55th Annual Grammy Award Winners + Performers

Music’s biggest night came and went last night, and with no real indication as to who would come out on top, it was an interesting affair to say the least. I’ve made my comments on the nominees, but here’s a rundown of some of the winners and quick thoughts.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

  • The Black Keys, El Camino
  • fun., Some Nights
  • WINNER: Mumford and Sons, Babel
  • Frank Ocean, Channel Orange
  • Jack White, Blunderbuss

The nominees was a bunch of very solid albums, but I do think Mumford and Sons’ win for their album “Babel” was very much deserved. “Babel” was one of the big successes of 2012, selling 600,000+ copies in its first week of release in September. Critics were fair with the album and without a doubt, Mumford are a part of time in music where real music is once again being appreciated.

RECORD OF THE YEAR

  • The Black Keys, Lonely Boy
  • Kelly Clarkson, (What Doesn’t Kill You) Stronger
  • fun. ft. Janelle Monae, We Are Young
  • WINNER: Gotye ft. Kimbra, Somebody That I Used to Know
  • Frank Ocean, Thinkin’ About You
  • Taylor Swift, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

“Somebody That I Used to Know” is a perfectly fine song, but because radio played it to death, I have negative feelings towards it. I really wanted Kelly to win it and thought that fun. would probably take it instead (and I was going to be fine with that), but not so fond of Gotye winning.

SONG OF THE YEAR

  • Ed Sheeran, The A-Team
  • Miguel, Adorn
  • Carly Rae Jepsen, Call Me Maybe
  • Kelly Clarkson, (What Doesn’t Kill You) Stronger
  • WINNER: fun., We Are Young

Again, I figured “We Are Young” would win, but was really hoping for “Stronger” to take it.

BEST NEW ARTIST

  • Alabama Shakes
  • WINNER: fun.
  • Hunter Hayes
  • The Lumineers
  • Frank Ocean

I honestly thought it would’ve been great if Frank Ocean had won. However, considering the track record of R&B/rap/hip-hop acts winning the category, chances were slim. Not so surprised by fun.’s win.

BEST POP SOLO PERFORMANCE

  • WINNER: Adele, Set Fire to the Rain [Live]
  • Kelly Clarkson, (What Doesn’t Kill You) Stronger
  • Carly Rae Jepsen, Call Me Maybe
  • Katy Perry, Wide Awake
  • Rihanna, Where Have You Been

The only 2 possible winners in my book were Adele and Kelly. Kelly’s had a spectacular year, so I was really hoping for her to take the win, but I am perfectly happy with Adele winning.

BEST POP DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE

  • Florence + the Machine, Shake It Out
  • fun., We Are Young
  • WINNER: Gotye ft. Kimbra, Somebody That I Used to Know
  • LMFAO, Sexy and I Know It
  • Maroon 5 ft. Wiz Khalifa, Payphone

Of course I was pulling for Maroon 5 to win, but alas, Gotye ended up the winner. At least LMFAO didn’t win.

BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM

  • WINNER: Kelly Clarkson, Stronger
  • Florence + the Machine, Ceremonials
  • fun., Some Nights
  • Maroon 5, Overexposed
  • P!nk, The Truth About Love

I hate the idea that I would vote against Maroon 5 winning, but in this case, I had to give it to Kelly. I have been listening to Stronger ever since it came out, and I’m still not tired of it. So call me super excited when I heard Kelly’s name called out as the winner for this amazing album.

Other notable winners:

  • BEST RAP PERFORMANCE/BEST RAP SONG – Jay-Z & Kanye West, N****s in Paris
  • BEST RAP ALBUM – Drake, Take Care
  • BEST COUNTRY SONG/BEST COUNTRY SOLO PERFORMANCE – Carrie Underwood, Blown Away
  • BEST COMEDY ALBUM – Jimmy Fallon, Blow Your Pants Off
  • BEST URBAN CONTEMPORARY ALBUM – Frank Ocean, Channel Orange

PERFORMANCES

Let’s talk about the performances, shall we? To me, this year’s telecast was one of the best in recent memory. Overall, almost all the performances were incredible, really bringing back the musicianship of it all.

Taylor Swift, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together: Taylor opened up the show, with some sort of circus/Wonderland theme. Vocals were on the iffy side.

Ed Sheeran & Sir Elton John, The A-Team: I still contend that Ed Sheeran should’ve been nominated for more awards, but it was certainly a treat to have Sir Elton John perform alongside Ed on this track. This performance really kicked off the show.

fun., Carry On: Nothing says “this is a live performance!” like bringing out the rain machine.

Miranda Lambert & Dierks Bentley, Over You/Home: What should have seemed like a no-brainer in the duet department, the set up for this pairing felt a little off somehow. Although I still don’t understand how Miranda got snubbed for that wonderful song of hers that she co-wrote with Blake Shelton.

Miguel & Wiz Khalifa, Adorn: I had no idea who Miguel when nominations were announced, but the short performance of this song got me intrigued. I have to say though, how hilarious is it that after they performed, they were giving the award for Best Country Solo Performance? Can we say random?!

Mumford and Sons, I Will Wait: These guys are a no-fuss bunch, and simply bring the music.

Justin Timberlake, Suit & Tie/Pusher Love Girl: This was the highly anticipated performance of the night, and JT did not disappoint. Starting off with his new single, the telecast turned the performance to black+white, giving the song the extra amount of class. I haven’t made my thoughts known on the new single, so here’s what I have to say about it – with its retro/throwback vibe, while still sounding current, it may not have been what people expected from JT, but it’s exactly what radio needs right now. Jay-Z came up for his verse, and JT subsequently followed with a new track off of “The 20/20 Experience” (out March 19th!). Highlight of the night, hands down (says the biased JT fan).

Maroon 5 & Alicia Keys, Daylight/Girl on Fire: I’m a little taken aback by how well these two songs meshed together. The way they changed up the songs to suit each other, made me like the songs more. I want this version of Daylight that M5 performed here, to be how they perform it on tour. To be honest, I was never a big fan of Girl on Fire, but I enjoyed this version.

Rihanna ft. Mikky Echo, Stay: Usually one for a dance spectacle, Rihanna surprised with the performance of her new single, a ballad that showed off her vocals in a way we hadn’t seen.

Black Keys, Dr. John and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Lonely Boy: There was so much going on the wardrobe front, but with such a lively performance, nothing mattered but the music.

Kelly Clarkson, Tennessee Waltz/Natural Woman: Kelly paid tribute to Lifetime Achievement honorees, Patti Page and Carole King. With the latter song, I got total Idol flashbacks to when Kelly had performed it back then, and as always, she KILLED the vocals.

Bruno Mars, Sting, Rihanna, Damien Marley and Ziggy Marley, Locked Out of Heaven/Walking On The Moon/Could You Be Loved: It’s hard to imagine that Bob Marley never won a Grammy, but he has made an indelible mark on music today. It was certainly fun to hear Bruno Mars’ hit song segway oh so perfectly into The Police song, but then getting Damien & Ziggy Marley to come out with Rihanna and completely giving tribute to Bob Marley was a moment that the Grammys are made for.

The Lumineers, Ho Hey: Everyone’s new favourite song. Though to be honest, their performance was a little too short for my liking.

Jack White, Love Interruption/Freedom at 21: I still haven’t taken a listen to Blunderbuss, but will certainly have to now. I liked the two different sounds we heard for each of his songs, and it definitely got me interested.

Carrie Underwood, Blown Away/Two Black Cadillacs: It was a big night for the 2 biggest stars to come out of the Idol Machine. I’ve really come to enjoy Carrie’s music, but I thought she sounded a little under-the-weather here. I mean, we’ve heard Carrie perform numerous times before and know she’s great, so this felt a little disappointing. And that dress! I actually don’t know what to think about it, though it seemed a little distracting.

Levon Helm Tribute, The Weight: Amongst the artists who contributed to this tribute were Sir Elton John, Zac Brown, T-Bone Burnett, Mumford and Sons, Mavis Staples, and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes. It was an uplifting tribute and certain proof of real musicianship.

Frank Ocean, Forrest Gump: This was interesting…I’ve listened to Channel Orange and thought that it was an interesting album to say the least. Though I do agree with a lot of people in wondering why he didn’t opt to perform his breakthrough song “Thinkin Bout You” instead, which would’ve gotten more people on board with his music.

LL Cool J, Chuck D, Z-Trip, Tom Morello, and Travis Barker, Whaddup/No Sleep Till Brooklyn: LL Cool J as host, jumped into a performer mode to close out the show, performing a new song and following up with a the Beastie Boys song as tribute to the late Adam Yauch. The timing felt off, with the performance coming on after a commercial break, after the last award of the night was given out.

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55th Annual Grammy Award Nominations

The nominations for the 2013 Grammy Awards were announced in part during the now annual Grammy Nominations Live Concert. A full comprehensive list of all the nominees are posted on the official Grammy website. Here is a rundown of some of the categories, plus some of my thoughts.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

  • The Black Keys, El Camino
  • fun., Some Nights
  • Mumford and Sons, Babel
  • Frank Ocean, Channel Orange
  • Jack White, Blunderbuss

To be honest, I haven’t listened to all of these albums in their entirety so I can’t comment too much. I am a little disappointed that Kelly Clarkson and Coldplay didn’t get included, but given all the buzz about the albums that were nominated, I must admit it’s a really solid collection.

RECORD OF THE YEAR

  • The Black Keys, Lonely Boy
  • Kelly Clarkson, (What Doesn’t Kill You) Stronger
  • fun. ft. Janelle Monae, We Are Young
  • Gotye ft. Kimbra, Somebody That I Used to Know
  • Frank Ocean, Thinkin’ About You
  • Taylor Swift, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

When I posted my predictions for who would get nominated, I ruled out “We Are Young” and “Somebody That I Used To Know” for the simple fact that they were technically released in the previous eligibility period (meaning for last year’s awards show). That aside, now that they are full-fledged nominees, I’m not entirely surprised by their inclusion. My bias is that Kelly Clarkson should win, but the impact that “We Are Young” had is too big to ignore.

SONG OF THE YEAR

  • Ed Sheeran, The A-Team
  • Miguel, Adorn
  • Carly Rae Jepsen, Call Me Maybe
  • Kelly Clarkson, (What Doesn’t Kill You) Stronger
  • fun., We Are Young

First of all, I’m sorry to have listed the nominees by who sang the song, because this award technically goes to the songwriters, but it was just easier. That being said, I can’t believe “Call Me Maybe” is nominated here and you can’t honestly tell me that they could win with lyrics like “Hey I just met you and this is crazy. But here’s my number, call me maybe.” Though I am so happy that Ed Sheeran is nominated, I’m sticking with my guns that it’s between Kelly Clarkson and fun. If “We Are Young” ends up winning ROTY, “Stronger” will probably win in this category.

BEST NEW ARTIST

  • Alabama Shakes
  • fun.
  • Hunter Hayes
  • The Lumineers
  • Frank Ocean

Prior to this morning, while reading up on critics/journalists predictions for nominations, I had no idea who Alabama Shakes were. But there were a lot that were hoping that they would get nominated, so win for the journalists here. I figured fun. would get nominated and Hunter Hayes as well, while The Lumineers’ nomination was a pleasant surprise. I must say though, I can’t believe I forgot to include Frank Ocean in my predictions because he really had a banner year. I think it’ll be a toss-up between fun. and Frank Ocean for the win, but you never know.

Certainly disappointed that Ed Sheeran and Emeli Sande (though the latter was a rather big long shot) didn’t get nominated. Now, would it be mean to say that I’m happy the likes of Carly Rae Jepsen and One Direction didn’t get nominated?

BEST POP SOLO PERFORMANCE

  • Adele, Set Fire to the Rain [Live]
  • Kelly Clarkson, (What Doesn’t Kill You) Stronger
  • Carly Rae Jepsen, Call Me Maybe
  • Katy Perry, Wide Awake
  • Rihanna, Where Have You Been

Adele and Kelly Clarkson were a given in the category (though I have to wonder why they went with the live version of “Set Fire to the Rain”), and I am completely happy about it. However, I have a serious issue with the other three nominees. One, Rihanna’s song is more of a dance track. Two, you’re really going to pick these three songs over Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up”, John Mayer’s “Shadow Days”, and Ed Sheeran’s “The A-Team”?! REALLY???!!! The songs I named are far superior to the three songs that were nominated in their place. Unacceptable, Grammys. Unacceptable.

BEST POP DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE

  • Florence + the Machine, Shake It Out
  • fun., We Are Young
  • Gotye ft. Kimbra, Somebody That I Used to Know
  • LMFAO, Sexy and I Know It
  • Maroon 5 ft. Wiz Khalifa, Payphone

Soooo, whoever could’ve predicted that LMFAO would EVER be nominated for a Grammy? Like seriously, which one of these things is not like the other? Anyways, moving on…I had “One More Night” pegged as Maroon 5’s nomination, but I suppose it really could’ve gone either way. The Grammys clearly bent the rules for Gotye and fun., though I kind of assumed that if “We Are Young” was ineligible, fun. would’ve been nominated for “Some Nights” anyways. I would’ve put “Shake It Out” in my initial predictions, but I wasn’t entirely sure when it got officially released, but doesn’t matter now anyways.

And seriously? LMFAO got nominated?!

BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM

  • Kelly Clarkson, Stronger
  • Florence + the Machine, Ceremonials
  • fun., Some Nights
  • Maroon 5, Overexposed
  • P!nk, The Truth About Love

I got three out of five correct in my predictions! Again, I really should’ve seen fun.’s nomination coming and for some reason I dismissed P!nk’s album, possibly because I thought it didn’t make the cutoff for the eligibility period – but I’m happy that I turned out to be wrong. A considerably strong set of pop albums nominated, without a doubt.

I’m a little indifferent on the rest of the full categories. However, some quick thoughts on individual nominees or non-nominees:

  • A little shocked there wasn’t more love for Coldplay’s album Mylo Xyloto, save for a nod in the Best Rock Album category and a single nom in Best Rock Performance for “Charlie Brown”
  • They’re still giving Chris Brown nominations? This one in Best Urban Contemporary Album for his latest.
  • I incorrectly assumed that the Grammys would be weird and end up nominating the Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars collaboration of “Safe and Sound” under Best Pop Duo/Group Performance – it ended up going under Best Country Duo/Group Performance. The song also got a nod in the Best Song Written for Visual Media category.
  • Miranda Lambert’s song “Over You” (co-written with Blake Shelton) was surprisingly not nominated for anything. Damn shame, because it’s a really good song.
  • Jimmy Fallon’s Blow Your Pants Off nominated in Best Comedy Album! I just really love “History of Rap.”
  • Though Jason Mraz’s album Love Is A Four Letter Word didn’t receive a nomination in Best Pop Vocal Album, it at least did get recognition in the Best Engineered Album Non-Classical category.

After all is said and done, it certainly looks like fun. is the artist/band to beat heading into awards night, but hopefully Kelly Clarkson can steal a few awards away from them. Thoughts on this year’s crop of nominees? Any surprises? Shocking snubs? Sound off in the comments!

The 55th annual Grammy Awards will air on February 10th, on CBS.