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The 55th Grammy Awards Nominations: The Good, the Bad, and the Interesting   2 comments

2012 nominees

The nominees for the 55th Grammy Awards were just announced hours ago, and as always, it has elicited a lot of wild reactions from music lovers. After all, the Grammy is probably every musician’s dream and is still regarded as the highest recognition one can get as a recording artist. Like what I did last year, I will divide it into three parts:

THE GOOD

* The whole Album of the Year line up. Holy moly. With the current surge of female pop artist who had a big year which automatically translates to an AOTY nom the past years (Beyonce, Katy Perry, Rihanna), it’s very refreshing to see a line up of really good albums here. Yes, one can still nitpick here, but come on! It’s not as if we got Bieber or Maroon 5 here.

* The love for Frank Ocean. Screw the genre category for ignoring him. At least he got 3/4 general nods, and he’s even the frontrunner in Best New Artist. This man deserves all the praise for his album, so I’m glad decided not to skip him.

* Speaking of skip, yay for the Bieber snub. Glad the Grammys weren’t so desperate for ratings this year by snubbing him. I’d argue though that the One Direction deserved a BNA nod at least.

* Kelly Clarkson resurgence! Woot woot. Record and Song of the Year! Who said it was the end for Kelly? HA-HA-HA. In your face!

* Anything The Black Keys, Florence + the Machine, and Mumford and Sons related since it’s better than a lot of what we hear on the radio.

* ED EFFIN SHEERAN. Who saw it coming? Nobody! But is her deserving for a SOTY nod? Absofuckinglutely!

* The nominations of Safe and Sound and Abraham’s Daughter in Original Soundtrack. Even if The Hunger Games was snubbed as a whole, these two songs are worthy of mentions and nominations.

* Adele still rocking it with a Pop Vocal Solo nomination for Set Fire to the Rain. I love you Kelly Clarkson, but that is Adele’s ninth Grammy.

* Miguel’s nods for Adorn. Sure I don’t like him as much as Frank Ocean, but I like Adorn, and it’s one of the best R&B songs of the year.

* The Short Form Music video is probably the strongest since its inception. There’s  a lot of interesting videos there, and even mainstream video like that of Rihanna’s We Found Love is deserving of a nomination.

* Probably my favorite category of the year, Alternative Album is full of hidden gems in it. You have Bjork, Fiona Apple, Gotye, and (my latest addiction) M83! Admittedly, I haven’t heard Tom Waits’ Bad As Me yet, but it is in good company, so I’ll give it a listen sometime.

THE BAD

* Pink only received one nod. I thought for sure this year will finally give her the best Grammy out pour in her career, yet they took her for granted again. Oh well, she can take pride at her three Grammys home.

* Again, no One Direction? Hahaha. Sorry, but they’re real guilty pleasure. If you can give Bieber and Jonas Brothers Best New Artist nods, why not these guys? Though I guess Hunter Hayes getting in was their “One Direction” spot already. After all, hes young, and he’s country, so that’s hitting two birds with one stone.

* Nicki Minaj snub all throughout. This girl think she can settle away with free passes pretending as a rap artist? Bish please. You’re a pop artist now, and glad to know you received nada.

* Call Me Maybe for Song of the Year? Really? Those lyrics!?!? I get that it’s a big song yada yada, but that’s where the Record of the Year is for.

* Why was Miranda Lambert’s Over You snubbed all throughout? Over You is gaining momentum the past few weeks, it’s a good written song, and she’s already a Grammy winner. I guess I must be happy with her Country Album nomination.

* It sucks to have a Pop Vocal Performance then three of the five nominees were Carly Rae Jepsen, Rihanna, and Katy Perry. Vocals eh?

* I still don’t see the purpose behind the Urban Contemporary Album especially it only had three nominees, and Chris Brown isn’t even deserving. They should have retired it altogether. Though it’s an easy win for Frank Ocean.

* They really should not combine Vocals category in some genres. Take for instance Pop Vocal. It had five female nominees. Pop is a female centered genre, but we have lots of deserving male vocals this year like Jason Mraz, Bruno Mars, John Mayer, and Philip Phillips, and I guess a filler spot for Bieber. Same goes for the Rock’s hard on for male singers and Country’s preference of male vocalists unless your name is Carrie Underwood. Wrong move at all.

THE INTERESTING

* This is the first time in a long time where no female album is nominated for the top award. It’s also two decades ago when the Best New Artist line up had no solo female artist in it.

* Fun, Jay Z, Kanye West, Frank Ocean, Mumford & Sons, and The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach tied for the most nominated act with six nominations each.

* The following people are nominated for a Grammy this year: Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton, Ellen Degeneres, Janis Ian, Kathy Griffin, Jimmy Fallon, Margaret Cho, Bernadette Peters, Audra McDonald, Matthew Broderick, and Elizabeth Mitchell.

* Ever since its inception 53 years ago, this is the only time that record of the Year had six nominees in it.

In case you want to see the complete list of nominees, you can check them here.

All in all, there are more things I like about the nominations this year than I had the past few years. With that said, we still have to wait come February for the winners to be revealed. My first post-nom predictions for the General Field winners are Somebody That I Used to Know (Record of the Year), We Are Young (Song of the Year), Mumford & Son’s Babel (Album of the Year), and Frank Ocean as the Best New Artist.

You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

MTV Video Music Awards 2011   2 comments

This is a pretty late post, but since it’s raining and there seems to be the obligatory VMA review, I’ll dedicate a post to this year’s VMA. A for starters, this is a big improvement from last year’s snoozefest. While there are no hosts assigned for the night, they still managed to went overtime again. I still have this theory that the reason why Best Direction wasn’t given at the red carpet was because it was really supposed to be at the main show and will serve as Adele’s moment (which she deservingly won). However, due to time constraints, they decided to just skip it altogether. Screw you, MTV.

Also, Katy Perry won the much coveted Video of the Year, so for the fifth year in a row, a female artist has won the top award (Cue: Beyonce’s Run the World). Rihanna, Britney Spears, Beyonce, and Lady GaGa has won the same moonman for the last four ceremonies. As a sidebar, Madonna got hers on 1998, Lauryn Hill in 1999, Christina Aguilera in 2001, and Missy Elliott in 2003.

Moving on to the main event, I’ll just share a few thoughts here and there about the performances from last night. They ranged from excellent to good actually. Specifically, here’s my grade sheet for last Sunday’s VMAs.

Lady GaGa : You & I

I decided that I’ll grade this performance based on the start of her performance. I’ll voluntarily skip her opening monologue which, as seen from the audience, looks ridiculous as it can gets. GaGa tries so hard to maintain this creative, innovative persona but what she lacks during the monologue is the music. If that wasn’t GaGa doing that shitty man alter ego, I bet that person will be trashed instantly. But since it’s GaGa, she gets free pass. This isn’t even creative. This is bothering. As for her performance, no doubt that she really has the talent to pull it off. Her vocals is always on point, and she gets to have Queen’s Brian May as a special guest. Now, that is genius. Anyway, bottom line is, she could have done the song without that alter ego thing going on, and it would have been much better.

Grade: B

Jay Z and Kanye West : Otis

This isn’t one of my favorite songs from Watch the Thrones so I would have wanted another song to be performed. But, of course this is the current single. Even I couldn’t resist the star power that these two rap powerhouses exude so while this is in no way outstanding, this is also not disappointing.

Grade: B

Pitbull, Ne-Yo, Nayer : Give Me Everything

I don’t get why they were given a performance slot that night. This song is too old by the time they performed it. However, the song is still undeniably catchy. Everyone is still jamming in the crowd and even the people watching at home. This is a similar performance like what they did on The Voice. I’m bothered by how Ne-Yo is so hitting on that woman performer as if he’s so dying to f*ck her right after they went off stage. LOL.

Grade: C+

Adele : Someone Like You

Oh boy, hands down, the best performance of the night. Ballads are rarely performed during the VMAs especially since it’s one big party after all. If they work, they really do get to stand out (Christina Aguilera, Hurt (2006)), but if they don’t, they’ll be overshadowed (Taylor Swift, Innocent (2010)). Fortunately, Adele rocked her performance. Everyone was just cheering while she’s singing. I personally had goosebumps while watching it. Plus, she got a standing ovation at the end. it goes to show that all you don’t need too many gimmicks to stand out. This goes down as one of the best VMA performances ever.

Grade: A+

Chris Brown : Yeah3x, The Beautiful People

It is really difficult to follow up Adele’s performance. So, the best way to do it is by giving a fully entertaining performance. Chris Brown might be lipsynching throughout the whole performance, but who cares? He’s flying all over the Nokia Theater. That is so awesome. It’s so sad that he got overshadowed with all the woman beater and homophobe accusations against him, because he, indeed, is one hell of a performer. He might not be singing at all, but this is the perfect follow up to Adele’s vocally challenging performance. Oh can I say that I died that Jessie J followed this performanc eby singing “No Scrubs”?

Grade: A-

Britney Spears tribute

First, I’m glad that all the speculations that Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Rihanna, Ke$ha, Katy Perry, and Janet Jackson (of all people, really?!?!?!?) giving a tribute to Britney isn’t true. That would have been a disaster in the vein of her Gimme More performance. I’m glad that MTV is giving her the tribute by people who won’t upstage Britney, but when you reward her with a Video Vanguard, the least they could have done is to include all of her videos, and not just chosen ones. All in all, a decent performance but what I didn’t like was that they used her as a segue to introduce the next performer.

Grade: B-

Beyonce : Love on Top

I’m not the biggest Beyonce fan on earth (god knows how “creative” she is) but this is probably one of my favorite Beyonce numbers ever. She’s just glowing the moment she sang the first line of the song. Also, she made a good choice of singing a song that suits her emotions that moment. I love when she said “I want you to feel the love inside me.” There are parts where she wasn’t singing (she had prepared version) and she’s singing it simultaneously with the recorded version, but I won’t complain. Also, love how the audience was so into the song. Adele was even singing. Love the shot of her in the audience. But more so, the finale shot when she rubbed her tummy, and everyone from Gaga to Tony Bennett, Kanye to Jay Z were just jumping with joy. Very memorable performance!

Grade: A-

Young the Giant : My Body

I know that you’re thinking “Who?” but for a VMA debut performance, this is an awesome performance. I know how big of a deal getting a slot at the main show is for some indie band who doesn’t have a solid fanbase yet. But, heck, I enjoyed the performance, and here’s hoping they’ll get a bigger break after this. How I wish Foster the People were asked to perform as well.

Grade: B

Bruno Mars : Amy Winehouse tribute, Valerie

At first, I was hesitant. Why him? Really, of all people?!?!? Bruno Mars?!?!? But boy, did he really deliver! This is a good performance of Valerie, and for what its worth, he gave justice to the song. I love the “clap your hands for Amy part”. The video of Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse opening this performance made it bittersweet. Seeing Amy’s pop-art photos while Bruno is performing is so very touching. I guess I’m a big Amy fanboy because I was in tears near-the-end. Adele was so sad, and so is Russell Brand. Anyway, really good performance that I’m sure Amy was very proud up there. 🙂

Grade: A

Lil’ Wayne : How To Love, John

For years now, the VMAs always end their show with a rap act (Jay Z in 09, Kanye last year) and while Lil’ Wayne was good in his How to Love part, he suddenly went crazy during the John part. This is an okay performance but everyone’s just oh so excited to go home or rest already. LOL. This is a good promotion for his album (which will debut at number one next) though.

Grade: B-

That’s it. The VMAs, while it wasn’t able to reach its peak years anymore, still provided one hell of an entertaining show this year. Til next year folks! =)