Grammys 2013: Your Sets Take Me to Paradise

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I know it’s been two days since the Grammys and by today’s standards that’s considered a lifetime ago, but I feel compelled to continue the conversation just a teensy bit more. I mean, considering the lengths the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences no doubt went to, delivering three and a half hours of jam packed star-studded performances – with a few award moments sprinkled here and there – I think it’s only fair to “linger” one day more.

The Grammys – for me – are one of the most impressive awards shows out there (besides the PCAs, of course.) More than any other reason, the sheer number of live performances they are able to pull off blows me away – each with its own instrumentation, musicians, set designs, crewing and technical specifications. (And you know that barring perhaps the “Best New Artist” nominees/performers, the lists of demands are sky high for almost everyone else involved.) As someone who is intimately familiar with live awards show production, I empathize with the producers who each year are faced with the behemoth task of delivering ever increasingly complicated sets (it RAINED on stage, for crying out loud!) and seemingly increasing numbers of performances. I mean, is it me, or was there more music this year than ever before? I haven’t done the math, but it sure did seem that way. And believe me, I’m definitely not complaining. Although I’d bet that at least one of the ten to twelve stage managers whose names I saw in the credits may feel differently.

And as we watched in the comfort of our own homes, all we saw was the fluid transition from one stage to the next, from one jaw dropping collaboration to another. I’m not sure about you, but I almost always find myself stopping and thinking about the mayhem that must be transpiring behind the many stages at any given point in time, where the clock is mercilessly ticking and people are working feverishly to hit their mark because, with a live show, there is simply no other choice. If I haven’t made my point yet, what I’m really trying to say is: kudos, Grammys production team. Kudos. While everyone has been (rightfully) singing the praises of all the talented musicians who graced your stage, I just wanted to take a moment to praise you as well. From one production team to another – well done, friends.

Now, I too must take a moment to recognize the incredible performances that were undeniably delivered. I mean, this might be stating the obvious, but could Kelly Clarkson have sounded any more amazing? Even Neil Patrick Harris who was in the house along with several of his CBS buds, was compelled to tweet: “Kelly Clarkson has one of the best voices in the history of ever.” (Which, by the way, was retweeted 7,785 times and favorited 5,130 times.) Not only do I love what he said, and how he said it, but I couldn’t agree more. Just thinking about her performance and the justice she did to two such iconic songs gives me chills. One of my friends who was watching with me actually uttered the words: “I think she just outdid Aretha!” (who is arguably more popularly known for that song although it was written by Carole King). I mean, no disrespect to Ms. Franklin, who is a genius in her own right, but I kinda had to agree with him.

On to my all time favorite part of the Grammys: the collaborations. Sometimes they don’t quite work out as well as they do on paper, but this year they were amazing. Bruno & Sting? Genius. I don’t think I need to say much more about that one. Then they went and added Rihanna and Ziggy Marley to the mix for a Bob Marley tribute and my head nearly exploded. Could You Be Loved? Um, absofreakinlutely! Moving on to Alicia & Adam (Keys & Levine, of course). Why didn’t anyone think of that sooner? Their voices blended beautifully together and they just seemed to really connect on stage. I was sort of loving Alicia on drums, too. I’d be surprised if we don’t see a duet released by them some time later this year. And of course there was Miguel – you know, the guy Kelly Clarkson had never heard of – coupled with rapper extraordinaire, Wiz Khalifa. Never have I seen a duet quit like that, nor have I heard such perfect falsetto (one might say he gave JT a run for his money, but I love him too much to say that). Then there was Elton John and Ed Sheeran… can we talk about pure, unadulterated beautiful music? Folky, singer/songwriter feel-good music at its best, delivered by heavy hitting talent. Ed may not be nearly as well known as Elton, but he’s well on his way. And speaking of Elton, he also lent his talent to the mind blowing all star tribute to the great Levon Helm. Too much to say about that one, so all I’ll say is: NAILED IT.

So, there you have it folks. The Grammys killed it again this year, once again proving to truly be music’s biggest night. Since there are too many performances to ask you to choose from, let’s go with the duets – voice your choice in today’s featured poll and tell us which of these outstanding performance pairings from the 55th annual Grammy Awards was your favorite?

Alicia Keys and Adam Levine
Elton John and Ed Sheeran
Miguel and Wiz Khalifa

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