Sunday, February 13, 2005

The following was minimally, with the key word being minimally editted after I spewed it out onto the laptop and added some pretty pictures. Some sentences may end abruptly and I may repeat the same word in three straight sentences. I apologize in advance, and just like last year, praise or hate on this thing as hard you want to.

We’re coming to you LIVE from Dillon Hall 114 for the 2nd Annual Grammy Running Diary. I expect this thing to annoy me (Queen Latifah is hosting and you know the awards will go to some undeserving winners) and entertain me (Norah, Kanye), although there’s going to be a 30-minute gap from 8:30 to 9:00 while we watch Arrested Development. I apologize for that, but since this thing will run past 11:30 anyway, you’ll get plenty of pointless rambling. You'll be joined tonight by random members of Dillon 1A and a couple of the loveliest Welsh Fam ladies I know. I can't promise this will be entertaining the whole way through, but I've included some pretty pictures to keep everyone's attention.

Also, do realize that the Grammys are not to be taken seriously. Music, more than any other pop culture medium, is the hardest to convince someone to like your type or music or vice-versa. People get in blood feuds over this type of thing. I'm not where it's put in someone's head that mainstream music is the only music that's good or that you're not smart unless you listen to music no one else has ever heard of. It's more complicated than that, and the Grammy's are just a way of bringing a bunch of pretty musicians together to kiss each other's ass.

And you know I wouldn't miss that for the world.

(In case you were curious, here is last year's running diary.)

8:00: CBS has been promoting the first five minutes of the Grammy’s for a week, as they’re featuring like seventeen different nominated artists. They’re beginning with Fergie, and the rest of the Black-Eyed Peas with, fittingly enough, “Let’s Get It Started”. A little rough, and nowhere near Beyonce and Prince last year, but it’s better than what’s up next in the opening medley….

8:02: Eve, in the ugliest, shortest dress I’ve seen in a while, and Gwen Stefani, looking splendid as always, are killing the crowd, as Barcus remarks that “Eve cannot f*cking sing” and Brendan notes this song makes him think of Fiddler on the Roof and fat Jews dancing. I can’t really argue. I miss Fergie already.

8:04: Black-Eyed Peas are back, and I swore the one guys was in Los Lonely Boys, but Brendan corrected me. I thought CBS said that Los Lonely Boys was in this thing, but perhaps not…

8:05: And there they are. As Brendan just stated “I called that shit.” “Heaven” sounds like it’s been out for fifteen years, and I just told the story about Jeff heckling the Cannonball Crew at the Buccos game this summer when the Pirate Jukebox gave us a chance to vote for the Lonely Boys. Matt is pretty sure that one of the members of Los Lonely Boys is George Lopez in a wig, and it looks to be a pretty good observation.

8:07: Maroon 5 are now joining the medley, and Matt is crying tears of blood. The lead singer is literally singing through his nose. Next please…

8:09: Franz Ferdinand is on, rescuing the crowd from Maroon 5. Their mikes need turned up, but I love this stuff. I don’t think they’re nominated for anything major, but I’m happy they’re here, despite their creepy 80’s style. Dill sent me an e-mail yesterday regarding their Best Video chances and how it conflicts with MTV’s end of the year video rankings. Again, only Dill cares about where MTV ranks different videos at the end of the year.

Speaking of Dill, here's him teaming up with Al Roker to do the weather, just because he ran his mouth about Norah and Ray.

8:11: All the different artists just sang their respective songs at the same time, before closing out with everyone doing “Let’s Get It Started”, except you couldn’t hear Eve, so everyone wins. Matt just realized Queen Latifah was hosting, and he couldn’t be more excited. I’m not typing what Brendan said about her, because it’s offensive to anyone who is black or overweight. In other exciting news, my loving roommate Sean just walked in, fresh off singing for like seven hours a day.

8:17: Whoever wrote Queen Latifah’s monologue needs some help, preferably from whoever writes MTV’s award shows stuff. It must have been some trick ass nigger. The scroll at the bottom just said that Norah and Ray cleaned up earlier while Be Cool stars John Travolta, the always-smoking Christina Milian and the always high Steven Tyler (I didn’t realize he was in it) announced Best Vocal By A Pop Duo or Group. Everyone is predicting “Heaven”, simply because the other nominees are absolutely terrible (“The Reason”!?!?!) and they win it. We’re all one-for-one, and Katie Mancino just joined us. I gave her up for lent, so she’ll have to leave.

8:21: Sean has to leave already because he’s working on a 10-20 page paper on plankton. Sean’s going to be a lot richer than I am when we both have our careers, but I own him at Mario Kart and Coolness Points now, so it’s all fair.

8:25: It’s Alicia Keys time, as she apparently clawed her way back onto the earth after falling off directly after the 2002 show. Alicia is really beautiful, but I still have to imagine her flipping out in the middle of a performance for someone talking.

I really hope she doesn’t win anything, because I’d love to see her sit and stew. Usher should drag her to a win or two.

8:27: Katie hasn’t left yet, despite me urging her too, and now we’re discussing how Danny Klee is a total heartbreaker. He’s led me on so many times since I met him back in August.

8:30:Arrested Development time, at least until Tyler gets it recording over in his room. Again, if you’re not watching this show, there’s some very wrong with you.

8:38: The first eight minutes of Arrested provided us with at least five or six catchphrases to drop over the next few weeks, and now we’re back over to the Grammy’s thanks to Tyler’s magical recording computer. We return with our third lifetime achievement award of the night, as the Grammys try to sap all value from them by giving one every four minutes. Chad and Pete have joined us, while Katie actually left after I urged her too. Did not see that one coming, as I've never convinced Katie to do anything before. I feel kinda bad after the fact, but there’s room for my elbow on the couch now, so it’s a fair trade-off. Life is all about making deals, baby.

8:41: U2 is performing. Enjoying this, despite Bono’s nonsensical ramblings at the beginning and his cowboy hat.

8:46: Not the best U2 performance in history, and now Penelope Cruz, Mark McGrath and Pharrell are out to give another Lifetime Achievment Award to Led Zeppelin and to present Best Rock Album. Green Day’s the pick all around, and that’s because they were going to be a clear winner. Brendan just went on one of his patented ramblings about how the album was good, although it was liberal, but there were other good albums (other than Elvis Costello), although Green Day was liberal but the album was good. As awkward as that statement was to type, imagine listening to it.

8:49: The more awkward conversation just happened as Matt tried to argue with us that Green Day was pop. There wasn’t really any clear evidence on either side, but I’m pretty sure the room defeated Matt.

8:54: If anyone at home would like to reserve a dinner and movie date with me to see Be Cool when I’m home for spring break, please let me know. I’m not going to be particular whether you’re male or female, I just want to see the movie with somebody.

8:55: Queen Latifah has just turned Matt off, and we’re promised fifteen minutes everyone will be talking about tomorrow. I don’t really agree with her, since the first song is being performed by Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, and then a big country rock thing with Tim McGraw, Gretchen Wilson and Keith Urban. I may wander out in the hallway to see what’s going on, because this can only be awkward and disturbing to my ears.

9:03: It’s a tribute to Southern Rock, actually, so once J-Lo’s insanely large butt, along with her Spanish duet with Anthony, are gone, we get Gretchen Wilson, Kanye West’s smoking hot rival for Best New Artist, singing “Freebird” with Lynyrd Skynyrd. Brendan thought Keith was some old wrinkling guy, but apparently he’s perhaps the most metrosexual, tanned country man I’ve ever seen.

9:08: That ended up not sucking, and that was even before they started playing “Sweet Home Alabama”. This isn’t as good as the funk tribute last year, but it’s not bad, simply because they’re pulling out some sing-along classics. I’m not sure anyone north of the Mason-Dixon Line will be talking about this tomorrow morning, like Latifah promised, but it’s not bad.

9:12: Coming up, a Janis Joplin Tribute and Usher, so I’m feeling good about what’s coming to us after this commercial break.

9:16: Ellen just introduced Queen Latifah, who is now singing, and while I avoid discussing the music sorta-kinda coming out of our hosts mouth, can we marvel at how quickly Ellen’s career turned around? Her talk show is hugely popular, she’s on commercials and I think she got a lot of deserved credit for Finding Nemo’s success, which is good for her, because who doesn’t love Finding Nemo?

9:20: Queen Latifah really wasn’t that bad, and Tommy noticed that she doesn’t really look that big compared to guys.

I pointed out to Tommy that what you don’t realize is that those guys are both 700 pounds.

9:21: The amazingly hot Tyra Banks and Hoobastank present another Lifetime Achievment Award, before presenting Best New Artist. Tommy, Brendan, Matt and myself all chose Kanye to avenge his American Music Awards loss, but God intervenes in a terrible, terrible way and Maroon 5 wins. I think lead singer Adam Levine just hit on Kanye West, who may or may not murder the entire group after this show. Kanye’s still got more chances tonight, but that one hurts. And we didn’t even get Usher during that segment as we head back to commercial.

9:26: The lovely Miss Christina Ginardi just joined us, minus her voice after being the only person screaming for Ben Kweller last night at the Folds show. She’s kind of intimidating when she argues with Brendan in her raspy voice, but I’m going to remain strong. I’m still reeling after Maroon 5 winning. Not. Cool.

9:29: A thugged-out Quentin Tarantino is on stage to continue his music-loving streak (after the out-of-nowhere appearance on American Idol last season) and to introduce Green Day, who I’m beginning to root for more and more as the night goes on. I really wish I had my nomination list printed out to keep everything straight, but we’ll just continue calling them in the five seconds between when the nominees and winner are announced.

9:32: I don’t think I like the song “American Idiot” as much as “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, but there’s big plumes of fire, so that makes up for it.

Did Weezer get nominated for any Grammys, or were they too underground? Can someone do some research for me, since I don’t have internet at the moment as I sit on the couch?

9:34: First Norah sighting of the night, as she’s sitting on the aisle and looking absolutely amazing. I hope she performs, as opposed to just winning awards.

9:35: Alicia Keys continues her comeback tour with a Best R&B Album win. I think it was kind of rigged, since Prince, probably her chief competition, wasn’t in the crowd. I seriously hate Alicia Keys so much. I don’t know what it is, I just can’t imagine her being cool to hang out with. I can just see her constantly yelling and screaming. Granted, I have nothing to back this up, but given a choice between hanging with her and anyone else who has been onstage tonight, and excluding the fact that she’s insanely hot, I’m taking the “Anyone Else”.

9:43: Queen Latifah is a really, really bad host, but I think she’s introducing the gospel tribute, featuring Kanye West, the Blind Boys of Alabama and John Legend. Of course she has to give a Lifetime Achievement Award first, but now we’re to the actual medley, which starts with “I’ll Take You There”. Loving it.

9:46: Kanye is sporting an amazingly large tie, but they gave him an entire faux church set for “Jesus Walks”, so it cancels out. How does Kanye not get the Token Gospel Choir for the evening? You’d think with the most nominations he’d deserve that.

9:47: After a fake car crash, they’re singing “I’ll Fly Away” at Kanye’s funeral. Any song that’s in O Brother, Where Art Thou? and sang in honor of Kanye – whose back with another verse of “Jesus Walks” already – is a great song in my book. Kanye ends with giant angel wings and the bigger question of how he didn’t win “Best New Artist”?

9:50: Ludacris and Kevin Bacon come out to give another award, but first give mad props to Kanye West. They’re giving the Best Rap Award, and I successfully called Kanye’s win, as I’m assuming he barely edged out Matt’s pick of Jay-Z’s Black Album. Tommy, who is supposedly so fast since he’s a varsity track athlete and all, couldn’t get his pick in on time. I’m disappointed in him.

9:53: Kanye knocks them dead with his acceptance speech, ending with “Everyone wanted to know what would happen if I didn’t win….I guess we’ll never know.” Does that mean I get my “Murder All Members of Maroon 5” bet back? Going to commercial, they show clips of Steven Tyler with maracas, so you know there’s at least some promise in the rest of the show. I just want to see Usher and Norah.

10:00: Finally a Lifetime Achievement Award that actually matters, as they give it to Janis Joplin. Joss Stone and Melissa Etheridge will not be honoring the late, great artist, and it’s a little rough to start with Miss Stone. Hopefully Melissa Etheridge picks up the business a little bit.

10:08: Last year, I successfully called during my Grammy run-through that Second City would be a disastrous flop. I would like to make my Official Bomb Prediction for this year’s show to be Constantine, which in no way can be any good.

10:11: Billy Bob Thornton is looking very suave and very wasted as he presents another Lifetime Achievement Award and then introduces Tim McGraw. I’m sorry, did I flip channels and end up on CMA’s? Isn’t there some kind of Tim McGraw/Faith Hill quota on every three hours of primetime television, and shouldn’t there be some kind of FCC penalty for an overuse of their, uh, “talents”?

10:17: Three incredibly unattractive people – Amy Lee, TBone Burnett, Allison Krause – present yet another lifetime achievement award and are now presenting Best Country Album. No one picked Loretta Lynn to win, but Matt wanted her too, and she did.

10:21: Two key things we must go over as we go to break. One, there’s a “Best Hawaiian Album” category, and two, Usher will be performing with James Brown later. I hope he gets the Gospel Choir and performs “Caught Up”. Oh yeah, and Norah’s doing some ensemble thing. She deserves a solo performance, but I can live with a medley that features Steven Tyler on maracas.

10:26: They’re slowly phasing Queen Latifah out of the show, as Rob Thomas introduces Ahmet Urgen, the guy who Ray Charles screws over when he doesn’t resign with Atlantic Records in Ray. Immediately after, John Mayer begins performing a lovely little acoustic “Daughters”. I don’t think it will win Best Song, but it would be hard for me to write about John Mayer without mentioning how totally dreamy he is. Sigh.

10:30: Lisa Marie Presley and John Mayer are introducing Best Rock Song. It was insane competition with U2, The Killers, Franz Ferdinand and Green Day all competing. I love all of them, but Tommy, Brendan, Matt and I all picked “Vertigo”, which won. Bono gives either a warning about or mad props to Franz Ferdinand during his acceptance speech. I don’t think Franz would actually kill anyone, so I’m taking it as a compliment to my boys.

10:34: Sean just stuck his head in the room, and upon being mocked about his “Best Gay Folk Song Album” losing, he asks where his mace and chain are. If you think that’s bad, you ought to hear he and Chad’s conversation about whether Sean would rather turn into a Jedi Master or be trained at Hogwarts.

I’d also like to put the Bomb Sticker on The Pacifier, as the decline of Vin Diesel’s career continues. Remember the golden age of Vin, when he was so successful in Fast and the Furious and then, um…well he died in Saving Private Ryan…and uh, speared a nuclear torpedo in xXx and was promptly replaced by Ice Cube….good career for Vin Diesel.

10:38: It’s time for the Tsunami Relief Tribute Mega Song, as they’re singing The Beatles “Across the Universe”. I’m just going to randomly type names of people who sing. Try to keep up. Bono….Velvet Revolver…Stevie Wonder…~Norah Jones~…some random old guys…Steven Tyler with maracas…Alicia Keyes...the lead singer from Green Day….Tim Freaking McGraw again (they’re way over the quota)…Steven Tyler actually singing…Allison Krause with a fiddle….

This is a really bad All-Star cast, but Norah Jones is so insanely hot and Steven Tyler really likes his maracas as Stevie Wonder harmonicas away.

10:44 Norah and Stevie are presenting Song of the Year. I wonder whose going to read the envelope once it’s opened?

10:46: John Mayer, wearing jeans and a smoking jacket, wins Best Song. He may not have, unless the envelope had Braille on it, since Stevie Wonder just kinda felt the envelope and announced the name. Now if they give Mayer the envelope, and he reads it and it says “Kanye West – Jesus Walks”, does he tell anybody? After the way he just bashed his own song, I’m saying yes.

10:53: Queen Latifah leaves the buffet long enough to announce another Lifetime Achievement Award recipient…and now she’s introducing Usher. They’re playing “Caught Up” and I’m just going to enjoy this.

10:56: Andy MacKrell just barged in from “the library” (that’s code for BP) and started making noise, knocking my coat down, dropping crumbs on my laptop and turning our fan off. By the way, Usher is the smoothest person in the entire world. His legs are made of some kind of magical, musically-enhanced rubber.

10:57: In a thirty second span, Usher jumped on a trampoline, did a backflip and now James Brown is out on stage to dance-off against Usher. This is beyond awesome at this point in time.

10:59: Sheryl Crow is smoking hot as she comes out with some biker to present Record of the Year. She jokes that she made her dress out of some of Lance’s yellow jerseys. She apparently forgot to make underwear, so even if he’s taking a year off of the tour, Lance wins again. Schwiiiiiiing.

11:00: Record of the Year is won by Norah Jones and the late, great Ray Charles for “Here We Go Again”!!!!!!! Two of my favorite ladies in all of music, Norah and Sheryl, just shared a kiss on the cheek and I’m so very happy, after Brendan and Tommy misjudged and chose “Yeah!” to win. I’m so very excited Norah won, gave major love to Ray and nearly broke down in years because of the whole thing. If I was on AIM, I’d be busting out the big smileys right now (Ctrl + Shift + 8).

11:05: Awesome Heineken commercial where a large amount of bottles are dropped and people feel sadness as the liquory goodness is wasted across the floor. Meanwhile, I continue to make Queen Latifah jokes, Matt continues to head butt me, Brendan continues to be very loud and Sean continues to drink his cappuccino/hot chocolate mix he’s spent over seven thousand dollars on since we got back. It’s not heroine for Sean, oh no, but only high quality caffeinated items.

11:10: Did you know the Pro Bowl was tonight? I kinda miss having my mom in the next room yelling out to me the score every so often, and informing me when Peyton Manning throws an interception that’s returned for a touchdown. I’m talking about this because the President of the Grammy guy just gave Brian Wilson person of the year, and we may finally be getting to Album of the Year….

11:13:…but not before the “In Memoriam” This will lead into the Ray Charles tribute, followed by Album of the Year. We may get done with this by 11:30, apparently giving everyone else in the section time to watch the 14th episode of Lost. Apparently it’s as addicting and good as everybody said it was, and the only person getting more applause during the death scroll than Rick James was Ray Charles, and now it’s his tribute time, performed by Bonnie Raitt. If you’ve hung in for the entirety of the show, give yourself a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. I’m polishing mine up my Two Consecutive Years of Grammy Service megaphone right now.

11:21: Going into the Album of the Year, I’m taking Ray Charles, Tommy’s going with Green Day and Chad says Usher is getting the respect we deserve. According to the ESPNews scroll, Peyton Manning won the Pro Bowl MVP. I’m sure that will, uh, help him out in the playoffs next year.

11:24: Bonnie Raitt and Gary Sinise (excellent job of promoting yourself, CBS, as Sinise has about as much to do with the music business as I do, but tune into CSI:NY), are out to present Album of the Year. This is totally up for grabs…

11:25: …and Genius Loves Company wins it. Chad thinks it’s kind of a copout, I kinda agree, but I also am really happy he won it. There’s a lot of people onstage right now, and I think this could be some good karma for Jamie Foxx come Oscar night.

Bonnie Raitt said this was a great Grammys, and I’d have to disagree. Sure, as exciting as it was for Norah to win, I’d rather see her perform on her own as opposed to the incredibly crappy all-star tsunami fundraiser they had. Usher was great, as was Kanye, but U2 and Green Day both left a little to be desired. I’ll take last year’s show over this one, but hey, college is all about finding creative ways to waste three and half hours of your time and thirty-seven hundred words, and this certainly qualifies.

If you think you’re getting a running diary of the Oscars (not that anyone of you would want to read it), think again, as I’m pretty sure that it will top four hours, and I can’t sit around for that long. Maybe we’ll just slap a keyboard on Sean and let him go nuts, as he is more excited than I am for February 27th.

By the way, Norah won for Best Female Pop Vocal for Sunrise. No big thing, all she does is be totally awesome and totally classy.

Maybe some Valentines Day love coming later if I get to it. If not, share some love with someone, even if you're against the heart-y holiday.

(All photos courtesy of my favorite homepage, Yahoo.)

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