The 55th Grammy Awards gave the viewing audience a little bit of everything. There was great music, great fashion, and great spectacle. Here are the seven biggest stories from this year’s Grammys.
1) The Grammy Dress Code
CBS released an internal memo advising performers and audience members of the dress code for the event. Fearful of a repeat of the infamous Janet Jackson Super Bowl nipple slip the network issued the following advisory “Please be sure that buttocks and female breasts are adequately covered. Thong-type costumes are problematic. Please avoid exposing bare fleshy undercurves of the buttocks and buttock crack. Bare sides or under curvature of the breasts is also problematic. Please avoid sheer see-through clothing that could possibly expose female breast nipples. Please be sure the genital region is adequately covered so that there is no visible 'puffy' bare skin exposure.” Jennifer Lopez, famous for wearing one of the raciest outfits in Grammy history and her co-presenter Pitbull exchanged some playful banter:
Jennifer: “I read the memo”
Pitbull: “You inspired the memo”
Judging by the following photos not everyone got or read the memo.
2) The Collaborations
The Grammys are noted for pairing up artists from different genres to bring out the best of their talent. This year didn’t disappoint as the Grammys struck gold with collaborations that included Maroon 5 with Alicia Keyes; Elton John, Mavis Staples, Zac Browne, Mumford and Sons, T-Bone Burnett and Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard; Ziggy and Damon Marley with Rihanna, Bruno Mars and Sting; LL Cool J, Chuck D, Tom Morello, Z-Trip, and Travis Barker.
3) The Snub
Justin Bieber was not nominated for any awards and he was not a happy Bieber. The Bieber did not make an appearance at the Grammys instead he hosted Saturday Night Live and then announced he would do a live stream starting at the same time as the Grammys. Bieber promised to “play some new music and answer questions.” Due to technical difficulties he couldn’t do either. He sent a tweet to his fans saying “since nothing is working and im super upset i feel i gotta make it up to u.”
4) The Performances
Obviously the Grammys is about celebrating great music and it provides an opportunity to hear the best artists of the year sing the best songs live. This year some of the special, more memorable performances included:
He’s back! He sang his new hit “Suit and Tie” in a smooth falsetto, and then had hip hop superstar Jay-Z join him on stage. It was one of the best performances of the night.
White played "Love Interruption" and "Freedom at 21" and proved why he is one of the best, if not the best guitarist in the field. It also sounded like he dropped the “F-Bomb” during his duet with Amanfu on “Love Interruption.”
She covered two great artists and songs, Patti Page's "Tennessee Waltz" and Carole King's "Natural Woman."
Not for her own performance of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” but because she seemed to have such a great time singing along just like a hard core fan in the audience at her favorite band’s concert.
Levon Helms tribute featuring Elton John, Mavis Staples, Zac Brown, Brittany Howard, Mumford and Sons.
Mavis Staples appeared to catch a little spirit on the “The Weight” as she continued singing for a few bars after everyone else thought the song was over. Zac Brown, Brittany Howard and Marcus Mumford blended in well and Sir Elton John was his normal superb self on piano.
LL Cool J, Chuck D, Tom Morello, Z-Trip, and Travis Barker.
LL closed out the show with a medley that included a little old school hip hop with Chuck D of Public Enemy and a shout out to the Beastie Boys. On “Whaddup” Travis Barker (Blink 182) proved why he is one of the best rock drummers in the business and Tom Morello (rage Against the Machine) threw down on lead guitar. The collaboration could pave the way for some future performances. Is this the beginning of a new supergroup? Chuck D says “Who knows?”
5) The Special Effects
Taylor Swift opened the show with a huge Cirque De Soleil set that included aerialists, ballerinas, fire dancers and circus performers. Justin Timberlake used lighting effects to perform "Suit and Tie" in black and white before switching to color. The black and white effect gave the performance an old style big band/crooner era feel. Frank Ocean used digital effects to make it appear as if he was walking and/or jogging on the highway during "Forrest Gump.” But the best effect was Carrie Underwood’s CGI dress. During her performance of “Blown Away” her electronic dress displayed a variety of scenes, including butterflies, flowers and stars, just like a picture slideshow. In an after show interview on E! Underwood said “They can do a lot of amazing things with projectors these days. I said I should take that home where we can watch movies on it. … You wanna watch movies on my dress?”
6) Special Award
Ellen Degeneres provided some comic relief during and after the show.
7) Return to Forever Tribute to Dave Brubeck
Pianist Chick Corea and bass player Stanley Clarke, two members of the legendary jazz/fusion group Return to Forever, joined with saxophonist Kenny Garrett and performed "Take Five" to pay tribute to the the late Dave Brubeck.