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2011 Grammy Awards Had Great Performances and Some Upsets


I usually watch the beginning of the Grammy’s for some of the fun musical numbers, Lady Antebellum, cleaned house with five Grammy Awards- including Record of the Year for their hit song “Need You Now.” Photo: www.billboard.comand then since most of the bands I like aren’t even nominated, I skip the rest of it. 
For the 2011 Grammys however – I was cautiously optimistic – Florence and the Machine were nominated for Best New Artist and Arcade Fire was nominated for Best Album.

Florence didn’t win best new artist - Esperanza Spalding did – but Florence joined Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Martina McBride, and Yolanda Adams as they performed a tribute to Aretha Franklin, who was home recovering from surgery.  While it was certainly nice to hear a recap of some of Aretha’s classics, the segment went on a bit too long.

Lady Gaga made a grand entrance in an egg and proceeded to unleash her new single, ‘Born That Way.’ It reminds me of Madonna’s ‘Express Yourself’ – which upsets me for two reasons a) I don’t recall thinking GaGa sounding like Madge and b) I never bought any of Madonna’s records, so I’m horrified at how quickly I can recall the name of her song. Ugh.

The British band Muse performed one of their songs – and like their concert performances, their set was elaborate with video panels that alternated images such as TV monitors before displaying US and UK money being consumed by flames… and were there real flames on stage?

I heard about Bruno Mars because of his unfortunate drug arrest – but he, Janelle Monae and some dude named B.o.B. sang a medley, with Mars and B.o.B singing “Nothing on You”. They were rocking a cool retro vibe. The broadcast even switched to black and white for Mar’s solo song. He also jumped on the drums to support Monae. I’ve heard good things about Janelle Monae – and she was excellent.

Muse won Best Rock Album for The Resistance. Their speech was short, sweet, and polite. Bellamy did a shout out to his baby-mama Kate Hudson, who was sitting with him in the audience.

Justin Bieber played an acoustic guitar before ditching it to sing with Usher.  Why did they add Ninja’s? It just makes Bieber look like a character from a kid’s adventure show. Then he’s singing with Jaden Smith. Why did they pair those two up? I’m glad I’m too old to care who Bieber is.

Lady Gaga won Pop Vocal Album for her EP, The Fame Monster.  The more I see her in interviews, etc., the more I like her. I think for all her artifice, she truly is grateful for her fans. Did anyone else think she looked a bit nervous when they were reading the names of the nominees?

Another “Lady,” Lady Antebellum, cleaned house with five Grammy Awards- including Record of the Year for their hit song “Need You Now.”

We get a break from contrived pop to hear Mumford and Sons, and the Avett Brothers. I may have to declare Mumford and Sons the “must see” band for me. I really need to check them out live some time! The Avett Brothers are always amazing – they are not that restrained in their concerts. Bob Dylan came out and played with them for a rollicking version of Maggie’s Farm.
Cee-Lo and Gwyneth Paltrow performed his hit song “F*&^ You”  - which was bleeped out making it a bit confusing to listen to. Nothing made sense to me – the muppets, the set-Paltrow’s fashion misstep. 

 The highlight of the night was Arcade Fire winning Album of the Year – what a fun upset!  I don’t think anyone – including the band – thought they would win. They got back on stage to play ‘Ready To Start’ as the show ended.

This year there was a good balance of the popular kids, the cool kids and the artsy kids winning. Maybe there’s hope for our popular culture, after all.

Album of the Year
The Suburbs, Arcade Fire

Record of the Year
Need You Now, Lady Antebellum

Song of the Year
Need You Now, Lady Antebellum

Best New Artist
Esperanza Spalding

Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals
Hey, Soul Sister (Live), Train

Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals
Imagine, Herbie Hancock, Pink, India.Arie, Seal, Konono No. 1, Jeff Beck & Oumou Sangare

Best Pop Vocal Album
Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster

Best Electronic/Dance Album
La Roux, La Roux

Best Dance Recording
Only Girl (In The World), Rihanna

Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals
Tighten Up, The Black Keys

Best Hard Rock Performance
New Fang, Them Crooked Vultures

Best Rock Song
Angry World, Neil Young

Best Rock Album
Muse, The Resistance (Winner)

Best Alternative Music Album
Brothers, The Black Keys

Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals
Soldier Of Love, Sade

Best Contemporary R&B Album
Raymond V Raymond, Usher

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration
Empire State Of Mind, Jay-Z & Alicia Keys

Best Rap Song
Empire State Of Mind, Jay-Z & Alicia Keys

Best Rap Album
Recovery, Eminem

Best Country Collaboration With Vocals
As She's Walking Away, Zac Brown Band & Alan Jackson

Best Country Song
Need You Now, Lady Antebellum

Best Country Album
Need You Now, Lady Antebellum

The complete list of winners can be found here.

Contact Diane Cooney at dcooney@philly2philly.com