If you missed Sunday night’s Grammy Awards, you didn’t miss much. In fact, if you saw the American Music Awards, you pretty much saw the Grammys: Another freak show from Lady Gaga, performers trying to out-shock each other with more glitz than talent, and more crap offered up by the Black Eyed Peas. By the time Jamie Foxx came out in an army uniform pretending to be an opera singer and auto-tuned his way through what he thought was a song, I realized I was witnessing the implosion of American popular music.
Where to start? I already mentioned Ms. Gaga, who seemed to catch on fire at one point, then emerged with ash all over her and played a duet with Elton John, who, for some reason, also had ash all over his face. And arms were coming out of the piano because, well, why wouldn’t they?
Pink seemed somewhat subdued, opening with a pretty little number and walking to the middle of the auditorium. But obviously that wasn’t enough – I mean, so what if the song is good and she sings okay? I know! Let’s disrobe to a body suit, shoot up to the top of the auditorium, and spin from a cable with other acrobats while dripping water all over everyone. Now that’s entertainment!
Beyonce, sadly, paled in comparison. She just marched out in formation with what looked like about 50 extras from Starship Troopers. And then she grabbed her crotch. That’s soooo Michael Jackson.
Speaking of which, there was a tribute to him. It was in 3-D. I would have liked some glasses to watch it. Instead, my daughter kept asking me why everything was so fuzzy.
Then there was the hip-hop. Whether it was a profanity-riddled performance by Lil’ Wayne and a whole cadre of rappers or the afore-mentioned Foxx and friends – I don’t know: was that even a song? – it truly showed how far music has fallen over the last 20 years. The Black Eyed Peas performed with cast-offs from a Star Wars movie with their single “Imma Be,” which features the meaningful chorus, “Imma be, imma be, imma imma imma be…Imma be be be be imma imma be.”
Whatever happened to just singing a song? Why does there now have to be some gimmick involved, where the performer must either shock you by brushing the limits of decency or puzzle you with some bizarre performance art?
Something has to happen, people. This is the best America has to offer?