I do not love a parade. But I love love LOVE award shows. A good award show is like a good life: sporadically glorious, ultimately arbitrary, and, overall, more fun than not.
Case in point: Last night’s Grammys, which, after a lame opening lip-synch by Madonna and Gorillaz, turned out to be more fun than usual. The big surprises were the live performances, where superstar after superstar—perhaps juiced by the culture of American Idol—“brought it,” in the soul-baring, foot-stomping, shrieking high-note kind of way.
Kelly Clarkson gutted herself with some self-abasing power ballad. Mary J. Blige gutted herself belting “One” with U2. Sir Paul McCartney gutted himself screeching “Helter Skelter.” By the time Mariah Carey got around to her gut-wrenching power-medley, she practically went into labor to make sure she’d reach a peak left unscaled by her evening’s predecessors.
And then there was Kanye: God knows I love him, value his work, etc etc etc. But he was a complete tool last night. Yeah, it’s not bragging if it’s true, but whoever said honest bragging made for good entertainment? Between his endless self-reference at the podium and his frantic “Gold Digger/Touch the Sky” performance, he came off like the asshole blowhard his detractors have been blasting for years. (Confidential to Kanye: You’re not great because you say you’re great. You’re great because your records are great. And, whaddya know, your records are primarily about subjects other than your greatness. And may you live in shame for dragging the lame skits from your CD onto the Grammy stage.)