The 2012 Grammy Awards wasn't the best I can remember but it was good enough. The night felt a bit more somber than usual, as expected with the passing of Whitney Houston the night before. But I did enjoy the show a bit. Here are my 10 thoughts on the three and a half hour event:
1. LL Cool J must have found the fountain of youth because he refuses to age. Kudos to him for being a gracious host for the evening. Share that fountain, Uncle L!
2. Hands down, it was Adele's night. The first televised award went to Adele for "Best pop Solo Performance" for her hugely popular song, "Rolling in the Deep." It set the tone for the night, as she cleaned up in every category she was nominated in, bringing home six statues. Plus, her performance of the song at the show garnered her a standing ovation that lingered longer than any one else's. It was effortlessly amazing.
3. Speaking of, standing ovations were plenty last night. Not sure if everyone was feeling particularly kind, but the audience was definitely clap-happy. Some performances did earn the out of seat cheering, while others felt like they were done to be polite. It might have cheapened the gesture a bit towards the end of the night.
4. Chris Brown's performance didn't stand out vocally (not that it's expected to) but he's a gifted dancer. Especially since he does it so well in the skinniest of jeans. How he manages to shimmy and hop across the stage while rocking jeggings really boggles me but he makes it happen.
5. The tribute to the Beach Boys was way more enjoyable than expected. Many kids of the '80s were introduced to them on the show "Full House" so it surely brought back some memories. Maroon 5 did an awesome job capturing their sound too.
6. It was awesome to have Stevie Wonder onstage to introduce Paul McCartney, one icon to another. As we lose more and more of our greats, having two on that stage couldn't be taken for granted.
7. The usual video montage of artists we've lost in the past year omitted two very important icons who passed this last month: Etta James and Don Cornelius. There was a performance with DeadMau5 and Chris Brown to serve as a tribute to Don, and a duet between Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt as a hat tip to Etta, but the exclusion was inconsiderate. I'm still wondering how a dude in a lit up Mickey Mouse costume was paying homage to Don Cornelius, but that's not important. The Recording Academy has some 'splaining to do on this one.
8. The tribute to Whitney Houston by Jennifer Hudson hit the right note. J-Hud's didn't try to do too much as she gave a perfectly understated performance of "I Will Always Love You." Many people were disappointed that the tribute wasn't more than that but I felt it was right, given the time the Grammy Awards team had to pull it together. Trying to make it bigger than it was would have failed, because most of the people who should be included are still grieving (including Chaka Khan, who tweeted that she could not perform as she mourned her "little sister.") Jennifer's simple take on Whitney's signature song was perfect. My eyes sweated and tissues had to be used. She did good.
9. There was a lot of dance and country music at this year's Grammy's. Banjos were used on the stage more than once, and Lifetime Achievement winner, Glen Campbell's performance of "Rhinestone Cowboys" was sweet. And as for the dance music, strobe lights were all over the place. Chris Brown, Katy Perry, Rihanna. All of them had strobe lights. The Grammy Awards light bill must be sky high this year.
10. Nicki Minaj's "Exorcism of Roman" performance was a bit scary but it did explain her odd red carpet diabolic nun get-up. And the random "priest" with her. I felt like I should have thrown holy water at my TV with what I was saw. I almost felt like Nicki made us all honorary members of the oft-referenced Illuminati as we watched that performance. At least her makeup was nice though. And she was certainly entertaining!
It was surely a difficult night for the music industry, following the loss of one of the greatest singers to ever live. The Recording Academy had a challenge, and I think they rose to it. They struck the right balance between making sure respect was paid and having an upbeat show. It wasn't the best Grammys in recent memory but it was good enough.