Stanley Clarke, Chick Corea and Kenny Garrett
The unexpected jazz interlude — a tribute to the late Dave Brubeck — was a rare, fleeting moment of sanity and virtuosity. It wasn’t to last. (And of course there’s no video of it.)
Miguel and Wiz Khalifa
This was perfectly OK in a largely nondescript commercial hip hop/R&B sense, notwithstanding the fact that the duo’s suits made us wonder if our TV was malfunctioning. In other news, Wiz Khalifa followed up this performance by presenting the award for… Best Country Solo Performance?
The Black Keys and Dr. John
True fact: Dr John is 27x cooler than anyone else here, with the exception of the aforementioned Chuck D and Frank Ocean. Shame you can’t hear him AT ALL.
It has come to this: an overblown ballad featuring an anonymous wetbag in a beanie falls well into the top half of our countdown. At least she didn’t break into “Diamonds,” eh?
We’ll leave it to your next gender studies class to discuss the implications of assembling an all-female band to play the piano ballad and an all-male band to do the bro-y rocking-out bit.
Mumford and Sons
You will notice that of all the acts listed in this feature, Mumford and Sons fall right in the middle. This is no accident. They have made an entire career out of coming right in the middle. Clearly, this qualifies them perfectly for being deemed to have made the best album made by anyone anywhere in 2013. Good job, Grammy people. (Also, the performance was so dull that it seems to have broken YouTube.)
But wait, why are Mumford and Sons playing again?
Elton John, Zac Brown, Mavis Staples, Mumford and Sons, and the kitchen sink
This year’s saccharine tribute to everyone who died during the year comes in the form of “The Weight,” commemorating the death of Levon Helm. It’s… well, y’know, it’s OK, as far as weird ensembles of bizarrely mismatched parts go. Still, we don’t want to speak ill of the dead, but the fact that it was Helm who commanded this tribute ahead of Adam Yauch or Donna Summer says pretty much everything you need to know about the Grammys’ baby boomer-centric white dude aesthetic.
In which the generally insufferable Kelly Clarkson “pays tribute” to Patti Page and Carole King. Paying tribute is generally a risky business, but in fairness, her “Tennessee Waltz” is not horrible. Her “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” is… well, OK, it’s fairly horrible. But on the whole, she’s a whole lot better when she’s not singing her own songs. Also, she’s living proof that screaming/emoting/etc. does not make for good singing, in the same way that supersizing your McDonald’s sandwich does not make it a better eating experience.
Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley
Anyone have a guess at what those six guitar players were actually doing?
Bruno Mars, Sting, Rihanna and two Marley siblings
I mean, what did you expect? Given that precisely no one in the history of the universe (outside the Academy, anyway) has ever said, “Y’know what’d be awesome? A ‘tribute’ to Bob Marley featuring a Bruno Mars song and a Sting song!”, this was never going to be anything but bizarre at best and actively terrible at worst. It fell somewhere in between.
We are never, ever getting back together? Sure. Everyone wins.
Behold: the band who’ve snatched the coveted Least Appropriate Band Name Ever award out of the hands of Egyptian Hip Hop (spoiler: neither Egyptian nor hip hop) and Of Montreal (spoiler: not actually of Montreal at all.) This is not fun, period. This is like having someone amputate your pinkie with a rusty fish fork. Lena Dunham could do better. The Grammys could do better. The world could do better. Humanity could do better.
Apparently Maroon 5 still exist, and guess what? They’re still about as entertaining as watching drone warfare. Also, Alicia Keys, is this what your career has come to?
Hunter Hayes and Carrie Underwood
And finally, this is like a trip into a parallel universe where a ghastly pop-country homunculus like Hunter Hayes not only gets to play a song and doesn’t get bottles of piss hurled at him from on high, but also gets nominated for album of the year… and the devil himself possesses the terrifying Carrie Underwood’s dress and animates it with designs of inscrutable Satanic intent. This could actually be where the spaceship from Event Horizon ended up. Liberate tutemet ex Grammy Awards. Until next year. God help us all.