1. SHAKIRA - I have unlimited amounts of respect for her. Really, I'm in awe. And the rendition of 'Hips Don't Lie' was fantastic, in a sort of Arabian style. It was quite entrancing. Not only is she's the most energetic performer I've seen in a while, the slow and almost mournful start was haunting. Astounding vocals. Liked the use of violin instead of trumpet for the beginning/end notes. The dancers in the background were beautiful too, their routine almost more captivating than Shakira. I could go on about this for several pages, but long story short I've rewound and replayed it no fewer than a dozen times.
2. Dixie Chicks - I've been hearing 'Not Ready to Make Nice' all year, and never thought it was all that great, but after last night, I changed my mind. I loved watching them sing. And, what's her name, the one with long hair, had it in a beautiful rope-twist ponytail. Though they ticked me off with the anti-Bush rant, they have such beautiful music - and they're so good at live performances - that I can't stay ticked off. Although Mom managed to hamper my glee over their multiple wins by commenting "In Hollywood, anything anti-Bush is bound to get praised." I really like this line in the lyrics, though:
It's a sad, sad story when a mother will teach her daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger
3. Chris Brown. I would have no idea who he was if not for O.C.; I still didn't know his music and assumed it was some stupid rap stuff. Not so! More of a hip-hop/R&B sound, which still isn't my favorite but wasn't too bad. In retrospect, I think I may have heard this song (Run It) once before. And the DANCE! Holy COW! When I was still part of a dance studio, at our annual recital the one I most anticipated watching was the boys' dance, where all the guys in competition from 6 to 18 years of age (a total of about...7-10 people) would have a number very much like this one, with fast moves and acrobatic tumbling. A backflip off the spring board? Jaw-dropping. I've watched this one a few times over too. The masked clapping routine at the beginning lasts about a minute too long, but the rest is great.
4. Carrie Underwood. Not her music, because really she's a dull country singer, but she is really beautiful. And she was kind of cute singing old-style "San Antonio Rose."
5. Red Hot Chili Peppers. I was disappointed that I waited until the end of the night for what I thought was going to be Dani California, but turned out to be something else (Snow (Hey O)). After about half a minute of listening to it, though, I decided this was every bit as catchy, and really enjoyed it. Aside from the fact that the lead singer looks like a carnie, and the guy playing guitar and dressed all in yellow, was jumping spastically around the stage in a most annoying manner.
1. Justin Timberlake. Seriously, why does he get two songs? He really wasn't bad as part of N*SYNC, but now he is ugly. With excessively boring R&B music.
2. Gnarls Barkley *and* James Blunt - ugh. I especially can't stand the latter and his whiny voice. He sounds like the kind of person who gets rejected on American Idol. My mom loves both songs, for reasons I cannot fathom. On the second she was kind of softly singing along, and I perked up immediatley. "Ooh! I like your version!" When sung in her light, clear and pretty voice, it turns into a not-half-bad song. Who knew?
3. Smokey Robinson scares me. He scares my parents, too, with his creepy plastic surgery features. They about laughed themselves sick at his unfortunate choice of song, "Take a good look at my face..."
Mom: "The one I had to replace..."
4. Christina Aguilera...back in the day she and Britney were fairly interchangeable. If I'd had to choose, I would have said Britney was better simply because she seemed less openly slutty. I mean, she had absolutely no self-respect, but Christina took it to a whole new (low) level. A few years have gone by and Britney's back at her trailer-trash roots, while Christina has proven that it wasn't just studio magic and production that made her voice sound good, I grudgingly admit she has talent. I can't figure out how she manages to sound like a big black woman singing soul, but she does. I just don't happen to *like* that. I don't like people who pour so much into their singing that they're basically yelling and/or screaming into the microphone. As for the theatrical antics, getting on her knees and everything, all I have to say is that I have NO idea why anyone would ever have paid attention to James Brown. What a freak.
4b) AND she won "best female vocal pop performance" over KT Tunstall. Most of the awards I liked or didn't mind who won (with the exception of "best collaboration" because seriously, Tony Bennett and Stevie Wonder are old and boring) but in *this* category, she would have been my dead-last pick behind KT, Natasha Bedingfield, Sheryl Crow and even Pink.
5. Mary J. Blige has mannish arms, complete with man tattoos. The chain around the arm does not look feminine, and the huge tat on her other arm resembles nothing so much as the average stylings of a Marine. While I'm insulting people's looks...I think Jennifer Hudson is fairly pretty, but that dress did not flatter her at all. And she was terribly lopsided in front.
I Don't Know What This Is: Ludacris.
My dad left when he appeared, as the one genre of music he can't stand is "C-rap" (heh. That's a clever description.) Having a dog head firmly glued to my leg, I suffered through it so as not to disturb her. And I was really planning to just tune it out, but the lyrics of "Runaway Love" were inescapably clear. I don't ever listen to rap, but I thought it was generally mindless and devoid of meaning. No, I KNOW it's generally like that. So what is this? I sat there open-mouthed going "Wha...this is a DEPRESSING SONG!" I mean, what the hell?! It's like an entire season's worth of Law & Order: SVU episode plotlines crammed into one work. It's about every possible bad thing that could happen to a child in the ghetto and seriously, what's up with that? I mean, the video playing in the background was gorgeous and so artfully done that it made me want to cry, and I think the message behind the song had the potential to go very well...but it's rap.
CSI Miami tonight!! ACK FLAIL EXCITED.