Monday, February 13, 2012

Inside the Grammys

This appeared on today

It isn’t everyday in LA when couture, glitz, talent and celebs come together to celebrate music. Well actually, it is, but the 54th edition of the annual Grammy awards at Staples Center brought more of the usual suspects out to play than usual. The influence of music and eminence of the Grammys infused life in the air way before the awards began. Countless limos and Lamborghinis, media vans, reporters, photographers, security guards and cops enveloped the venue as the rich, the famous and the gifted posed at myriad pre-parties highlighted by glittering curtains, exquisite floral arrangements and flowing wine that sprawled across the hotel lobbies, clubs and restaurants around the venue. As I made by way through a couple of those parties, the names that relentlessly fell on my ears were Adele and Whitney. Oh, the Beach Boys, given that they were reuniting after eons. All the speculation involved Gaga’s entry and all the jokes were on Chris Brown.

The red carpet displayed the customary razzle-dazzle. Loads of elegance, skin, shimmer, smiles and quirks. It was a strange concoction of the old and the new, the geniuses and the admirers, the clean shaven and the tattooed ones with piercings, the gelled hair and the punk hair, men without makeup and men with excessive makeup but together they make it work. I spotted Jay Sean from a distance adjusting his tie for a while in the car window (it ain’t just the ladies who can’t resist a sneak peek each time they bypass a mirror). Rebecca Black and Shaggy were both there, chilling, walking, seemingly unaware of the trauma they’ve caused to the world. I caught Paris Hilton pop a big piece, cheese or white chocolate, in her mouth when no one was looking. Paris eats! Who knew? Bruno Mars finally looked all grown up just as much as Taylor Swift did.

Fashion was at its best as it should be given the occasion. There was enough blinding illumination from gold and silver at the scene to put the sun out of business. Sasha Gradiva toted machine guns on her right arm where as Nicki Minaj startled with a bizarre red hooded outfit and a bishop on her right arm. She definitely did a one up on the egg from last year that Gaga was thus making it the wackiest moment of the evening. Gaga was a no show on the red carpet which is just not done, but attended, her face all covered behind a black net. Jessie J wore molten metal and looked like a disco ball, Katy Perry matched her hair with her blue fluid dress whereas Fergie, the rebel that she is, showed up in a risqué red-hot see-through outfit. Julianne Hough looked charming and Rihanna, quite sultry. If there’s such a thing as the perfect shade of black to complement your skin, Ri Ri found it. Internet music sensations Sophia Grace and Rosie were all cutesy, posing in their princessy outfits when I spotted the only t-shirts of the night on Foo Fighter’s band members. As for the men, Eric Benet, Adam Levine and Kings of Leon band members looked impeccable but all eyes were on A-Trak, Skrillex and Diplo.

Once I got inside, there were several noteworthy performances. Bruce Springsteen kicked off the event with a very yellow guitar but my heart fluttered where Maroon 5 opened for the Beach Boys. Remember Kokomo? Paul McCartney, Chris Brown, Civil Wars, Adele, Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Coldplay – they all rocked the stage with their acts but Jennifer Hudson stole the show with her tribute. It’s not an award show unless there’s some misses to go with the hits. Presenting Bruno Mars. I take back what I said about him earlier. He is still not grown up enough to be allowed to perform.

Speeches were short and sweet accompanied by a tear or two in certain cases. Nothing out of the world. Host LL Cool J kicked it off with a prayer for Whitney Houston and said there’s a death in the family. That was touching. Then there were the speeches that never happened… like Skrillex, even after winning 3 categories.

I almost forgot the awards. If you thought 2011 was the year of Adele, you were right. Her ‘21’ was album of the year with a total of 6 awards for the night. Other big winners of the night were Kanye West, Jay-Z, Foo Fighters, Chris Brown, Lady Antebellum and Bon Iver, who was oddly given the 'best newcomer' award.

Oh, and dubstep's most friendless man Skrillex won three - and gave a perplexing shout out to London satellite town Croydon, known for its underground dubstep scene. There was no sign of reciprocal appreciation for the man who stands accused of inventing 'bro-step'. Worse still, he was the victim of a 'trolling' manoeuvre by electro-house producer Deadmau5, who wore a t-shirt with Skrillex's phone number on it - cue Skrillex activating call forwarding on his number to, you've guessed it, Deadmau5's phone. Who says these two masters of commercial beats lack imagination?

In conclusion, the event was terrific - very raw and entertaining and there was tremendous positive energy and lovely vibes from all around. The finale was grand. All in all, an evening I won’t forget for a long time. As the host summed it up succinctly, the night was about music and healing. Now only if I hadn’t spilled my tinted drink on my unforgiving dress, it would have been a perfect night.