Bobby Karl Works The Grammy Viewing Party

Miranda Lambert on the Grammy red carpet.

Chapter 358

The Nashville Grammy viewing party had door prizes, a dance DJ upstairs hosted by Red Bull, the Gibson Guitar tour bus parked outside and a generally merry atmosphere.

It was held at the Hard Rock downtown (2/13), so you know the food stations were first rate. The parking lot I chose had a broken machine, so I got away free. And the balmy weather couldn’t have been better.

As a viewing experience, if I wasn’t such a Recording Academy fan, I doubt that I would have stayed tuned in. Several of the much-vaunted “only-at-the-Grammys” collaborations failed to fizz. Early in the telecast, the Bruno Mars, B.o.B. and Janelle Monae mash-up was just a big flapdoodle about nothing. Katy Perry looked fabulous but sang flat. Arcade Fire’s performance featured kids on bicycles wheeling around pointlessly, plus disorienting camera work.

Mick Jagger’s “Everybody Needs Somebody” tribute to the late Solomon Burke was sung in a two-note range. Both of Rihanna’s appearances (with Eminem and Drake, respectively) were less than thrilling. The video flame effects used several times during the show looked exactly like the ones in Logan’s Steak House ads. The dancers deployed during the Muse tune were just weird.

On the plus side — at least for this community — was the fact that just about every time a Nashvillian appeared, the show perked up. First on was Martina McBride, more than holding her own during the show-opening Aretha Franklin tribute alongside Jennifer Hudson, Christina Aguilera, Yolanda Adams and a clearly outclassed Florence Welch (from Florence & The Machine). Miranda Lambert sounded scared and a little timid during her simply staged performance of “The House That Built Me,” but her genuine emotion carried the day.

(L-R) Florence Welch, Jennifer Hudson, Christina Aguilera, Martina McBride, and Yolanda Adams.

“First Grammy performance ever – first Grammy ever,” said Miranda upon winning her Female Country Vocal prize. “It means the world to me. Thank you very much. I love country music.”

Americana stars The Avett Brothers shone brightly alongside Mumford & Sons and Bob Dylan during their folk-rock Grammy moment. Those kids in Lady Antebellum can sure-enough sing. The trio’s flawless harmonies were the most pitch-perfect of the entire show, both on the Teddy Pendergrass tribute “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” and on their own “American Honey” and “Need You Now.” The group picked up a stunning five Grammy Awards during the night.

Lady A performing during the Grammy Awards.

“This has been a huge, huge year for us,” said Lady A’s Charles Kelley when the group won Country Album of the Year. “This past year has changed our lives,” echoed Hillary Scott when they won the overall Song of the Year. “Thank you to everyone who loved this song,” added their collaborator Josh Kear. When Record of the Year was announced, Hillary exclaimed, “We’re so stunned, we started walking the wrong way.” Added Charles, “We’ve cried our eyes out backstage.” Lady A also won Country Group and Country Song.

Continuing the Nashville performance excellence was Keith Urban. He sang “Jolene” as a tribute to Lifetime Achievement winner Dolly Parton alongside Norah Jones and a lost-at-sea seeming John Mayer. Non-Nashville musical highlights included Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber & Usher (with super tumblers), flamboyantly feathered Cee Lo Green & Gwyneth Paltrow and “Evergreen” Barbra Streisand.

John Mayer, Norah Jones and Keith Urban singing a tribute to Dolly Parton.

CBS evidently urged the Recording Academy to use its non-musical TV stars as presenters throughout the show, so it was extra welcome to see our homies doing some of these honors. Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley, Zac Brown, Paramore, Kings of Leon, Jewel, Kris Kristofferson and Miley Cyrus were all among the other presenters.

Unseen, but scoring triumphs was the triple Grammy winning CD by The Nashville Symphony Orchestra. Other pre-telecast local honorees included Marty Stuart, Larry Carlton, Patty Loveless, The Black Keys, BeBe & CeCe Winans, Alan Jackson & The Zac Brown Band, Jack White, Bela Fleck and Keith Urban.

Even if you weren’t on the show, you had a good chance of being seen. Just about every commercial break featured a music star – Taylor Swift for Cover Girl, Carrie Underwood for Olay, Jennifer Hudson for Weight Watchers, Justin Bieber for CSI, Alecia Keys for HP, Taylor Swift for Target, Keith Urban for Target, Ricky Martin for the American Cancer Society, Jennifer Lopez for Venus razors, Eminem (in cartoon form) for Brisk beverages, Queen Latifah for Cover Girl….

Nicole Kidman

You could also be noticed by just walking in. Jewel rocked the red carpet in an off-the-shoulder Grecian-draped, pale yellow frock that disguised her being pregnant with a baby boy. Proud papa-to-be Ty Murray was by her side. Julianne Hough also looked great, in a ruffled and purple hued creation, but said she was jet lagged from a flight from Hong Kong. Hillary Scott of Lady A debuted a new hairstyle with brunette bangs. Miranda Lambert wore a floor-length, one-shouldered, double-strapped metallic number that hugged her curves. Titian tressed Nicole Kidman was a dish in a strapless, rose-petal-patterned gown. Nicki Minaj wore what appeared to be a giant Q-tip on her head and a leopard-print dress and tights. Bedraggled looking Miley Cyrus continued her red-carpet-catastrophe tradition. Lady Gaga arrived in her egg.

Rocking the Hard Rock viewing fiesta were Anthony L. Smith, Gabe Dixon, Shannon Sanders, Karen Clark, Barry Landis, John Oates, Jed Hilly, Becky Hobbs, Lane Brody, Mark Collie, Trent Summar, Larry Sheridan, Lori Badgett, Ashley Gearing, John Lomax III and of course our hostesses with the mostestest, Ashley Ernst and Lynn Aurelius.

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