The Grammy Awards is an outdated, corrupt and grotesque spectacle, full of plastic-wrapped country cornpone and living corpses croaking out forgotten tunes, but the important thing to remember is that Canada basically ruled tonight’s show. Justin Bieber and Drake were shut out despite multiple nominations each, but they’ve pretty much carried the record industry on their backs over the last twelve months. In a completely unexpected twist, though, Arcade Fire took home Album of the Year. Michael Bublé, whose music I find about as exciting as the pip of an EKG monitor, also won for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.
The list of Grammy nominees and winners is instructive for its bewildering length and granularity, designed as it is to spread as many awards as possible around the industry.
Here are my favourite 2011 Grammy moments:
10. Cee-Lo Green performing a network-friendly version of “Fuck You” with Gwyneth Paltrow and a Muppet backup band. BONUS: Green’s crazy-ass furry red costume with a jewel-encrusted cap and giant rainbow feathers (a homage to Elton John’s outfit from an 1970s appearance on the Muppet Show);
9. Nicole Kidman in the audience singing along to Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”;
8. Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith beaming with pride when their son Jaden got up on stage to sing with Justin Bieber (as my wife said, it was like one of us watching our kids at a school performance);
7. The very fact of Janelle Monae, even though she was shouting her lyrics more than hitting the notes;
6. John Mayer, Karl Urban and Norah Jones performing an acoustic rendition of “Jolene” (it was a soft rock moment, but they did a nice job);
5. The guileless look of delight on Justin Bieber’s face at the end of his number;
4. Barbara Streisand’s tongue jamming in surprise when she announced Album of the Year, followed by the weird shuffling silence in the auditorium as people processed the fact that the least likely nominee had just won;
3. Win Butler’s acceptance speech, which started with “What the hell” and ended with “We’re going to play another song now because we like music”;
2. The glazed, disappointed look on the face of the entitled asshat from Lady Antebellum (Really, dude? Antebellum? As in, The South before the Civil War?), because he clearly expected to be taking home the top prize of the night for his band’s ghastly pap;
1. Lea Michele talking about “Grammy wimmers”. Wimmers? That’s like the time when Yick tried to ask Melanie out and he said “Your eyes are so blue they seem like pimming swools”. Man, Yick sure messed up that time! Of course, everybody forgot about Yick’s romantic misadventures when Spike got pregnant.