Urban Shines at 2011 Grammys

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The annual Grammy Awards mark highlights and milestones in the careers of many artists.  For those that grew up dreaming about a life of music stardom, it gets no better than hoisting a golden gramophone trophy.  A nomination in and of itself is recognition of outstanding achievement in the recording arts.  Yet, while Grammy night can mean so much to individual artists or groups, this years’ awards show was a banner night for an entire genre: Urban.  Urban artists shined not only as nominees and winners, but also as performers, commandeering the stage at L.A.’s Staples Center.  We’re proud to be a part of the most relevant genre in music today and we couldn’t help ourselves from breaking down the massive success of Urban at this year’s Grammys. Nominations

No genre was as well represented when it came to nominees.  Among the artists who received multiple nods, Eminem lead the pack with ten, followed by Bruno Mars with seven, Jay-Z and Lady Gaga with six, John Legend and B.o.B with five, and Drake, Rihanna, Cee Lo Green, Katy Perry, and Alex Da Kid with four each.

Four out of the five nominees for Record of the Year were Urban (“Nothin’ on You” – B.o.B feat. Bruno Mars, “Love The Way You Lie” – Eminem feat. Rihanna, F*** You – Cee Lo Green, “Empire State of Mind” – Jay-Z & Alicia Keys); as were three of the five nominees for Album of the Year (Recovery – Eminem, The Fame Monster – Lady Gaga, Teenage Dream – Katy Perry).

Winners

Lady Gaga grabbed three Grammys including Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “Bad Romance” and Best Pop Vocal Album for The Fame Monster.  It was a good night for rappers with Jay-Z collecting three awards and Eminem bringing home the Best Rap Album nod his, Recovery.  The future looks bright as well as Esperanza Spalding beat out fellow Urban nom’s Justin Bieber and Drake for the Best New Artist Award.  Young upstart Bruno Mars won the Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for his catchy “Just The Way You Are.”

Performances

The broadcast opened with a tribute to soul queen, Aretha Franklin in which Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Yolanda Adams, Martina McBride, and Florence Welch traded licks across some of Franklins most well-known and loved hits.  Aside from Welch who looked and sounded out of her depth alongside the other women, the ladies nailed it, bringing down raining applause from the audience.  Oh, and hats of to Aguilera for getting back on the horse after her Super Bowl Anthem disaster – she was back with a vengeance.

Lady Gaga was next as she emerged from a translucent egg to take the stage for what was perhaps the most anticipated performance of the evening.  The frantic rendition of her new single, “Born This Way” was executed in typical Gaga fashion – complete with dancers and a Baroque organ break down.

After a few seconds of shticky dialogue with his mentor, Usher, and an acoustic chorus of the mega-hit “Baby,” Justin Bieber launched into the theme of his new rockumentary “Never Say Never” and made some room for a cameo by fellow kid star Jaden Smith.   There was no hair whipping but there were a few proud grownups in Will and Jada Pinkett Smith as well as Usher who returned to the stage to perform his hit “O.M.G.” with Bieber chiming in at the tail end.

Blending the fashion senses of Elton John and George Clinton, Cee Lo Green sat at the piano and was backed by a band of Fraggle-Muppets for a rendition of the 2010 internet smash, “F*** You.”  Despite a forgettable appearance by Gwyneth Paltrow (I mean really, she plays a singer in one film and now has to sing on every awards show?) and flubbing the second line of the first verse Green delivered a light hearted and free spirited performance that fit both the set and the overall tone of the song.

Perched on a swing high above the crowd, Katy Perry delivered a sweet version of “Not Like The Movies” before returning to the ground and inviting the crowd to sing along to her feel good anthem “Teenage Dream.”  Even Nicole Kidman was mouthing the words.

In her first performance of the evening, Rihanna set the stage for Eminem who delivered a fiery verse of their song “Love the Way You Lie.”  Rihanna was good but Em’s emotion was palpable and he stole the show on this one.  As Skyler Grey sang “I need a doctor,” Dr. Dre emerged to add a verse to what may have been the best performance of the night.  Rihanna returned to the stage one more time for “What’s My Name,” with Drake.

Urban was all over this year’s Grammy Awards and there’s no indication that next year will be any different.  So keep your eyes and ears on our Affix Music Providers, you may be seeing them accepting some hardware next February!