Tonight the Grammy Awards turn 50, and I'll be here to blog about it live, starting at 6pm EST with the pre-show. Check back soon!
I'm watching E!'s pre-show coverage. The first sign that the Grammys continue to lose stature is that, for the first time in memory, neither MTV nor VH1 are running a pre-show, choosing instead to ignore the festivities.
Not much is going on yet, but I see from E!'s news crawl that New Kids on the Block are NOT getting back together, despite widespread reports from last week. How dare they get everyone's hopes up!
Only about a dozen Grammys are given out during the broadcast tonight. The other 100 are awarded now, between 6 and 8 pm. I've never understood why the pre-shows don't televise some of these awards. It would be more interesting than watching illiterate supermodels interviewing disinterested musicians on the red carpet.
Some chick I've never heard of named Guiliana Rancic is interviewing Plain White Ts, and the real Delilah is there in person! Tom Higgenson tells the story of how he told Delilah he would write a song for her, and it would make the band famous, and she would be his date for the Grammys. How bout that, dreams do come true. The man is a psychic - someone gets his picks for tomorrow's Powerball.
I'm waiting for grammy.com to start posting the list of early Grammy winners, and it hasn't happened yet. Every year this happens, and I get infuriated and wonder who are the idiots running that site.
Guiliana is interviewing Natasha Bedingfield, who has gone with the Marilyn Monroe look. I'm actually impressed with Guiliana - she seems to know her stuff. She throws it to some hip hop dude named Sal, who has an extremely uncomfortable conversation with hard rock act Tool. He claims to be a fan of theirs "from back in the day." Right. I don't think they believed him. Then they cut to a shot of Fantasia arriving. She has shaved half her head. Nice!
Now Guiliana is interviewing some actress. Who cares. Sal is interviewing fans, because there's no one else to talk to. This is lame, even by pre-show standards.
Panic at the Disco drop by. They've stopped wearing makeup - apparently they're going for the rugged, Killers-type look now. Didn't they see how that failed for the Killers? There's potential for an informative interview here, if Giuliana would ask about Panic's new record, but instead she asks about groupies, and keeps repeating how "hot" they look. Then she boots them out to make way for Miley Cyrus, causing a Panic member to exclaim, "We always get stuck with more famous people behind us!"
Giuliana asks Akon if he likes nice girls or "fun, freaky chicks." We never got these kind of insights back in the days when Kurt Loder was asking the questions. (He said nice girls, by the way. Does anyone believe that?)
Sweet little Taylor Swift shows up. Holy crap, she's skinny. She makes Calista Flockhart look like Nell Carter. Insightful revelation from Taylor, regarding her recent birthday: "18 is pretty much the same as 17."
The E! news crawl informs us that the nation of Israel is 60 years old. That means the Grammys are only ten years younger than Israel. Israel!
The dudes in Daughtry are doing the Soulja Boy dance. They're going to regret that when they see it on YouTube.
Obama beats Clinton! Barack Obama has won the Grammy for Best Spoken Word album, beating Bill Clinton. Surely, this will provide enough momentum to carry him to the Democratic presidential nomination.
Paramore are here, and Sal says that singer Hayley Williams has a "voice like a battle axe". Does that make the slightest bit of sense?
I've been scouring the depths of the Internet and I've found some early Grammy results. Amy Winehouse, whom I predicted to win 5 awards, has already taken two, Pop Vocal Album and Female Pop Performance. That makes me 2 for 2! Her producer, Mark Ronson, upset Timbaland for Producer of the Year.
Fergie has arrived, wearing a bright yellow dress with massive cleavage. The last time I posted a Fergie picture, my site traffic increased tenfold, thanks to Google image searches, so here we go again:
Sal is interviewing Wilco. Jeff Tweedy recalls a time when P. Diddy mistook him for an usher at an awards ceremony. Yeah, I could see that.
Giuliana asks Jay-Z how "the Big B" is. Henceforth, Beyonce shall always be referred to as "the Big B." Next, she asks Ludacris what he likes in a woman, and he oddly goes off about open-toed shoes, saying, "The foot game has to be good."
It's time to look forward to tonight. I'm most interested to see what Kanye West does. There are rumors he's going to perform "Hey Mama," in honor of his mom, who died tragically last year. Will Kanye rush the stage if he doesn't win?
Alicia Keys is opening the show, doing a virtual duet with Frank Sinatra. Not a bad way to start the show. But I hope they don't spend too much time celebrating the past.
Grammy.com STILL hasn't posted a list of early winners. I have no idea how my predicted winners are faring.
Carrie Underwood is playing "Before He Cheats." When I reviewed her debut album, I made a point to note how un-authentic this song is. This kind of in-your-face attitude is not Carrie. It's more Gretchen Wilson. Carrie is wearing leather and trying to seem tough. I'm not buying it. But hey, at least she's one of the few American Idols who hasn't gotten dropped by her record label yet.
It's a Prince sighting! He presents Best Female R&B Performance. No surprise, it goes to Alicia Keys.
Wow, the original members of Morris Day & The Time are performing "Jungle Love!" Jimmy Jam is rocking the keytar. That was one of my favorite songs of the '80s. I remember as a kid being stunned that it only reached #26. Rihanna joins The Time for "Umbrella." Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I'm not fond of this recent award show trend of artist collaborations. I'd just rather see the original artists perform their own songs as intended.
Next, Rihanna goes into "Don't Stop the Music," which includes that "Mama say mama sa mama cu sa" refrain from Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'." Oh yes, it's all about Michael Jackson. Remember, kids, the 25th anniversary edition of Thriller comes out on Tuesday!
Tom Hanks introduces a Beatles tribute. Don't they do a Beatles tribute every year? Snooze. There are kids on stage singing "Let it Be." Please make it stop!
MTV.com finally posts a list of Grammy winners to this point. So far, my picks are 9 for 13.
The Daft Punk pyramid is on stage, but sadly, they're not in it. Kanye performs "Stronger" wearing glow-in-the-dark sunglasses. Wait, the pyramid has opened, and Daft Punk are inside! Nice.
The song ends and, as expected, Kanye moves into "Hey Mama." His performance is terrific - understated and sweet.
Love wins the award for Best Soundtrack. Ringo and Sir George Martin accept the award. I haven't seen George in a while. He's not looking so good these days.
Tina Turner is here to re-create her Grammy moment from 1984, when she brought down the house with "What's Love Got to Do With It." She's wearing an absurdly tight, bright silver Catwoman suit that a woman her age (or any age) should not wear. She duets with The Big B on "Proud Mary."
It's Song of the Year, and it goes to Amy Winehouse. This is big - it means my forecast of an Amy Winehouse near-sweep is looking more and more likely. I'm going to gloat big time if this happens, because no one else predicted it.
Brad Paisley is the evening's country representative, but instead of playing "Online," he plays the cheesy "I'd Like to Check You for Ticks." Boo.
I'm still here... things have been rather unexciting for the past several minutes. There was a big gospel performance, which was alright, but showcasing these niche genres is the reason this show runs 3 and a half hours. I could easily cut it down to 2 hours.
Kanye won Best Rap Album, and noted in his acceptance speech that if Amy Winehouse beats him for Album of the Year, it's ok because she deserves it too. I'm dying to see how it plays out.
Feist plays "1,2,3,4." Instead of going for big and bombastic, like when she played Letterman, she played a stripped-down version. It didn't really excite me, but I understand why she wanted to change it up.
Alicia Keys is back to sing "No One." John Mayer comes out to offer a guitar solo. Another high point in a show that has been more entertaining than I expected.
Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics - has anyone seen him in the last 20 years? - is on stage with Ringo Starr to present Best Country Album. Vince Gill surprises no one by winning the award, then surprises everyone by delivering the hardest-hitting barb of the night: "I just got an award given to me by a Beatle. Have you had that happen yet, Kanye?"
Herbie Hancock and an orchestra are performing Gershwin. Normally I might be bored by this, but I'm finding it to be excellent laundry-folding music.
Next, Taylor Swift presents Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, and it deservedly goes to Rihanna and Jay-Z for "Umbrella." Kanye doesn't rush the stage.
We're off to London for Winehouse's satellite performance. She looks skeezy and kind of high, but that's normal. I'm glad she's not playing "Rehab." That would've been awkward. She opts for "You Know I'm No Good," which is a more lively song anyway. Normally, she's a statue on stage, but she's actually dancing more than I've ever seen. Oops, I spoke too soon. Now she's singing "Rehab." She should've stuck with the first song.
By the way, what time is it in London now... like 4 am?
Here comes Record of the Year... Rehab beats Umbrella! Amy still looks like she's on drugs as she struggles through an acceptance speech.
Josh Groban and Andrea Bocelli are singing Pavarotti. Time to fold some more laundry...
Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis are not only still alive, but alert enough to perform at the Grammys. Jerry Lee is barely able to mumble though "Great Balls of Fire." Kinda sad.
All that's left is Album of the Year. Will it be Kanye or Amy?
Quincy Jones announces that the award goes to... Herbie Hancock?! You've got to be kidding.
Once again the Grammys have shown they are hopelessly out of touch with reality. I don't care how good that album was. There is no way in hell it should've won this award. There's no way it should even have been nominated.
Echoes of Steely Dan beating Eminem and Jethro Tull beating Metallica are ringing in my ears. A horribly bitter way to end what was mostly a good evening.
So, it turns out that I went 13 for 19 (68%) with my predictions, my 7th straight year at better than 50%. I can take credit for being one of the few people on the planet who did not think Kanye West would take Album of the Year... but I had Hancock at 100-to-1 to win, so I can't claim to be too much of an expert just yet.
Until next year...