Didn’t We Almost Have It All: Grammy Roundup

I went to sleep Saturday night as I did the evening of June 25, 2009.  That was the day Michael Jackson died.  Hearing of his death, like Whitney Houston’s, was incomprehensible.  I get that no one can cheat death.  It is the life actions that sometimes hasten it that are so tragic.  So I went to sleep with a heavy heart, a feeling of disbelief and the irrational wish that when I woke up, CNN would break in and say it was all not true.  But, sadly, it is.  For this Melodic Monday, we come together left with the blessings for what she’s left behind.

I watched the Grammys live last night with Twitter by my side, reading tweets from my friends as well as following the Grammys hashtag.  Priceless.  The tweets of hate rose as Chris Brown performed twice, joy swelled for Adele as she took the stage to sing and collect her awards bonanza and we cried together listening to Jennifer Hudson’s soul-stirring tribute to Whitney.

Some show highlights:

  • We kicked it off with Bruce Springsteen.  The Boss.  I sure did miss seeing Clarence Clemons in the back.  Another great we lost over the past year.  Bruce was in good spirits.
  • Host LL Cool J (still a cutie) opened the show telling us, “We’ve had a death in the family.”  Indeed.
  • Bruno Mars!  How I wish he’d sung his song from the Breaking Dawn soundtrack instead.
  • Bonnie Raitt and Alicia Keys brought our focus back to another great voice we just lost, Etta James.  They duet on “A Sunday Kind of Love” and it was a well-voiced, bluesy tribute.
  • Chris Brown danced lively as he always does in his performances.  Since it was the Grammys, he would have done better to actually sing.
  • Rihanna was a delight singing “We Found Love.”  Her meld into singing with Coldplay worked for me.  Some hated it.
  • There was a Beach Boys reunion kicked off by Maroon 5.  Adam Levine!  I make no attempts to hide my (cough) admiration for him.  Foster the People (who?) then sang before the Beach Boys came out.  Brian Wilson looked quite distant in his eyes.
  • Adele sang “Rolling in the Deep.”  She is so good.  So so good.  Only 23-years-old.
  • Blake Shelton and other country singers bopped through a tribute to Glen Campbell that was uninspiring.  Their performances not the focus of the tribute.  Glen now has Alzheimer’s and is ending his career.  He sounded great and I’m glad he is being recognized and getting his accolades and love now.
  • Bon Iver won for Best New Artist.  That category is always a dice roll with the most popular act sometimes losing out.
  • The lead-in to the Grammy tribute, with photos of those lost over the year, made me tear up.  It started with Amy Winehouse and ended with a picture of Whitney frozen on the screen.  Then Jennifer Hudson appeared.  As I posted on Facebook, “J-Hud singing for Whitney=heartbreaking.”

    Source: Kevin Winter, Getty Images

  • After the tribute, we went to commercial break.  Back from break, it was dance party time with David Guetta, Chris Brown (he’s back), Lil’ Wayne and Deadmau5.  Now I’m all for a dance party, but this felt a bit out of place right after the tribute.  It then morphed into an ill-fitting dance/rock bonanza with the Foo Fighters joining in.  Quote from my mother, “What is this mess?”
  • Did I mention they tossed in a one line tribute to Don Cornelius right before introducing the dance music section?  Seriously?  They had a video playing of him on a background screen with a shot of a Soul Train line, but we couldn’t see it well because LL was talking while standing in the audience at a weird angle.  Really?  For all the musicians that graced Don’s show–many of them Grammy winning artists–he deserved better.
  • Nicki Minaj’s performance was a mix of a video clip mimicking an Exorcist possession-like scene, weak performance skills and a blend of Barbie doll antics paired with uncreative, tossed in demonic set work.  People in hoods, fake exorcism, levitation, priest-looking figures.  It has been done.
  • Speaking of acts that imitate others, Lady Gaga was up for album of the year.  Why not just have her come to the stage and channel Madonna?
  • Already winning Song of the Year, Record of the Year and others, Adele capped off the sweep with Album of the Year.
  • Sir Paul McCartney returned to close us out.  He’d sung a new song earlier.

How did Whitney’s music touch your life?

What were your Grammy highlights and/or lowlights?

Bonus:  Can you explain Nicki Minaj to me?

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23 Responses to Didn’t We Almost Have It All: Grammy Roundup

  1. I was deeply saddened to hear of Whitney’s passing. We lost an amazing, shining light. I grew up listening to her, singing her songs and hoping one day to be just like her. Her music still gives me chills – her voice like an angel.

    • Absolutely the voice of an angel, Natalie! So crystal clear and pure in tone. I love that you were singing her songs too. We all also wanted to be model tall and effortlessly flawless like her. Such an amazing spirit.

  2. Margo Kelly says:

    Dang! I missed the Grammy’s! Thanks for letting me know what I missed. And, yes, so sad about Whitney. She really struggled in later years. I’m a new follower from the campaign! Nice to meet you! 🙂

    • Nice to meet you too, Margo! Aside from the sad tribute, the Grammys were good this year. Some years, the pairing of musical acts is beyond random and doesn’t work. This year gelled. And Jennifer Hudson is the first person I thought of when I heard they would add in a tribute and she was perfect. I can’t imagine how hard that was for her to do.

  3. Great summary, Barb. I don’t usually watch award shows but I saw bits of this on. Totally agree about Jennifer Hudson’s tribute and the dance spot was misplaced. well done

  4. Hey Barb – Fun connecting with you on Twitter last night! I did put my computer down halfway through the show so I could appear to be better company to my very understanding and supportive DH! Totally agree with your comments – Adam Levine singing BeachBoys? Who’dathunkit? And he was as awesome as always. Your mom’s comment on the dance segment is spot on! Yuk! And I didn’t think Chris Brown warranted all the time he got on air. Another yuk! You are so right about Don Cornelius deserving better and Jennifer Hudson the perfect choice to honour Whitney. For the most part a great evening of entertainment which you summed up perfectly!

    • I loved seeing you online too, Patricia! What fun. Watching while reading and tweeting is the spirit uplift I needed. At times, I would be laughing so hard from the comments people were making and then moved by the community spirit for the memories and love shown for Whitney. The Twitterverse skewered Chris Brown–his lack of singing, the extra airtime, his existence on the planet. I have mixed feelings about that one. Most of the comments were dead-on though. I’m still scared re: what Nicki did. Therapy may be needed. Heh.

  5. Thanks for taking the time write up a summary, Barbara. I completely forgot about the Grammys last night, so I don’t know anything that went on. But, I actually think I prefer the award shows to watching it. Please say you’ll be doing the Oscars too? 🙂

    Of all the things you mentioned, however, I would have liked to have seen the Whitney tribute. She was so special. I remember trying to sing along with her when her first songs came out (and couldn’t) and wondered who IS this singer. Sweet memories.

    • Ha ha. I actually typically don’t watch the Oscars, Bridgette. I’ve tried to, but don’t get pulled in. Many years they also have movies being fawned over that I just didn’t get. I will tune in if someone I really like is up for an award…like the year Jennifer Hudson won.

      For Whitney’s tribute, I’m sure you will be able to find it on YouTube or other places online. J-Hud did so well with holding in her emotions.

      Some of my fave memories were being able to sing and hit some of the Whitney high notes because I was a first soprano. Now I know I didn’t sound like her, but I thought she was so fantastic because of her range. This was when Tina Turner, Cher, Anita Baker and Tony Braxton were also big and their voices were so low. Whitney was MY singer. Sweet sweet memories.

  6. Oooooh, now I can’t wait to watch the rest of the show! I got to the Bonnie/Alicia duet and then had to go beddy-bye (two long islands with dinner made for a very sleepy Tameri). BUT I recorded the show and the pre-show red carpet. I’m hoping my daughter will want to watch the rest of the Grammy’s with me today, if not I’ll have to wait until tonight. Darn.

    Such a shame about Whitney. Love, love, love her! My heart broke when she first started messing around with drugs and you could see her decline. She was so talented and lost everything. My kids asked me last night who she was and why they were making a big deal about her and I was shocked they didn’t know, but then I realized that Whitney has been gone from music for much of their lives. I broke out my iPod and played them a few songs, which made her passing all the more terrible to hear that amazing voice and to know she’ll never make music again.

    As for Bruno Mars? Oh.My.God. Love him! I loved him before, but now I think I might have a crush on him. Those moves! That smile! Love.

    • Two Long Islands? Well, now I know whose Grammy party to attend next year. 😉

      I hope you’ve now had a chance to watch the show, Tameri. It was 95% classy and a delight. Just the right tone in light of the tragic news of Whitney’s death. They replayed a clip of a 2002 interview she gave to Diane Sawyer speaking about her drug use. Well, speaking around her drug use. Internal demons and denial are a lonely and dangerous thing. The question of where she wants to be in 10 years got me…of course because here we are and she’s gone. The fact that your kids are unfamiliar speaks to her career not being as bright now and to some generational differences. When we were younger, we’d go back and “discover” music from past decades. I wonder if kids today are driven to do that or are more focused on the newness of now.

      Hmm…Bruno Mars, eh? I called him first. Ha ha ha ha. 🙂 He is a darling and seems like he’d be a cool guy to chat with in person.

  7. Great rundown on the Grammys. I wasn’t able to watch, but I read some articles on line about the tribute to Whitney Houston. Like everyone else, I was shocked to hear of her passing. I knew she’d started touring again a couple years ago and I thought she’d worked through her demons. I remember when her first album came out. I played it so much that the cassette got warped and I had to buy a new one. Despite being panned by the critics for her peformances in The Bodyguard and the Preacher’s Wife, I loved seeing her on the big screen.

    • I agree, Jennifer. She wasn’t the best actress, but I enjoyed her in both movies as well. I’d hoped she’d worked out a life of recovery as well back in 2009. Clive Davis was rallying around her and things looked good. Then she went back into some type of rehab last year. Just tragic.

  8. I was (and still am) sad about Whitney’s passing. Yesterday my husband, I and the kids watched some of her videos, and me and the hubby talked about our favorite Whitney’s songs. She was so talented and well loved. Too bad she has never gotten any help with her drug addiction.

    • Glad you were able to reminisce with your husband, Angela. I’m sure you have some wonderful shared memories. That her addiction still carried on leaves so many questions. Were people still enabling her? Were they in denial around her? From my following of her career, I think Whitney had two or three formal rehab stints/attempts. Dr. Drew mentioned that the one last year was outpatient and wasn’t enough for someone with a long abuse history and relapses. It has to be hard to be fighting something and then be put back into the environment where it is.

  9. I’m dropping by from the Campaign.

    I still can’t believe Whitney Houston is dead in a way. The first R-rated movie I saw (I was in elementary school at the time) was THE BODYGUARD. I can’t tell you how many times I sang “I will always love you.”


    • Great to meet you, Cherie! I’m sure we’ll chat more during the Campaign. 🙂

      I’m with you on the shock of it. I hear about the stars with addictions and still hope that they can clean up and make it. I remember her at events singing tributes to others so it broke my heart watching Jennifer Hudson have to do it for her so soon.

  10. Catie Rhodes says:

    What you said about cheating death interested me. Sometimes I think each person’s appointment comes, no matter what they do. I’m thinking of Stevie Ray Vaughan dying in a plane crash after he sobered up.

    Anyway, thanks for the Grammy rundown. I don’t watch it, so this is as close as I’ll get to knowing what-all went on. 😀

    • I’ve wondered about appointed times too, Catie. Like Selena being killed by the crazed fan club leader right as her career was taking off to the next level. Or Steven Stayner who survived horrific abuse for years after being kidnapped, escaped, only to die nine years later in a motorcycle accident. Seems unfair at times, but then who are we to say?

  11. Catherine Johnson says:

    Thanks so much for the highlights, I totally missed this as I usually do getting the kids to bed. I have been listening to Whitne’s songs all week. It’s so sad. Now I am more determined than ever to go out and buy Adele’s album and enjoy the amazing artist’s while they are still with us.

    • Glad you enjoyed the update, Catherine. Still having Whitney’s music is the one thing we can hold on to. Too sad. I just hope what has happened to her can touch and save someone else. Grab Adele’s album. I hear she is now thinking about taking five years off. 😦

  12. Pingback: Dick Clark and the Legacy of American Bandstand | Barbara McDowell's Blog

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