The Best and Worst of the Live GRAMMY Nominations Concert

The 2014 Grammy nominations (well, some of them) were announced December 6th on CBS during the one-hour live concert special “The GRAMMY Nominations Live!! — Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night.” The broadcast seemed to be less about the nominations and more about the live music, but the performances were pretty underwhelming, the production was a pretty sloppy, and overall it was not nearly exciting enough to warrant the two exclamation points in the show’s title.

The show started off with a lot of energy thanks to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, who worked the crowd effortlessly while performing their megahit “Thrift Shop.” But the momentum nosedived after that due to a production flub: as LL Cool J was announcing Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven”  as a nominee for Song of the Year, Katy Perry’s “Roar” started playing in the background. That’s live TV for you. Of course the awkward production errors didn’t stop there, but let’s just focus on the music, shall we?

Mainstream queens Taylor Swift and Katy Perry  both performed “Live!!” via satellite from their respective, presently-in-progress shows (Swift  from Australia, Perry from Canada). Both performances felt like they didn’t really belong, probably because each was just one small part of a completely different set and individual production. Vocally, both Grammy veterans paled in comparison to 17-year-old newcomer Lorde, who was actually present at the concert and sang a brilliantly breathy-yet-powerful version of her hit “Royals.” (The songstress snagged a Record of the Year nod for “Royals,” but was surprisingly snubbed in the “Best New Artist Category,” where she was thought to be a lock.)

Miguel and Keith Urban’s smooth rendition of “Ain’t No Sunshine” (originally by Bill Withers) sounded quite good, but it was cut far too short, allowing for nothing spectacular to resonate. Pairing the two together was a bit of a wildcard that surprisingly worked, as was throwing Robin Thicke and T.I. on stage with Verdine White (the bassist from Earth, Wind & Fire) to collaborate on “Blurred Lines.” This motley trio was by far the most entertaining act to watch, with Thicke flawlessly hitting every high note, T.I. suavely delivering his verse, and White enthusiastically jamming on the bass, seemingly having the time of his life. They got a bit weird with it–dancing around together like some misfit boy band. It made for an unexpectedly enjoyable ending. If only the whole broadcast had this much synergy.

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