12 - 17
12. Chris Brown, David Guetta, Foo Fighters, and Deadmau5 - “I Can Only Imagine”, “Rope”, and “Raise Your Weapon”
The Grammys are the place for unlikely collaborations, but yet again, everything seemed compartmentalized instead.
13. Tony Bennett and Carrie Underwood - “It Had to Be You”
The two previously performed this on an episode of CBS’ Blue Bloods in virtually the same style and possibly the same outfits.
14. Bruno Mars - “Runaway Baby”
What started as a nice retro throwback quickly crashed into modern times with a tacky, insulting remark from Mars, “Get off your rich a##es”. On a night that was about different people bonding over the music they love, it was especially out-of-place.
15. Chris Brown - “Turn Up The Music” / ”Beautiful People“
There wasn’t anything about this caped background dancer-assisted performance that made it especially Grammy-worthy. It could have easily been performed on a results episode of So You Think You Can Dance?.
16. Katy Perry - “E.T.” and “Part of Me”
Was that a double carried around during “E.T.”? Either way, “Part Of Me” was full of meaningless flash, like Perry’s spacey costume, the glass box she writhed around in, and the on-stage flames that melted ice sculptures.
17. Nicki Minaj - “Roman Holiday”
Opening with a video clip that looked like a cheap YouTube parody of The Exorcist (minus any sort of joke), one of the brightest new stars of music served up a performance that felt like a rehash. Chained up (like many female popstars before her), she rapped around a stage full of Catholic clergy-themed props and costumes (like Madonna probably did decades ago) and eventually “levitated” (like magician’s assistants have done for the past hundred years or so.) Two of her background dancers even wore bodysuits similar to those in Lady Gaga’s 2011 Grammy performance. Though announcers called it “a performance that everyone will be talking about”, the audience gave weak applause and looked confused afterwards.
Overall, this year’s show was an improvement over last year, leaving us wondering what the 2013 broadcast will bring.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times. Thanks everyone.