I'm always convinced award shows are going to be entertaining/worth critiquing, but it always turns out they never are either, because they are always typical and boring as hell. I turned off the Grammys during the supposedly 3-D (Whatever! The 3-D glasses I took from Avatar didn't work! I knew I should have returned them!) nonsensical Michael Jackson tribute. It's like, does anyone ever really want to see Jamie Foxx do anything? Why?
Anyway, I did see some of Lady Gaga's Elton John duet, which was totally boring just like Elton John himself, except for the always transcendent Tiny Dancer. I also saw Taylor Swift bringing down poor Stevie Nicks, whom she was not fit to share a stage with, and, if I never see Taylor Swift again, I would be pretty happy. When I watch things like this, I always think, "Why are these people, of all people, famous? What do The Black Eyed Peas have that other people don't? Why is Usher still here? Lady Antebellum? What? Do you guys even know what that name means?" The whole thing is such a mindless slog, and it's hard to tell who is excited about anything.
So, that's why at least a Beyonce, or a Lady Gaga makes sense. These people are showmen. They wear more exciting clothes, have more charisma than most, sing and perform (mostly) better, catchier songs (again, The Black Eyed Peas- what is going on with their "music?" Who buys their albums? I did like Fergie's 80's whore dress, though), and at least are an event unto themselves. It's interesting to me that Lady Gaga is famous because she would not have been in the pop princess-dominated early 2000s, but now the tide has turned and we are ready for every person to wear glitter shoulder pads once again. I'm glad that Lady Gaga has turned her mainstream success into a platform for performance art, and that she has chosen to get weirder instead of more normal as time goes on. I would much rather little girls like her and know of her existence than the existence of Taylor Swift. I am also glad she declined to be in the new re-recording of "We Are the World."
Of course, Lady Gaga is not really weird, and the weirdest thing is that she is always being treated as weird, particularly in this day and age. I saw this magazine page that listed Leigh Bowery as one of her influences, and it's like, you know who's weird? Leigh Bowery. And even before him, David Bowie was weird. Cher was weird. Prince was weird. Even Madonna was weird, kind of. And they didn't have stylists. What's weird is that everyone's like, "Oh, this futuristic glam thing is so weird! So new!" but doesn't everyone remember when futuristic glam was THE dominant aesthetic in music for a long time, and that once upon a time, having an extreme, poetic, artistic, bold, raunchy aesthetic was a huge part of music?
Look at these (totally mainstream) weirdos! Remember them? They grabbed their crotches and simulated masturbation and wore feathered headpieces to the Oscars with the best of them, and today we can't even handle Adam Lambert in a suit leading someone on a leash like nothing like it before has ever happened in the history of musical entertainment. One step forward, two steps back, dudes!
PS: Speaking of people who are still "hot" even though they were also "hot" when I was in middle school (ie, Usher, an eighth grade dance staple), Green Day really needs to give it a rest. Like, really.