Last night’s Fifty-third Grammy Awards Tribute to Aretha Franklin featured five amazingly talented women. One black gospel singer, one black R&B singer, and three white women-Yolanda Adams, Jennifer Hudson, Christina Aguilera, Martina McBride, and Florence Welch. This pretty much set the tone for the night.
On a scale of one to five, I value their individual songs as follows: 5 to Christina for “Ain’t No Way” which was great until she overworked the end. Somebody needs to help her reign herself in; 5 to Yolanda Adams for “Spirit in the Dark”. 4’s to the rest: Florence, “Think”; Martina, “Til You Come Back to Me’; Jennifer, “Respect”.
After the groups final ensemble song, “Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves”, Aretha spoke from her home in Detroit. Attired in a white evening gown, draped in pearls, and dripping diamonds from her ears, she was thinner, slightly delicate, and very, very elegant. Aretha thanked fans for their beautiful flowers and cards and she promised to be with them next year.
Some Grammy viewers I’ve spoken to are puzzled not only by the performances that appeared more multicultural than usual, but also by the surprise winners for Best New Artist (Esperanza Spaulding) and Album of the Year (Arcade Fire). I researched it and discovered that recordings are nominated and entered by the National Recording Artists and Sciences (those who are creatively involved in music), and by record companies. Then the recordings are voted on twice by the Academy’s 12,000 voting members. So, those who are creatively involved in music make the choices.
One of my favorite performers, John Legend, presented and was introduced as having won a Grammy earlier in the evening. It was a shame his presentation wasn’t televised. Quite a few of my Facebook friends signed off early on the broadcast. Even my twenty-something daughter quit the tv and went out for a walk with her dog.