I covered the Grammys the only honest way I could think of: I didn’t watch. Nobody did. It was the third-lowest-rated Grammy broadcast ever, despite the touching fact that people still want to care about the Grammys, with the ratio of live bloggers to actual viewers finally reaching 1:1. I thought about watching but got distracted by an emotionally needy half-empty bag of Utz Kettle Classic Smokin’ Sweet that required immediate attention. Instead, I watched YouTube clips of those sad-gasmic total-humiliation moments to see what my friends were having crying jags about. As a result, I enjoyed it more than any Grammys ever. Thanks, Grammys! Hence I feel fully qualified to evaluate the biggest winners and losers.
Alicia Keys: She got stuck with the necro-duet with Sinatra, getting grotesquely excited (“Yeah, Frank. . . . Tell ’em!”) since the Academy was out of merely old people for her to sing with. She sounded great singing “No One” later, but then they made the poor girl sing it with John Mayer when she could have had Stevie Wonder. Glad I didn’t watch this in real time or I would have lost my Utzes.
Kanye West: His award-show speeches are like Cher’s clothes: Every time, you wonder how the guy will top himself, yet he always does. “Stronger” sounded cool, but he sure spends a lot of time on “haters.” I realize haters are a necessary element of a rapper’s emotional development — how else are they going to learn to talk about how much money they have? — but next time Kanye’s pushing the cart around Hater Depot, he might want to pick out something snazzier. Loathers, maybe? A spiritual nemesis or two? Putting factory-setting haters in your songs is like keeping the photo that came in the frame when you bought it.
Kid Rock: They paired him with Keely Smith, the ageless Vegas showgirl who used to duet with Louis Prima back in his “Just a Gigolo” days. This would have been a great idea eight years ago, when Kid Rock was the second coming of David Lee Roth in his “Just a Gigolo” days, but a little sad now that he’s David Lee Roth circa “Sensible Shoes.”
Lil Wayne: He was smart to duck the call when they were looking for help on Cirque du Soleil’s Beatles medley. He could have done his mixtape version of “Help,” where he connects dirty old Liverpool and the Dirty South (“I’m from the dirt where the Beatles and John Lennon be at”) — it’s hard to imagine John Lennon wouldn’t have loved it. But then, according to the industry, Lil Wayne’s version doesn’t exist, and whoever owns the rights to Beatles songs (can’t remember who) would excrete a cinder block if it did.
Amy Winehouse: Simple rule of thumb — when they put on Amy Winehouse, it’s time to leave. Nothing against her music, it’s just that when bartenders put it on, it means the drugs just arrived and they’re about to disappear into the bathroom, and when a club DJ puts it on, he wants to go home. Wherever you are when you hear Amy, you’ve been there too long. Judging by her glazed eyes, Amy agrees.
Cyndi Lauper: Always had it, always will.