The party was just beginning for Billie Eilish when she sang "When the Party's Over" at the Grammy Awards Sunday night in Los Angeles.
(Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images)
The party was just beginning for Billie Eilish when she sang "When the Party's Over" at the Grammy Awards Sunday night in Los Angeles.
(Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images)
Billie Eilish Sweeps a Dark Grammy Night, Demi Lovato's Journey, CMT's Pledge, Jeff Parker, Diddy...
Matty Karas, curator January 27, 2020
quote of the day
It's been a hell of a week, damn. Real talk, there's a lot goin' on.... But it's a new decade. It's time for newness, and we refuse the negative energy. We refuse the old systems. Feel me on that? We want to be respected and safe in our diversity. We want to be shifting to realness and inclusivity.
rant n' rave

Before she said a word Sunday night, GRAMMY AWARDS host ALICIA KEYS took a deep breath, and paused. Where could you even start with the 62nd version of Music's Biggest Night, which arrived on day 11 of a public scandal tearing apart the organization that runs the awards, in the middle of a presidential impeachment trial tearing apart a nation, and which took place on KOBE BRYANT's home court hours after one of the greatest basketball players who ever lived, and one of the most beloved athletes in Los Angeles, was killed with one of his daughters in a helicopter crash? It didn't seem like much of a night for celebration. You couldn't ask for a better host in such a situation than the remarkably graceful, open-hearted and snark-free Keys, who paid tribute in her opening segment to Kobe and sat down at a piano a few minutes later to seemingly ruminate on the troubles at the RECORDING ACADEMY without naming any names but saying it's time to "refuse the old systems. Feel me on that." If you wanted to assume she was talking about national politics, you were free to do that, too. And then the Grammy Awards just kind of happened, almost in spite of themselves. The Recording Academy would hardly be mentioned again, unless perhaps you were backstage in search of soundbites from TYLER, THE CREATOR or reading between the lines of Best New Artist presenter DUA LIPA's short spiel. Perhaps to reduce the chance anyone else would go off-script, only nine of the 80-plus Grammy Awards were given out on-air during the nearly four-hour telecast, and four of them went to the same teen pop superstar (who shared three of them were her producer brother). Meet the new (fully deserving) queen and king of the Grammys, BILLIE EILISH and FINNEAS O'CONNELL. She's only the second artist in Grammy history to win Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist in the same year. The first was CHRISTOPHER CROSS (don't worry about her future; she's 20 times the talent, as you might expect a woman would have to be). "We stand up here, confused and grateful," Finneas said the third time the duo went up to collect an award. The next and last time, the two of them simply said "thank you" in unison and walked off. The Recording Academy couldn't have asked for more, or less. It was a dream night for the Academy, all things considered. It was awkward as a TV show. There were a handful of spectacular performances: wild, ambitious TYLER, THE CREATOR (with CHARLIE WILSON and BOYZ II MEN); emotionally naked DEMI LOVATO; angry, political GARY CLARK JR.; big-voiced LIZZO; intimate-voiced Billie Eilish. The ones that were supposed to be "Grammy Moments" were a mess, which is the kindest thing I can think to say of either BLAKE SHELTON & GWEN STEFANI or the show's attempt at an AEROSMITH/RUN-DMC reunion. For some reason there was a seven-minute tribute, involving a song from FAME, to the show's retiring, long-running producer, who after 40 years (starting with that Christopher Cross show) still hasn't figured out how to mute a microphone without muting the entire broadcast audio when someone says a naughty word, even when the word is in the script. When those interminable seven minutes were over, the producer and his crew seemed in a rush to get through the two biggest awards of the night, which were handed out quickly, back to back, with no music before, during or after, as if the entire show was being forced to play itself off. And then the party was over. Unless you were on the West Coast, where it simply started again, as these things do. "Tonight," said the 8:45 p.m. Pacific Time version of Lizzo, who once again would win the show's first award and then be shut-out for the rest of the evening, "is for Kobe"... One thing I can't be cynical about is the artists themselves. Watching the sheer delight and surprise of on-air winners DAN & SHAY, Billie Eilish and Tyler, the Creator could get you out of any temporary funk. You only wish the show gave that chance to a few more artists. Like TANYA TUCKER, who won her first two Grammys. Ever... The multi-artist tribute to NIPSEY HUSSLE, highlighted by JOHN LEGEND and DJ KHALED doing their Hussle collaboration "HIGHER," was gospelly and moving. The In Memoriam segment for everyone else an hour later was short by about this much, and contained two glaring typos)... RIP SEAN REINERT, MICHAEL PROCTER and JOE PAYNE. And Kobe.

Matty Karas, curator

January 27, 2020