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Bon Iver scores upset victory for Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards

Unlike past years, the 2012 version of the Grammy Awards was not a particularly shock-filled show. Most of the awards went to Adele, so it’s telling that the one big left-field selection came in a category that did not feature the big-voiced Brit.

When it came time to announce the winner for Best New Artist (awarded by the charming tag team of Tony Bennett and Carrie Underwood), any one of the five names nominated could have walked away with the award. (Well, OK, everybody except J. Cole.)

But while many, including Las Vegas bookies, thought that Nicki Minaj would walk away with the gold, the name in the envelope ended up being Bon Iver.

It was clearly an uncomfortable moment for Bon Iver mastermind Justin Vernon, who had already won a prize earlier in the night for Best Alternative Album. In the weeks leading up to the Grammys, he had said dismissive things about the show, noting that he was not interested in winning awards nor did he want to perform unless he was allowed to play his own songs. Would his victory turn into a Fiona Apple moment?

When he finally stepped up to the microphone, Vernon did mention that the joy of making music was reward enough, but he was also gracious in thanking the voters, other nominees, and musicians who would never be nominated. He also gave a shout-out to his label Jagjaguwar, in what is almost certainly the first time that tiny indie shingle has been called out on the Grammy stage.

What did you think of Vernon’s victory and speech? Did you notice that Minaj looked super upset when they announced Bon Iver’s name? Drop your best new thoughts in the comments.

Read More on EW.com:
Grammys 2012: The Winners
Jennifer Hudson pays tribute to Whitney Houston
Grammys 2012: Complete Coverage
Adele makes triumphant post-surgery return at Grammys

Nicki Minaj levitates, lights fires, speaks in tongues for Grammys performance of new single 'Roman Holiday'

When the performance slate for the Grammy Awards came out, it was a little bit surprising that Lady Gaga was not included on the list. Who would pick up the over-the-top theatrical slack with Mother Monster sitting on the sidelines?

Nicki Minaj was happy to fill in. In the evening’s most complicated and elaborate performance, she began on stage with “The Pope” (really just a weird old man from central casting who walked the red carpet with her), and began “confessing” the lyrics to her new single “Roman Holiday.”

Things only got weirder, as the show cut to a pre-taped segment that featured the same holy-man character showing up at a house for an exorcism. Who needed a demon purged? Minaj herself, who haphazardly put on lipstick and sang the lyrics to “I Feel Pretty” to herself as she climbed up the wall.

Eventually, the action cut back to the Staples Center stage, featuring lots of stained glass and a small army of monks. Minaj was strapped to a Frankenstein-esque lab table, eventually set free to rap through the remainder of the song.

In short, it was a mess, featuring a whole lot of religious imagery, a smattering of pyro, and no real messages to be found. The one great moment was when Minaj levitated in what might have been an homage to The Craft.

It was certainly the night’s most bombastic stage production, but it’s unclear exactly how we’re supposed to feel about Nicki Minaj (or her alter ego Roman Zolanski) once it ended.

What did you think of Nicki Minaj? Use your wackiest fake British accent in the comments.

Read More on EW.com:
Grammys 2012: The Winners
Adele performs ‘Rolling in the Deep’ at Grammys
Grammys 2012: Complete Coverage

Jennifer Hudson performs 'I Will Always Love You' in stirring Whitney Houston tribute at the Grammys

When the news broke that pop legend Whitney Houston had passed away on Saturday, the producers of the Grammy Awards were suddenly put in an almost untenable position. They absolutely had to pay tribute to the late icon, but there was nowhere near enough time to put together the sort of salute that Houston’s legacy demands.

Ultimately, they came up with a simple and elegant solution, sending out Jennifer Hudson to take the stage (video below) for a run through “I Will Always Love You,” the Dolly Parton song that Houston made into a worldwide smash on the soundtrack to The Bodyguard. Clearly moved by the enormity of her charge, Hudson nevertheless used her amazing instrument to bob and weave with impressive execution, turning in a performance that Houston herself would have been proud of.

Following an In Memoriam montage that saw tips of the hat to late icons like Amy Winehouse, Clarence Clemons, and Phoebe Snow, Hudson appeared bathed in light to start “I Will Always Love You” a cappella. Later joined by nothing more than a piano, Hudson’s huge voice was up to the enormous task of taking on one of the biggest songs in the entire balladeer songbook.

Though she skipped the huge note at the end of the song that became a calling card for Houston, she did ad lib “Whitney, we love you” as she closed out her performance. READ FULL STORY

Adele sings 'Rolling in the Deep' at Grammys in first performance since surgery

Up until the untimely passing of Whitney Houston on Saturday night, the biggest narrative going into Sunday night’s Grammy Awards was the return of Adele. What would she sing? How would she sound? And would her night end triumphantly with a clean awards sweep?

She certainly answered 66% of those questions when she walked onto the stage at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and knocked “Rolling in the Deep” out of the ballpark. Though she has admitted to suffering from performance-related anxiety in the past, she showed no signs of wavering during an exquisite performance that fell a little short of her memorable turn at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards but still instantly became a signature television moment.

Adele’s big night began during an extensive interview conducted for 60 Minutes by Anderson Cooper. READ FULL STORY

The Beach Boys make their return on the Grammy stage with Maroon 5 and Foster the People

It’s been a while since they were in the sun together, but the Beach Boys are back, and they did it on the biggest stage music has to offer.

The long-estranged quintet graced the stage at the Staples Center in Los Angeles for a run through some of their biggest hits, which also happen to be some of the most iconic songs in rock history. They didn’t have to do it alone, either; Maroon 5 and Foster the People joined them to both collaborate and pay homage.

Maroon 5 kicked it off with a faithful rendition of “Surfer Girl.” They seemed to struggle a bit with the song’s complex harmonies in the beginning, though by the end they managed to find a groove. Frontman Adam Levine seemed genuinely jazzed to be performing a Beach Boys song.

Levine threw to Foster the People, making their Grammy debut with a run through “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” Already a breezy California combo themselves, Foster the People seemed a bit more comfortable with their song than Maroon 5, though frontman Mark Foster had a hard time shaking off his natural jittery charisma, which didn’t service the song all that well. Still, it was faithful and sweet.

Finally, the Boys themselves ripped into “Good Vibrations.” Though the group can hardly be called “Boys” any more, they still managed to capture the youthful exuberance of the song. Eventually, Levine and Foster joined in, creating a surprisingly on-point multi-part harmony that did the song and the reunion proud.

What did you think of the return of the Beach Boys? Send your vibrations (be they good or bad) into the comments.

Read more:
Grammys: The Winners
Complete Grammys Coverage

Karmin get ready for 'SNL,' preview their new album

Less than a year ago, Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan posted a video of the two of them performing Chris Brown’s “Look At Me Now.”

That video set the Internet ablaze — the “Look At Me” has racked up over 56 million views — and the cult of Karmin began to build. The rest of the narrative goes like this: More videos (both covers and original tunes), a handful of high-profile performances (including an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show), a record contract, and a booking on this weekend’s edition of Saturday Night Live. For many, this will be the first time they’ll hear the group’s original songs.

“We’ve been working with some of the top producers of the world,” Heidemann told EW, of their upcoming debut Hello, due April. “We recorded close to 50 songs, so we’re trying to get that list down to album size.”

One of those songs, the second single “Brokenhearted,” was co-written by Claude Kelly, the hitmaker who has contributed to such tunes as Bruno Mars’ “Grenade,” Jessie J’s “Price Tag,” and Adam Lambert’s “Better Than I Know Myself.” READ FULL STORY

TV Jukebox: 'Chuck,' 'The Lying Game,' 'Royal Pains,' and more music-on-TV moments

Seduction. Solidarity. Suspicion. Swagger. Stolen goods. Secret twins and… spirits distilled in the basement? The last two weeks have served up some tear-inducing moments, both of the so-sad variety (goodbye, Chuck!) and of the laugh-’til-you-cry ilk (hello, Jess and Nick almost-kiss on New Girl that we never would have seen coming!). Our favorite TV shows have featured a man on fire (How I Met Your Mother), an elaborate group waltz (The Vampire Diaries), a winner-take-all footrace between elementary school children (Raising Hope), and a long-awaited vindication (The Good Wife). And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, show tunes fans. We’ve also got musical moments from Revenge, The Lying Game, Royal Pains, The Secret Circle, and Ringer. Check out our picks below. (Warning for those still catching up on DVR: SPOILERS ahead!) READ FULL STORY

Adele explains her surgery, laments her inability to curse for two months in '60 Minutes' preview: Watch it here

adele-cooper_320.jpg

The big narrative going into this Sunday’s Grammy Awards is the return of Adele. Her slated performance marks a comeback from throat surgery and a disappearance from the public eye while her album and singles have continued to dominate charts around the world.

This Sunday, CBS’ 60 Minutes will lead into the Grammys telecast with an interview of Adele conducted by Anderson Cooper (last year in this same slot, he took on Lady Gaga).

In the first preview clip posted on the CBS News website, Adele walks Cooper through the surgery (which involved lasers) and her recovery period, which required her to be on vocal rest for the better part of two months. She communicated via pad and paper, as well as a series of phone apps that spoke for her.

The multiple apps were necessary, she said, because certain words simply had to get through. “The great thing is I love to swear,” she explained to Cooper. “Most of [the apps] you can’t swear on, but I found this one app where you can swear, so I’m still really getting my point across.”

Check out the clip below. READ FULL STORY

Beach Boys added to the Grammys, which now features 957 performers and will last four years

The Grammys really want you to watch their show on Sunday. And they’re doing it by throwing as many performers as humanly possible onstage — many of them at the same time.

This afternoon, the producers announced that the long-dormant, recently reconstituted surviving members of the Beach Boys — Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, and David Marks — would be making their return to the stage at the show for their first performance together in roughly two decades.

In a confounding bit of casting, they’ll join “Pumped Up Kicks” hitmakers Foster the People and “Moves Like Jagger” juggernaut Maroon 5 for a never-before, never-again collaboration that has the potential to be both a blissfully memorable celebration of great music or a complete and utter train wreck. (On a side note: This is totally the performance the Grammys wanted Bon Iver to be a part of, right?)

Also on the Grammys performance roster this year? The Civil Wars, Maceo Parker, Diana Krall, and Joe Walsh. For those of you keeping track, the current performance lineup looks like this: Adele; Tony Bennett and Carrie Underwood; Glen Campbell, the Band Perry, and Blake Shelton; Coldplay and Rihanna; Foo Fighters, deadmau5, David Guetta, Chris Brown, and Lil Wayne in a tribute to dance music; Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson; Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt paying homage to Etta James; Bruno Mars; Paul McCartney; Nicki Minaj; Katy Perry; Bruce Springsteen; and Taylor Swift.

It was unclear whether or not the Civil Wars, Parker, Krall, and Walsh would be performing together (though that quartet doesn’t make any sense at all, for what it’s worth), but even if they are, that’s a conservative grand total of 15 performances over the course of Sunday night’s show. Last year’s version of the Grammys featured 17, and there’s still time for some surprises.

Adele’s performance is undoubtedly the most hotly anticipated and the most important, as it will be the first time the world has heard her since her vocal cord surgery. But the biggest headline-grabbers from last year were the tributes and collaborations, so let’s dive into those, shall we? READ FULL STORY

Who's afraid of M.I.A.'s middle finger? Thoughts on a Super Bowl 'scandal'

Hey, remember Nicki Minaj’s performance with Madonna at the Super Bowl last night? It was pretty good — great, even.

Of course, no one wants to talk about that, thanks to M.I.A. So congrats, Maya! And since she wants us to, let’s talk about it.

M.I.A.’s decision to flip the bird during her short time in the Super Bowl spotlight was a lot of things. It was juvenile, and maybe even bratty. It was a lazy bit of shock imagery from the woman who gave the Grammys a very pregnant, very awesome, middle-finger-free performance back in 2009. And it was, according to some sources, “a case of adrenaline.”

It was also the game’s biggest fumble: The singer was riding a steady stream of positive buzz from both her performance in the “Gimme All Your Luvin’” video and her own “Bad Girls” video, which was released the same day and is, at least to this viewer, a better, more inventive clip.

M.I.A. has already proven to us that she can put on an engrossing show without resorting to cheap tricks.

READ FULL STORY

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