×

35th Annual Grammy Awards

Performers: Arrested Development, Patti Austin, Tony Bennett, Peabo Bryson, Cirque Du Soleil, Eric Clapton, George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars, Natalie Cole, Billy Ray Cyrus & the Sly Dog Band; Celine Dion, En Vogue, Peter Gabriel, Handel's Messiah -- A Soulful Celebration, Edwin Hawkins, Tramaine Hawkins, Al Jarreau, k.d. lang, Chaka Khan, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Marilyn McCoo, Martin Pearlman, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Arturo Sandoval & the GRP All Stars, Sounds of Blackness, Marty Stewart, Travis Tritt, Vanessa Williams.

With:
Host: Garry Shandling.

Performers: Arrested Development, Patti Austin, Tony Bennett, Peabo Bryson, Cirque Du Soleil, Eric Clapton, George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars, Natalie Cole, Billy Ray Cyrus & the Sly Dog Band; Celine Dion, En Vogue, Peter Gabriel, Handel’s Messiah — A Soulful Celebration, Edwin Hawkins, Tramaine Hawkins, Al Jarreau, k.d. lang, Chaka Khan, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Marilyn McCoo, Martin Pearlman, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Arturo Sandoval & the GRP All Stars, Sounds of Blackness, Marty Stewart, Travis Tritt, Vanessa Williams.

Presenters: Tony Bennett, Boyz II Men, James Brown, Lindsey Buckingham, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Natalie Cole, Gloria Estefan, Melissa Etheridge, Kenny G, James Galway, Vince Gill, Herbie Hancock, Billy Idol, Janet Jackson, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, B.B. King, Patti LaBelle, L.L. Cool J, Lyle Lovett, Marky Mark, Sergio Mendes, Lorrie Morgan, Bonnie Raitt, Jon Secada, Pam Tillis, Tina Turner.

Other than Eric Clapton’s sweep of the awards, the telecast of the 35th annual Grammys might best be remembered as the first in years (maybe ever) to come in on schedule.

Despite some impressive production values, show lacked excitement — in performances, or the kind that comes with spontaneous moments like “Unforgettable” songwriter Irving Gordon’s diatribe last year against contemporary singers, specifically Michael Bolton.

Host Garry Shandling, back after relinquishing host duties last year to Whoopi Goldberg, provided many of the show’s high points, with introductions not entirely respectful of the show, the performers or the music business establishment.

And there was his vamping with Tina Turner at end of show in an effort to stretch — suggesting that the two collaborate on what Shandling referred to as “That ‘Bitch’ song” (Elton John’s “The Bitch Is Back,” for which Turner was nominated this year).

Show began with big production number starring extravagantly costumed Peter Gabriel joined by various dancers and members of the Canadian Cirque du Soleil troupe.

Visuals that must have impressed the Shrine Auditorium crowd were largely lost on the small screen, however, even to that relatively minor segment of the audience who knows who Gabriel is.

Another example of what should have been a highlight was the collaboration between Red Hot Chili Peppers and the unidentified P-Funk All-Stars led by George Clinton; onscreen, number appeared to be just a jumble of costumes and wigs, musically undistinguished. One could sense senior demographic group quickly scanning for alternative programming.

Performers alternated between live and seemingly lip-synched presentations, with some singers — En Vogue among them — not even pretending to use a microphone. One of the most exciting moments came late in the show with the annual token jazz number, a blistering version of “Cherokee” featuring a front line of trumpeters led by Arturo Sandoval.

Token classical number pitted the Los Angeles Master Chorale against all-star and largely black vocal ensemble (including members of Take 6, Al Jarreau, Linda Hopkins, etc.) for a version of “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s “Messiah”– guess who won.

Presenters did their stuff largely by the numbers, many of them having trouble with the TelePrompTer; highlight was Irish flutist James Galway’s idiosyncratic pronunciation of several names in a classical category.

Another technical glitch occurred when a light bulb apparently burst during acceptance by Eric Clapton’s producer, Russ Titelman, and sound of musical numbers varied from excellent to barely acceptable — still acknowledging a terrific on-the-fly achievement by the sound crew.

Lengthy segments toward end of show were devoted to numbing speech by National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences topper Mike Greene, and by presentation and acceptance of “Grammy Legend Award” to Michael Jackson, seen earlier in audience seated next to date Brooke Shields.

The singer was introduced by sister Janet in deifying terms, and won a laugh by posing with her –“I hope,” he said, “this puts to rest another rumor that has been in the press for too many years.”

Recipients of NARAS Lifetime Achievement award were named, though only Little Richard and Ahmet Ertegun were at the Shrine to take a bow from the audience; quite a slight to the absentee Bill Monroe, Pete Seeger and Chet Atkins, all still living.

Tech credits were generally solid.

35th Annual Grammy Awards

(Wed. ( 24), 8-11 p.m., CBS)

Production: Telecast live from the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, by Pierre Cossette Prods. Executive producer, Pierre Cossette; producers, Ken Ehrlich, Walter C. Miller; director, Miller; script, Buzz Kohan, Judd Apitow, Jeff Cesario; lighting designer, Bill Klages; production designer, Bob Keene; art director, Tom Buderwitz; sound designer, Murray Allen, audio mixers, Ed Greene, Don Worsham, Paul Sandweiss.

Crew: Music, Jack Elliott.

Cast: Host: Garry Shandling.

More TV

  • Harlots

    ITV Takes Majority Stake in ‘Harlots’ Producer Monumental Television

    ITV Studios now has a controlling stake in Monumental Television, the production company that makes Hulu series “Harlots” and which was founded by Oscar nominated film producers Alison Owen and Debra Hayward. ITV first bought into the company in 2015 and has upped its stake from 26% to 51%. Julian Bellamy, managing director, ITV Studios, [...]

  • Fremantle Owner RTL Group Forms New

    Fremantle Owner RTL Group Forms New Unscripted Formats Unit

    RTL has created a new unit that will work up unscripted formats exclusively for broadcasters and streaming services in the group. Fremantle, which is a major force in unscripted, is part of the RTL Group, and makes shows for RTL and third parties. The new Format Creation Group will develop ideas exclusively for in-house outlets. [...]

  • Pennyworth

    TV Review: 'Pennyworth'

    Is there a law that says there must always be a certain number of Batman properties on air at all times? Just as Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” films germinated a fandom that seemed to demand not merely a Ben Affleck Batman but also two different Joker-based franchise, so too did the conclusion of Fox’s “Gotham” [...]

  • She's Gotta Have It Review

    'She's Gotta Have It' Canceled After Two Seasons at Netflix

    Netflix has canceled Spike Lee’s series adaptation of “She’s Gotta Have It.” The show ran for two seasons at the streamer. Lee is expected to shop the series to other outlets. The news comes less than two months after the release of Season 2 back in May. “Spike Lee is one of the greatest filmmakers [...]

  • David Benioff and D.B. Weiss

    'Game of Thrones' Showrunners Will No Longer Attend Comic-Con Panel

    “Game of Thrones” showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, along with some beloved “Thrones” actors, have canceled their scheduled appearances at San Diego International Comic-Con. Actors Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont), Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei of Naath), director Miguel Sapochnik, and dual writer-producers Benioff and Weiss are no longer attending, HBO revealed in a revised panel lineup [...]

  • TV News Roundup: 'Mr. Robot' Drops

    TV News Roundup: 'Mr. Robot' Drops Season 4 Trailer (Watch)

    In today’s roundup, USA releases a trailer for the final season of “Mr. Robot,” Apple plans a “Snoopy in Space” series and Variety has an exclusive clip from Season 3 of Netflix’s “The Epic Tale of Captain Underpants.” CASTING Golden Globe-winner Ian McShane will guest star in the season premiere of “Law & Order: SVU.” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content