As we tend to do for various events crucial to the pop diaspora, we’ve asked expert critics Sean Fennessey and Ryan Dombal to sit in at SOTC for the evening and live blog the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards. Perhaps you remember their 2009 MTV VMA work? They really do this. Gentlemen?
Ryan: First thing: #teamkanye
Ryan: I wonder if they’d be better off just airing Gaga’s Radio City show a week and a half later.
Sean: I’m excited about her decision to not wear leggings. We are nearer to thine crotch.
Ryan: They said it couldn’t be done.
Sean: Elton John, donning bejeweled glasses to match Gaga.
Ryan: This set looks like that board game Mouse Trap.
Sean: “Speechless” is the best song she’s ever written. There I said it.
Sean: “How wonderful that felt with Gaga in the world.”
Sean: Ace, Elton.
Sean: By the way, if there’s a lull, not to worry, Ryan’s just eating a sandwich DURING THE OPENING SET.
Ryan: Stephen Colbert doesn’t realize pop stars are barely “celebrities” in 2010.
Sean: They make at least $74,000/year.
Sean: “Goodbye sexy, we’re going with really good singing this year” = the best rock criticism of the aughts.
Ryan: The Grammys w/o Boyle and Kanye is like Oscars w/o Avatar.
8:12pm – Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” wins Song of the Year
Sean: The-Dream(!) and Tricky Stewart win the first Grammy of the night, with Beyonce for “Single Ladies.” Justice?
Ryan: Dream wearing sensible leg wear, for the record.
Ryan: I like how Green Day are trying to cover every aging rock ‘n’ roll cliche in record time– they’ve already got a musical!
Sean: Nothing says relevant like a musical starring people you’ve never seen before.
Ryan: This makes “Rent” look like “True West.”
Sean: The girl leaning on Mike Dirnt has the worst skin ever. Pro-Activ, girl, you’re on CBS.
Ryan: Avril is officially more “punk” than Green Day.
Ryan: So is Fergie.
Sean: That was an abortion.
Ryan: Btw, Grammys are pretty relevant now — “grammys” was one notch ahead of “#picofmycock” on trending topics earlier today.
Sean: When In Rome stars Josh Duhamel and Kristen Bell – the height of musical exploration.
Ryan: How was When in Rome btw?
Sean: Best comedy of the last 6 minutes.
8:26pm – Taylor Swift wins Best Country album for Fearless
Sean: I hate her.
Sean: How do you feel?
Ryan: Zac Brown wuz robbed.
Ryan: Is there a Kanye signal they can throw up…
Sean: Maybe she can wring a few more clichés for all their worth?
Ryan: Keith Urban is so much prettier than Nicole Kidman it’s depressing.
Sean: Beyoncé not so much singing as she is giving birth orally these days.
Ryan: A nice by-product of Gaga/RiRi edginess — Beyonce has snapped out of her “Ave Maria” trajectory.
Sean: No better evidence than an Alanis Morrisette cover at the Grammys. WTF?
Ryan: As if on cue.
Ryan: This is weirdly “Idol”-esque.
Sean: Hear hair-spin was positively Linda Blair-ian.
Ryan: Alanis comeback starts here.
Ryan: Kinda wish she came out.
Sean: Missed opportunity.
Ryan: Heidi cutaway.
Sean: Honoring Leonard Cohen, obvs.
Ryan: Is Pink just a really good sport? Her presence at every award show boggles me. In a world of Gaga and Katy Perry we do not need Pink.
Sean: She has a great ass. End of story. On a scale of 1 to “Why did you do that?,” how would you rate Pink’s attire?
Ryan: Um, 34.
Ryan: This acrobat shtick is really not that cool the fifth time around.
Sean: Also, what song is this?
Sean: I’m lost.
Ryan: If you’re gonna do circus shit two award shows in a row there needs to be a ring of fire involved.
Sean: LL Cool J was very impressed. So what do you know?
Ryan: I think I just saw Sugar Ray selling cotton candy in the aisles.
Ryan: The whole band.
Sean: From Leonard Cohen to Pink to Loretta Lynn. Segue!
8:48pm – Zac Brown Band wins Best New Artist
Ryan: Saw a girl knitting Zac Brown’s cap on the subway yesterday.
Sean: Was it Alanis?
Ryan: I think it was Michelle Branch actually.
Sean: Homewrecker, that Branch.
Ryan: Only way to save this show is for Kanye to close w/ a new song primarily influenced by Kraftwerk and/or Zac Brown.
Sean: So, “The Big Bang Theory.” That’s a successful program.
Ryan: “Imma Be” is a fucking problem. will.i.am out Gaga-ing Gaga!
Sean: My contention that Fergie is the most important artist of the decade remains intact.
Ryan: Phantom of the i.am + Damien Hirst shoulder pads + “Imma Be” is the highlight so far.
Ryan: No contest.
Ryan: “Imma Be” into “I Gotta Feeling” annihilates Diplo’s entire career.
Sean: THIS IS WHAT JOY TASTES LIKE!
Ryan: I just got chills.
Sean: apl.de.ap is a multimillionaire, FYI.
Ryan: Taboo’s hair conditioner game is off the charts.
Sean: JoBros, son.
Ryan: Joe is stepping up his Tom Ford.
Sean: Kevin is still working that Aeropostale.
Ryan: Can we get a Nick+Costello brain warp, plz.
Sean: They just introduced Lady Antebellum, AKA maybe I should go take a shit.
Ryan: Sugarland, come back.
Sean: Let’s not lose our heads here.
Sean: Lady Antebellum Guy, Blake Lewis wants his haircut back.
Ryan: So is the party line on Antebellum “charmingly trite” or just “trite”? Is Jody Rosen in the house?
Sean: Delightfully mediocre, I think.
9:11pm – Stephen Colbert wins Best Comedy Album (That just happened in primetime.)
Ryan: They never show Best Comedy — Colbert is a lock.
Sean: Patton Oswalt wuz robbed.
Ryan: Real talk, that Colbert special was not funny. Even w/ Toby Keith.
Sean: I was too busy not watching Conan on “The Tonight Show.”
Sean: Too soon?
Ryan: [Leno wins Best Album joke here.]
Ryan: Colbert’s daughter is biggest breakout of the night.
Ryan: Even the commercials are sad: Oxi Clean w/o Mays hurts my soul.
Sean: Norah Jones and Ringo honoring Bobby Darin. No joke here.
Ryan: Ringo presenting and Sean’s imaginary child is like, “Hey dad, that’s the guy from Beatles Rock Band!”
Sean: My imaginary child is an Aerosmith Guitar Hero kid, actually. That’s why he lives with his mother.
9:19pm – Kings of Leon win Record of the Year for “Use Somebody”
Ryan: Me and Jay-Z are rooting for “Use Somebody” … yes!
Ryan: Kings of Leon are super boring drunks.
Sean: “We have the best fans in the world.” Kill yourself, Kings of Leon guy.
Sean: Jamie Foxx begins his performance of “Blame It’ with an opera intro. Best moment of the night. Aside from Miley’s extensions.
Sean: Jay is feeling this!
Ryan: Jay-Z does not know what Auto-Tune is.
Ryan: Jay: “What is that effect on those vocals? Sonically pleasing!”
Sean: Is it too late to diss himself?
Sean: Ty Ty clearly confused by T-Pain.
Ryan: T-Pain’s AutoTune app > Blueprint 3.
Sean: Slash, besmirching the “November Rain” solo so bad right now.
Sean: THIS SONG IS ABOUT BLAMING RAPE ON ALCOHOL.
Ryan: There goes the G’n’R reunion.
Sean: “Beyonce’s just always on my mind. Sorry, Jay!” — Justin Bieber
Ryan: Doesn’t Bieber have to get trampled at Walt Whitman mall later tonight?
Sean: He’s going to look very, VERY strange in about 8 years.
Ryan: Katy Perry is too good for canned Grammy copy.
Sean: I want to share an arepa with her.
9:33pm – Green Day’s 21st Century Breakdown wins Best Rock Album.
Ryan: GrooGrux wuz robbed.
Sean: Butch Vig wins again.
Sean: Billie Joe Armstrong can’t hold his liquor anymore. Not like Chris O’Donnell.
Sean: I guess we’re just singin’ “America The Beautiful” at the Grammys these days.
Sean: I mean, that’s the guy who wrote “A Song For You.”
Sean: And they’ve got him up there with Zac Brown’s Beard.
Ryan: I smell a Slash walk on.
Ryan: Zac Brown fiddle player is happy to be here.
Sean: We’re not getting paid enough for this.
Ryan: My brain just skipped ahead to Kanye’s Grammy recap.
Ryan: FRESH KID: COLBERT’S DAUGHTER
Sean: Oh good, the blond giant.
Ryan: Taylor Swift knows how to play guitar and wear the shit out of a shawl.
Sean: What must it be like to sing for a living when you can’t sing at all?
Sean: “Today was a fairy tale”? This is what we’re celebrating?
Ryan: Stevie is better than this.
Sean: The hairs in Stevie Nick’s coke nose have more talent than Taylor.
Ryan: Can we get a “Bootylicious” while we’re at it?
Sean: Nope, just another banjo-driven Taylor song.
Ryan: Stevie singing “You Belong to Me” is like your mom singing “Party in the U.S.A.” Excited to see Taylor apologists explain this one tomorrow.
Sean: Seriously, such a train wreck, followed by a plane crashing into a riverboat casino.
Ryan: So Grammy assumes everyone stole their Avatar 3D glasses I guess.
Sean: The Usher, Celine Dion, Sigourney Weaver collabo we’ve all been waiting on.
Ryan: Would be cool if that asshole general came out in the two-story robo suit right now.
Sean: “That’s how you scatter the roaches.”
Ryan: “That is one big damn tree!”
Sean: will.i.am just changed the game.
Ryan: 3D > real life (duh).
9:59pm – Michael Jackson’s children, Paris and Prince, are presented with an Honorary Grammy
Sean: Exploitation time.
Sean: Paris Jackson = nerd glasses.
Ryan: Actual nice moment: Beyonce rooting for Prince.
Sean: Prince Jackson broke my heart twice in the last six months.
Sean: Doug Morris, who will buy and sell us if I make an inappropriate joke, is being honored.
Sean: Grammy rule: Always save Bon Jovi for hour three.
Ryan: Bon Jovi: also prettier than Nicole Kidman.
Ryan: Sugarland heard me.
Ryan: Jennifer Nettles’ outfit is positively Rihanna-esque. A good look.
Sean: Get out of Nettles’ light, Jovi.
Ryan: Seriously, she likes this song more than Jon…or anyone else on earth.
Sean: The fans vote for Bon Jovi to perform “Livin’ On a Prayer” with Sugarland.
Sean: Was hoping for “Blaze of Glory.” Young Guns II, fuck with me.
10:18pm – Jay-Z and Rihanna win Best Sung/Rap Collaboration for “Run This Town.” Kanye wins in absentia.
Sean: Mos Def and Placido Domingo are presenting together. So Martha Stewart and Busta Rhymes, you guys!
Ryan: Mos Def = Best Dressed
Sean: Grammys working with the same Windows-themed buffers as the 1999 VMAs.
Ryan: Jay-Z in total dad mode tonight.
Sean: Kanye in total having-Amben-sex-with-Amber-Rose mode tonight.
Ryan: He’s polishing his robot backpack.
Ryan: Kanye is so much bigger than the Grammys it’s not funny.
Sean: Three nominations, and he ably demonstrated how I feel about Taylor Swift at the last major awards show. A damn shame.
Ryan: Props to Wyclef for not plugging his 2009 album, From the Hut, To the Projects, To the Mansion, while sending a message about the devastation in Haiti.
Sean: What Wyclef said in Creole: “My re-imagining of ‘Stayin’ Alive’ was the shit.”
Ryan: “Lauryn, call me.”
Ryan: Andrea just shut it DOWN.
Sean: At least they’re keeping things low-key this year. You know, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” with the ferocious R&B siren and blind opera singer. Whatevs.
Ryan: Where’s Ezra?
Sean: Andrea just took Mary to church. AND HE CANT SEE.
Ryan: I’ve come around on Portnow, he reminds me of Bush in his lame duck prime.
Sean: He reminds me of McKinley. We’re just moments away from the most inconsequential assassination of all time.
Sean: Adam Sandler was great in Funny People.
Ryan: Can Eminem and Sandler redo that FP scene instead of “Forever” plz.
Sean: It’s amazing how little Dave Matthews has grown as an artist since I last cared about him 12 years ago.
Sean: And yet, GrooGrux King!
Ryan: Studdard lost five lbs. Pretty sure.
Sean: Did you know this album is a tribute to deceased saxophonist LeRoi Moore?
Sean: He was the GrooGrux King.
Ryan: He’ll always be the GrooGrux King.
10:47pm – Beyoncé and her cleavage win Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
Sean: Beyoncé says she is so nervous. We know better. Androids don’t get nervous.
Ryan: I just realized how much I want Black Eyed Peas to win Album of the Year.
Sean: Is AnCo nominated?
Ryan: They came in sixth.
Sean: Where did Meercaz finish?
Ryan: Definitely glad the New Indie has not infiltrated the Grammys yet b/c “Stillness Is the Move” w/ special guest Solange is a downgrade from even this.
Sean: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Easy.
Sean: So I don’t care about this Maxwell album at all, it’s all you from here.
Ryan: Maxwell is like a gift to the Grammys and humanity.
Ryan: Listen, we’re all disappointed that Jaheim didn’t put out an album last year but stop hating.
Sean: Roberta Flack, reading from a teleprompter.
Sean: Dead People Montage.
Sean: Ryan, who was your favorite dead person of 2009?
Ryan: I want to say Haley Joel Osment.
Sean: Les Paul tribute, who is also dead.
Ryan: Tarantino and Gabe T — separated at birth?
Sean: Quentin just ruined rap for white people all over again.
Ryan: New Wayne!
Ryan: “Drop the World”!
Ryan: Monster jam here!
Ryan: So censored!
Sean: Rebirth, February 2!
Ryan: Can’t explain how much I love the idea of literally dropping the world on somebody. That’s some Galileo shit.
Sean: Surprised they bleeped Em’s “buttfucked” lyric.
Ryan: This is great. Dude rocking the Made Decent app for Drake’s intro is a check plus.
Ryan: Drake is focused.
Sean: Drake, much more famous than the most famous rappers in the game.
Ryan: Taylor Swift fucking up the lyrics — not her night.
Ryan: Wayne killing it; Drake smiling like a damn fool. This is better than it should be.
Em still comatose but whatever.
Ryan: This stadium rock arrangement is bananas.
Sean: Big night for Travis Barker.
Sean: Somewhere Tom DeLonge is saving the music industry.
Sean: Of this 210 second song, we heard 48.
Ryan: So, necessary: 1) BEP 2) Jamie Foxx/T-Pain/Slash 3) Drake/Wayne
Sean: Shout out to Juanes.
Ryan: Honorable Mentions: 1) Gaga/Elton 2) Beyonce 3) Dave Matthews
Sean: Dave Matthews Band definitely, for being better than Taylor Swift.
Ryan: Best Presenters: 1) Downey 2) Mos Def/Placido 3) White Boi QT
Ryan: Best Cutaway Victim: Shawn Carter
Sean: Also, let’s not forget 3D Glasses Will.i.am
11:27pm – Taylor Swift wins Album of the Year for Fearless
Ryan: Taylor Swift believes in Grammy, bless her.
Sean: Cue Kanye.
Sean: When we are 80 years old, if I hear shit about Taylor Swift I will murder my grandkids.
Ryan: PS: FUCK YOUR COLORING BOOK
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 31, 2010