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REVIEW: Grammys spread wealth

Dress code doesn't deter glitz, glamour

UP Staff Writer

Published: Monday, February 11, 2013

Updated: Monday, February 11, 2013 16:02

Mumford

Mumford and Sons

The Grammys have traditionally been an evening of equal parts excess and insanity. Where the Oscars are couture, Grammy artists have always reveled in pushing the clothing limits.

This year, CBS tried to enforce a dress code aimed at making the awards more family-friendly entertainment. Some of the new regulations included adequately covering the buttocks, female breasts (as in concealing the “bare under curves of the buttocks and butt crack” and “the bare sides or under curvature of the breasts”) and making sure “the genital region is adequately covered so that there is no visible ‘puffy’ bare skin exposure.”

Does this mean male breasts are okay? This girl was hoping some of the hunks would test the dress code, but no such luck.

I’m sure CBS expected perfect puritan attire, complete with a bonnet and apron. Despite their efforts to clean things up, stars still pushed the edge with high leg slits, strategically-placed panels and form-fitting, almost too small, dresses.

Music ain’t about rules, man.

In addition to the skin regulation, CBS also requested “any organized cause visibly spelled out on talent’s wardrobe be avoided. This would include lapel pins or any other form of accessory.” Regardless of how worthy their cause may be — supporting the troops, aids awareness or patriotic pride — stars had to silence their inner voice for a night. Oh no! We can’t have an uprising, especially on prime-time television!

Despite all of the rules and regulations, the night was still a party, celebrating music and performance.

Nominations for this year’s Grammys reflected a culture shift of choosing favorite songs rather than loyalty to one or two big names, lending a unique mix to this years awards list. Unlike past years, few artists swept the nominations, giving others a place on the board. With such a varied group of talent, picking this year’s winners was anyone’s guess.

Taylor Swift started the night off with a bang of confetti and her nominated song “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” set to a circus-themed performance, complete with two-headed women, stilt walkers, fire jugglers and a symbolic ex-boyfriend strapped to a “wheel of death” for imaginary knife throwing.

Despite the vigor in her act, the more-subtle Gotye stole Record of the Year from her with his song “Somebody That I Used To Know” featuring Kimbra, adding to his Grammys for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best Alternative Music Album.

The Black Keys racked up a list of their own, with Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song for “Lonely Boy,” and Best Rock Album for “El Camino.” The group later performed alongside Dr. John and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Despite wearing an assortment of furs and feathers, the Doc was upstaged by The Black Keys and the jazz legends. Dr. John ended up sharing Producer of The Year, Non-Classical with The Black Keys and Hacienda.

Adele modestly added to the eight awards she won previously, cinching in Best Pop Solo Performance with “Set Fire To The Rain [Live]”, then enjoyed the rest of the night cheering on the other award recipients in her conservative, red-lace dress.

Carrie Underwood also boosted her award count with Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song “Blown Away.” Later that evening, Underwood performed the song in a gray Cinderella-style ball gown, with images of butterflies, rose petals and sparkles projected on her skirt that radiated out to the rest of the room, giving her an aura of whimsy.

A surprised Kelly Clarkson accepted the award for Best Pop Vocal Album for “Stronger,” bringing her career Grammy total to three. Obviously the award inspired her, as she beautifully belted a tribute to Patty Page and Carole King, further wowing the audience with her talent.

Best kept secret Fun. received awards for two out of their six nods for Song of the Year and Best New Artist, stealing the title away from avant-garde R&B singer Frank Ocean.

By the end of the night though, Ocean came out with Best Urban Contemporary Album and shared Best Rap/Sung Collaboration with Jay-Z, Kanye West, and The-Dream. Jay-Z and West also won Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song with “N****s In Paris.”

On the electronic dance music scene, Skrillex won Best Dance Recording and Best Dance/Electronica Album for “Bangaranga”, and Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical for “Promises,” bringing his personal tally to six Grammys.

In addition to all the gold on-stage, the night was a party with performer after performer. Bruno Mars, Sting, Rihanna, and Ziggy and Damian Marley joined together to fill the air with island-influenced sounds in a reggae-inspired tribute to Bob Marley.

Elton John and Mumford and Sons, along with other musicians, paid tribute to Levon Helm and other artists who had died last year, with a bluesy performance of “The Weight.” John also dedicated the performance to the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting. Despite their somber purpose, the sounds they created were goosebump-enducing and hair-raisingly electrifying, with strong belts of gospel sound.

Mumford and Son finished the evening by walking off with Album of the Year for "Babel."

Overall the night had a much different aura than last year’s Grammys, with this year celebrating the joy of music instead of being a solemn makeshift memorial service for the then recently deceased Whitney Houston.

It was a night to enjoy, and for the adventurous ones, to break the rules, too (even if it did make their gowns a bit more chilly).

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