Welcome to the latest TGJ Roundtable!
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Today’s roundtable topic asks each anchor about the…
Grammy Awards 2016
Billed as “Music’s Biggest Night,” this year’s Grammy ceremony was sadly boring, banal, and basic.
Where does one even begin, because there was far too much “dreckitude” on display to digest. Perhaps, it’s best then to detail the little I actually liked first.
Lady Gaga was sensational. For me, more than the cool tech elements supplied by Intel, it was her nuanced embodiment of David Bowie’s look, sound, and discography that really resonated most. She is a star in the truest sense of the term, hence it’s so warming to see her light burning brightly again in the public domain. All I need is for her to follow through with that all-important “comeback” single and it’ll be a wrap (in the best of ways). She has the momentum, all that’s needed now is the music.
Elsewhere, Kendrick Lamar was another highlight.
I must preface by saying that, as someone who is big on diction, I do wish that he spat his bars in such a way that the masses could really hear what he was rapping. He spouted powerful and needed lyrics, but in the midst of emotion some of it sounded like he was spitting into the mic. Literally.
Thankfully, he paired the showing with compelling visuals which really drove home his point. Kudos.
Everything else (besides Andra Day, Tori Kelly, and Miguel perhaps) was pretty much a disaster.
Rihanna’s suspect cancellation is an embarrassment for all involved. Like when lining up the reality that she shot a commercial, performed just days before, and generally sings like she has bronchitis anyway, her flaking is arguably unpardonable. At the very least, with an album to promote, she could have (and should have) just posed on the red carpet, collected the coverage, and had the PR machine spin her performance into an “appearance.” Or am I being too harsh?
On the topic of struggle vocalists, The Weeknd has yet to win me over. He has great songs and a solid album, but his notes last night were all sorts of “old McDonald had a farm.” Indeed, it was periodically painful to hear him attempt to soar when his vocals have clipped wings. Knowing that Lauryn Hill (his one lifeline) cancelled just made the whole thing worse.
The night wasn’t helped either by the predictable winners or performers that looked as though they rehearsed at a bus-stop enroute to the show. Tech issues saw Adele tank, perhaps sinking with it the possibility of the amazing ‘All I Ask’ ever being a single. Not even a brief appearance by Beyonce could distract from the overall air of disappointment.
All in all, the best thing about the 2016 Grammys is that it’s given organisers a blueprint of everything NOT to do next year.
I enjoyed last night’s ceremony. Though it was far from being one of its better shows, the awards presented and performances put on made it worth the watch.
From Kendrick’s bold and brave piece on the mass incarceration of African-American men to Gaga’s powerful tribute to David Bowie, the organisers gave music lovers a diverse show which celebrated – what I felt – was an awesome year in music.
Of course, cancelled performances by Lauryn Hill and Rihanna were disappointing, as well as was Adele’s tech-mess which pulled from what would have been a stellar performance from the unstoppable performer.
Beyonce’s decision to not take to the stage as we know and love makes complete sense as her absence can only help to build anticipation for her performance, and wins, next year.
As for Taylor Swift? I definitely see an Oscar or two in her future after “that” speech.
Clearly Grammys 2016 were sponsored by Ambien or Lunesta. For, why and how else would the showing be able to render what felt like 5 hours (but was actually only half of that) of the most boring collection of “entertainment” since recent memory allows.
Like most will probably say, the stand out performances were delivered by Kendrick Lamar and the Lionel Richie tribute. While the latter was just rehash from two nights before (sans Usher and Rihanna), it still deserves its props. Demi Lovato‘s stirring ‘Hello’ performance may have bordered on overkill, but there’s no question – the girl killed it. Showing off chops many may have not known she had, I can’t help but hope her future efforts do a better job of displaying them.
Lamar, on the other hand, unquestionably shut it down from start to finish. How refreshing to see a young artist (especially a Rap artist) be so willing to challenge the status quo so brazenly! Kudos to Kendrick.
Elsewhere, Taylor Swift was still being rewarded for her flavorless brand of Pop. At this point, none of that is surprising. My only regrets of the night were A) wishing someone cared enough to run on stage and give my girl Adele a cough drop as she struggled through her performance (at points sounding like she was gargling concrete) and B) Rih didn’t hit the stage to show off ‘Kiss It Better.’
Alas, overall, the show – for its lack of excitement and few things worth talking about the next day – earns two thumbs down for me. I’m keen to see if the ratings reflect this.
Looking back, there seemed to be a thick air of “uneventful” surrounding the 2016 Grammy Awards: from its odd scheduling (Grammys on a Monday?), to its oh so lackluster list of performers, the anticipation for Music’s Biggest Night never seemed to reach the levels of previous years.
In all fairness, I’d say the level of excitement – or lack-thereof – preceding the event had a direct impact on the degree of excitement it managed to generated…which was not much.
A year after taking the stage with Kanye West and Paul McCartney, Rihanna was set to re-ignite the ‘ANTI’-era with a big return to the stage… but no! Ms Fenty – undeniably “the” headlining act – was a no show. Adele delivered her worst performance of the year when singing ‘All I Ask’, one of the better cuts of her ’25’ album and The Weeknd – who was left hanging by Ms. Lauryn Hill – sounded like messy Monday morning.
The diverse array of tributes were actually the most exciting moments of the ceremony. Demi Lovato, Tyrese and John Legend held it down for Lionel Richie with stellar vocals and Lady Gaga dazzled with a dynamic and daring display in remembrance of the late David Bowie. Miguel’s Michael Jackson tribute was unexpected but wholly effective.
Thankfully, King Kendrick Lamar – who should have had an “S” on his chest – was there to save the day. His politically-charged performance was easily the highlight of the night.
Ironically, what I would call the other standout wasn’t even part of the actual show and came in the form of Gwen Stefani‘s brilliant “live music video” and its flawless commercial break execution.
Better luck next time, Grammys. 2017’s cast is already looking more exciting than yesterday’s so the only way is up.
Do you agree with our points? Who was spot on? Let us know your thoughts on the latest TGJ Roundtable and the 2016 Grammys!