THE GRAMMY AWARDS 2023
Gawd. The usual bunfight, wasn't it, of glitz, garish outfits and no-shows that make it so American. Having sat through the tedious ceremony on numerous occasions when I was a showbiz reporter based in LA, I should know better than to watch it live. But, in the interests of British broadcasting ...
Highlights and lowlights:
Gucci-foil-clad Beyonce missing her first big moment by getting stuck in LA traffic. One word, missy: helicopter. Nile Rogers accepting on her behalf. He's such a gigantic star, and still so accessible. Though his appearance on Michael McIntyre's Biiig Show last Saturday was possibly ill-advised.
Queen Bey's wins in the Best Traditional R&B Performance category for 'Plastic off the Sofa') and Best Dance/Electronic Recording for 'Break my Soul' take her racing past orchestral conductor Sir Georg Solti to 32: the most Grammys in history.
Adele, nominated in 8 categories to Bey's 9, limped home with just the one: Best Pop Solo Performance for 'Easy on Me'. She cried when accepted her trophy from Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, and dedicated it to her son. Distracted by that hell of a sculpted claret dress, I've forgotten what she said.
But it makes you think about the Bey-Adele comparisons they kept lobbing at us in the run-up. In real life, the two women are great friends. Beyonce describes Adele's voice as 'heavenly'. Adele responds that she grew up listening to Destiny's Child (ouchie), and that Beyonce has long been an inspiration to her. Compare the pair closely and there is really no contest. The American has the larger range, of four octaves to the Brit's two. Technically, B is the better vocalist. Sustains notes for long periods without wavering in pitch. Is almost never off-key. Her breath control is perfect, kinda number. She is also the superior entertainer. More than that, she is a brand. She is image, hair, make-up, pose, attitude, a bit of politics, as well as sing-dance-act. All of which makes her untouchable music royalty. There is a sense that we haven't yet see the half of it. With Adele, I can't help feeling (though I wish it were not the case), that following her cache of sixteen Grammys, we have probably seen most of it.
And what about Harry Styles, then? Who saw that coming? Best Pop Vocal Album for his third solo effort, 'Harry's House', beating ABBA's 'Voyage', Adele's '30', Coldplay's 'Music of the Spheres' and Lizzo's 'Special'. Well, well-deserved. The man is one cool muso and style icon. Everyone loves Harry. Even those who say they don't. Perhaps especially them.
Sam Smith and Kim Petras taking Best Pop Duo/Group Performance with 'Unholy': that was good. Win-win-win for the transgender community.
But saving the best until last: all hail Bonnie Raitt. Her perfect performance of 'Songbird' in tribute to the late Christine McVie eclipsed the honouring of Loretta Lynn and a glorious-ish 50-year celebration of hip hop. And then Bonnie, 73, goes and bags Best Americana Performance and Best American Roots Song for 'Made Up Mind' and 'Just Like That'. Atta gal.
Willie Nelson, Kendrick Lamar, Wet Leg - the fab Indie rock band from the Isle of Wight who keep insisting that their name refers to people from the mainland who get soggy limbs visiting their outpost (it doesn't) - all recognised with gongs, and grand on them.
Millions spent. Chilled revenge chewed. Hangovers simmering. Off they trot until this time next year, when it'll be designer drag at dawn and thousands of speculative column inches all over again. And again, ad nauseam. It's the thing about awards ceremonies. At the bidet end of another long and pointless night, none of it matters. No one cares. Until next time.
Grammy winners Wet Leg, the Isle of Wight Indie Rock Band