Welcome to our live blog of the 2013 Grammy Awards! We’ll be here for the full three hours on Sunday, February 10, commenting on the performances, on which artists got snubbed, and which outfits were the most ridiculous.
So far, confirmed performers for the broadcast include Justin Timberlake, Ed Sheeran and Elton John, Taylor Swift, Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert, Black Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Fun, the Lumineers, Mumford & Sons, Frank Ocean, Alicia Keys with Maroon 5, Rihanna with Sting and Bruno Mars, Miguel, Wiz Khalifa, and a tribute to Levon Helm featuring Zac Brown, Mavis Staples, and other previously announced performers.
Taylor Swift is opening the show with “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” She’s a ringleader surrounded by a band of circus freaks. That’s a ton of choreography and production. Well done T Swizzle! Vocally, she she’s mostly on-point, which is an issue since she had that infamous performance with Stevie Nicks where she was way off key.
I really want to know which dude she wrote this one about. I still think it’s John Mayer. That must suck to tune in to the Grammys and see her singing about you.
T-Swift already won an award earlier tonight for “Safe & Sound,” her gorgeous duet with the Civil Wars, and “Never Ever” is nominated for Record of the Year. We don’t think she’ll win that one, but “Never Ever” is a cute pop song that deserves all the recognition it has gotten.
LL Cool J is giving a heartfelt speech about the power of music and its widespread reach around the globe. This is always one of the best parts of the show, where they cutaway to nominated audience members. I always wonder why award shows don’t spend more time showing the celebs in the crowd. That’s what we really want to see.
Katy Perry applauds Swift’s performance. I completely forgot Perry is nominated tonight. She’s been so under the radar. Adele too – she’s here wearing a really loud red dress.
Elton John and Ed Sheeran perform Song of the Year nominee “The A Team.” Sheeran has performed that song a zillion times, so he (and us) are thrilled to have a new twist with the addition of Sir Elton.
Elton’s past Grammy collaborations weren’t so hot – he didn’t mesh well with Eminem at all, despite the revisionist history – so I’m happy to see this one working out.
I love J.Lo’s dazzlingly asymmetrical dress! “As you can see, I read the memo!” Lopez said, referring to the Grammy memo that urged all performers not to show too much skin. She gives Best Pop Solo Performance to Adele. No surprise. Adele looks great. I don’t care that her dress looks like it was made out of curtains.
Neil Patrick Harris always gets the artist intro that no one else really wants, so he’s here to introduce Fun. The band performed “We Are Young” on the Grammy nominations concert back in December, so they can’t sing it again here (yay!) That means we get “Carry On” instead,” a pleasant enough mid-tempo ballad.
Am I the only one who thinks Nate Ruess goes to the same lip surgeon as Jeff Lewis?
Standing O from Janelle Monae. Sorry Janelle, you’re biased! Sneaky way to get some face time, though.
Oh look, it’s John Mayer. In a blue velvet suit! So he got to witness Taylor’s performance in person. Awkward! Mayer looks good, except for his super-crooked tie. He and Bonnie Raitt introduce Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley.
Miranda’s rocking a pimped-put pink microphone and performing in front of a giant tree. Dierks joins her for the duet, but it’s just bizarre seeing Miranda sing “I miss you” to a man other than her hubby Blake Shelton.
From the opening notes, I can tell Miguel is singing “Adorn.” I don’t know what Wiz Khalifa is doing here – this is one of those cases where the Grammys’ over-reliance on collaborations is overkill. I’d just rather see Miguel sing the song himself. Stop forcing these silly duets, Grammy people. Miguel kills it, of course.
Carrie Underwood wins the country Grammy for “Blown Away.” Anyone who saw her sing that track live at the CMAs knows she deserves this one.
I’m not sure why we’re still paying attention to Faith and Tim, but here they are presenting Song of the Year. No surprise – it’s fun’s “We Are Young.” “We’re in HD, and you can see our faces, and we are not very young,” Nate Ruess admits.
Mumford & Sons are here to sing “I Will Wait.” I love the energy of the track, but they seem out of tune. They’re missing notes, and just a step off.
Ellen DeGeneres consistently manages to break through the pablum of award show banter. She and Beyonce deliver a funny intro for Mr. Suit & Tie himself, Justin Timberlake. Justin performs his underrated new single in sepia, while Jay-Z jumps up from the audience to offer a cameo and then returns right back to his seat. That’s how it’s supposed to be done!
The color returns when JT sings a new track, “Pusher Love Girl.” It’s total falsetto overload. Justin is backed up by a massive band. Let’s hope he takes these guys on tour with him.
Best Urban Contemporary Album goes to Frank Ocean! This is a big win, because it was starting to look like Frank could get shut out. Frank makes an odd comment about picturing the audience as kids in tuxedos. But hey, he’s an eccentric artist, so he’s supposed to be a little off.
Chris Brown applauded Frank’s win. Really.
Best Rock Performance goes to the Black Keys for “Lonely Boy.” Just like two years go, they’re scooping up all the awards. That’s three awards tonight for the duo and another for Dan Auerbach, who won Producer of the Year.
Maroon 5 performing with Alicia Keys sounded like a really stupid idea, but it sounds great. Alicia’s playing drums. That’s cool. Adam Levine harmonizes with Keys on a “Girl on Fire” and “Daylight” mashup.
Kelly Clarkson wins Best Pop Album! I’m surprised how many of my predictions have been right on, since so many of this year’s categories were tough to call. Kelly sounds like she threw a few back before her speech. She gets stuck in Miranda Lambert’s dress, rambles on about her fellow nominees, then yells that she had never heard of Miguel but was blown away by his performance. It’s never a good idea to broadcast your ignorance, Kelly, but we forgive you. And it’s too bad CBS couldn’t get a camera on Miguel to capture his reaction.
It’s time for Rihanna, the biggest star on the planet, and maybe beyond, according to LL Cool J. RiRi goes all ballad on our ass, playing “Stay” from her latest album. Cue millions of Google searches asking who her knit hat-wearing duet partner was. We haven’t heard Rihanna stand still a sing an earnest ballad in a long time. Well done.
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration is kind of a weird award to present on the air this year since none of the nominees were true blockbuster hits, but “No Church in the Wild” wins. That’s two tonight for Frank Ocean and three for Kanye West, the same guy who complained about not winning enough Grammys. Kanye now has 21 career Grammys, one of the highest totals in history. I’ll withhold comment on that particular fact.
The Black Keys tear the roof off the Staples Center with “Lonely Boy,” easily the most impressive performance of the night and one that reminded us all of the power of rock music when it’s done right. Top 40 radio needs to wake up and start tossing some rock music onto their playlists.
Kelly Clarkson honors Lifetime Achievement Award winner Carole King. We don’t imagine many teens and younger viewers being very excited about this performance, but it’s great. Kelly did win American Idol, after all. Remember? Just a piano and a voice can do so much sometimes.
Bruno Mars and Sting duet on “Locked Out of Heaven,” just the way it was always meant to be. Rihanna makes her second appearance, joining Ziggy and Damian Marley on Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved.” This was a Grammy performance that really nailed it, even if there was no sign of Steve Marley, who sang “No Woman No Cry” with the Fugees years back.
Massively overrated folk act the Lumineers are here to sing “Ho Hey,” which lost its novelty appeal months ago. Hopefully this is the last we hear of them. Ever.
Next comes Jack White with his female band. White kind of got lost in the shuffle with all the other rock acts like the Black Keys and Mumford & Sons getting all the press, but the former White Stripes frontman is still one of the best rock singers around. He starts off sounding very country, but then moves over to play loud rock music with his male band. White may not win anything tonight, but he managed to remind everyone that he’s still a powerhouse.
Katy Perry is here to present Best New Artist, and White’s guitar is still ringing as she tries to talk. That might be the most awesome moment of the night so far.
Oh, and yeah, Fun. wins Best New Artist. Boo.
Hunter Hayes is playing a piano with lyrics scrawled over it. I can see his appeal in a Justin Bieber-does-country kind of way, but I’m not sure why he’s getting so much love from the Recording Academy.
Carrie Underwood’s dress is alive! Or maybe it’s just lighting up. That is weird, and I love it. It reminds me of the light-up Billie Jean outfit Michael Jackson was planning to wear on the This Is It Tour before he died.
Prince is in the house! He offers exactly zero banter, saying only, “These are the nominees for Record of the Year.” In a surprise, it’s Gotye who beats out Fun. The Purple One even says, “I love this song.”
It’s the In Memoriam segment. Among the noteworthy artist we lost this year were Earl Scruggs, Davy Jones, Dick Clark, Marvin Hamlisch, Ravi Shankar, Adam Yauch, and my personal favorite, Robin Gibb.
I’m really surprised to see Levon Helm get his own tribute at the Grammys. Not that he wasn’t hugely influential, but think about all the legendary artists who pass away each year who don’t get Grammy tributes. It’s a chance to hear Mavis Staples, though, so I won’t complain. And the Band’s “The Weight” is one of the greatest songs of all-time.
“You’re runnin’ on my mind, boy,” Frank Ocean sings, in what has to be one of the few same-sex references in the history of the Grammys. Ocean turns “Forrest Gump” into more of a ballad than it already was, ending with a gentle whistle. I’m guessing this performance wasn’t flashy enough to win over any new fans, but it showcased his artistry. Or something.
Adele awards Album of the Year to her successor, Mumford & Sons. Not a surprise, but still a huge disappointment that the Academy made the easy choice instead of going with Frank Ocean.
Final tally for our 2013 predictions: We nailed 13 out of 23 categories, marking our 16th straight year correctly forecasting at least 50% of the winners.
I’m trying not to pay attention to the LL Cool J nonsense closing the Grammys, but the appearance of Chuck D and a brief shout-out to the Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep Til Brooklyn” keep it interesting.
And that’s that. We can quibble with the winners, and we always do, but it was a pretty decent show. Now… it’s onto the BRIT Awards.
Stay tuned for more as the show goes on…
Check out the complete list of 2013 Grammy Award winners.