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Six Things I Learned from Grammy

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Six Things I Learned from Grammy

1. Grammy producers still believe that more musical performances = higher ratings. This may be true, but some of us actually enjoy the sport of watching who will win. By the 30-minute mark, only one trophy had been given away but there were already a slew of lifetime achievement acknowledgements (see #6) and live performances, including a mess of an opening act that included Maroon 5, Los Lonely Boys, Gwen Stefani and Eve, Franz Ferdinand, and no less than three performances of the Black Eyed Peas’ sell-out hit “Let’s Get It Started.” God, I hate that song. I half expected the group to start jumping up and down all over the stage during U2’s performance later in the night.

2. Marc Anthony must really love Jennifer Lopez. The newlyweds performed for the first time together, staging what appeared to be a musical interpretation of a scene from Abrázame Muy Fuerte as directed by Douglas Sirk. Not surprisingly, Lopez was off-key for most of the song, but it wasn’t the worst performance of the night. That award goes to…

3. Kanye West, who is still full of himself. “That was definitely…something,” Ludacris said moments after West, sporting giant angel wings, was hoisted into the air by a black choir during his performance of “Jesus Walks,” which won Best Rap Song. After reenacting his infamous car accident behind a giant white sheet and staging his own funeral accompanied by Mavis Staples (who desperately needed a throat lozenge), West—now dressed in all white—rose from the dead to save hip-hop from its own hip-hopracy. Talk about a Messianic complex.

4. Melissa Etheridge is due for a comeback. Kanye West may have survived a car accident and gone on to win three Grammys, but the artist who has really triumphed over adversity is Melissa Etheridge, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She gave one bold (and bald) performance of “Piece Of My Heart” during a tribute to Janis Joplin, proving that you don’t have to be an asshole to appreciate life. I promise to review your next album, Melissa.

5. The word “fuck” is more offensive than the word “faggot.” During Green Day’s electrifying performance of “American Idiot,” the benign use of the F-word (“subliminal mind-fuck”) was apparently deemed too offensive for 9:30pm, while that other F-word was left uncensored for all the masses to hear. Sure, “Maybe I’m the faggot, America” isn’t derogatory, but I doubt we’ll start hearing the word “nigga” on primetime network television anytime soon.

6. It’s true: They’ll love you when you’re dead. This year’s Grammy telecast was weighed down by a series of mini-tributes to lifetime achievement recipients. Not only did these acknowledgements kill whatever momentum the show might have had, but they likely sent viewers flipping to Desperate Housewives. Grammy producers should do us a favor and lump all of the special tributes together like a death montage. And speaking of death: If one more person wins an award (or critical notice) for being dead, I’m going to record an album and then kill myself. 2004 was Ray Charles’s year, and his biopic is likely to pick up at least one Academy Award at the end of the month, but, by anyone’s count, Genius Loves Company was not the best album in the top category this year. But I guess what’s really important is that the great pop legend Britney Spears finally won a Grammy after six long years in the business and she was still alive to accept it—only they didn’t have time to broadcast that award because the Black Eyed Peas were too busy getting retarded, err, it started on stage.

This blog entry was originally published on Slant Magazine on the date above.