Known in recent years as a breeding ground for a myriad of controversies, including celebrity disses (e.g. Taylor Swift v Kanye), stage-storming (Kanye, 50 Cent) boycotts (Kanye again, Will Smith, Public Enemy), domestic violence (Rihanna / Chris Brown), forgiveness of homophobia (Elton / Eminem), and – perhaps the biggest crime in a conservative America – featuring women wearing revealing dresses (Lopez)…
The health of the music industry is demonstrated by the fact that instead of spending a million dollars on a thirteen minute video about zombies, pop stars now promote their latest singles by singing to their own hits in a people carrier driven by the big lad from Gavin and Stacey.
And it was therefore fitting that the aforementioned big lad, James Cordon, presented the awards. He began with aplomb, his opening skit featuring a broken riser and his falling through (then tumbling down) a grand staircase in a routine that was straight out of the Morecambe and Wise handbook.
After a faux-calamitous dance routine Cordon cried “Stop! Stop! This is a disaster! What has happened, people?! We cannot allow these sort of mistakes, can we? This is The Grammys!”
Surely only the most cynical would have suggested he might be talking about the awards themselves…
The Grammys operate in a strange time-warp, the 2017 awards covering the music released between mid 2015 and mid 2016. As a result, gongs are handed out for songs that have been missing for longer than the hair on the top of Donald Trump’s head.
It’s odd in such a fashion-conscious and fast moving medium that the 2017 Grammys’ Song of the Year, Adele’s “Hello”, was released in October 2015. That’s a longer period of time than the entire career of The Bravery.
It was bad enough when the charts were announced on Sunday and you watched Top of The Pops on a Thursday. Watching The Grammys now feels about as current as watching Top of the Pops 1983. You begin to feel for the voting committee being so far behind the times, bless them. I wouldn’t have been surprised if Song of the Year had been “Hello” by Lionel Ritchie.
What will the committee think when they hear about the break up of The Beatles? Will Kanye West boycott the next show because there was no nomination for “Murder She Wrote” by Chaka Demus and Pliers?
David Bowie meanwhile had never won a Grammy for his music before, the single most remarkable failure to honour something since the Brexit campaign promised £350m a week to the NHS.
The Grammys: a music award that had never honoured the music of Pop’s Great Innovator whilst awarding six awards to The Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
It therefore felt as though David Bowie bestowed an honour on The Grammys by winning, rather than the other way round.
Bowie won five Grammys including perhaps the second most coveted one of the night: “Best engineered non classical album”. The most coveted award is, of course, “Best engineered classical album” which was won for the one hundred and fiftieth time in a row by someone in Mozart’s crew, who all immediately took a victorious selfie on Instagram.
You couldn’t help but feel as though someone on the Grammys organising committee was looking to right some wrongs and was searching for a category…any category, dammit, to nominate Bowie, and that was the one that was left.
Adele meanwhile became the first person to win the three main awards twice. Those awards being Song Most Difficult To Avoid on the Radio, Most Swearing at Glastonbury Since Michael Eavis Found Out Kasabian Were Headlining and Best Carpool Karaoke With James Cordon Not Featuring The First Lady.
Beyoncé won a couple of awards, and looked resplendent but lost the Album of the Year award to Adele. In return Adele was so apologetic about winning it made you wonder whether she had also just reversed into Beyoncé’s car in the car park outside and dented it without leaving a note.
“I can’t possibly accept this award” said Adele whilst accepting the award.
“I’m very humbled and I’m very grateful” she added gratefully and with humility.
She then broke the award accidentally….
“The ‘Lemonade’ album was so monumental” Adele added…“The way that you make me and my friends feel, the way you make my black friends feel, is empowering”.
Fellow contender Rihanna meanwhile spent her time swigging booze from her friend’s diamanté encrusted hip flask, echoing the hidden thoughts of many of us as the show entered its third hour….
And the performances and various stars?
Here’s a run down…
Watching Bruno Mars is like seeing the greatest episode of Stars In Your Eyes. At first he wore a tracksuit that reminded me of an eighties England football kit…
CeeLo Green meanwhile turned up looking like a really bad ’70s Doctor Who villain, of the kind that Tom Baker might have struggled to muster any enthusiasm to overthrow.
The Weeknd and Daft Punk combined on a strange set, perhaps also from a bad ’70s episode of Doctor Who. Perhaps it was meant for CeeLo? They may have been looking for the missing E from The Weeknd, which I dare say Rihanna’s mate might have had on her. (For legal reasons I’d like to say I’m sure she didn’t).
John Travolta did his best acting for many years by telling everyone he was excited to be there.
A George Michael tribute from Adele went wrong and sweary, albeit this was not the only technical problem of the evening…Metallica’s James Hetfield couldn’t be heard as his mic failed, albeit some would argue….
Nevertheless, Lady Gaga’s mic did work and the two made a decent fist of it. Perhaps Gaga could join Deep Purple? They’ve had just about every other vocalist out there…
James Cordon attempted an ad hoc Carpool Karaoke with Neil Diamond, J-Lo and John Legend, from which we learned that no-one famous really knows the words to “Sweet Caroline”. Watching John Legend stumble his way through the song was like watching a Premier League footballer attempt to sing the National Anthem before an England match, or John Redwood attempting to sing in Welsh.
And finally, a word about Beyonce’s performance. It was extraordinary. A magic trick. Theatrical in the best sense of the word. She leaned back on her chair (yeah, I know, a terrible example to the kids) as her dancers formed waves, and she sang beautifully. And she’s heavily pregnant with twins.
If I was heavily pregnant with twins (not gonna happen, I’m a bloke) I wouldn’t be poncing about on the Grammy stage. I’d be on my sofa, feet up, with one hand on the custard creams and the other in a box of Maltesers. Just like I am now.
Cheers everyone. Hope you enjoyed the show.