There were definitely memorable moments galore at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Sunday night. The Grammys were high on performances, but low on the actual presentation of the awards. Perhaps it should be the other way around next year. Nevertheless, there were plenty of show-stopping performances worth mentioning. Opening the Grammy Awards was Lady Gaga in a very sequined-bling green heart shaped one-piece costume who then makes a quick change. Now you see her sitting at the piano with Elton John who joined her on the other end at his piano. One of the most heart-pounding performance art I’ve ever witnessed was Pink high up near the rafters on a hammock-like trapeze doing the most amazing acrobatics a la Cirque du Soleil. It was truly unbelievable. It was nice to see real musicians actually sing for a change without all the flash I had seen earlier from the Black Eyed Peas coming from the talented trio, Lady Antebellum. The song they sang was truly passionate and from the heart.
If there were any real entertaining surprises from this year’s Grammys it was the performances of the recent winners of Best New Artist, Zac Brown Band, along with classic rock legend, Leon Russell. This band has some great harmonies and provided the audience and television viewers with fine musicianship. The music they performed was true Americana complete with the fiddle. They brought the house down. I loved seeing Bon Jovi perform for the first time on the Grammys. Yes, I knew “Livin’ On A Prayer” would be the winning song from the Fan Choice vote at CBS.com. The R&B singer Maxwell truly impressed me, especially with his duet with Roberta Flack. He gave an excellent performance. Finally, the Les Paul tribute by Jeff Beck, along with a great female vocalist Imelda May, were absolutely magnificent.
However, the most incredible part of the Grammy Awards was the extraordinary tribute to Michael Jackson. The “Earth Song” 3-D movie that was shown and sung by Michael Jackson along with Celine Dion, Usher, Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood, and Smokey Robinson was deeply moving. Luckily, I was able to get the free 3-D glasses at my local Target store. It was very interesting to see this never-before-seen footage. When the tribute was over everyone at the Staples Center was on their feet for a rousing standing ovation. Two of Michael Jackson’s kids spoke briefly to thank everyone for the award he was given. Another moving performance was by Mary J. Blige and Andrea Bocelli. Each of them gave it their very all while singing “Bridge Over Troubled Water” for the Haiti Relief.
My only surprise was seeing Kings of Leon win for Record of the Year. Otherwise, it was almost a given Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, or Beyonce would win one of the major awards. Unfortunately the Grammys ran into overtime ending at 11:30PM ET. My local CBS affiliate ran too many commercials, so by the time it was back to the Grammy Awards I literally missed most of Taylor Swift getting Album of the Year. I was truly looking forward to seeing Carlos Santana as a presenter and all of this was dashed. Overall, this was one of the most entertaining Grammy Awards I have seen in a long time. I think many of the performances could have been cut. If you are labeling this an award show, it should be as one. Thankfully, this wasn’t one of those scandalous type music award shows. This was a show respectful of the music industry and to those artists who have given us great music.