2008 Grammy Awards: The Liveblog

Feb 10, 2008 at 8:07 pm
(I missed the first 45 or so minutes and came in on Kanye West doing his Daft Punk song — just as Daft Punk themselves emerged, in a little pyramid! Awesome! Then Fergie weakly sang a ballad with John Legend on piano and gave out the Best Soundtrack award to Love. Ringo Starr and George Martin hopped onstage. Ringo looked elf-like, aww. )

8:05 p.m. GO ON WITH YOUR BAD SELF, TINA! Tina Turner — introduced by Beyonce — dressed in silver lame and a corset-thing, sings "What's Love Got to Do With It?" and shakes her moneymaker to "Better Be Good To Me."

8:08 p.m. Now she and Beyonce — wearing a short-short-short black-and-white dress that's totally cute, I would wear it — are singing "Proud Mary." The ladies are snapping and swaying in place, and are threatening to break into a raucous version. Oh, man.

8:11 p.m. Dang, Beyonce and Tina have moves. The song totally exploded. The former really seems to be the only diva worthy enough to fill Tina's high heels (and awesomely huge hair). Harmonies sound great, too.

8:13 p.m. Nelly Furtado and Andy Williams? Giving out an award. Apparently he was the first host of the Grammys. Ooh, Burt Bacharach tribute.

8:14 p.m. Song of the Year — honoring songwriters. Corinne Bailey Rae, Carrie Underwood, Amy Winehouse, Plain White T's, Rihanna. Oh Lord, Winehouse's "Rehab" won — "Amy is in London" and can't be here. Uh, yeah. Ooh, but she'll be talking live via satellite soon. Bets on coherency start now.

8:20 p.m. My Grammy Moment winner — er, Ann Marie Calhoun. I have no idea why the Grammys need an American Idol nod, but whatever. But it's FOO FIGHTERS playing "The Pretender" with an orchestra, arranged by Led Zep's John Paul Jones. Perhaps that's why it sounds like "Stairway to Heaven."

8:22 p.m. Dave Grohl is so badass. Is he wearing jeans? He's totally got Grizzly Adams facial hair going on. Drummer Taylor Hawkins is also so badass. Grohl is trying to whip the crowd into a frenzy. It's sort of working — and boy, you cannot hear the vocals at all on the chorus.

8:24 p.m. When is the damn Foo Fighters arena tour hitting St. Louis? Man! Okay, orchestra part. Incoming text message from a friend: "F Fighters = Allman Bros." Well-played!

8:25 p.m. Horns! Strings! Grunge explosion! Okay, this is totally Zep-like. Is that Pat Smear on the left? I don't have cable and my reception is fuzzy.

8:31 p.m. Wait, is that a Beatles song advertising Target? Or a reworking of it?

8:32 p.m. Comedian George Lopez. He's associated with music...how? "The only place where a white woman and a black man can run for President of the United States. To ensure that nothing ever happens to either one of them, they should appoint a Mexican vice-president..."

8:33 p.m. CYNDI LAUPER? She has Flock of Seagulls hair.

8:34 p.m. Brad Paisley = the Dashboard Confessional of the country scene. Seriously, he looks exactly like Chris Carrabba.

8:36 p.m. Why are there bugs in the background lit up behind him? Seriously, and why are the Grammys putting everyone's name in big huge lights behind each performer? Also, cowboy hats automatically make dudes hot. Why is that?

8:37 p.m. Chris Brown, Solange (Knowles) and Akon. Is Akin going to talk? Without a vocoder?

8:38 p.m. Brown just shouted out DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince. He's wearing red pants and a white jacket with red trim. SO CUTE. Whoa, Akon totally sort of sounds like Mickey Mouse when he talks.

8:39 p.m. Best Rap Album winner is...Kanye West, Graduation. He's back to wearing his old-school white sunglasses — with a RED GLASSES HOLDER to keep them on his head. What were those called? I had a bunch of those in the '80s. He and Chris Brown match, how cute. I love that he's rocking a jacket as well that's lit up by LED lights.

8:40 p.m. Kanye's talking about how he's glad to be "home" at the Grammys, taking up residence there. He's so humble. Now he's telling Common not to drop the album the same year... ooh, they're playing music over his speech and he's PISSED! "What, you're going to play the music over me?" He goes on to talk about his mom. "It would be in good taste to stop the music then."

8:41 p.m. Damn, they DID! Grammys got served. Kanye's talking about his late mom, awww. "Mama, all I'm going to do is keep making you proud."

8:42 p.m. Ludacris, in a sweet tux, talking about Cab Calloway. He's a Grammy Lifetime Award recipient.

8:43 p.m. Aretha Franklin! 2008 Grammys is the year of the Diva. Big white cross, with Aretha in a butter-yellow flowing dress, singing angelically with a choir. 8:45 p.m. Sweet horn section, man. Awesome, it's a brass army. Very classy, very old-school soul-jazz.

8:47 p.m. What is the name of this group of singers? It's a rotating cast of stellar singers; it feels like a joyous gospel revival.

8:49 p.m. Aretha's back, leading the pack. She's a force. You do not want to fuck with Aretha Franklin, it's quite obvious. She'll make you cower with her singing. Really, is this the first time the Grammys haven't sucked in years?

8:56 p.m. Carole King and Dierks Bentley, together at least. Whoa, he's TALL! And talking about Earl Scruggs. He's a Lifetime Achievement Award winner too. How many of these are they giving out?

8:57 p.m. Ooh, it's Feist. "1 2 3 4," sung underneath a solo spotlight. She's totally got a Joni Mitchell thing going on. Is she standing barefoot on a rug?

8:58 p.m. Cue the horns. Excellent. She's wearing a cool black dress with a skirt with silvery lines on the skirt. Wow, this is super cool she's like a subway busker who just happened to bring a full orchestra with her — clarinet, tuba, trumpet, etc. She's way more animated and less glossy as she's made out to be by the mainstream press.

9:00 p.m. First Grammy winner ever for Best Performance by a Vocal Group, Keely Smith onstage — uhh Kid Rock just showed up? Wearing all black, sunglasses. There's some seriously creepy sexual innuendo going on here. Kid thinks he's Bob Seger.

9:01 p.m. Kid has this scratchy scat-voice thing going on. I knew someone once who used to sound like this as he was doing drunken karaoke, all totally cigarette-stained. He just called her "sexy." Oh man and Dave Koz was there too playing saxophone on the side! What the fuck? He just sort of randomly appeared onstage — like, "Hey guys, I just happened to have my sax here! Gonna play!"

9:03 p.m. Best Rock Album nominee. Man, she just grabbed the envelope from Rock. Awesome. Foo Fighters win! Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace. 9:04 p.m. "This doesn't get old, you know that." Grohl says. He's thanking his manager, road crew...heck, it is Pat Smear! Gil Norton's there too! He just dedicated the Grammy to his daughter, Violet. Dad, drummer, vocalist, guitarist — is there anything Grohl isn't good at?

9:07 p.m. Whoa! Stop the presses! Daft Punk's publicist just sent an email that said it was the group's first-ever TV appearance. Quoth the email:"The iconic and critically acclaimed French duo Daft Punk made a surprise appearance at the 50th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles Sunday night. For their first ever television performance, they teamed up with Kanye West to perform his 2007 smash hit "Stronger", which samples the group's 2001 single "Harder Better Faster Stronger" from their landmark album Discovery. For the Grammy Awards, Daft Punk and Kanye West performed an original version of "Stronger" they created specifically for this event, marking Daft Punk's only television performance in the 14 year history of the band."

They also attached this picture of the band, backstage in their LED suits.

9:11 p.m. It's Stevie Wonder! People are clapping and he's all, "Uh, hello!" Wonder is talking about Berry Gordy, calling him a "mentor and a friend." 9:12 p.m. Alicia Keys at the piano. Wearing another cute black-and-white shirt. (God, I'm totally having fashion envy here.) And HUGE earrings. Wow, they look like gold-plated donuts.

9:13 p.m. Now she's singing "No One" while strutting around the stage, wearing leather pants and heels. WHILE playing a random synthesizer set up on the end of a catwalk. She totally has a smoldering, smoky voice thing going on — I prefer it to the cleaner studio version of her songs. She seems way more real and authentic/warm.

9:15 p.m. It's John Mayer, wanking off — er, soloing on guitar. He's got a cleaner haircut that's vaguely Morrissey-esque.

9:16 p.m. Keys is having FUN onstage, she's all doing little Tina Turner moves and stretching to the heavens while singing. Man, all the performers tonight are having a blast — that's a first in recent years. I'd love to see her live now, way to go Alicia!

9:17 p.m. Ringo Starr and Eurythmic Dave Stewart together onstage — looking like twins! Same goatee, same sunglasses, same height. Ringo just uttered the phrase "Grammy people." But why on Earth are they introducing Best Country album?

9:18 p.m. Vince Gill, These Days. Damn, homeboy doesn't age. And he's always wearing a gray suit — although he sort of looks like a football player. But he's SO happy; he says, "I just had an award given to me by a Beatle."

9:19 p.m. OH ZING! He just dissed Kanye: "Have you had that happen to you yet, Kanye?" Hip-hopper had the grace to laugh. Gill is The Man.

9:26 p.m. Herbie Hancock! One of the performers on "Rhapsody in Blue," featuring an entire orchestra (again). God, this is so cool. Dueling pianos and a really great orchestra. So classy.

9:30 p.m. Man, this is just so beautiful. A sweeping, grand performance.

9:33 p.m. Taylor Swift — country teen wunderkind. Best Rap Song — Collaboration?

9:34 p.m. Rihanna featuring Jay-Z, "Umbrella" (ella...ella...ella). What a damn cute blue dress Rihanna's wearing. (Sorry.) Aww, her dad is there. She's thanking Jay-Z — who's onstage — and he just said "She'd like to thank Jigga Man for being the best in the world." She also just thanked Barbados, where she's from. So cute!

9:39 p.m. The McDonalds commercial with the pint-sized old-school rapper eating McNuggets almost makes me want to eat some. Almost.

9:40 p.m. Cuba Gooding, Jr. is in a studio in London? WHERE HAS HE BEEN? He's introducing Amy Winehouse? In a studio with plush red carpeting, low-lit tables, chandeliers.

9:41 p.m. Her backup dancers: Three dudes dancing, hot-step style. She's got her rat's nest beehive going on (of course), super-short dress. Impeccable make-up. Um, this isn't a trainwreck.

9:43 p.m. Okay, I take that back: Winehouse has EMPTY EYES. She's dancing fine, moving like a soul-singer, but her eyes are just...man. There's just nothing there. She's a bit more animated now, but distractingly skinny and sort of awkwardly dancing. I can't separate this performance from her drug troubles.

9:44 p.m. "Rehab" up now. She really does have an awesome voice, totally bizarre and old-school. Oh my god, was she just totally smirking during the line "try and make me go to rehab." Said she'd rather be home "with my Blake" — referencing her husband. holy crap, she's like, laughing! This is super uncomfortable.

9:45 p.m. This song performance, er, not the best. This is sort of dragging. She's kind of dancing like a robot — she's shaking her finger, but she looks like she's going to fall over. Totally gawky and uncoordinated. 9:46 p.m. Standing ovation.

9:48 p.m. Doris Day tribute! Okay, now it's award for Record of the Year. This is the one for performers. Timberlake! He's not there? WTF?

9:49 p.m. Winner is: Amy Winehouse, "Rehab." She looks totally shell-shocked, as everyone around her is whooping, jumping around and cheering, via satellite from London. I think she's crying. Aww.

9:50 p.m. Chants of "Amy! Amy! Amy!" wanting her to talk. She still looks shocked. She says, "uhh, thank you to everyone at Island Records, EMI, Ray-Ray and Joe... to my mum and dad." (Awww.) "To my Blake, my Blake incarcerated. To London!" She's either really shy or just stunned. 9:55 p.m. Heart's badass "Barracuda" is the soundtrack to an ad — a soccer mom van? From Honda? Huh.

9:56 p.m. President and CEO of the Recording Academy. They've awarded over 7000 Grammys in the last fifty years. They're showing off a new Grammy museum, opening later this year in LA. He's talking about how the academy supports songwriters — as a dude magically just appeared at a piano behind him to play, hotel lobby-style. That's sort of hilarious.

10:00 p.m. Oh, the piano player's nominated for a Grammy, he's a talented kid become a talented adult performer. Snappy. This is the self-congratulatory part of the evening, blah blah.

10:01 p.m. Aw, the montage of folks who have died. Pimp C right after Lee Hazlewood. Lots of songwriters. All of these videos always bum me out and make me think about my mortality. Hilly Kristal from CBGB. Don Ho, Dan Fogelberg, awwwww. Porter Wagoner. Bobby Byrd,

10:02 p.m. Oh my God, the guy who wrote "Rubber Duckie" died? I totally started to tear up.

10:03 p.m. Ike Turner. Muted applause. Luciano Pavarotti. Big ovation.

10:04 p.m. Josh Groban, here to help honor Pavarotti. My mom loves Josh Groban, big time. I see why; his voice is GORGEOUS (and he's not bad-looking either). Aww. This is really beautiful too.

10:06 p.m. Grammys, why you gotta be all moving and such? I'm getting chills.

10:11 p.m. Man, that pastrami melt from Jack in the Box looks good. I forgot to eat dinner. Mmm. Hungry.

10:12 p.m. Nine-time Grammy winer Bonnie Raitt. Introducing folks who helped found rock & roll? John Fogerty, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis.

10:13 p.m. Sweet red guitar Fogerty's playing.

10:14 p.m. Jerry Lee Lewis, bless his heart, is moving rather slowly. He still does the whole falsetto on "goodness, gracious, great balls of fire!" though. Of course, he's probably played this song approximately 23434301 times, so I'm sure he's a tad tired of it.

10:16 p.m. Drag...drag...drag... 10:17 p.m. WHY ISN'T CHUCK BERRY THERE? Little Richard has a sweet rat-tail going on, though.

10:18 p.m. Little Richard's also had a lot of botox, I think. This seemed so perfunctory. What a shame.

10:19 p.m. Is the show over yet? Why are the Hives advertising Jericho? Isn't Dexter on cable? Why is it on CBS? (I don't watch TV anymore, sue me.)

10:20 p.m. What song is this advertising Heineken? I am totally digging it. 10:23 p.m. More ads, gahhhhh. Bored.

10:24 p.m. This Ameristar TV commercial = the video for Jill Sobule's "I Kissed a Girl." WHOA! Wait — Professor will.i.am? He has a Ph.D in cheesy hip-hop. 10:25 p.m. I dig his silvery sunglasses. Off now. "Strangers In the Night." What is he introducing? Oh, I think it's a giant mash-up of Albums of the Year. Why was that even needed?

10:26 p.m. USHER! And Quincy Jones. Usher's shades are way too small for his face. And I love that his plaid shirt is totally, totally unbuttoned.

10:27 p.m. Oh, yay, Mark Ronson did win a Grammy. And he did just stand up to greet the crowd. Aw. Album of the Year Grammy. Foo Fighters, Vince Gill, Herbie Hancock, Kanye West (he's totally praying) and Amy Winehouse.

10:28 p.m. And the winner is... haha, Usher just said "there are no losers in this category, Kanye." Whoa! Herbie Hancock won?

10:29 p.m. Herbie's thanking Joni Mitchell. And yeah, so true — a jazz artist won Album of the Year? That's totally renegade. He's thanking the academy for "courageously breaking the mold this time, and honoring the giants upon whose shoulders I stand — like Miles Davis, John Coltrane — unquestionably deserved this award in the past. But this is a new day, that the impossible can be made possible! Yes, we can!" 10:30 p.m. Aw, he's so grateful. They're turning on the music over him? NOT CLASSY. He's thanking his family now. Man, Grammys, I know it's 10:31 p.m. now, but THE MAN is a LEGEND.

10:33 p.m. Is this it? Is it done?

10:35 p.m. Okay, no. Man, I'm glad Modern English's "I Melt With You" was covered and is now selling...a GMC car.

10:36 p.m. Ameren commercial, haha. Mmm, Subway. Can this be over? I'm starving.

10:37 p.m. Why are they telling us how winners are tabulated now, that it's over? Okay, it is over? What, no awesome last-show performance? Okay, something is going on — a tribute to Sgt. pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. What the hell is this? Oh, I bet it's Love, the stage show. 10:38 p.m. They cut it off? So much for respect for the Beatles. WTF.

— Annie Zaleski