The Fame Queen Takes the Pop Crown

The little monsters in Gagaland are rejoicing and dancing in the streets.  Lady Gaga’s reign as pop music’s newest monarch was cemented at Sunday night’s 53rd Annual Grammy Awards telecast on CBS.  She took home the golden phonograph for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Best Short Form Music Video and Best Pop Vocal Album.  Also, she delivered one of the most anticipated performances of the evening when she sang “Born This Way,” a revamped version of Madonna’s “Express Yourself” complete with Horton-styled, Aileyesque choreography. 

But while the legions of Gaga fans were celebrating, this viewer was not so happy.  Overall, the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards was lackluster to say the least.  I doubt I could have had a worse time watching a bunch of crickets performing a mating song on the National Geographic channel.    The show opened up with LL Kool J introducing a star-studded girl group that paid tribute to Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin and included Florence Welch, Jennifer Hudson, Yolanda Adams, Martina McBride and Christina Aguilera.  The crew of ladies belted out some of Franklin’s most iconic works and it seemed that the Grammys were off to a rocking start.  But it appeared that music’s biggest night never fully got off the runway as the performances were sans the oomph of past Grammy shows. 

More than ever before the Grammys’ formula showed like a slip hanging from an expensive cocktail dress.  A physic was not needed to foretell the winners, all one needed to do was watch the performers.  Almost every performer that hit the stage won their category (and frankly that bit is getting pretty old).  Also the Grammys’ method of ad-hoc collabos was for the most part insipid.  The most unlikely duo to perform was Ceelo Green and Gwyneth Paltrow; they along with a band of Muppets sang “F**k You.”   Green looked like the Muppet Czar as he donned a colorful, feathery number that resembled an Elton John throwback.  Paltrow looked sexy in a black catsuit, but the most entertaining part of this duo was watching Paltrow balance herself in a pair of uber-high colorblock heels.  Another anticipated performance was that of Mick Jagger, and although it was enjoyable watching him and Raphael Saadiq on stage, I have seen Mick Jagger give more spirited performances. 

One good component of the Grammys’ formula is that in this digital, Auto-Tuned age, The Recording Academy still values musicians over artists as the top honors of the night, Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year and Best New Artist were won by Lady Antebellum, The Suburbs and Esperanza Spalding instead of the pop stars du jour. 

 

 

 

Probably the most ironic element of the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards is that it started out paying homage to the woman most synonymous with soul music and that was exactly what the show was lacking – soul.   In past Grammy shows, a more eclectic blend of music was present in the selection of performances that exposed the viewers at home, especially the youth, to genres of music they would not normally listen to.  Question for the academy, where was the classical, jazz, Latin or gospel music?  How was this music’s biggest night when more music outside of Billboard’s Top 40 was not represented in the telecast?  If this is an omen for Grammy nights in years to come, then the world should just wait for the MTV Awards because the Grammys will not be worth watching.

 

Photos:  WireImage.com, Lester Cohen/WireImage.com, Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

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Fame Mistress Opens 52nd Grammy Awards

 

The grand dame of music and fashion walked the red carpet looking like an extraterrestrial representative from the planet Diva.  Lady Gaga did not disappoint fans or media with red carpet ensemble or other outfit changes, none of which were able to grace the Staple Center stage.  Although Gaga did not receive the opportunity to speed through a speech before the music cuts into her “thank you “list, she did add Grammy winner to her list of accolades.  Lady Gaga won Best Dance Recording for “Pokerface” and Best Electronic Dance Album for The Fame.  She also opened 52nd Grammy Award ceremony and shared the stage with another piano tickling, fashion icon Elton John creating another memorable moment in Grammy history.   

Speaking of memorable moments in Grammy history, the music industry’s consummate rebel Pink gave one the best performances of the evening.  Her high flying, Cirque du Soleilsque rendition of “Glitter in the Air” proved to the audience in attendance and to those viewing at home that she is still a badass with a banging body to match.

Yonkers native Mary J. Blige provided inspiration duet with Andrea Bocelli.  Introduced by Haiti’s native son Wyclef Jean, they sang “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” in support the impoverished island devastated by the recent earthquake.   

Beyonce took fierce to another level with her hair swinging, military powered performance of “If I Were A Boy.”  She also won Grammys for Song of the Year for “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)”, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “Halo”, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)”, Best Traditional R&B Performance for “At Last”, Best R&B Song for “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” and Best Contemporary R&B Album for I Am…Sasha Fierce.  I don’t know if The Black Eyed Peas did, but I believe Mrs. Carter definitely had a good, good night.   Mr. Carter added to the family’s night of Grammy wins. The ambassador of New York took home Grammys for Best Rap Solo Performance for “DOA (Death Of Auto-Tune), Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and Best Rap Song for “Run This Town.”

R&B crooner Maxwell cemented his comeback with Best R&B Album for Blacksummers’ Night and Best R&B Male Performance for “Pretty Wings”, which he performed during Sunday night’s telecast. He also performed a duet with the incomparable Roberta Flack, thank you Maxwell for truly bringing sexy back.

Punk superstars Green Day provided a glimpse into their new Broadway musical American Idiot.  They sang “21st Century Breakdown”, which won the Best Rock Album Grammy, along with the show’s cast.  American Idiot will hit the St. James Theater in March and officially open in April.

 Photos courtesy of Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Lady Gaga Top Artist for 2009

 

Since the world is revisiting the ‘80s again, with its economics, fashion and music, I was waiting for the neo-Grace Jones to appear, and finally she has.  Native New Yorker Lady Gaga has emerged from LES to take the world by storm.  The proof was delivered at the MTV awards.  Everyone was waiting to see who would be the victor of the Beyonce and Gaga showdown. 

Grace Jones was clearly ahead of her time, but the new millennium was ready for an artist like Lady Gaga to captivate the world.  Artists like Madonna, Grace and David Bowie laid down the ground work.  Lady Gaga has taken influences from all these legends and created a persona which she owns with utter fierceness.    

She delivers a vocalist’s trifecta lyrics, vocals and a stunning on stage performance.  Gaga understands the meaning of being an artist in the new millennium, delivering shock and awe everywhere she goes. 

Her sense of fashion is completely editorial, with every piece contributing to the overall story.  Whether you think of her as a genius or a walking car crash, people can’t help looking at and listening to Lady Gaga. 

Her edgy style has influenced other artists from Rihanna to Christopher Lambert.  Even Beyonce has collaborated with this young prodigy.  I firmly believe that Lady Gaga will be to future generations what Madonna was to Generation X, and with the way this artist pushes boundaries we ain’t seen nothing yet.