Arcade Fire, Cee-Lo Green Save Grammys from Near-Total Mediocrity

The Grammys, as you may have noticed, happened last night. The usual suspects assembled for an evening that managed to be astonishingly dull despite Lady Gaga’s arriving in a giant egg – in other words, just what you would expect from the Grammys, my personal least favorite awards show. But one thing that will make this year at least slightly more memorable was indie darling Arcade Fire’s eleventh-hour Album of the Year win, plus the unlikely (but not unwelcome!) pairing of Cee-Lo Green and Gwyneth Paltrow.

It’s gotten to the point where I mostly just watch these things because of Twitter. Not to be cynical, and I’m sure they’re very nice people, but Lady Antebellum? Something called Lady Antebellum won four Grammys. And not just weird country Grammys; these guys won Song and Record of the Year. And there was a very real risk that they would win Album of the Year as well, before Arcade Fire intervened and the music blogosphere lost its mind. Today will be a good day to read Hipster Runoff.

Performance-wise, things held together okay. Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, and Barbra Streisand all rose from the dead to perform, as well as that guy who’s in charge of the Grammys who talks every year. This time he had a backup band including Best New Artist, Esperanza Spalding. I almost feel left out that I had heard of her before this, having read her New Yorker profile a while back. Otherwise: Katy Perry? Decent! Justin Bieber and Usher? You can’t possibly say you didn’t enjoy it at least a little. Especially the just-this-side-of-creepy spoken intro, in which Justin tried valiantly to prevent his voice from cracking and it was revealed that Usher picked up Justin in a parking lot. Oh my God, and that one also had Jaden Smith (although conspicuously not Willow) and ninjas.

Rihanna and Drake got on stage and did some things. Eminem, too. Is it just me or is he totally uncharismatic? I miss Slim Shady. Lady Gaga: not her finest moment. Sure, the egg was a nice touch. But the fact is she borrows way too much from Madonna, and now it’s starting to get ridiculous. And that new song sucks. I hope Madge sang “Express Yourself” to herself last night, gazing into the mirror, remembering that she’s the best.

The true highlight of the night (sorry Arcade Fire) has to be Cee-Lo Green and Gwyneth Paltrow (and Muppets!) performing “Fuck You” (or, “The Song Otherwise Known as Forget You,” as the Grammy people kept calling it to my great amusement). Don’t get upset, Arcade Fire’s win was really something. But Cee-Lo dressed as a giant peacock accompanied by the dead-eyed GOOP lady wailing in ebonics, plus a lot of Muppets, singing one of the best singles of the past year? So. Boss. That is why you watch the Grammys.

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