There was a time when I used to watch the calender and do my own private countdown until Grammy night, however, it is a routine I abandoned a few years back. I don’t know, perhaps it might be because I lost interest in award shows all together. One thing for sure is that I am still a lover of music, so my disinterest in award shows has nothing to do with me disliking music.
I suppose award shows, their luster and shine, looked a whole lot glossier and exciting when I looked at them through teenage and young adult eyes, but now that I have aged a couple of decades I find that I cannot sit through two or three hours of a popularity event show.
Back in the day it seemed to be more about the art as opposed to the number of units an artist can sell, or who knows who in the entertainment world, or who is in heavier rotation on the radio and music television shows. I will say this though, the 2011 Grammy Awards did have some pretty decent moments.
The opening dedication to The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, did catch my attention because the female singers who took turns singing a number of her classics did extremely well — especially the thicker-looking Christina Aguilera who nailed “Ain’t No Way”.
Equally as classic is the teleconference thank you speech from The Queen of Soul who looked noticeably thinner, but well. It was a moment befitting a lady who has decades of timeless musical contributions that will live longer than any of us.
Another entertaining moment for me was when Justin Bieber and Will & Jada Smith’s talented off-spring, Jayden, did their rap/dance performance. It amazes me how talented those Smith children are. I guess I liked the idea that they weren’t overtly suggestive when they performed — they were just two youngsters having a great time on stage doing their thing. There was no mean mugging going on during their routine which is a breath of fresh air.
When the song “Hey Soul Sister” by the group Train won an award it didn’t surprise me at all since you hear it playing every damn where you go. It does have a catchy hook to it and it isn’t all that annoying to me, and it was an original composition (at least I think it was — you never can tell these days).
Because I recorded the event on DVR I was able to skip through much of the event, so I will reserve my comments to just the performances I was interested in watching. I know that might sound bad, but I’m just being honest. Like I said earlier, award shows really have lost much of their appeal for me.
Now, an award show wouldn’t be complete without a “Superstar” making an appearance and this one didn’t pull any stops. A fuller figured Barbara Streisand stepped out onto the stage in a long, brown (at least I believe it was brown), dowdy ensemble and sang one of her classics, “Evergreen” for the packed auditorium. Streisand’s voice was in perfect pitch, as usual, and I’m pretty sure you could hear a pin drop during that performance. The standing “O” that followed was pretty much the norm for a “Diva” who has been in the business for decades.
Ooops…. I didn’t mean to do that.
Okay, I apologize if I am coming off a bit cynical, I suppose years of being bombarded with award show B. S. has gotten to me a bit. I mean, I remember the night that Michale Jackson’s “Thriller” took away all of those awards, but he pretty much took the entertainment world by storm with his innovative videos, his unbelievable dance moves, and his unstoppable, undeniable, mass appeal. That is how you know you’ve hit a nerve with the public — mayhem and damn near idol worship.
I say all of this to say this — I have seen certain artist stroll away with an arm full of trophies who haven’t been in the industry but for a hot minute. What happened to paying your dues? What happened to working the “chittlin'” circuit? What happened to being able to perform live without the assistance of all of the pyrotechnics, auto-tune enhanced vocals, flashing lights, elaborate props (Human and non-human)?
Again, I believe it’s just a matter of taste and how does one criticize art? As an artist myself I say you really can’t, because the wonderful thing about art is that as long as someone gets it that is really all that matters. Many of these younger artist are out here doing their thing, and for having the courage to stand up in front of thousands of people as well as live life in the spotlight, my hats off to them and I wish them nothing but continued success.
My final thoughts on the 2011 Grammy Awards — yeah, it had its moments.
RIP, Teena Marie
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