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The Grammy Awards: Five Things That Need To Change

Posted by MTV News On February - 14 - 2011

After the final award of the night was given out at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the Grammy Awards had declared a number of winners. Some were literal, in the sense that Lady Gaga, Eminem, Lady Antebellum and Arcade Fire all walked away with high-profile wins in some of the biggest categories of the night. Others scored more professional victories, like Mick Jagger (who proved that he’s still got it after decades on stage) and Justin Bieber (who was one of the night’s most electric performers despite only being 16 years old). Even the producers could consider themselves winner, as the telecast was watched by 26.5 million viewers — the largest audience for the Grammys in a decade.

But the viewers didn’t necessarily walk away with a sense of victory. Though the show contained no shortage of highlights, there were also some things that could be changed moving forward. Here are five things that should be reconsidered moving forward.

Shorten The Show
Even though last night’s show was mostly entertaining, it was still too long. Three-and-a-half hours is an awfully long time to be watching much of anything (most people don’t sit down to watch films for that same amount of time). By tightening the edges and knocking off two or three performances (sorry, Barbra Streisand), you could really have a tight show that is way more viewer friendly and kinetic (which would make them more like the far superior MTV Video Music Awards).

Focus More On The Awards
We know it’s impossible to give out 109 awards live on the air (that’s how many categories there were this year), but the Oscars manage to give out two dozen awards over the course of an evening. Can’t the Grammys give out more awards — and perhaps in the same 15-20 categories every year so there’s a little consistency?

Revamp The Voting Process
The reason why Esperanza Spalding won the Best New Artist award over far more popular acts like Justin Bieber or Drake is because Best New Artist is one of those awards that everybody is allowed to vote for. Grammy voters only vote in their areas of expertise, so people from the jazz world typically only vote for the jazz-related categories. But Best New Artist throws the doors open on everybody, and while it creates some great opportunities for unknown artists, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the actual year in music (which is theoretically what the Grammys — and all awards shows — are supposed to do).

Don’t Confuse The Viewing Audience With People Who Aren’t Present
When John Mayer, Keith Urban and Norah Jones came out to sing “Jolene” to acknowledge Dolly Parton, more than one person on Twitter thought that Parton had died and that this was a memoriam for her. In reality, she had won a Lifetime Achievement Award and wasn’t present at the show. While it’s great that Parton won (she deserves it), it took up a bunch of screen time that only confused the home viewers. Stick to focusing on people who are actually in the building, so as not to throw people off and take up valuable screen time.

Retire The Neil Portnow Segment
They only give out a handful of prizes across the show’s three-and-a-half hours, but it can carve out 10 minutes so the president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (the body that hands out the Grammys) can talk about their charity projects? Let Portnow cut a video package that can live on the official Grammy Awards website and let the show be about the artists and the music.

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Justin Bieber May Have Lost At The Grammys, But He’ll Be Back: The MTV News Quote Of The Day

Posted by MTV News On February - 14 - 2011

“I had no clue what was going to happen; I worked really hard these past few years and you know, I’m not going to lie — I was disappointed. But, you know, I’m gonna come back [next year] and we’ll take a few home.”

-Canadian singing sensation and newly-minted film star Justin Bieber, commenting on his loss in the Best New Artist category at Sunday night’s (February 13) 53rd Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The 16-year-old singer faced stiff competition for Best New Artist from the likes of Drake, Mumford & Sons and Florence and the Machine, but many expected that Bieber would be walking away with the hardware. In the end, he lost out to winner Esperanza Spalding, a bassist who has been making an impact in the jazz world for years and who was a relative unknown among pop fans.

Still, just because he failed to walk out with an award doesn’t mean that the night was a bust. Bieber’s performance (with an assist from Usher and Jayden Smith) was one of the most talked-about of the evening, and the singer himself felt extremely good about the work he put forth on stage. “I got a standing O, which was amazing,” he told MTV News’ Sway backstage after the show had wrapped. “Usher and Jayden did incredible, and I’m really excited. Tonight was an amazing night.”

And because he’s already a pro, Bieber went out of his way to pay his respects to Spalding after the show, and let his fans know that it wasn’t the end of the world. “Bieber fans, don’t get too upset,” he laughed. “Be happy.”

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Jay Sean Teaches Snooki Some Slang On The Grammy Red Carpet

Posted by Kyle Anderson On February - 14 - 2011

Sunday night’s (February 13) 53rd Grammy Awards featured no shortage of stars, from the nominees to the performers to the parents of the nominees and performers (we’re looking at you, Drake’s mom and the Smith family). Even stars who weren’t directly involved in the show were there to help celebrate, including Cyndi Lauper (who got an awful lot of screen time thanks to her always-reliable reaction shots) and Nicole Kidman (who accompanied husband Keith Urban and sang and danced along to most everything on stage).

Both international R&B sensation Jay Sean and “Jersey Shore” star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi were in attendance as well. Snooki was busy hosting the MTV News live stream “Snooki & Sway: Live From the Grammys,” which Jay Sean was there to build buzz for his upcoming album Freeze Time.

When the two came together on the red carpet, they bonded over slang. Snooki has done plenty to introduce new words into the lexicon, and Jay Sean was more than happy to explain a British word to her.

“I just wanted to say that I really, really love your accent,” Snooki told Sean in the midst of his red carpet interview. “Can you say, ‘Yo Snooki, let’s smush’?”

Sean was game, though he wanted to take it a step further. “Instead of smush, I’ll tell you what we say,” he told the television star. “Let’s snog.”

Snooki had a bit of trouble with the vowel, but in the end, it made for a great step forward in international relations (especially following Snooki’s British accent). “I want to bring the British lingo over here, man,” Jay Sean told Sway. “We’ve got so many words you guys don’t use.”

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Nicki Minaj’s Hair, Drake’s Mom And Lady Gaga’s Egg: Snooki’s Favorite Grammy Moments

Posted by Kyle Anderson On February - 14 - 2011

The 53rd Grammy Awards were full of stellar performances, big upsets and more than a few delightful surprises. But Sunday night’s (February 13) excitement got started even before the curtain raised at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, as the Grammy Awards red carpet was a hive of superstar activity. MTV News was live on the scene with a two-hour live streaming show called “Snooki & Sway: Live From the Grammys,” which brought together MTV News’ veteran voice Sway and “Jersey Shore” breakout star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi (with a handful of cameos by MTV News’ James Montgomery). The trio talked to all the big stars, including Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, B.o.b and Jennifer Hudson.

(Click here for photos of Snooki and Sway on the red carpet with all the top Grammy stars, including Nicki Minaj, Bruno Mars, Drake and Jennifer Lopez!)

But what were Snooki’s favorite moments from her co-hosting job as an MTV News correspondent? After the show, she talked to Sway and Montgomery about her top moments.

“Top three favorite moments? Talking to Nicki Minaj,” Snooki said. “She recognized me, so that was crazy.” That meet-up was particularly interesting, as not only was Minaj’s hair taller than Snooki, but the chart-topping rapper also grabbed a handful of Snooki’s cleavage during the interview.

Snooki also noted that she very much enjoyed talking to Drake’s mom (who was the Best New Artist-nominated rapper’s date at the show. But Snooki’s most favorite moment of the red carpet celebration was the highlight for a lot of people present. “Seeing Lady Gaga in the egg and having her wave hello to us,” Snooki added. “That was insane.”

(Click here for photos of Snooki and Sway on the red carpet with all the top Grammy stars, including Nicki Minaj, Bruno Mars, Drake and Jennifer Lopez!)

What was your favorite moment from “Snooki & Sway: Live From the Grammys”? Let us know in the comments!

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Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs Wins Album Of The Year: Wake-Up Video

Posted by Kyle Anderson On February - 14 - 2011

Sunday night’s (February 13) 53rd Grammy Awards were full of surprises, from Esperanza Spalding’s Best New Artist victory to Mick Jagger’s alarmingly sharp performance during his tribute to the late Solomon Burke. But the show saved the biggest shocker for last, as Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs took home the hardware for Album of the Year. The Canadian band, who had the smallest profile of any artist nominated in the category, scored the victory in between their two electric performances — including one that ended the show.

It’s been something of a long time coming for Arcade Fire, who have been nominated for several Grammys in the past but have never won. Their 2004 debut Funeral was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album in 2006 (it lost to the White Stripes’ Get Behind Me Satan) and their sophomore release Neon Bible got a nod for the same award in 2008 (they were bested a second time by the White Stripes, who won for Icky Thump). In a strange twist, Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs were also nominated for Best Alternative Music Album this year, though it lost to the Black Keys’ Brothers. (How an album could be the best overall but not in the Alternative category is a mystery, but so are many of the decisions made by Grammy voters.)

The win for Album of the Year wraps up an incredible run for Arcade Fire, who saw their album debut at the top of the Billboard chart (an amazing feat for a band on an independent label) and who headlined Lollapalooza and sold out Madison Square Garden. In honor of their big win (and the huge chart bump they are likely to pick up this week), check out the video for the title track to The Suburbs, which proves that they’re not only musical geniuses but visual innovators as well.

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