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Lady Antebellum Dominates Grammys; Eminem, Lady Gaga, & Arcade Fire Win Big

Lady Antebellum must be the blandest act to ever score so big at the Grammys Lady Antebellum must be the blandest act to ever score so big at the Grammys

It was a pretty so-so Grammy Awards night – nothing in the way of real controversy or water cooler fodder. Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” propelled a very bland country act into the spotlight for the evening, while Cee-Lo Green and Janelle Monae stole the show with their live performances. Eminem, Lady Gaga, Muse, & Arcade Fire all earned major awards and turned in decent performances as well. Here’s a look at what went down:

Lady Gaga’s emergence from a giant egg continued her tendency for whackiness. Say what you will, but between writing catchy pop songs and remembering how to put on a stage show, the Rosebud Magazine cover girl is always worth tuning in for.  She also won Best Female Pop Performance and Best Pop Vocal Album.

Indie rockers Muse and Arcade Fire also showed that they’re up to the task of laying it down when it counts. It wasn’t that long ago that bands like this wouldn’t have been within 100 miles of a network broadcast, so it’s hard not to smile with some of the ways the music industry is headed.

Muse also won best rock album while Arcade Fire took home the night’s biggest award, the album of the year, for The Suburbs. Somehow they didn’t win in the narrower category of Best Alternative Music Album, in which they were also nominated. I’m not sure how that works, but The Black Keys won instead, proving once and for all that the Grammys are about being a spectacle and not necessarily about making sense.

Before we leave the realm of rock, it must be mentioned that old timers Neil Young and Iron Maiden also took home statues, rightfully kicking younger artists’ asses in the process. In my perfect Grammys broadcast, the rock legends would have taken the stage and we would have been spared live performances from Christina Aguilera and Justin Bieber.

Then again, I’m not a 13-year-old girl, so maybe I’m not meant to understand the Bieber thing. But Aguilera? Since when does ostentatious display of how many notes you can cram into a single syllable pass for songcraft? That stuff drives me crazy and was easily the low point of the night.

Eminem won in the major rap categories for Best Solo Performance and Best Rap Album, as well as appearing on stage to perform with an old co-conspirator, Dr. Dre.

In the R&B category, Cee-Lo Green’s “F*ck You” won best Urban/Alternative Performance, which was richly deserved. Green appearing in an Elton John-esque outfit to perform a sanitized version of his hit with Gwyneth Paltrow and some Muppets was another highlight, as was Janelle Monae’s high energy, crowd surfing version of another of the year’s best R&B tracks, “Cold War.”

Overall, the Grammys left a relatively minor impression on me this year. The highs weren’t too high, nor the lows too low. The spectacle was there, and the earnest low-key moments, too. Everything you expect from the annual celebration of some of the most popular music in the world (for the moment). Arcade Fire, Muse, and Eminem were all good, but other than Janelle Monae and Cee-Lo Green’s moments in the spotlight, I’m not sure much from Sunday night is really going to last in the memory banks. But on a night where middle-of-the-road country act Lady Antebellum was the big winner, maybe that’s appropriate. They took five statues, including Song of the Year and Record of the Year. Has there been a less remarkable multi-winning artist? Oh well. Let’s hope this month’s other big awards ceremony, the Oscars, hits a little harder.


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Arcade Fire were the surprise winners of Best Album at the 2011 Grammy Awards
Last modified on Friday, 21 September 2012 15:55

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