In an effort to drum up excitement for the upcoming Grammy Awards ceremony and add some pizzazz to what can often be a dull reading off of names, the Recording Academy has put on an hourlong live televised concert for the past three years to reveal the Grammy nominees. Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars, B.o.B and Miranda Lambert headlined this year’s show, which aired on CBS. While the ballots are officially kept a secret until the show airs, it was probably more than a coincidence that each of the evening’s performers was nominated for multiple awards. Perry kicked off the program, singing her upbeat hit “California Gurls” incongruously surrounded by twinkling Christmas trees under a sprinkling of artificial snow on an outdoor stage in the L.A. Live complex.
When asked how she felt about earning an Album of the Year nod for “Teenage Dream,” Perry said: “It’s amazing. It’s like no other award show because I feel like you’re being recognized by your peers. And there are so many fantastic performers and artists that could be in this category, so when they nominate you, it feels like a win.”
Bruno Mars delivered a heart-felt rendition of his love ballad “Just The Way You Are,” backed by a string section. He reappeared later to join B.o.B. for “Nothin’ on You,” the debut single from the Atlanta rapper that was nominated for Record of the Year. After the show, both expressed excitement and a bit of disbelief about their multiple nominations. “We just got word two minutes ago, so we’re still soaking it in,” Mars said. “But it’s awesome.”
The show’s announcers included Stevie Wonder and Dave Grohl as well as Paramore’s Hayley Williams, Selena Gomez and talkshow host Craig Ferguson, who was informed of his Spoken Word Album nomination during the program and seemed genuinely surprised.
Despite the fact that Justin Bieber appeared via satellite from London, it didn’t stop several teenage girls in the audience from screaming, “I love you Justin!” at the feed when he performed “Favorite Girl.”
“It feels amazing — I can’t believe I’m in this position,” he said when he learned of his nominations. “I think of myself as a regular person living my dream.”
The evening’s only country crooner was Miranda Lambert, who offered up some serious sass on “Only Prettier” and expressed her gratitude for earning several nominations.
B.o.B. closed out the show with a strong, soulful performance of “Don’t Let Me Fall” as the closing credits rolled.
Truth be told, the live show-going experience was disappointing in that several of the performances (Perry, Bieber and Train) were pre-recorded and much of the action on the floor was invisible to those sitting high up in the steep Club Nokia, though it was no great surprise. Here’s hoping that the 53rd annual Grammy Awards doesn’t follow suit.