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Over the years, That Grape Juice has established a distinguished voice that – whether loved or loathed – sparks discussion, debate, and on occasion drama!
Though comprised of seasoned writers who share a similar outlook on Urban Pop culture, the idiosyncrasies of the TGJ team members often lend for quite heated debates “behind the scenes” about the hottest topics.
Now, we give you a front row seat to the show. In a format similar to ‘The View’ or ‘The Real’, TGJ editors – Sam, David, Rashad, and Joe – get real in a very candid way.
Today’s roundtable topic asks…
What were your Grammy Awards 2015 Hits & Misses?
For yours truly, last night’s Grammys achieved what every show should aim for. And that is to deliver memorable moments and potent talking points.
While recent award spectacles have regurgitated the same performances…. of the same song… and honored the same winners, the Grammys really scored a home-run on the variety front. Even the “expected” names delivered unexpected showings, ultimately making for a refreshing watch.
That said, when assessing through the lens of “Hits” and “Misses”, the real positive was the show’s celebration of the underdog. Too often politics impact perception of an artist’s relevance. As such, it was so warming to see Toni Braxton, Lady Gaga, and Christina Aguilera all take home awards. I’m personally hoping the trio is able to successfully leverage their wins into even greater success with their next projects.
No doubt about it, though, the night’s main “Miss” was the Beyonce ‘Album Of The Year’ snub. On the one hand, I just knew this would occur because the Grammys are somewhat renown for throwing curveballs in major categories (see: Mariah’s ‘Emancipation’ in 2006). Still, it beggars belief.
Saying that, it’s this unpredictability – as grating as it can be at times – that keeps the Grammys ahead of the pack.
1) Rihanna actually sounded…good. Shame about the song.
2) Madonna delivered sparkle and spectacle, but for the first time seemed her age. Yoga moves aside, she looked winded towards the end.
3) Pharrell’s performance was a cluster of confusion.
If last night’s Grammys did anything it proved how brilliant the last two years in music have been.
As I shared on Twitter, I was surprised to see Iggy Azalea‘s ‘Fancy’ walk away empty handed but was elated to see ‘Jesus Children’ pick up the Best Traditional R&B Performance gong.
My thoughts on Beyonce’s ‘Album of the Year’ drama? It’s a tough one. For, though I think the brilliant body of work that is ‘Beyonce’ deserved the award I think it’d be wrong of anyone to bash Beck by saying his work didn’t deserve the gong without actually listening to it.
That’s not to say his album was better, but it is important to remember that popularity and impact mean all of nothing if the committee feels a lesser-known project stands taller than a popular on an artistic tip.
That being said, I doubt Bey will lose sleep over this loss; I’m sure owning twenty Grammys will erase any distress about losing one.
Much to my surprise, more people than not brought their vocal A-game. Gal pals Rihanna and Katy Perry pleasantly surprised me with their vocal showings, with the former actually tapping into a demonstration I’ve long known she was more than capable of. I applaud her for seemingly taking the steps (minus the smoking, of course) to improve her instrument. And, despite still not being able to exactly “get with” ‘FourFiveSeconds,’ I feel now it’s evident that its simple composition was designed to show off her newfound vocal confidence. Now, more than ever, I’m ready to see what artistic risks she cooks up for ‘R8’.
A common theme seemed to be “the bigger the performance, the bigger the fail.” While I appreciated the theatricality of Pharrell and Madonna’s performances, they were far less moving than the night’s simpler showings – namely Mary J. Blige & Sam Smith and Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett (my picks for top two performances).
Lastly, I’m going to risk having my #Beyhive membership suspended here by stating that Beyonce’s performance left much to be desired. Yes, it was a vocally pristine performance, which was to be expected from her, but ‘Precious Lord’ is a song that does not call for “perfection,” per se, as much as it calls for an imperfect package of pain & passion…or “soul” as we call it. The emotional and soulful depth required of a ‘Precious Lord’ (as delivered by Mahalia, Aretha, Ledisi, and the like) was simply not befitting Bey’s voice.
Now, excuse me while I change my name and run out to buy wig glue.
I can gladly say that I haven’t enjoyed a Grammy ceremony the way I did yesterday’s one in years.
For one, the “toilet-break”-performances ratio was brought all the way down. All of the year’s chart forces came out to play and for the most part, they delivered.
The ever-gorgeous Rihanna gave a very convincing performance of that anti-climatic song and almost made it almost as exciting as it looks on paper. She also showcased great stage presence. However, the legendary Paul McCartney was somewhat wasted and Kanye West (as ever) was doing too much (which was also the case with his rant).
Lady GaGa did a great job too committing to her ‘Cheek To Cheek’ persona, and judging by the audience reaction, Jessie J surely scored herself some American brownie points with that stellar vocal performance alongside Sir Tom Jones. Great look, Jessie!
Usher, Beyonce, John Legend and Common took it all the way over to church with their respective showings. The ‘Selma’-themed performance of the latter three is what I would call the most powerful performance of the evening.
Not everything was spotless, though.
Ariana Grande disappointed with her song choice. Indeed, album cut ‘Best Mistake’ or new single ‘One Last Time’ would have made more sense as not only do they showcase her beautiful voice and range too but they are simply better songs. Sadly, she didn’t sound as strong as she usually does. Off-days happen, but Grammys are about bringing one’s A-game.
And there’s Madonna. Beyond her fun stunt of showing up on the carpet with two dates (Nas and Diplo), the rest of her Grammy showing is best summed up as much ado about nothing. Because amidst the madness on stage, I felt like nothing (quite literally) was actually happening.
All in all it was a great reminder of the actual talent that there is in the modern music industry and the variety that can still exist on award shows. It also leaves me confident that there are more great “Grammy moments” to come.
Note: Special shout out to Taylor Swift who remains the most enthusiastic award show attendee in the history of award shows.
Do you agree with our points? Who was spot on? Let us know your thoughts on the latest TGJ Roundtable and the Grammy Awards 2015 below!