. Swift has eight  nominations, second only to Beyoncé's 10. 

1:58 p.m. To backtrack a little bit, the Grammys had technical difficulties when the first few awards were handed out, meaning we missed the film awards. "Slumdog Millionaire," a blast from last year's award season, unsurprisingly, won best compilation soundtrack album. In the best score field, composer Michael Giacchino had two noms -- "Up" and "Star Trek" -- and won for the right film. His score for "Up" is a lovely, jazzy addition to the film, encompassing a lifetime of adventure and heartache with understatement and grace. 

1:55 p.m. Béla Fleck wins best contemporary world music album for "Throw Down Your Heart: Tales From the Acoustic Planet, Vol. 3 -- Africa Sessions," beating out Amadou & Mariam's "Welcome to Mali." 

1:46 p.m. Los Tigres del Norte win best norteño album. The pre-tel is in the midst of the Latin and world categories. Pop & Hiss has already covered the Latin Grammys here, but the Recording Academy hasn't shown much desire to trim its 109 categories.On to best Hawaiian music album, won by "Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Volume 2."

1:38 p.m. Buck Howdy, accepting his best spoken word album for children, noted that it cost less to produce his album than it did to valet his car at the Grammy nominee dinner. 

1:34 p.m. Grammy.com has a fun little widget and we're going to see how it looks embedded in this blog. Below is something the Grammy site is calling a "fanbuzz visualizer," which is supposed to tell us which artists are generating the most discussion on social network sites. Take a look:

1:31 p.m. Thanks for the comment, Rebecca. She's not too pleased with the topics discussed by the Grammy.com red carpet reporters. Rebecca writes, "Well that was a massive fail. I hoped to actually have my kids watch their dad win/lose and instead they got to listen to numb-nuts talking about peeing next to famous people. Aaargh."

1:25 p..m. Producer/DJ David Guetta wins his first award of the night for best remixed recording, non-classical. He's up for five tonight, including record of the year with the Black Eyed Peas for "I Gotta Feeling." He gives a brief non-scripted speech, one that champions the dance community. "Finally, the DJ culture, and the dance culture, is growing in America ... I'm not a real musician trained, and I cannot write music, but I first started to remix and then create my own music." 

1:22 p.m. We're back in the pre-tel, picking up with best engineered album, non-classical. Former best new artist nominee Imogen Heap won this for her "Ellipse." She appears to be wearing part of a drum kit around her neck. 

1:13 p.m. "We lost the pre-tel tape." That's what we're overhearing on the Grammy.com broadcast right now, as the cameras are affixed on the red carpet. This is actually more fascinating, as we're getting a full live broadcast, including off-camera asides, and glimpses of red carpet journalists trying to improvise their way through awkward interviews. Right now, for instance, the Grammy.com reporters are discussing which artists they have "peed" next to. Cuz that's what the kids talk about? And how do you know when you're dealing with a powerful artist? "If you can clean out an entire potty" and have the whole restroom to yourself. 

1:09 p.m. Not tuned into the pre-tel? No worries. We're told this will be on-demand for a full 30 days. This makes an excellent alternative to the Super Bowl, for those who want to avoid Grammy spoilers for the upcoming week. 

12:57 p.m. Will the Grammys go young? This year's album of the year features a pair of superstars who had breakout years in 2009 -- Taylor Swift with her sophomore effort, "Fearless," and Lady Gaga with her debut, "The Fame." The two won't have to best any long overdue heritage acts to win the top prize, yet both Beyoncé and the Dave Matthews Band are overdue for trophies in the major categories. 

The final prize won't be given out till about eight hours from now, but Pop & Hiss will be with you the whole way. The pre-telecast starts at 1 p.m., and can be watched live at Grammy.com. We'll let you know major winners, as about 99 of the 109 categories are awarded before the broadcast -- tape delayed for those on the West Coast -- starts at 5 p.m. EST. 

Want more Grammy coverage in the meantime? Here's our take on the MusiCares tribute to Neil Young, a peek at rehearsals and some final predictions

--Todd Martens

Photo: Top, Lady Gaga. Middle, Taylor Swift reacts to her Grammy win. Credits: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times