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.”
- 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?