Traveling with Snooki from "Jersey Shore" is always an adventure, but hopping in the car on Sunday morning on the way to her first red carpet hosting gig at the Grammy Awards was an epic trip.
After a last minute hair emergency that required a frantic run to a CVS for a curling iron and some fake eyelashes, Snooki hopped in the MTV limo (a Hyundi Elantra) with Sway and promptly offered him a Snickers bar a fan had pressed into her hand.
After he demurred, she begged for some house music and started bouncing in the backseat as she and Sway snapped a photo on her bejeweled phone for her twitter page. She then offered Sway some shimmery bronzer, which he politely passed on. "But it'll make your skin sparkle!" she said.
But Sway did offer some career advice. "Just enjoy yourself," he told her as she begged him to crank up Pitbull's "Calle Ocho" and spritzed herself with some citrus-y perfume. Then she pulled out a six inch piece of wood that had "Snooki" carved into it that a fan whittled for her. "It's supposed to be a pickle!" she explained.
The best part? When she flipped it over, it revealed a single carved "n." Huh? "They were gonna write Nicole, I guess. But then they didn't." When Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" came on the radio, Snooks wiggled in her seat, getting psyched about possibly meeting Usher, and hopefully, she said, making out with him. "He's single, right?" she asked. Oh, and in addition to signing her new deal for season two of "Jersey Shore," she mentioned that she just signed set up a meeting about a potential recording contract with a major label next week. "I'm going in the studio next week! I can't sing, I'll just talk sexy. I can make my own beats though." She typed her info into Sway's phone so they can hang out sometime, when she promised to introduce him to some real guidos.
"That would be nice," he said. "I'd like that. Where would we go?"
"My bedroom," she answered instantly. He gasped and they exited the car on their way to the carpet.
Ah, the Grammys. A time for choreographers of overblown production numbers to ply their trade, for Neil Portnow to put all those "public speaking" courses to good use and for various talking heads to pontificate endlessly about "the music biz."
See, if there's one thing that's never in short supply at the Grammys, it's people willing to talk about the Grammys. Producers, writers, hilarious gap-toothed indie comedians — they're all available, ready to ramble on about just how great "Single Ladies" was. This is how the entertainment business runs, after all.
The only problem is, we waited too long and couldn't actually book any of them. We run a tight ship 'round these parts.
Needless to say, we were scrambling to find anyone to talk about the Grammys … when, suddenly, a thought dawned on us: "Why don’t we just use some of the many talented, telegenic and intelligent people who work in the MTV Newsroom! That way, we wouldn't have to pay them!"
It was a brilliant plan. So we assembled a crack team of Grammy experts: Pop writer Jocelyn Vena, producer Andrew Ross Rowe, production assistant Rya Backer, production manager (and resident Guido) Adam Stewart, with myself serving as the humble moderator. We got together, we debated just who would take home the Golden Gramophones, and this was the end result. They edited out a lot of the cursing. Anyway, here's what our Expert Grammy Panel had to say about Sunday night's show … for better, or much (much) worse.
Who will win the big prizes at Sunday night's Grammy Awards? Leave your votes in the comments!
This Sunday, the Grammy Awards will be given out for the 52nd time. Over their lifespan, nearly 8,000 tiny Victrolas have been given out to all manner of artists. This weekend's show is one of the more youth-driven and star-studded in recent memory, with Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Dave Matthews Band and the Black Eyed Peas among others performing and competing for awards.
No awards show gets it right every single time, and considering the number of awards they hand out every year, Grammy Awards history is littered with bizarre winners and strange victors. Take a look below at some of the more unusual names with Grammys on their shelves (some of whom have multiple victories). And this list doesn't even count the head-scratching upsets (like Steely Dan winning Album of the Year in 2001).
Barack Obama: Yes, in addition to being President of the United States and a Nobel Peace Prize, Obama also has two Grammy Awards (one each for Best Spoken Word Album for the audio versions of his two books).
Tia Carrere: She may have been a metalhead in "Wayne's World," but Tia Carrere has actually been nominated twice for Best Hawaiian Music Album (with one victory in 2009).
Hillary Clinton: She can't sing, but Clinton certainly can read, and her performance of her book "It Takes a Village" got her an award in 1997 for Best Spoken Word Album. Husband Bill caught up with her a few years later, when he won back-to-back Spoken Word awards in 2004 and 2005.
Since Wednesday night's unveiling of the 2010 Grammy Awards nominations, most of the conversations have been about the three-way dance between Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and Beyonceé, the trio of women who lead the way in the most important categories (those being Song, Record and Album of the Year). But there are plenty of other competitions that provide intriguing showdowns between artists. Here are the four that we will be talking about until the show, which will air live on January 31, 2010.
Best Rap Solo Performance: This category pits two heavy hitters (Jay-Z and Eminem) against two newcomers (Drake and Kid Cudi) and a dark horse on the comeback (Mos Def). Though Jay-Z may seem like the favorite, the true head-to-head in this category is between Slim Shady and Drake. It's the new kid on the block versus an able veteran, and they both showed up on one of the best hip-hop singles of the year in the "Forever" remix. While Eminem reigned supreme on that track, but will Drake score an award for what was certainly one of the biggest songs of the summer in "Best I Ever Had"?
The nominations for the Grammy Awards were announced on Wednesday (you should check out the recap of the live nomination show, which featured performances by Nick Jonas and the Black Eyed Peas). It's impossible for the nominating committee to come up with a batch of noms that everybody will agree with, especially considering there are 110 categories worth of music to cover. But there are always a handful of head-scratching moments buried within the list of potential winners. Here are the five nominations that puzzle us.
Silversun Pickups for Best New Artist: Make no mistake: Silversun Pickups are an excellent band, and their 2008 album Swoon was grossly overlooked slice of fuzzy, dreamy rock. But Swoon was the band's second full-length, and they've been kicking around since 2005. How is it that they are a "new" artist? This happens every year, as the criteria surrounding the Best New Artist category only demands that the artists in question "make a significant impact" during the eligibility period, so perhaps a revision of the criteria is in order.
"I'm on a Boat": The collaboration between T-Pain and the Lonely Island (Andy Samberg's "SNL" digital short crew) is a pretty great send-up of commercial hip-hop. But it's not nominated in any of the comedy categories — it's up for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, competing against killer tracks like "Run This Town" and "Dead and Gone."
The full list of nominations for the 2010 Grammy Awards were unveiled last night, and it represents all the usual suspects. Taylor Swift leads the way with 10 nominations total, including nods for Record, Song and Album of the Year. It seems like the Grammy Awards would be the perfect end to an incredible cycle for Swift, whose Fearless is the top-selling album in the country in 2009 and who has won just about every award for which she has been nominated in the past 12 months (including Entertainer of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards, Artist of the Year at the American Music Awards and Best Female Video at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards). Just behind her in nominations is Beyoncé, who continues to be lauded for her excellent I Am ... Sasha Fierce and who also scored the nomination trifecta for Record, Song and Album of the Year.
The biggest competition to Swift and Knowles will likely be Lady Gaga, whose The Fame continues to tear up the charts and break giant singles. Gaga is nominated in the same three categories as the other ladies, making this three-way rivalry a somewhat familiar one, but also one that pits three quite distinct styles against one another. The Black Eyed Peas also picked up a handful of nominations for their album The E.N.D. and the smash single "I Gotta Feeling," which spent most of the summer sitting on top of the Billboard Hot 100.
As far as surprises go, the biggest shock might be the Album of the Year nod scored by Dave Matthews Band's Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, the tribute to late band member LeRoi Moore. (That album also picked up a nod for Best Rock Album.) We'll have plenty more coverage later today (including some inexplicable choices in some truly odd categories), but for now, check out the official Grammy Awards Web site for the complete list of nominees in all 110 (!) categories.
I had a chance to sit down with another president — Bill Clinton. When I walked into his Harlem office, Bill said, "Hey, man, how are you doing?" It was like we were old pals!
The former commander in chief was in great spirits. He always seems to be in storytelling mode if you can spark his interest. He's very aware, very warm, very jovial and very genuine, all at the same time.
We had actually met before, in 2008 at the MTV/ Clinton Global Initiative event at the Apollo along with Shakira, Alicia Keys, Chris Rock and Bono. This time, the purpose of the interview was to talk about a film that MTV made about "Real World" star Pedro Zamora and his courageous fight to make the world more aware of HIV and AIDS.
Man, can I get a minute to land?
Coming back from the Grammy Awards early Tuesday morning — like, 1 a.m. — turned into a very anxious few hours. I was sitting right behind Lupe Fiasco while my man Sway was a few rows up sitting by Robin Thicke and Ashford & Simpson (you should have seen how many Louis Vuitton bags the legendary pair pulled off the luggage conveyer belt).
I'm getting too far off the subject now. Right before I got to baggage claim, I got the call from a homie in L.A. saying that the local news was reporting that Chris Brown was involved in a car chase with the cops and he had a gun to his head threatening suicide. I damn near lost my breath.
Fortunately, that rumor was quickly debunked ... only to be replaced by another rumor. By the time I get home, I got an e-mail saying that the Cali news was reporting that DJ Khaled was driving the Bentley being chased by the cops. Damn. This night is never going end. Read More...
By Alex Shapiro
Dave Matthews Band fans watching the action-packed Grammys on Sunday night may have cause to be upset — and it wasn't because DMB didn't win any awards. DMB saxophonist LeRoi Moore, who died in August due to complications from an ATV accident, was not included in the "In Memoriam" section of the show, which honored legendary sound mixers, producers and musicians.
Today the Recording Academy's president, Neil Portnow, issued a statement regarding Moore's absence from the televised tribute.
"Nearly 250 members of our music community have passed in the last year, and all of them have been listed in the program book for the 51st Annual Grammy Awards, including LeRoi Moore," he said. "For the 'Encore' segment of our annual Grammy Awards telecast, unfortunately we are unable to include all of the talented and wonderful people within the allotted time frame. The Academy recognizes Moore's contributions to music and music education, and we are deeply saddened by his premature passing."
By Debra DeSalvo
"No one on the corner has swagger like us," indeed! Show-stealing M.I.A. was not only super-pregnant at the Grammys, she was actually having contractions while she was bouncing all over the stage, according to EW.com. Speaking after her performance of "Swagga Like Us" with Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne and T.I., M.I.A. said, "The contractions come and go. My fiancé's got the stopwatch going."
Grammy show boss Jack Sussman confirmed that M.I.A.'s contractions began around 8 p.m., right when the awards went on the air. "I asked her to just hang on until 10 p.m. ET," the CBS TV exec admitted, adding, "The kid's a gamer." Anxious fiancé Benjamin Brewer was in the wings timing the contractions to make sure she didn't go into labor backstage, and the Grammys had an ambulance on standby just in case.