Friday, May 24, 2024

GRAMMYS: Adele Overturned by Harry Styles, Lizzo, Bonnie Raitt, Beyonce Gets Her Record Win, Ben Affleck Looks Bored


What was Ben Affleck thinking during the Grammy Awards on Sunday night? Here are some possibilities: I could be watching sports, I don’t like any of this music, Who are these people?

Ben came with his wife — yes, wife — Jennifer Lopez, who was there for what reason I do not know. JLo is not a Grammy nominee or winner. She just looks good and likes to be seen. So they were there, and she presented an award, and they stayed all night. On TV Ben looked bored, and anyone who could see him picked up on it.

As for the Grammys themselves: Harry Styles won Album of the Year for “Harry’s House,” an sophisticated record of pop tunes that sound like things you already know. That’s ok. He’s a nice guy with a good voice and the girls love him.

This means Adele lost Album of the Year, as well as Record and Song of the Year. She won Best Pop Vocal Performance for her song, “Easy on Me.” Record of the Year went to Lizzo, Song of the Year went to Bonnie Raitt, the only nominee in that category to be the sole writer of her song. I told you in December this should be the outcome, and it was — indeed, Bonnie won two more Grammys during the pre-telecast in the afternoon for the same song and the album from which it comes. Nice! At the afternoon session, Bonnie’s awards were handed to her by another legend, Judy Collins, who lost Best Folk Album to a folk singer who sounds like Judy Collins from 1968. I guess that’s a compliment.

There were some strange moments at the Grammys. Beyonce was late to the live show, so she won Best R&B Record for “Cuff It,” Nile Rodgers had to accept after someone said something so rude on camera it had to be bleeped. They also said Beyonce was stuck in traffic, which may have been technically true, or she and Jay Z just left home whenever they wanted. Everyone else managed to be in the Center on time.

Adele, winning one award, was also bleeped for letting loose an F bomb, We heard it loud and clear in the arena. Adele makes believe she’s in “My Fair Lady” when she’s in public. It’s her shtick.

Overall the show was produced very well, even if it was low key. With neither Adele, Beyonce, or Taylor Swift performing, producers had to rely on clever writing and some clever pairings. The best of these was Stevie Wonder and Smokey :Robinson singing a son they wrote together, “Tears of a Clown,” some 53 years ago. It was stunning. Stevie also sang Smokey’s Temptations hit, “The Way You Do The Things You Do,” and his own “Higher Ground” with Chris Stapleton on guitar. Everyone was at the peak of their talent, and it showed. Nothing else came close all night.

In the end, everyone got something and what they deserved. I think it was good Adele was knocked down a peg, she can’t just waltz in and get awards. Beyonce was satisfied with her manufactured adulation. Lizzo, who really deserved Best Record, was properly rewarded. Bonnie Raitt showed this gang that a song is not written by committees and producers, it’s the work of an actual artist. And that was pretty cool.

PS Universal Music threw an old fashioned gangbusters after party at Milk Studios in Hollywood where Stevie Wonder was nearly crushed by well wishers and fans…Concord Records hosted an indoor-outdoor soiree featuring In’n’Out Burgers. I ran into Brian D’Arcy James, star of Broadway’s “Into the Woods.” Their soundtrack recording scored a Grammy during the afternoon session.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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