Idolator Live-Blogs The 2008 Grammys: Please Join Us Along The Long Road To Ruin
Welcome to Idolator’s liveblog of the 2008 Grammys, a night that will have many generation-spanning performances and a few that might even span the divide between living and dead. We’re on the last 30 minutes of the dueling preshows between E! and the TV Guide Channel, where we basically get to see people get asked the same questions about who they’re wearing and why they’re on our TVs. Also: Debbie Matenopolous! I guess when you get banished from The View you get to comment on Rihanna’s nail polish for money. Which could be considered as “failing up,” maybe. Our coverage begins after the jump.
7:31 p.m. The E! guy just asked Wilco how they went from “alternative” to “rock.” This answer could completely revolutionize music writing as we know it.
7:32 p.m. Jeff Tweedy points out that 10 years ago, they were actually folk, thus sending a nation of rock critics to their Tumblr pages.
7:34 p.m. John Fogerty is discussing his fitness regime.
7:38 p.m. Jay-Z’s closet is two stories high. He also looks very young this evening, although the tux he’s wearing is very sharp.
7:40 p.m. Ludacris is freshly back from Milan! And in all-Armani! The banality is too much to bear! Almost!
7:42 p.m. Cyndi Lauper is an Amy Winehouse fan. I wonder if she’s wearing Betsey Johnson? If she’s not she should be.
7:44 p.m. John Legend’s underwhelming red carpet showing pretty much sums up why he’s not the huge megastar that the record industry so wants him to be.
7:48 p.m. Switching to the TV Guide Channel. I can’t escape John Legend! He’s performing with Fergie tonight!
7:49 p.m. Lisa Rinna looks completely flummoxed by Nas’ shirt, which has the title of his album in huge gothic script letters. And Kelis is in a matching jacket! And now Nas is wasting his big stump speech on not sweeping racism under the rug on the freakin’ TV Guide Channel.
7:50 p.m. Nas’ entourage also includes a couple of white girls in matching dresses. Perhaps we’ll see these on the racks at H&M tomorrow?
7:53 p.m. Coming up after the Grammy special: A hard-hitting look at celebrity breakups. Stay tuned?
7:55 p.m. Five minutes to go! A gay man with a black hat and a sinus infection is commenting on dresses and giving Joey Fatone the opportunity to make S & M references!
7:56 p.m. I had to change the channel when will.i.am talked about doing something “for America.”
7:58 p.m. We’re very close to being done. Here’s Natalie Cole, the Best New Artist of 1975! Well at least the E! guy got her year of victory right.
7:59 p.m. It’s starting!!
8:00 p.m. Frank Sinatra is reprising his Grammy explanation speech from many years ago. “It Had To Be You” is being cued up by the orchestra… and there’s Alicia Keys. AND VIRTUAL FRANK SINATRA, right on her piano!! He’s even reflected in the piano. Attention to detail, there.
8:01 p.m. The backdrop drops out! Someone’s getting fired by the time 8:30 rolls around.
8:03 p.m. This performance would be a lot better if Sanjaya was singing backup.
8:03 p.m. Dan: “If you’re going to do something like this, at least do, like, the Foo Fighters with Kurt Cobain or something.”
8:03 p.m. Wow was that anticlimactic. And now Alicia Keys is walking down the runway… and welcoming everyone on behalf of the Chairman of the Board and herself.
8:04 p.m. “To appear on the Grammy Awards is to duet with history,” said Alicia Keys.
8:04 p.m. “I’m going to reel off a bunch of legendary musicians’ names so you associate me with them,” she continued.
8:05 p.m. Carrie Underwood is dueting with freaking Stomp on “Before He Cheats”! While wearing a catsuit.
8:06 p.m. Someone pointed out that she’s styled kind of like Nancy Sinatra. “Well, that’s the theme tonight,” said Dan. “The Sinatras! Someone’s going to come out as Frank Jr. next.”
8:09 p.m. Prince. Just presenting. Wait, how did Mary J’s “Just Fine” squeak in under the deadline? It’s not even like it’s a good enough song to make exceptions for.
8:10 p.m. Prince: “Frank Sinatra looked good for 150, didn’t he?” Bruce Vilanch didn’t write that line.
8:12 p.m. Alicia Keys wins Best R & B performance by a woman.
8:16 p.m. 70 million people are watching NCIS. Anyone want to calculate the fraction of people who are watching this broadcast right now?
8:17 p.m. The Time is doing “Jungle Love”! The excitement is punctured a bit by the fact that the mix is really not good, dropping out and all messed-up-levels all over the place.
8:19 p.m. It’s a mashup of “Jungle Love” and “Umbrella.” Somewhere, the Hood Internet is going into meltdown mode.
8:21 p.m. And now we’re into “Don’t Stop The Music,” and Rihanna is wearing one of Christian Siriano’s creations from his Bryant Park show. That was fast!
8:22 p.m. Rihanna: Not so energetic with the “Jungle Love” dance moves there.
8:23 p.m. Tom Hanks is paying tribute to lifetime achievement award winners The Band. Does this mean that Panic At The Disco’s cover of “The Weight” is up next?
8:25 p.m. The Beatles changed the history of our planet. And tonight, we honor them by forcing Ringo Starr and Yoko Ono to sit in the same row and making everyone sit through “re-imaginations” of the band’s catalog. Can’t we just get treated to some footage from A Hard Day’s Night?
8:26 p.m. Cirque de Soleil: Redefining the phrase “You Had To Be There” for how many years now?
8:28 p.m. Is it shirking my live-blogging duties if I just close my eyes until the dancing stops? Please say no.
8:29 p.m. The car blew up–the second automobile to get demolished tonight! Is this all some sort of environmental analogy?
8:30 p.m. The aeralist’s flopping all over the stage is making me really nervous in an Owen Hart kind of way.
8:30 p.m. The kid who’s wearing pants from Urban Outfitters is singing “Let It Be” a capella.
8:31 p.m. And as everyone expected, the song is now being sung by a full-on choir! So when do we all get to go to Beatles church, anyway? If U2 is doing it there has to be some hip priest out there who’s reimagining the Gospel as the letters of Lennon & McCartney.
8:33 p.m. That was actually pretty good. Keeping Evan Rachel Wood away from it definitely helped.
8:33 p.m. And from that, we go to… Cyndi Lauper and Miley Cyrus. God bless Cyndi’s still strawng Noo Yawk accent.
8:35 p.m. Shocking no one–except maybe Cyndi, who was very happy and surprised!–Amy Winehouse wins Best New Artist.
8:36 p.m. Jason Bateman is surrounded by a plague of gnats while standing outside touting the Foo Fighters’ performance in the Staples Center parking lot.
8:37 p.m. Jason’s touting of the My Grammy Moment YouTube competition is almost as convincing as Michael Bluth saying “I have no problem with that.”
8:37 p.m. They should have really had all the violinists in the My Grammy Moment competition audition with “Cotton Eyed Joe.”
8:38 p.m. Jason Bateman just called the cello a “violin with a thyroid problem.” And we only have 21 minutes to vote, which means that if this whole five-person room votes three times each, we might be able to swing the ballot.
8:44 p.m. Is it a conspiracy that there’s no mention of legally downloading the album of Grammy nominees, or is it just another sign of how “in touch” the music industry is?
8:45 p.m. Kanye West is debuting his light-up glasses and his … anarchy-symbol fade?
8:47 p.m. Hey look it’s Daft Punk! Brooklyn Vegan’s commenters are totally going to start crying.
8:49 p.m. Oh maybe his fade says “Mama,” since he’s performing “Hey Mama” right now.
8:52 p.m. Any goodwill toward the broadcast I might have just evaporated with the phrase “Three-time Grammy winner Fergie.”
8:54 p.m. I’m guessing this collaboration is called “Finally.” If only Ce Ce Peniston could be here instead.
8:55 p.m. The Best Soundtrack Album category has a Beatles vs. Beatles matchup! Does this mean that they’ll split the vote?
8:55 p.m. No. Love wins.
8:58 p.m. Ringo mugs and talks about his son not being able to be there.
9:00 p.m OK, the Webcam ads by E*Trade need to stop ASAP because a) the trend is completely 10 years old and b) the peoples’ heads are way too big in 2008-technology TVs.
9:01 p.m. Speaking of old, here’s an ad with a girl going to her prom wearing Doc Martens!
9:03 p.m. Cher is wearing a dress that looks like it was a collaboration between Bob Mackie and Jessica McClintock.
9:04 p.m. A jazz remix of “Deja Vu” punctuated by the spoken-word opener from Christina Aguilera’s Back To Basics? That’s being lipsynced? Yeah, that’s a way to introduce Tina Turner.
9:05 p.m. Not to go crazy with the Project Runway references, but why is Tina wearing an outfit made out of a few rolls of fabric from Spandex World’s sale rack?
9:07 p.m. Although holy crap, “Better Be Good To Me”!? This song is kind of fire. (Also: Tina’s dancing > Rihanna’s dancing.)
9:09 p.m. Beyonce dedicated that “working for the man” line in “Proud Mary” to her father in her head.
9:11 p.m. It’s nice to know that even after being trotted out by numerous American Idol contestants, karaoke singers, and others, “Proud Mary” is still a blazing song.
9:13 p.m. Nelly Furtado, some woman from some CBS show, and “O.G.”–original Grammy host–Andy Williams come out to give Burt Bacharach some props.
9:14 p.m. It’s also time to give out Song of The Year. And Amy Winehouse wins for chronicling her troubles. And Nelly Furtado is so excited to hear what she has to say! Which… yeah, I’m just wondering if they’re still trying to tape her appearance.
9:20 p.m. Jason Bateman is about to bestow the My Grammy Moment prize. “By the power vested in me by whoever booked me for this gig…” His agent is very fired tomorrow.
9:21 p.m. Of course the chick with the sleeveless shirt won. Of course.
9:23 p.m. The back of the crowd needs to get a little more pepped up about this, you know? It’s their moment, too, after all.
9:25 p.m. And now: It’s time for the violin solo that (a few people in) America want to hear!
9:26 p.m. Dave Grohl is so freaking psyched! You’d think he just won a … oh, wait.
9:27 p.m. Surely whoever wrote the copy about Kid Rock and “a new female friend” was trying to inspire many Scott Stapp sex tape-related jokes from the peanut gallery?
9:29 p.m. It would appear that Art Brut is T-Mobile’s new Of Montreal, but I won’t give them that coronation totally until they rewrite “Formed A Band” for Applebee’s.
9:32 p.m. Not content with having George Lopez announce the nominees, now the Grammy powers that be are trotting him out to make “political” ethnic jokes. And he is bombing almost as badly as Sarah Silverman at the VMAs.
9:33 p.m. The glittery shirt that Brad Paisley is wearing is distracting me from this weirdly muted performance of “Ticks.” I know that this show got a waiver from the WGA, but did the sound mixers strike by proxy?
9:37 p.m. The not-invisible hand of Matthew Knowles is felt as Solange shows up to present an award with Akon and Chris Brown.
9:38 p.m. Remember when Jay-Z put out Kingdom Come? Yeah, those were the days.
9:39 p.m. Kanye West wins Best Rap Album for Graduation, and a nation holds its breath in anticipation of his acceptance speech. Also: His jacket is still lighting up.
9:40 p.m. Oh no, Kanye is getting played off! But he is soldiering on … and he forced the playing-off to stop by invoking his mother. Damn. Damn.
9:43 p.m. Aretha Franklin and the “roof-raising” gospel performance are ready … and playing underneath a giant glowing cross. Wait, does this mean Justice is going to come out?
9:45 p.m. It’s a clash of the choirs! Only the choir competing now is more like a brass band with a few ornamental … vocalists? Lute players?
9:47 p.m. Oh no, they’re none of those things–they’re their own thing.
9:47 p.m. It’s very funny how it’s one of the filthier rappers around who’s charged with introducing all of the gospel groups.
9:49 p.m. And now for the big medley-closing group sing!
9:51 p.m. That’s how to get people pumped for the rest of the show: Footage of some dude in a hoodie singing opera. (And yes, I know it’s Josh Groban, but c’mon, if you’re gonna be in front of a camera, at least dress up a little.)
9:54 p.m. Man, will.i.am is never going to stop in his quest to make America care about him, is he? Maybe he’d be a bit more sympathetic to his attempts at a recording career if he didn’t go around wearing diamond-encrusted ear molds.
9:56 p.m. Dierks Bentley and Carole King are giving Earl Scruggs a Lifetime Achievement Award… and introducing Feist. Oh, I see what they did there!
9:58 p.m. This might be the only point in the night–or in my life–when I would welcome a Kid Rock run-in.
10:00 p.m. And as requested, here’s Kid Rock… but he’s performing with Keely Smith instead. They are singing “That Old Black Magic.” Yes. And there’s Dave Koz? And… yeah, Kid, please don’t take to covering “Mambo No. 5” anytime soon.
10:01 p.m. Why was David Lee Roth not considered for the Kid Rock slot???
10:03 p.m. And it’s Best Rock Album time: Daughtry v. John Fogerty v. Foo Fighters v. Bruce Springsteen v. Wilco. Someone is gonna get robbed, and it’s gonna be the guy who was “Alternative” a few years back!
10:04 p.m. Someone sure gave Dave Grohl the Happy Vitamins [tm] tonight. Did you see that hug he gave to Dave Koz?
10:05 p.m. Dear announcers: Please stop saying that we’ve all been waiting for Amy Winehouse’s performance. Please.
10:08 p.m. The more I hear this Mary J. song the more the overly syllabic therapyspeak gets to me.
10:12 p.m. Stevie Wonder continues the “let’s make people think Alicia Keys is a legend in the making” campaign by giving Berry Gordy a lifetime achievement award and introducing her second performance of the night.
10:13 p.m. Is that the Edge on guitar?
10:14 p.m. The AMA performance of “No One” > this.
10:15 p.m. And as if to underscore that evaluation, here is JOHN MAYER ON GUITAR.
10:16 p.m. Joe: “Every generation gets the Clapton it deserves. And John Mayer is all we’re worth.”
10:17 p.m. Two balding, bearded men in shades. And Ringo just egregiously used the word “Fab.” Get it? Get it???
10:18 p.m. Best Country Album: The only country album worthy of an Album of the Year nod. And here’s another user-generated ad, where a woman gets a chance to win the part of… a Grammy babe? Wow, talk about setting the bar low.
10:23 p.m. How are there so many commercials on this? Is time expanding to fill the space in my brain that’s left from me anticipating a VMA-style clusterfuck this evening?
10:25 p.m. It’s time for some CBS cross-promotion: Joe Mantegna and a last.fm ad. Well, I guess they figure they need something for the non-pop-music portion of the evening.
10:26 p.m. And now: “Rhapsody In Blue.” Wouldn’t this have made more sense for the orchestral competition? C’mon, United Airlines could have sponsored the contest!
10:28 p.m. I am so engrossed in my liveblogging that I just now realized that drummer extraordinare Christopher Weingarten has been beatboxing along with the song for the past 45 seconds.
10:30 p.m. So when does everyone break into “Dueling Banjos”?
10:32 p.m. Or maybe trot out Woody Allen for a little clarinet action?
10:33 p.m. Juanes is totally giving Taylor Swift the stinkeye. Or is it the “hey baby” eye? And why are they presenting Best Rap/Sung Collaboration?
10:34 p.m. “Umbrella” wins, prompting Rihanna to drag Jay-Z up to the stage and… call him Dad?
10:35 p.m. Jay is translating Rihanna’s accent into Self-Aggrandizing.
10:39 p.m. The Happy Meal ad with “Cha Cha Slide” is making me think of going to Shea! (I know, I know, you’re shocked.) Yay!
10:41 p.m. Cuba Gooding Jr. introduces Amy Winehouse, perhaps to serve as a reminder that winning a big award doesn’t necessarily mean that your career is actually going to be successful if you don’t play your cards right.
10:42 p.m. She really does rely on tics a lot for her “performance,” eh.
10:43 p.m. Well, she got through one song… and here’s “Rehab.”
10:45 p.m. I know I’ve watched a lot of American Idol the past few weeks, but SImon’s calling people “demonic” is echoing in my head right now.
10:46 p.m. It was a very “fuck you” performance to be sure, but eh, I’m kinda lukewarm on it. I’m the only person in the room who feels this way, I should point out.
10:49 p.m. Record of the Year time. It’s a Natalie Cole-Tony Bennett lovefest! There’s no way “Rehab” doesn’t win this, given the timing.
10:50 p.m. “Rehab” wins. Oh man, they cut to the Amy reaction shot. She’s crying; big pile on Amy; people in the London crowd chanting “Amy, Amy, Amy”; she has no idea what to say. Her speech… it started off slow, then gained momentum, and she maintained. Now that is a Grammy moment, not a dumb YouTube tie-in.
10:56 p.m. Is it lame that I realized the version of “I Wanna Rock” in this WaMu ad was a re-recording of the song, like, right away?
10:57 p.m. Ohh… it’s Neil Portnow to drop some numbers. 7,578 Grammys given out over time. And now it’s a pre-taped package touting the Grammy Museum, which opens this fall. Perhaps I’ll be able to at least get a press pass to visiting that place.
10:58 p.m. The performance royalty for radio gets a smattering of applause.
10:59 p.m. OK, I can totally get behind music in the public schools. Signed, Recovering Orchestra Geek.
11:00 p.m. No one in the audience understands “The Next 50 Is Here” either. Which means it’s time to bring out the dead people!
11:02 p.m. Man, this was a bad year for musicians. Boots Randolph and Don Ho and the guy who came up with Sesame Street Disco and Joe Zawinul?
11:03 p.m. Oh no, finishing with Pavarotti means it’s time for Josh Groban and Andrea Bocelli. I guess they had to keep the Oprah crowd around somehow… but are any of them even awake by now?
11:04 p.m. Also: No mention of Stockhausen during the dead people montage? Or the Hawthorne Heights guy? Hmm.
11:07 p.m. Still remaining in the broadcast: Album of the Year and the John Fogerty/Little Richard/Jerry Lee Lewis performance. If that closes the show, it’ll be the ultimate tribute to the Grammys’ iron grip on the pop music landscape of the present moment.
11:12 p.m. And as if to underscore the above statement, here’s Bonnie Raitt!
11:13 p.m. So are there real for-hire writers writing this thing? Because between the “fab” non-pun and the awkward “fortunate son” interpolation… wow.
11:14 p.m. It looks like Kenny Aronoff borrowed Kanye West’s shades.
11:14 p.m. Jerry Lee Lewis: For 73, he sounds pretty decent. And shit, I have to be sorta deferent to the man who wrote “Great Balls O’ Fire.”
11:17 p.m. Let’s all take a moment to remember this singular moment in Little Richard’s career. (And FYI, he’s 76.) Also, anyone who ever wrote a song for a stripper that hit the top 10 should thank Little Richard for knocking down that door.
11:21 p.m. But… is that going to be the last musical performance of the night? Really?
11:22 p.m. Barack Obama is now a Grammy winner. He sure has had a good weekend.
11:24 p.m. A non-rhetorical question for all of you: What’s the song in the Grammy CD ads that I keep thinking might be Bad Religion but is probably not because, I mean, come on, right?
11:25 p.m. will.i.am doing “Mack The Knife” as a Grammy-fellating rap! Why do people think that America wants to hear anything that this guy has to say in 2008?
11:25 p.m. Oh my God, it’s a medley of Grammy-winning songs. Like “Don’t Worry Be Happy.” And “Beautiful Day.” And … “Beat It”? It’s time for the Michael Jackson tribute!
11:27 p.m. Quincy Jones just said that Mark Ronson is going to enjoy his Producer Of The Year award… and his tone implied that said “enjoyment” would be sorta conjugal. Oh man that gramophone hole….
11:28 p.m. Whose “I have to win” pose is more urgent… Amy Winehouse or Kanye West’s?
11:28 p.m. HAHA EVERYONE GOT PWNED BY THE TRIBUTE TO THE OLD PERSON WINNING
11:29 p.m. Oh really, come on you guys if you didn’t at least think that Herbie Hancock paying tribute to Joni Mitchell would sway at least half the people who voted for Steely Dan over Eminem a few years back you haven’t been paying attention.
11:30 p.m. Plus it featured a bunch of Grammy-bait artists! Norah Jones! Corinne Bailey Rae! Tina Turner! And Leonard Cohen. I mean, really.
11:38 p.m. Wait, it’s over?
11:38 p.m. Confetti, credits, and “Sgt. Pepper.” There’s that commitment to the now!
11:39 p.m. I know that live TV is a pain, but you’d think that at least someone would know when everyone was saying thanks and good night?