Gaga, Grammys and L.L.

Staging a concert to announce the Grammys, as the National Society of Recording Arts and Sciences have done for four years now, all but admits that the most important thing about all things associated with “Music’s Biggest Night” (a term they’ve copywritten) is the performances.

The awards couldn’t count less; and neither could the nominations.

So the show started and ended with Lady Gaga, trying her best to make herself weird and edgy. She did it in the opening by dressing “Walking Dead” style to sing “Marry the Night”; she ended with the same kind of black raccoon makeup on her eyes (probably hard to remove) to sing “You and I” with, of all groups, Sugarland. Courting that country crossover.

L.L. Cool J hosted the event (and took part in a kind of a messy remake of “The Message”); other performers included Rihanna from a concert in London, The Band Perry threw in a little of the rocker Tom Petty in their performance; Jason Aldean rapped with Ludacris.

Another weird collaboration were two songwriters who lost partners this year – Valerie Simpson and Mike Stoller, with the ubiquitous Usher helping out singing their songs between them.

And that was about it, except for the three or four categories out of 78 they had time to announce. And there was news in there.

In the categories announced on TV, Adele was well represented in song, record and album of the year. But the relatively low-selling indie act Bon Iver was represented in both of those categories as well.

But in the full list, announced after the show was over, Kanye West led all artists with seven nominations overall; Adele followed with six nominations – the same number given to Foo Fighters and Bruno Mars. Receiving five nominations were rapper Lil Wayne and electronic dance music artist Skrillex. One of those five for Skrillex was best new artist, opposite a field that included Nicki Minaj, J. Cole, Bon Iver and The Band Perry.

One nominee for best pop solo performance has a title that can’t be announced on TV: Pink’s “F***in’ Perfect.”

Also of note: Wilco is up for best rock album opposite Jeff Beck, Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Bon Iver is up for best alternative music album against Death Cab for Cutie Foster the People, My Morning Jacket and Radiohead.

Eddie Vedder’s ukulele work is up for best folk album against The Civil Wars, Steve Earle, Fleet Foxes and Gillian Welch. Up for best Americana album are Ry Cooder, Emmylou Harris, Levon Helm, Lucinda Williams and Linda Chorney.

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