Imagine the voice of the late Andy Rooney saying all this because I really feel old as I rant about music award shows. I’m sure there will be those that love awards shows, so to those, I’m sorry for what you are about to read.
You’ve heard almost all artists at one point or another vocalize their disdain for award shows, but most of those same artists proudly display their Grammy hardware in the first room you see inside their house once they win one. So with the Grammy’s coming up in a few weeks, here’s my rant on music award shows (this could also easily translate to movie awards).
Now, I know I teach college finance so I’m a dorky “numbers guy,” but shouldn’t the winner of each category be who has sold the most downloads and albums for the year? NASCAR winners have to earn the most points to win the Sprint Cup. The winner of a baseball, basketball, soccer, or football games have to win by scoring the most point, not vote on who is the best team. Ryan Braun didn’t win the batting title because he was voted the best batter in the league last year. No, he took steroids and put up the NUMBERS to win that award. Why do music artists win an award simply because some people in the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences that may know nothing about that genre of music voted for them as the Best Male Vocalist, Best Rap Video, etc.?
While some artists change their tune (no pun intended) about the Grammy’s when they get nominated, some artists like Maynard James Keenan, lead singer of metal band Tool, stick to their guns and do not attend the Grammy Awards ceremony to receive an award when they get nominated. He explained his reasons: “I think the Grammys are nothing more than some gigantic promotional machine for the music industry. They cater to a low intellect and they feed the masses. They don’t honor the arts or the artist for what he created. It’s the music business celebrating itself. That’s basically what it’s all about.” Tell us what you really think Maynard! Definitely some truth to that and I think it actually would be cool if some of the awards were vote-based to include those artists who haven’t made a dent commercially but are talented artists. Maybe that award could be voted on by other artists in that genre. But that should be the exception, not the rule.
A very popular example of the problem is when Jethro Tull won the Grammy for best Hard Rock/Metal performance over Metallica in 1988. Few problems there, (1) Jethro Tull wasn’t a heavy metal band, (2) the guys voting for this didn’t even know who Metallica OR Jethro Tull actually was, but the biggest is (3) Metallica probably outsold Jethro Tull by 1,000 times that year. The Grammy folks could have saved themselves a lot of embarrassment that year by just putting the numbers together and awarding the Grammy to the artist who sold the most singles or albums that year. How hard is that? Jethro Tull could have been included in the Best Flute/Rock Group Performance category. It’s probably in the 109 categories they had last year. By the way, they’ve restructured the Grammy’s so we only have to deal with 78 categories this year. Whew! That will help (sarcasm).
Also, who actually votes for these awards? Who is actually in “The Academy” that gets to cast their almighty vote? Here’s a discussion that needs to be made…..”Mr. or Mrs. Academy Voter, may I please see your iPod to see if you own any songs you voted for?”. If not, you are no longer a registered voter.
Even the People’s Choice Awards that is supposed to be based on votes from the general public is skewed. No ballots ever came to my mailbox or inbox. Am I supposed to go research how to cast my vote? Well, that’s way down on my priority list. How about an email to everyone who has bought an Amazon.com or iTunes download? Or better yet, just tally the number of downloads and base awards on the numbers. I realize this will mean the Entertainer of the Year will probably be Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga. Not a fan of either one, BUT I’d say these artists deserve the award if they sold the most albums, downloads or concert tickets over the course of the year. The numbers proved they should win that award.
Oh and one last rant: if an artist is asked to perform at one of these shows and they turn around say “surebut I’d like Ludacris to come on stage and sing one of the verses with me,” that artist should be banned for life from ever getting an award or performing on an awards show. Jason Aldean and Christina Aguilera need to stand on their own two feet. Nothing against Ludacris or Eminem but they have their own rap categories they can
compete in. That move hasn’t been cool since Run DMC and Aerosmith did “Walk This Way” in the ’80s. That was the one time it was cool. OK, maybe Tim McGraw and Nelly got away with it, but again — exception, not the rule.
Anyway, the major benefit of using sales numbers is that there will no longer be a need for 20 different awards shows. Sorry to those of you that love awards season, but I don’t think we need the MTV Awards, CMT Music Awards, American Music Awards, the Grammys, VH1 Awards, Soul Train Awards, you get the idea. Just one show is needed and all of the sales numbers can be tallied one time.
OK, I’m turning off my channeling of Andy Rooney now and getting ready to plan my Grammy party. I hope they take my advice this year, as they’ve been ignoring me for way too long.
Oh The Grammy’s are my favorite, I’ve written about them on this blog for the past several years and this year is no different. I love all of the talented kids from their respective genre’s coming together for a night of music.
Below I wrote my take of who should win after the list of nominees in each category — Nominees announced Wednesday in top categories for the 54th annual Grammy Awards:
Record of the Year: “Rolling in the Deep,” Adele; “Holocene,” Bon Iver; “Grenade,” Bruno Mars; “The Cave,” Mumford & Sons; “Firework,” Katy Perry. - Adele has a huge shot at this, every type of music fan loved “Rolling in the Deep,” however Katy Perry had huge success with “Firework,” so she could get the win. The thing with the Grammy’s is that it isn’t open to the public and they tend to pick straight on talent, no popularity contest. I have to say that Bruno Mars is a bit green yet to win this category, I think. Mumford & Sons is rather credible, so we shall see.
Album of the Year: “21,” Adele; “Wasting Light,” Foo Fighters; “Born This Way,” Lady Gaga; “Doo-Wops & Hooligans,” Bruno Mars; “Loud,” Rihanna. – Adele deserves this win, this was a huge album, I love that the Foo Fighters are honored here, Lady Gaga is killing it once again, Bruno Mars is eh and Rihanna has her moments, but this isn’t one of them.
Song of the Year: “All of the Lights,” Jeff Bhasker, Malik Jones, Warren Trotter and Kanye West, songwriters (performed by Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi and Fergie); “The Cave,” Ted Dwane, Ben Lovett, Marcus Mumford and Country Winston, songwriters (Mumford & Sons); “Grenade,” Brody Brown, Claude Kelly, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Bruno Mars and Andrew Wyatt, songwriters (Bruno Mars); “Holocene,” Justin Vernon, songwriter (Bon Iver); “Rolling in the Deep,” Adele Adkins & Paul Epworth, songwriters (Adele). – It is so nice to see the list of songwriters, for the most part, match the name of the main performer. Again I lean towards Adele. I’ve been a fan of hers for years and even had a song of hers performed at my wedding a couple years ago, she is classic.
New Artist: The Band Perry, Bon Iver, J. Cole, Nicki Minaj, Skrillex. – I’m not a huge fan, but Nicki Minaj is pretty original and fairly new so that’s interesting. I know a lot of bass fans that will be excited that Skrillex is even nominated, so that’s cool. He is definitely at the helm of an interesting sound.
Pop Vocal Album: “21,” Adele; “The Lady Killer,” Cee Lo Green; “Born This Way,” Lady Gaga; “Doo-Wops & Hooligans,” Bruno Mars; “Loud,” Rihanna. - With Adele deserving of Album of the Year, this category should belong to Miss Lady Gage. She is in charge of Pop, if Pop was a highschool, she would be it’s odd, but awesome school body president.
Rock Album: “Rock ‘n’ Roll Party Honoring Les Paul,” Jeff Beck; “Wasting Light,” Foo Fighters; “Come Around Sundown,” Kings of Leon; “I’m With You,” Red Hot Chili Peppers; “The Whole Love,” Wilco. – If you are going by how the nominations are, well Foo Fighters are the only ones listed here, who were also up for Album of the Year, so they may have this in the bag. However, how great is it that the Red Hot Chili Peppers are back with a vengeance? They are killing it, early ’90s style. Where is the Indie Rock Album category for Wilco?
R&B Album: “F.A.M.E.,” Chris Brown; “Second Chance,” El DeBarge; “Love Letter,” R. Kelly; “Pieces of Me,” Ledisi; “Kelly,” Kelly Price. - Chris Brown shouldn’t be allowed to put out music and shouldn’t be nominated for anything after that fiasco with Rihanna.
Rap Album: “Watch the Throne,” Jay-Z and Kanye West; “Tha Carter IV,” Lil Wayne; “Lasers,” Lupe Fiasco; “Pink Friday,” Nicki Minaj; “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” Kanye West. - I still don’t understand why respected rapper Jay-Z is running around with that hooligan Kanye West. That guy’s head is too big to fit through a door. Is Lil Wayne still huge? Maybe so, but I think the ladies have it this round. Well, I guess lady, meaning Nicki Minaj. She blew it out this year, so popular and original. She is like a walking Lite Brite toy.
Country Album: “My Kinda Party,” Jason Aldean; “Chief,” Eric Church; “Own the Night,” Lady Antebellum; “Red River Blue,” Blake Shelton; “Here for a Good Time,” George Strait; “Speak Now,” Taylor Swift. - If Jason Aldean wrote some of his own songs, I’d consider saying him on popularity alone, but I cannot do it. Eric Church is in that same boat of fake outlaws. Lady Antebellum had some lovely singles this year, but did not hit the top like before. Blake Shelton’s popularity cannot be matched, so he has a shot here and George Strait is the godfather of country, but the album isn’t quite huge enough. Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now” has taken over, so let’s wait and watch as she tears up and says this is the best moment of her short 21 years of life (she says that with every award, but I suppose each time is the new high).
For a full list of nominations, click here: http://www.grammy.com/nominees
I cannot wait to watch it Feb. 12 at 7 p.m.
Jessica M. Martin-Cate
The CMA Awards are tonight (Nov. 9) and I’m excited. I love awards shows, I have said this many times before, and will watch most of them.
I do like the CMAs, even though I don’t follow all country music, but I did grow up on it, so I’m excited. One of the most coveted awards is Entertainer of the Year. This year’s nominees are Jason Aldean, Brad Paisley (last year’s winner), Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban.
While Aldean has spurred some more popularity this year, he pretty much never writes his songs, Brantley Gilbert has been doing that a lot lately, and he actually attempting to rap in “Dirt Road Anthem.” Which I could just not handle. I have a saying that if you are going to release a terrible catchy/pop song, at least have written it yourself, otherwise you actually CHOSE this song, which means you thought it was good. Long story short, there is no way Aldean deserves this award.
As for Brad Paisley, he is a writing machine. Whether you like all his songs or not, he spits them out fast and fun. Also, he has the upper-hand of being the reigning queen, wait wrong show.
Blake Shelton is on fire this year. Well he was already pushing for the gold last year, but his better half Miranda Lambert out shined him. He was a great host and a shining part of the one singing competition show ever that I couldn’t get into, “The Voice.” He had some great hits this year, but may a year or two more before he qualifies for this award.
Little Miss Taylor Swift is not only the only girl in this category, but is also the youngest. If Paisley is a writing machine, then Swift is the upgraded version. She touches something and it is platinum. The girl can write, I don’t care who you are. She may not have the biggest voice (and I may not really own her stuff), but you cannot deny her talent in her genre. She will never fade away, because she doesn’t have a puppet master like most girls her age in the business, she is the puppet master and for all you naysayers out there, I can confidently say, you are wrong. She may take another win in this category.
* Side note, who doesn’t love the bluegrass twinged single, “Mean?” (video below) So cute, even though I was a bit sad when I realized she was playing a traditional banjo, but a guitar-style one.
Keith Urban from down under is quite talented in his own right and continues to be nominated for this honor, even without the huge amount of number one singles. He did win in 2005, but has not let us down career-wise in the past several years. The kid can rip on guitar, obviously so can Paisley (do not even deny this, you may not like their stuff, but these are the two guitar kids, as far as country goes). Urban writes songs in a style undeniable him, you can tell it from the first few notes played of any song. He will unlikely take home the honor this year, as he has not had as big of a year as others, but there is something to be said for consistency.
Long story short, I believe Paisley, Shelton and Swift are the clear leads here, with the Paisley or Swift actually earning it. Who do you think should take home the buckle? Watch along with me, be following my twitter at WhigBreakdown.
Watch Taylor Swift’s “Mean” video below:
Jessica M. Martin-Cate
I was a judge today for WGEM’s local version of “X Factor” today that was held at John Wood Community College. “X Factor” is popular former “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell’s new singing competition show that will focus on vocalists and vocal groups.
Due to some scheduling conflicts and other issues, only 61 participants showed up out of 88 that signed up for today, maybe it was the weather or maybe it was cold feet that kept them away. Either way, there was still a lot of great talent.
Contestants were 12-years-old and up and from the tri-state region.
The judging criteria was:
We saw every type of singer from Gospel to country to Broadway and more. After each of the 61 contestants sang in front of only two judges and no audience in a classroom, then 12 finalists were chosen. The 12 finalists then performed an entire song in the auditorium in front of an audience and the four judges, which besides myself, were Josh Houchins, Carrie Butterfield and Andreas Mannhardt.
Four winners were chosen to make the trek to the Chicago audition and skip the lines of thousands to perform in front of producers of “X Factor” April 26.
And the winners are:
• Jared Keim, 17, of Hannibal
His mother signed him up for the local contest and didn’t tell him until last night that he would be competing today. He plans to sing “When I believe,” by David Archuletta at the Chicago audition.
“I thank God for the opportunities that I’ve been blessed with and the family and friends that support me,” Keim said. “I hope I do good.”
• Terry Russell of Quincy
Russell has previously won a local “American Idol” contest with WGEM and is excited for this opportunity.
“I was really kind of surprised when my name got called, because I was under the weather today,” Russell said. “A lot of good talent today, I could count six or eight contestants where I was like, I’m going home.”
He plans to take a popular song and arrange it to make it his own for the Chicago audition.
• Thadd Gray of Milton, Iowa
His wife signed him up for the local contest a couple days ago.
“It is pretty wild,” Gray said. “To hear my name called and tell me I was going, it was cool. I’ve never done anything like this.”
He plays with a country band in Southeast Iowa called Midnight Blue. “I’ve done contests, but nothing of this scale,” Gray said. “I’ve never sang in front of that many people in my life that we are going to in Chicago.”
He is unsure of which country song to choose from, possibly Jamey Johnson, Johnny Cash or many others.
• Aspen Gengenbacher, 12, of Quincy
“I was definitely scared and have never been so nervous,” Gengenbacher said. “When they called my name I teared up, I’ve never been so happy before.”
Gengenbacher’s vocal coach suggested she try out and she plans on singing the same song in Chicago that she sang today, which she sang in a jazzy tone, and was “Summertime,” saying “my grandma used to sing it to me when I was younger and it seems like good luck.”
“There was definitely people that I thought were going to knock me right out of the competition,” Gengenbacher said. “I’m really nervous about going to Chicago and if it is anything like the people who try out for ‘American Idol’ the first time around, it should be fun and maybe I can get a laugh out of it.”
Jessica M. Martin-Cate
There is a chance that you could be the next “American Idol,” oops I mean the next winner of “X Factor,” which is Simon Cowell’s new show on FOX. WGEM is hosting a local contest April 16 and I am so excited!
To sign up for the contest, click here: http://www.wgem.com/Global/story.asp?S=14389301
TO WATCH THE PROMO VIDEO FOR THE LOCAL CONTEST, CLICK PLAY BELOW:
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SIMON COWELL EXPLAINS X FACTOR:
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SIMON COWELL CALLS FOR AUDTIONS FOR SHOW:
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Lastnight’s halftime show at the Super Bowl wasn’t what it could’ve been. I’m sure most people saw the event and can agree that the choreography for the field dancers was pretty cool, but the sound was terrible.
When I think of halftime shows, I think of great and sometimes random collaborations, or just amazing full out medley performances.
I have come up with a few of my favorites:
• Michael Jackson in 1993, his performance was said to of doubled the ratings for a normal halftime show. He was great.
Random side note, Diana Ross in 1996 was great as well.
• Kings of Rock and Pop theme with Aerosmith, Mary J. Blige, Britney Spears, Nelly, N’Sync and Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock. I mostly just liked the hodgepodge randomness of all these people singing one song. Plus how weird is it to see Britney look good?
The Rolling Stones did great and the idea of The Who was great, although the sound was not so great last year. Notice how I skipped the silly “wardrobe malfunction” year with Miss Janet if you’re nasty and Mr. Timberlake.
What are your favorite year’s for the halftime show?
Jessica M. Martin-Cate
Tonight is the start of the new version of “American Idol.”
Some of you will say, “so what,” but others, like me, may admit to this being a guilty pleasure. Unless you are the Whig’s Steve Eighinger, on the right in the logo, where this is not a guilty anything, but a wide open love affair that he wears on his sleeve. See his popular “Idol” blog here.
Some say the quality of the show will be gone without original judge Simon Cowell and they may be right, but one of the greatest performers of all time will be taking his place. Oh how I love thee Steven Tyler! If you do not know who that is, then you are either really young and unable to educate yourself yet, or you may be a bad bad person.
He is only the frontman for Aerosmith, one of the biggest rock bands of all time. I personally have three albums on vinyl and listen to them often. To tie him to today a bit more, did you watch the Golden Globes Sunday? Well, if you did, then you saw Diane Warren, writer of “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me,” which was sang by Cher in “Burlesque,” win for best original song. Miss Warren was also the writer of one of Aerosmith’s more recent ballads “I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing,” which was the theme of the action movie “Armageddon.” OK, I’m done playing six degrees of Kevin Bacon, which by the way, he was on the Globes too.
Random sidenote: I love this new commercial he is in.
Along with Tyler, Randy Jackson will return and Jennifer Lopez will join them. Should be interesting at least, although Lopez’s attempt at joking about judging singing as she presented a Golden Globe Sunday fell flat.
Either way, I am very excited to see how it all goes tonight and in the coming weeks, but don’t worry I don’t blog much on the topic, leaving that up to our “Idol” guru Eighinger.
One thing I do want to mention is that I helped judge a “Idol” contest for WGEM in July and our winner LaRon Grant went on to perform in front of the judges in Milwaukee, I can’t wait to see if he made it past the first round. He was not allowed to say so yet. Read this blog here.
Below is a previous blog post I did on some of my favorite “Idol” performances:
“Hello,” by Lionel Richie as performed by David Cook (season 7). Hands down this the best arrangement by an “American Idol” contestant. It is amazing and it clinched Cook’s win.
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” as performed by Katharine McPhee (season 5). Jason Castro of season 7 also did a good version here.
“Hemmorrhage,” by Fuel as performed by Chris Daughtry (season 5). First time someone nailed a modern rock song on the show.
“Stuff Like That There,” performed by Kelly Clarkson (season 1). Apparently she can sing any type of song. This is great.
“Unchained Melody,” performed by Clay Aiken (season 2). I love this song, and I know Simon does as well. It’s one of the best covers I’ve heard, and he hits that high note.
“A Moment Like This,” by Kelly Clarkson (season 1) when she won. It was just a very emotional moment and that part towards the end when she looks up and barely sings “I can’t believe it’s happening to me,’ gets me every time. I know. I’m a softie.
I will admit that I used to love Reba McEntire’s song “Fancy” when I was little and Kellie Pickler does a decent job of it here.
“You Give Love A Bad Name,” by Bon Jovi as performed and arranged by Blake Lewis (season 6). I think it’s really interesting to hear this song done this way. Kudos for Blake doing something different.
“This Is My Now” by Jordin Sparks (season 6) when she won. Again, it’s emotional, and there’s always that moment during the song when the music drops back and the singer’s voice cracks very dramatically.
“A House is Not a Home,” by Burt Backarack and performed by Tamyra Gray (season 1). Best part is that last note, it nearly gives you chills.
Here are some auditions that I remember and like:
Amanda Overmyer (season 7)
Josiah Leming sings “To Run.” He was the homeless kid from season 7 that cried a lot.
Asia’h Epperson sings “How Do I Live” (season 7). It is emotional.
“Check Yes Or No” as performed by Drew (season 7). This is a rare look at an old school country singer.
Let me know what you think tonight!
Jessica M. Martin-Cate
The awards season is fully underway and I am excitedly waiting for my favorite, which is the Grammy’s. The top music event will be televised Feb. 13.
What I love about this show is that it is like if all semi-award-worthy musicians went to the same high school, then this is their reunion where they get to show their talent or lack thereof.
The Grammy performers for this year that have been announced are Arcade Fire, Eminem, Cee Lo Green, Lady Gaga, Miranda Lambert and Katy Perry, so far.
As I previously wrote about here, Eminem leads with the most nods.
I’m stoked about Lady Gaga performing to see what she does and pleasantly surprised that Arcade Fire will be performing at the show. I did see them as the musical guest on SNL recently, so I knew they were becoming more mainstream popular. I first saw them live at Lollapalooza in 2005 and they put on one of the most energy-driven performances I have ever seen.
Other top nominees include Bruno Mars with seven and Lady Antebellum and Jay-Z.
To read the rest of the Grammy’s story on grammy.com, click here.
Jessica M. Martin-Cate
MUSIC NEWS: People’s Choice Awards, Rolling Stone Magazine predicts 2011 and top selling 2010 albums
Last night I watched the first half of the People’s Choice Awards and it was kind of not so good, it started off with this pseudo sing along performance by Queen Latifah and went on with performances from various singers like Selena Gomez, which was well, I’m trying to not be mean, just watch:
Below is some more music news I found interesting:
• Check out the 2011 music preview from Rolling Stone Magazine.
2010′s best-selling albums of 2010:
1. “Recovery” by Eminem (3.4 million copies) — Not surprising, because the album is his best effort in quite some time. Rolling Stone Magazine gave this album four out of five stars, read the review here.
2. “Need You Now,” by Lady Antebellum (3.1 million copies) — The title track took on a life of its own.
3. “Speak Now,” by Taylor Swift (2.96 million copies) — Duh, it is the pop country queen, Miss Swift. Rolling Stone Magazine gave this album four out of five stars, read the review here.
4. “My World 2.0,” by Justin Bieber
5. “The Gift,” by Susan Boyle
* According to the Associated Press and Nielsen SoundScan.
Jessica M. Martin-Cate
The Academy of Country Music released the nominees for only two categories, new solo vocalist and new vocal duo or group.
And the nominees are:
NEW SOLO VOCALIST: Eric Church, Easton Corbin and Randy Houser.
NEW VOCAL DUO OR GROUP: The Band Perry, The JaneDear Girls and Steel Magnolia.
Church’s nomination is a bit odd since he has some charting hits starting back in 2006, Corbin won a few awards for breakthrough artist in 2010 and Houser is nearly a veteran at this point with hits dating back to 2008 and big tours with Jamey Johnson and Gretchen Wilson. Out of these three, Houser is probably most deserving, but if you go off who is actually “new,” I’d say Corbin. Church does have that almost too catchy single out at the moment though, “Smoke A Little Smoke.” And we all know that a catchy hit right before awards shows can be key to a win.
I am a bit sad, that there is a lack of females in the solo category, but watch here the ladies come in the duo and group area.
As for the duo or group category, The Band Perry was nominated in 2010 for this category and more at the CMT awards, but did not win, The JaneDear Girls are truly new and possibly a bit green for this nod and Steel Magnolia has been nominated for this award and more by CMT and ACM in 2010. Out of these three, The Band Perry had a great year, but technically doesn’t have as many singles as Steel Magnolia, so I may lean towards the latter for the deserving win. As for the JanDear Girls, they feel a bit contrived and far to inexperienced to win an award quite yet, let’s see them make it to awards season next year before we lean towards a win of any kind. Again, similar to Church, Perry had the catchier single with “If I Die Young,” though, so we shall see on that front.
The public can vote on these two categories starting Jan. 27 here: http://www.acmcountry.com/awards/votingcriteria.php. The winner in each category will be revealed in March and the winners will compete for top new artists. Fan voting for top new artist will begin March 11 and the winner will be announced at the ACM Awards April 3 in Las Vegas.
The complete list of nominees will be announced in February, according to the Associated Press.
Jessica M. Martin-Cate
* Most of the links will take you to the most popular video by that artist.