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Just Off-Camera

"They respect you if you write. The dumber the world gets, the more the words matter." -Dan Jenkins

Monday, February 09, 2004

The Award For Most Boring Award Show Goes To...

I think most award shows are terrible, but at least they provide comical moments like Tony Bennett standing next to Missy Elliott while she screams, "Y'all give it up for Sarah McLachlan!"

This happened at the Grammys last night. I missed most of the show because I was playing hockey, but at least I'm glad I didn't miss the end. I'm sure everyone around the water cooler will be talking about that great montage of musicians who have died in the past year.

I did catch some of the show though, so here's what I thought of it. I thought the trio of Dave Matthews, Sting, and Vince Gill, backed by Pharrell on drums, was about as eclectic as it gets when it comes to throwing together an opening act. But they did a terrific job on the Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There." After they finished up with that song, I hit the ice.

Fortunately, I got back in time to see Missy Elliott's hyped-up intro for Sarah McLachlan. It reminded me of a few years ago, when Busta Rhymes urged an MTV VMA crowd to "get buck-wild for the Brian Setzer Orchestra!" Stuff like that doesn't happen in real life. It takes award show producers to make that happen.

Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne presented the award for best rock duo. This brings up two thoughts on the Osbournes. First of all, hasn't Ozzy's drug-induced-mild-retardation schtick worn thin? And second, if the answer is no, then why didn't the Grammy people give him some lines so he could give the crowd a laugh? Don't trot Ozzy out on stage and then hustle him off without making him do something like sing a few lines of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame."

They also brought out the original Grammy host (I'll give you five dollars if you know his name off the top of your head, because I sure as hell don't), whose sole purpose seemed to be to praise some other bigwig at the Grammys, Pierre Cossette. The camera then went over to Cossette, who was looking like Milton from Office Space minus the mustache, plus a tux. Cossette then wildly gestured for the crowd, which was applauding, to get on its feet, for no other apparent reason than that he wanted a standing O. Well, he got one from a crowd that looked kind of baffled as to why it was standing. By the way, I was lying about giving you five dollars.

Carole King came out to present the Grammy for best song along with Pharrell. Apparently she had no idea who the nominees were before she read the list, because when she got to Eminem's "Lose Yourself," she recited, "J. Bass, M. Mathers - oh, that's Marshall Mathers - and L. Resto." I'm sure J. Bass and L. Resto were thrilled that not only had their first names had been reduced to initials, but nobody, not even the presenter, thought to look up their first names.

The head of the Academy came out as well, as he always does, and unveiled a new plan to curb illegal downloading which is most likely doomed to failure. Along with it came a PSA, which alternated shots of people in a club dancing to Pink's "God Is A DJ" and a girl downloading music in her room. When the girl's download is complete, suddenly the power goes out in the club. The next thing you see is "www.whatsthedownload.com." Not sure whether the ad was more ineffective or confusing. Meanwhile, back in reality, hundreds of kids watching the Grammys thought, "Hey, I like that Pink song. I think I'll go to KaZaA and download it."

That was followed up by an elaborate and cliched futuristic space-themed introduction to an awesome performance of Outkast's "Hey Ya!" Andre 3000 brought on a marching band and everything. There was a wardrobe malfunction during his performance, though - he wore something that looked like a lime-green bath towel that had been through a shredder around his waist, and that was it.

All that made it much more comical when he and Big Boi won the award for album of the year soon after. Outkast brought an entire posse on stage, and while most of them were dressed in snappy suits, Dre's standing there shirtless and wearing a tattered green sheet. He also looked like he'd been hitting the pipe for the entire show prior to his performance.

And then, after Outkast accepted their award, Faith Hill jumped in front of them and bid us all a good night. Huh? No closing monologue for someone? No performer to take us out? It ranked up there with the most anticlimactic finishes ever, somewhere between every Braves postseason appearance and the final episode of "Seinfeld."

Once the Grammys were over, I flipped over to the Pro Bowl, which is one of the few sporting events I'd watch the Grammys over. Looks like I missed some quality football. I caught the last minute and a half. The score: 55-52. Nice to know that no defensive players were selected to the teams.


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