The Best and Worst Performances of Last Night's Grammys

Categories: Last Night


Five Best Performances

1. Jennifer Hudson
Grammy host L.L. Cool J had a hard enough job presiding over a celebration undercut by tragic circumstances, and he achieved a perfect, almost pastor-like tone from the get-go. But Miss Hudson's musical tribute to Whitney Houston - a subtly searing but still reverential rendering of the fallen legend's biggest hit, "I Will Always Love You" - went above and beyond.

2. Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt
Two more reminders that there are heaven-sent voices left on earth, Keys and Raitt made the late Etta James' "A Sunday Kind of Love" soar. Raitt especially didn't even have to push her voice to deliver the goods.

3. The Beach Boys, Maroon 5, Foster the People
The fear of suckdom going into this segment overwhelmed, as we envisioned horrifying mash-ups of "Pumped Up Kicks" and "Surfin' USA." But all kept it sweet and simple, from Adam Levine's earnest "Surfer Girl" to Foster the People's easy-breezy "Wouldn't It Be Nice" to the actual Beach Boys' reunion on "Good Vibrations." We do have to dock points for Mike Love's corny merch-booth cap.

4. Glen Campbell, Blake Shelton, the Band Perry
Yep, another tribute. With so much attention paid to recreating the works of legacy acts, we thought for a minute we'd switched to a PBS pledge-drive concert. Campbell, who's saying goodbye to live performances after his Alzheimer's diagnosis, sounded terrific on "Rhinestone Cowboy," and his enthusiasm was equaled by Shelton ("Southern Nights") and the whipper-snappers in the Band Perry ("Gentle on My Mind").

5. Adele
Undoubtedly the brightest star of the new Grammy generation, with her pre-show 60 Minutes interview and inevitable award sweep. Her lively performance of "Rolling in the Deep" played like a victory lap, complete with an overlong standing O. Take it all in, girlfriend.

Five Worst Performances

1. Chris Brown
He broke out his increasingly tired dance trickery while lip-syncing to an Auto-Tuned track not once, but twice. A solo turn and neon-vomiting "collaboration" with David Guetta, Deadmau5 and Foo Fighters. [Grandpa voice] And the kids call this ... MUSIC?!

2. Rihanna, Coldplay
Ri-Ri's voice sounded shaky as she opened the set with "We Found Love," and the situation only worsened when she and Chris Martin attempted to blend on "Princess of China." By the time the diva left the stage and Coldplay began to butcher its own single, "Paradise," we were trying to fast-forward live television. It still doesn't work. (Apple should get on that.)

nickigrammy.jpg
Nicki Minaj
3. Nicki Minaj
You could almost hear her backstage, talking to her dressing room mirror: "Gaga only thinks her performances are psychotic. Bitch, I'm gonna take it to the mental ward tonight! Institutionalize everyone who's watching!" This imagined pep talk preceded what would become the most panned performance of the night (on Twitter, at least) - a mini off-Broadway take on Minaj's single, "Roman Holiday," which included a pointless mini-film, lots of bleeped rapping and way too much not-music.

4. Katy Perry
Alanis Morissette called, and she wants her post-relationship anger back. Next time, just shoot something out of your tits.

5. Jason Aldean, Kelly Clarkson
Nothing wrong with the actual performance of their power ballad, even though it sounds like the title song to some imaginary An Officer and a Gentleman sequel. It's just that they've performed it on, like, every awards show ever. Grammy night's supposed to be the time to surprise us. Couldn't they have covered "You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma," or something?

Somewhere in between: Opener Bruce Springsteen brought wet-eyed intensity to his performance of his new single with the E Street Band, a patriot's anthem called "We Take Care of Our Own." ... Bruno Mars relied on old tapes of Elvis, James Brown and Andre 3000 when putting together his gold-lamé-tinged performance of "Runaway." ... The Civil Wars stole the thunda from unda Taylor Swift by introducing her song with a song of their own. ... Foo Fighters cut loose for the folks outside the venue during their first appearance of the night. They should have quit while they were ahead. ... Carrie Underwood and Tony Bennett slowed down "It Had To Be You" so much it sounded like a screw remix. ... Beatle royalty Paul McCartney hogged the spotlight throughout, first with a sleep-inducing "new American standard" capitalizing on Valentine's Day, and finally with a slightly rote closing segment featuring Abbey Road material and guitar-wielding guest stars.

And someone tell Gaga to keep her golden staff at home next time. She wasn't quite the queen of the night this time around.

My Voice Nation Help
18 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
mark zero (Jason)
mark zero (Jason)

I thought it was a missed opportunity when Chris Brown came out surrounded by women carrying long tubes, and not a single one of them whacked him upside the head.

Baptiste
Baptiste

no shit Jenifer the diet Hudson sings a whitney the crack head tribute is was not all that the beach boys were a joke, adele is one of the worst live performers in history and no mention of the guitar jam with mccartney nice coverage.

Hunter
Hunter

I did mention the guitar jam at the end. Just didn't drop all the guitarist's famous names. Adele, one of the worst live performers in history? Not that you have to be her biggest fan or a fan at all, but that's ridiculous, and you know it.

just sayin'
just sayin'

Maroon 5 was awesome. I had always wondered what it would sound like if Jamiroquai covered a Beach Boys song.

Chuck G.
Chuck G.

I know it was short notice and all, but Jennifer Dudson's performance was nowhere near great and very underwhelming. It's too bad Chaka Khan bowed out at the last minute.

Hunter
Hunter

I'm sure memorial concerts are coming soon to a television near you. They'll make plenty of room for Chaka, Dionne, Aretha, Celine, Gloria, Mariah, Gaga, Brandy, Monica, Rihanna, Kelly, Xtina and more. VH1 ought to produce, since they've got all that Divas training.

Chuck G.
Chuck G.

Good point. Mostly agree except I believe BET will have more tributes than VH1.

Steve
Steve

Taylor Swift's performances are reminiscent of the "shows" that were performed at Six Flags in the early '80s, the ones you went into to get out of the heat.

I wonder what Steve Martin was thinking as she hard-strummed that banjo during syncronized swaying.   #Littlegirlsingingintoahairbrush.

Batista
Batista

and what was with that dress, she may be the next crack head disaster

mikenfrisco
mikenfrisco

Deadmau5 rocked the end.  Full disclosure: I'm almost 40 and don't listen to much dubstep but he kills live (saw him at Gilleys).  Maybe it didn't translate.  I thought Jennifer Hudson sang it that way because she realized she couldn't sing it like Whitney.  IMHO it is being tremendously overrated.  Thought Bruno Mars was entertaining.  Worst? Katy Perry, Rhianna, Minaj, and Coldplay.  

jamal
jamal

The best performance of the night was Dave Grohl whipping out his 12-pounder and smacking the entire audience in the face with it during the Foo Fighters acceptance speech for best rock performance.

me
me

there are literally HUNDREDS of bands sound like and are as good as the foo fighters. In Dallas.

G_David
G_David

 And just how many of them made an acceptance speech last night?

mikenfrisco
mikenfrisco

when they are on the grammy's i'll be sure to watch them.

jamal
jamal

I'm not sure you read my entire post.  And I'm a huge Dallas music advocate, but take it easy on the hyperbole.

me
me

gotta love the meteoric rise of The Civil Wars! Just last March, less than a year ago, this duo played two sold-out nights at the AllGood Cafe. Is that just unbelievable? Not to mention the also sold-out appearance in July at the Texas Theatre. HOB a couple weeks ago was just a victory lap ... congrats to Joy and John Paul. Many more successes to come.

TVZ Fan
TVZ Fan

The Civil Wars are great. Hope they bring more attention to the Americana genre. There is some great music there for us old goats that love all forms of American roots music. Sorry that Lucinda Williams did not win in this category but I am also a big fan of Levon Helm so I am happy for him.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Dallas Event Tickets
Loading...