The 2012 Grammy nominations will be announced tomorrow (Wednesday, Nov. 30th), a moment we’re sure you’ve been waiting for. Often the winners or even the nominees are rather predictable, with the exception of Lady Antebellum winning the record of year last year (are you a fan? tell us why? we really had never heard of her prior). And rather than engage in the hoopla of “Will Adele be nominated for every award?” (because duh, of course she will – 21 was amazing), we’ve decided to look back at the past performances at the Grammys.
We can’t declare these the best performances ever since Youtubers don’t seem to represent a demographic that has or is concerned with the Grammys pre-1980—tougher to find those videos than, say, Justin Bieber’s performance with Jaden Smith and Usher (which was readily available).
As we considered and compiled our top performances, we had to consider the magnitude and breadth of the Grammys. From the red carpet to the stage, it’s a spectacle with glitz and glam that is embellished, lauded, and admired like no other. Some of the worst performances are simply that—performances. Not over the top or well designed—just too bland for the big stage. The best performances, on the other hand, exhibited dazzling dance moves, questioned our morals, pushed the music industry, and left us begging for more.
Don’t forget to check out our Worst Grammy Performances Ever.
Whitney Houston: “One Moment In Time”
There’s not much to say besides just listen to this performance. Whitney Houston was, is, a staple of the 90s. All I need to say: The Bodyguard.
Eminem ft. Elton John: “Stan”
When this performance duo was announced the storyline went something like “accused homophobic rapper joined by bisexual star.” This was more than just a performance, it was a statement. Maybe it was a publicity stunt (we’ll accept that), but regardless it was a public acceptance of homosexuality by rap’s biggest star, which isn’t to this day very accepting of the issue.
Michael Jackson: “Man In The Mirror”
The King of Pop changed the face of public performance with his music and dance moves. If Elvis’ hip shaking shocked the world, Jackson upped the ante with the introduction of the moon walk. His performances—like this one—told the world there’s a new king in town.
Amy Winehouse: “You Know I’m No Good” and “Rehab”
Riding the success of her album Back To Black, Amy Winehouse went on to win five Grammys (including Best Album) that year, but not without plenty of controversy. The late-great singer, wasn’t provided a visa by the US Embassy in London to perform at the Grammys in light of her continued substance issues and the surfacing of a video with her smoking crack. After winning the award, Nat King Cole decried her awards stating, “I don’t think she should have won. I think it sends a bad message to our young people who are trying to get into this business – the ones who are trying to do it right and are really trying to keep themselves together.” (This Is London) Last minute, at 3am in London, Amy Winehouse did a surprise performance that was stellar. Broadcasted in the Staples center and live on CBS, it was a rare, controversial, and bizarre confrontation of the public’s opinion on substance issues, which are knowingly a part of art culture.
U2: “Beautiful Day”
U2 was made for Grammy performance. Along with the Rolling Stones, they helped shape a new genre of rock–stadium rock. Performances like this just continued to push forward how BIG a performance could sound without the over whelming and dazzling props and dancers. Kings of Leon, Pearl Jam, or even Flaming Lips owe a lot to U2.
Thanks to all the readers that have voted and continue to do so. We’d want to share a readers’ choice of best performance.
Please submit in the comments your choice and include:
1. Your reason
2. Choose either a link to your Twitter or Facebook profile (so we can direct fans your way!)
That’s it! Thanks again.