Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we are going to talk about the 2015 Grammy Awards (btw we guessed half of the winners correctly this year, yay!). This year the award show was full of unique performances, surprises, and of course, awesome awards. It was truly a night dedicated to music, and all that it represented this past year. The show was once again hosted by rapper/actor LL Cool J, who stated at the top of the show that he wasn’t going to perform an opening monologue so that there would be more time for the music. I thought that it was a really memorable show, and will definitely have us all discussing it the rest of the year. If you missed the show, or just want to relive all the moments again, then please read on as we recap the 2015 Grammy Awards!
Here are the categories we guessed correctly this year:
*If you want to see the full list of Grammy Award winners then please go to GRAMMY.com | The Official Site of Music’s Biggest Night
Now there were a lot of awesome performances this year, but I decided to pick the top 10 must-see performances to discuss with y’all.
10) Eric Church: Eric performed his hit single ‘Give Me Back My Hometown’, which is a fun song that brings out the nostalgia in us all. As always, Eric captivated his audience and never lost their attention. The backdrop of the stage had scenes of a town in a Sepia effect, which just added an air of coolness to the number.
9) Ariana Grande: One number that was really interesting was Ariana Grande’s emotional performance of her song ‘Just a Little Bit of Your Heart’. The emotional ballad had a very intimate vibe that definitely captivated fans. The staging consisted of really dim lighting, purple stage lights, and really cool white smoke that appeared half way through the performance.
8) Pharrell Williams: Pharrell began his number with a spoken word performance of the beginning of his hit song ‘Happy’. The number then changed back to the original arrangement, and included dancers in bright colored clothing & choir robes. Towards the end of the number, the attention shifted over to the small stage in the center of the auditorium, where Hans Zimmermann was showing off his out of this world piano skills. Definitely a number we’d all be happy to see again.
7) Ed Sheeran feat. John Mayer & Questlove/Ed Sheeran & ELO: Ed performed a sweet rendition of his new single ‘Thinking Out Loud’, and was accompanied by John Mayer’s EPIC guitar playing, and Questlove (the drummer of the band The Roots, who are Jimmy Fallon’s house band) on the drums. This was such an awesome pairing that I know we all have our fingers crossed for these artists to collab again soon. After ‘Thinking Out Loud’, Ed switched over to another stage and performed ‘Mr. Blue Sky’ with British rock group, Electric Light Orchestra (aka ELO). This was another unexpected, yet really awesome collab that left us wondering who Ed will work with next (because obviously he can work with anyone and it will sound awesome).
6) Miranda Lambert: Miranda performed her song ‘Little Red Wagon’, and definitely showed that country music can rock. She was in full rock star mode, with a performance that included lots of cool smoke and explosion effects, an interesting red sun decoration in the background, and lots of flashing red lights that definitely raised the energy of the room to full blast.
5) Hosier & Anne Lennox: Hosier started the performance with their hit single ‘Take Me To Church’ & was later joined by Anne Lennox, who also performed her rendition of ‘I Put A Spell on You’ (which was originally by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins). This was another high energy performance that had the audience captivated throughout the number…what can we say, they put a spell on us!
4) Katy Perry: Katy performed a truly angelic rendition of her song ‘By The Grace of God’, complete with a beautiful white gown. The performance followed a PSA by President Barack Obama, and a speech by domestic abuse survivor Brooke Axtell (the PSA and speech were in support of a new program called #ItsOnUs, which is an initiative to end violence against women & girls). This was truly a strong way to deliver this powerful message.
3) Paul McCartney, Rihanna, & Kanye West: The legendary Beatle joined Pop star Rihanna, & Rap star Kanye West for a performance of the trio’s song ‘Four Five Seconds’. This was such an amazing number, that really brought out the true talent of all three artists, and showed the magic that can happen when artists of different genres come together to create something spectacular.
2) Sam Smith & Mary J. Blige: Sam & Mary J. Blige left the room completely speechless with their duet of Sam’s hit song ‘Stay With Me’. The two artists used their amazing vocal talents to deliver a breathtaking performance that was one of the highlights of the night. What made this performance extra cool was the old school soul flair that the artists added to the overall vibe of the show; it definitely left us hoping that they will work together again in the future.
1) Sia feat. Maddie Ziegler & Kristen Wiig: The top spot of the night has to go to Sia for her beautiful performance of her hit single Chandelier. The number took place in a destroyed, dirty room, and showed comedic actress Kristen Wiig & Dance Moms star Maddie Ziegler performing the choreography from the song’s music video together. Although Sia & Kristen were INCREDIBLE, the star of the show was definitely Maddie. Seriously, she’s 12 years old and has already performed at the Grammys, how do you possibly top that!?! With such a HUGE start to 2015, I’m excited to see what this rising star does next.
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we are going to discuss our predictions for who will win awards at the 2015 Grammy Awards! I choose 8 random categories (you can check out the rest of the nominees here: GRAMMY.com | The Official Site of Music’s Biggest Night) for us to look at, and added a few sentences why I think that these artists/songs will win. This is a really competitive year, so if y’all have any counter suggestions please let me know in the comments section below. Ready? Let’s go!
Record of the Year:
Fancy by Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX
You couldn’t escape this song in 2014, and we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Fancy received overall positive reviews upon its’ release, and was able to hold on to the #1 spot of the Billboard Hot 100 for 7 consecutive weeks.
Album of the year:
Beyoncé by Beyoncé Knowles
Ok, when an artist can release an album without any previous announcements or promotion, and the album debuts at #1…well that’s really awesome! The album sold so many copies within the first 3 days (828,773), that it has become the fastest selling album in the history of the iTunes Store…sounds like album of the year to me.
Best new artist:
This year Iggy became the fourth solo female rapper to ever top the Billboard Hot 100 chart, the first female & non-American rapper to be featured on XXL Magazine’s annual Top 10 Freshmen cover issue (an issue that names the top 10 up an coming rappers, that is credited for giving any rappers the exposure necessary to become instant stars) also, she joined the Beatles as the only acts to ever have their debut Hot 100 at #1 & #2 simultaneously, she also passed rapper Lil’ Kim as the female rapper with the longest-leading #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100. Yeah, she definitely seems to have the tile of artist of the year locked down.
Best pop duo/group performance:
Bang Bang by Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj
This song (which features 3 really big stars) has gone triple platinum in the U.S., and had the 3rd largest sales debut for a song in 2014. Bang Bang also played non-stop on all mainstream radio stations ALL year in 2014, so it’s definitely a huge contender for this award.
Best country song:
I’m Not Gonna Miss You by Glen Campbell
This song appeared as the theme song for Glen Campbell’s 2014 documentary I’ll Be Me 9which received numerous positive reviews), and is the final studio recording ever released from the legendary singer/songwriter. With a career that spanned over 50 years, and included: countless awards in music & film, a 2012 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, hosting a variety show entitled The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, and so much more than I can include in this post. Because of his extraordinary career, and the fact that this song is extremely awesome, I definitely think that he deserves this award.
Best country album:
Platinum by Miranda Lambert
With singles such as: Automatic & Something Bad, we couldn’t get Miranda out of our heads this year. This album also made Miranda the first artist in history to start her career with five consecutive #1 albums. Platinum has also received nearly unanimous positive reviews from numerous critics. In the past year Miranda has been on a serious roll, so I don’t expect this to end anytime soon.
Best country duo/group performance:
Gentle on My Mind by The Band Perry from the Glen Campbell I’ll Be Me Soundtrack EP
Now this song previously won 4 Grammy Awards when it was originally released in 1968 (which proves how awesome the song is), and has gotten A LOT of radio play since it was released late this year. It has to be hard to cover such an iconic song from an extremely legendary artist (and the fact that this song appeared on that legend’s last project adds a little bit more pressure), despite all this pressure, The Band Perry really proved that it can raise to the challenge.
Best rock song:
Ain’t it Fun by Paramore
Ok, you know that you were jammin out to this song all year! This was definitely a change of pace for this band; however it was a risk that really paid off for them. This song is also Paramore’s highest peaking song, made the album it appeared on (also entitled Paramore) this band’s first album to produce two Top 40 hits, and was certified Platinum in the U.S.
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we are going to discuss all of the memorable moments from last night’s 2014 VMAs. The show was jam packed with breathtaking performances, awards presented to amazing acts, and other memorable and tear-jerking moments. So if y’all are ready, let’s not waste any more time and dive right in!
VMA Pre-Show & Memorable Moments:
The VMA pre-show was full of so much fun, it felt like a show within itself. The show was co-hosted by ‘Pretty Little Liars’ star/Country music singer/songwriter Lucy Hale, and MTV correspondents Sway & Christina Garibaldi. The trio interviewed a lot of amazing stars during the pre-show, and even got to speak to ‘Teen Wolf’ star Dylan O’Brien, regarding his highly anticipated film ‘The Maze Runner’. Pop singer/songwriter/rapper Becky G and beauty/fashion/lifestyle YouTube guru Ingrid Nilsen (aka Missglamorazzi, you can find a blog post about her here: YouTube Wednesday: Missglamorazzi…the beauty/fashion/health guru who likes her glamour with a side of fun! | celindareyesblog) served as the Covergirl ‘InstaGLAM’ correspondents for the pre-show, and helped us keep track of some of the fun fashions of the night. A moment during the pre-show that definitely had our heads spinning with nostalgia, was when Katy Perry and rapper Riff Raff wore all denim outfits inspired by Britney Spears’ and Justin Timberlake’s famous 2001 American Music Awards outfits (even though Britney and Justin are no longer one of Pop music’s most beloved couples). Another moment that I want to mention right now (even though it happened during the actual show) was Miley Cyrus’ ‘Video of the Year’ win, where she allowed a homeless young man named Jesse accept the award on behalf of all of the homeless young people in the LA area. Jesse also told the audience where they could go and learn more about the issue of homeless and runaway youths. There was also a short tribute to the late actor Robin Williams during the actual VMA show, which displayed a picture of the actor while a beautiful song played in the background. Last but surely not least, let’s talk about the pre-show performances!
The girl group/former ‘X-Factor’ contestants went on to win the ‘Artist to Watch’ award later in the show, but before that, they gave a crowd pleasing rendition of their latest hit single ‘BO$$’. The girls wore different combinations of dressy skirts, pants, and tops, and were aided in their performance by dancers who wore all white outfits. Some of their dancers also carried red trumpets, which added an overall cool vibe to the performance. With the deafening sound of Fifth Harmony’s fans (aka Harmonizers), it was no surprise that the group took home their first VMA award last night.
The singer/songwriter behind the infectious song ‘Boom Clap’ (which was featured on both the film and the trailer for one of the summer’s most anticipated films ‘The Fault in Our Stars’), took the stage after Fifth Harmony, and definitely had the aid of the energetic crowd on her side. Charli wore a light colored dress with a feathered coat, and in the middle of her performance left the first stage, walked on a runway that went through the crowd, and walked onto a smaller second stage. As Charli walked, her steps coordinated with the beating of her drummers, which gave off a very cool effect that just hyped up the crowd even more. At the end of her performance, Charli presented a random fan with a ticket to the VMAs, and the crowd went even wilder.
Winners (these were awards that were presented during the actual award show or during the pre-show, for a full list of the winners please go here 2014 Video Music Awards Winners And Results | VMAs | MTV):
Best Lyric Video: ‘Don’t Stop’ by 5 Seconds of Summer
With the success of their 2014 summer smash ‘She Looks So Perfect’, and follow up hits such as ‘Don’t Stop’ and ‘Amnesia’, it is obvious that this band was definitely a contender for both of the awards that they were nominated for last night. Although they didn’t win the ‘Artist to Watch’ award, the fact that the band did win ‘Best Lyric’ video, proved just how dedicated 5 Seconds of Summer’s fans are. Also, the ‘Don’t Stop’ video was definitely very interesting and intricate, (I mean the entire video was a giant comic book, how cool is that!?!).
Best Female Video: ‘Dark Horse’ by Katy Perry feat. Juicy J
Ever since this song was released as Katy Perry’s 3rd single off of her latest album ‘Prism’, the song has become an instant hit for Katy. The song has peaked within the top 10 in A LOT of countries, and has gone double, triple, and even sextuple (which means 6 times) platinum. The video also currently has 545,027,017 views, and it’s only been up for 6 months, so that’s REALLY impressive.
Best Male Video: ‘Sing’ by Ed Sheeran
Ok, let’s just take a moment to discuss ‘Sing’. After Ed stole our hearts with his emotional tracks ‘A Team’ and ‘Lego House’ we taught we knew what Ed was about, but then he surprised us with this song off of his latest album ‘X’. ‘Sing’ is a really fun, upbeat pop/jazzy/hip-hop song that definitely showed a new side to the singer/songwriter. With Pharrell Williams (who has had an enviable career that has spanned since the early 90s), serving as a producer and backup vocalist on this song, it was a guaranteed smash from the start. Now as if the song alone wasn’t enough, Ed added the extra touch of him in puppet form…seriously who can dislike a puppet!?! So needless to say, Ed certainly had a great shot at taking home this particular award.
Best Pop Video: ‘Problem’ by Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea
Now it was enviable that Ariana wasn’t going to walk away last night empty handed. She has arguably become the fastest rising young star in the music industry this year, and it seems that she is only on her way up. With hits such as: ‘The Way’ (which was actually released in 2013), ‘Break Free’, her newest soon to be hit single ‘Bang Bang’, and of course ‘Problem’ (which arguably is one of the biggest hits of the summer of 2014), it is easy to see that Ariana was going to be a tough act to beat. The video is also very cool, and uses a meticulously put together 70’s vibe that gives it an interesting flair. I have to say that this was definitely a standout video this year, so it definitely deserved this award.
Best Hip-Hop Video: ‘Hold On, (We’re Going Home)’ by Drake feat. Majid Jordan
With big names such as: Eminem, Wiz Khalifa, and others, Drake was definitely in for a fight for this award. However, there is no denying that Drake has become a HUGE name in Hip-Hop over the past few years, and the success of ‘Hold On’ has definitely aided him in this. The song has also gone Gold and Platinum in numerous countries (double Platinum in the U.S.). Honestly if you wanted a definition of “cool” then this would be the perfect example, because this video just screams cool. The simplicity of the video is what I really like about it, and this definitely makes this video unique.
Best Rock Video: ‘Royals’ by Lorde
It still amazes me just how much of a whirlwind career Lorde has already had. At just 17 this young star has a resume that many seasoned musicians would envy. Her debut single ‘Royals’ definitely made a powerful and lasting impact for the singer/songwriter, and has already been certified platinum (many, many times over) in numerous countries. I found that the music video for ‘Royals’ was exceptional, because the concept is very simple, which perfectly matches the vibe and lyrical content of the song. I think that the fact that the video is not overly flashy only adds to the song’s power.
Artist to Watch: Fifth Harmony ‘Miss Movin On’
Ever since music mogul Simon Cowell put this INCREDIBLE girl group together Fifth Harmony has acculturated a fiercely loyal fan base. Although they did not win their season of the ‘X Factor’, the girl group was signed to Syco Records, and has had great success with all of their projects. In fact, their song ‘Miss Movin On’ has been charted in numerous countries, and has made the group arguably one of the most successful acts to come off of the ‘X Factor’ franchise. I personally love their video for the song, because it’s fun, and full of sassy attitude, which perfectly matches the tone of the song.
Video of the Year: ‘Wrecking Ball’ by Miley Cyrus
Needless to say, this song was a hit for Miley, but the video is what really seemed to capture people’s attention. Before dropping her latest album ‘Bangerz’, Miley was best known for her hit Disney Channel show ‘Hannah Montana’. Miley’s lead single ‘We Can’t Stop’ quickly showed that she was headed in a new direction with her music and her sophomore hit ‘Wrecking Ball’ left no doubt that Miley had left Hannah behind for good. The greatest evidence of this change was definitely ’Wrecking Ball’ video, which had Miley showing her vulnerable side by swinging on a wrecking ball naked, crying in some frames of the videos, and destroying her setting in other frames. The video certainly left an intense and lasting impact that definitely warrants the title of ‘Video of the Year’.
Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award: Beyoncé
I mean what can really be said about Beyoncé’s career? With a resume that spans nearly 2 decades, Beyoncé has certainly made a lasting impact on Pop music. She first won the hearts of fans as a part of the highly successful girl group ‘Destiny’s Child’(which have left the legacy of being one of the world best selling girl groups of all time), and then went on to form a very fruitful solo career. In her entire career, Beyoncé has managed to win 479 awards, which include: 17 Grammys, 18 Billboard Music Awards, 18 MTV VMA Awards, and numerous others. Needless to say, it’s a good time to be Beyoncé right now!
The powerhouse vocalist that has been dominating 2014 thus far definitely showed everyone last night that she is a powerful, long lasting presence, with her unforgettable performance of her latest single ‘Break Free’ (which features EDM superstar DJ Zedd). Ariana’s performance had a futuristic/outer space setting, where she came out of a spaceship, in a frilly pink dress and boots, and dances with her dancers (who also had space themed outfits.
Hip-Hop rapper/singer/songwriter Nicki Minaj was up next, with a crowd pleasing performance of her latest hit ‘Anaconda’. Nicki wore a green one piece suit, and had a lot of cool acrobatic dancers performing tricks above the stage. Nicki and her dancers then kept up the VMA tradition that was set by Miley Cyrus last year, and participated in a lot of twerking. This definitely got the audience very hyped up, and the energy continued to rise.
Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, and Jessie J:
Next up, singer/songwriter Jessie J came on stage and began singing one of Ariana’s newest tracks ‘Bang Bang’ (which features Jessie and Nicki). Ariana and Nicki finally remerged, and began performing their parts of the song. Even though Nicki had a slight wardrobe malfunction during the performance, she still handled it like a pro. The audience certainly loved the world premiere of the song, and it is obvious that this will likely be another song that all three artists will receive a lot of acclaim for.
The next performance was given by Taylor Swift, who performed her newest (and first purely pop hit) ‘Shake It Off’. Taylor wore a cool sparkly two piece (a matching skirt and top), that resembled a very modern flapper look. She also had backup singers that wore black colored dresses of the same style, and male dancers in tuxedos. Taylor also had a funny moment in her performance, in which she “refused” to jump of a large sign that read 1989 (the name of her next album), and climbed to the bottom of the sign in order to finish the number.
Sam Smith was the next performer, and he definitely proved just how hard he can pull at our heartstrings (which is one of the many reasons why we love him). He wore all black, and had a very simple setting, with just one pianist, and a single spotlight on both him and the pianist. This performance definitely played up the song’s deep emotional content, and instantly captivated the audience from beginning to end.
Usher performed his newest song ‘She Came To Give It To You’ (which featured Nicki Minaj) next. The performance started with Usher dressed in white dancing for a few seconds. The stage then lit up, and Usher’s entire band materialized (also dressed in white). Usher continued his performance with a golden mic and stand, which gave the whole performance a very cool vibe. During the performance Nicki Minaj came out onto the stage (also dressed in white), came out and danced with Usher and later twerked with one of his guitar players.
5 Seconds of Summer:
The next performance of the night was ‘Best Lyric Video’ winners 5 Seconds of Summer. The band played their newest hit song ‘Amnesia’, and it was easy to see that the crowd absolutely adored them. The band wore very casual outfits (jeans and t-shirts), and definitely brought back an old 90s grunge vibe to their performance.
Next up was multiple VMA nominee Iggy Azalea, who performed her latest hit track ‘Black Widow’ with singer/songwriter Rita Ora. Both entertainers were dressed in dresses that contained web like patterns, and the stage contained multiple ballerinas that were dressed in black and red tutus, with black mesh like fabric around their faces and bodies. The whole performance definitely had a haunted effect that made it very intriguing to watch.
Next up was rock band Maroon 5 (which is fronted by lead singer/’The Voice’ coach Adam Levine. The band performed their newest single ‘Maps’, and proved that they still have super devoted fans that go crazy merely at the sight of the band. The stage contained a giant capitalized ‘M’ (which has become the band’s signature logo), and the band dressed very casual (Adam wore a Los Angeles Lakers jersey and black jeans). The band brought a lot of energy to their performance, and also played their hit song ‘One More Night’ after the next award was presented.
The last performance of the night (and arguably the most anticipated), was Beyoncé’s performance before she accepted her ‘Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award’. Beyoncé’s performance definitely felt more like a mini-concert, and had her fans going wild. She had multiple costumes, and had her dancers do everything from hip-hop dancing, pole dancing, twerking, and various other complex routines. There was also an excellent use of various types of lighting, which added to how meticulously thought out the performance was. Beyoncé also had several moments in which she was alone on stage singing, and in these moments proved just how impactful of an entertainer she is, and why her fans love her. It would honestly take A LOT of pages to explain every single aspect of the performance, so to sum it up, the performance was certainly a once in a lifetime VMA moment that viewers will definitely not forget. Perhaps the tenderest moment of the performance was the last number, in which Beyoncé sang as photos of her daughter Blue Ivy, and her husband Jay-Z played on the back screen. When the performance was done, Jay-Z and Blue Ivy presented Beyoncé with her award, and her fans got to see ‘Beyoncé the wife and mother’, instead of just ‘Beyoncé the entertainer’. It was a truly beautiful moment.
As you can see, one of music’s biggest nights was filled with equally big moments. From Katy Perry’s throwback tribute to one of music’s most beloved couples (we miss you Britney and Justin), to Ariana, Jessie J, and Nicki Minaj’s jaw dropping opening performance, to Robin Williams emotional tribute, and Miley’s reminder that we all need to be grateful for the small things we are blessed to have, this night definitely had us on an emotional roller coaster. However, all social media sites definitely stopped when Beyoncé took the stage, and proved just why she is beloved by so many and has had such a long lasting and fruitful career. All I have to say is that I am soooo ready for the 2015 VMAs, if they are anything like the 2014 VMAs, then watch out!
Hey people of the internet!!! How is your Monday…I know everyone loves Monday!!! (you may now sarcastically laugh…ok that’s enough). On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we are going to recap what happened at the first ever ‘I Heart Music Awards’…and A LOT happened so let’s get started! Now normally I talk about the host in a separate section, but this award show didn’t really have a single host and instead focused on using several different presenters. I think Pitbull served as the host (I’m not sure if that’s official or not) because he gave a very short monologue at the top of the show (after his performance). He mainly joked about the LA Clipper scandal (which is an NBA team for those of you who don’t know anything about sports…#NoShame). That was about it for the hosting duties…so let’s get the awards (yay!).
Hip-Hop/R&B Song of the Year:
‘Pour it Out’ by Rihanna:
This was definitely a tough category, but if we’re being completely honest, it’s hard for Rihanna to lose anything. Why you ask? Well first of all she’s Rihanna which means she’s awesome, and secondly this year she’s had hit after hit from her latest album ‘Unapologetic’ (which charted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart). So it’s easy to see why Rihanna deserved this award.
‘Timber’ by Pitbull feat. Ke$ha
‘Timber’ was performed at the top of the show (which I will speak about later…get excited!), and was certainly a crowd favorite. But, this is no surprise since it did chart at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart(as well as #1 on numerous other charts all over the world). Ke$ha also has a record of releasing numerous hit singles, so when you get two powerhouses together, you can’t expect anything else but collaboration gold.
‘Wrecking Ball’ by Miley Cyrus
Now if there is an artist who has had an intense year, it’s Miley. If you’ve ever listened to ‘Wrecking Ball’, then you know that the song is full of angst and sadness, and the perfect song to cry to while eating a tub of ice cream. I think that any song that can make you think this much definitely contains some AMAZING lyrics.
Best New Artist:
She’s 17, won two Grammys for her first single, which she co-wrote…yeah I would say that Lorde is the best new artist. She has also been able to make history in her home country of New Zealand by being the first solo act to get a debut single to chart #1 in the U.S. With all of this early success, I can only imagine what this young artist will achieve next.
Best Fan Army:
Rihanna (Rihanna’s Navy)
It’s no surprise that Rihanna won this award, because in order to have the success that she has had, you have to have a fiercely loyal fanbase. In her career thus far, Rihanna has been able to conquer music, movies, and has become a fashion icon for millions. ‘Rihanna’s Navy’ definitely came through on this one, and proved why they deserve this award.
With 3,803,044 VERY loyal Instagram followers (and that’s just as of May 5, 2014), it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Austin took home this award. This talented young musician has been taking award shows (particularly fan voted award shows) by storm this year, and has proven that he is ready for a mainstream pop career. With the release of his debut album ‘The Secret’ expected to drop later this month, I definitely think that Austin needs to make sure he has plenty of room in his trophy case.
Young Influencer Award:
She’s stared in a hit all teen Broadway production, on two hit Nickelodeon TV shows, and has now made her mark on Pop/R&B music (even drawing comparisons to Mariah Carey…yeah that’s intense), so you would think that it would be no surprise that Ariana received this award. However, it’s not only her impossibly perfect talent that has influence her fans, but also the fact that Ariana has cultivated a very intense connection with them, and even admits to becoming friends with some her fans after meeting them on Twitter. With such a close connection to their idol, it’s no surprise that Ariana is a large influence on her fans.
Alternative Rock Song of the Year:
‘Demons’ by Imagine Dragons
Ever since this song dropped on October 22nd, 2013 it has controlled the airwaves, and has continued to launch alternative rock band Imagine Dragons into the spotlight. This band continues to prove that they can release hit after hit (they even won a Grammy last year for their song ‘Radioactive’), so it’s easy to see how ‘Demons’ had a great chance of becoming the mega hit it has become.
Song of the Year:
‘Stay’ by Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko
Do I really need to explain why this song won? If you own a radio then you know what a huge hit this has been for Rihanna and Mikky Ekko. This track has charted at #1 in numerous countries, and has been acclaimed by critics. Since this track followed up Rihanna’s very popular hit ‘Diamonds’, you know it had to be catchy, relatable, and still hold a bit of that edge that sets Rihanna apart from other radio artists. This song certainly delivers and also proves that Rihanna is more than capable of digging deep and delivering emotionally driven songs with truthfulness and passion.
Best Country Song:
Blake Shelton ‘Boys ‘Round Here’
Country superstar Blake Shelton has certainly had a huge hit with this track. It was a fun direction for Blake, but it also didn’t tray from the sound that has made his fans fall in love with him. The track reached #1 on the ‘U.S Billboard Country Airplay’, and was praised by critics for “taking a chance” with its’ sound.
EDM Song of the Year:
‘Wake Me Up’ by Avicii
If you didn’t know who this Swedish DJ/Producer was before, then you definitely knew who he was after the song was released on June 17th, 2013. This song not only launched Avicii, but also singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc (who co-wrote the track with Avicii). This song has definitely helped Avicii launch himself into the forefront of the rising EDM culture in mainstream music.
Until recently you may or not have known who this producer/singer/songwriter is but this year we all relieved a crash course in Pharrell 101. For nearly a decade, Pharrell has produced hits for artists such as: Gwen Stefani, Snoop Dogg, Nelly, Kanye West, Pitbull, Maroon 5, Fall Out Boy, Robin Thicke, Miley Cyrus, Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran, etc. Pharrell has been well known for years in the music industry, as an innovator due to his experimentation with different sounds, and his collaborations with artists from very diverse genres. Lately, Pharrell has taken his creativity to a new level, and is now also well known for his vocal ability and onstage showmanship (as well as his famous brown hat from the Grammys…you know which one). With such an established history and bright future, it is obvious that Pharrell will continue to make a lasting impression on the music industry.
Artist of the Year:
I think we’ve gone through all the reasons why Rihanna is the artist of the year. I mean with hit track after hit track, and the deep love of her fans, I don’t think that any other artist could have received this award.
Pitbull & G.R.L.:
Pitbull and American/British/Canadian girl group G.R.L. (which was formed by the ‘Pussycat Dolls’ mastermind Robin Antin), performed their new track ‘Wild Wild Love’. The members of G.R.L. wore cool black leather short shorts and some wore fun dresses. Pitbull wore a coral jacket with a peach shirt and white pants. The back screen displayed a brown sky, with small white clouds. The staging also included lots of flashing lights that got the crowd excited. As ‘Wild Wild Love’ ended, Pitbull began performing his hit track ‘Timber’. For this performance, dancers came out and added an energy boost to the already high energy performance. This was definitely a fun way to start the show.
Country superstar kept the energy high by performing his 200 hit ‘My Kinda Night’. Luke kept his outfit casual by wearing skinny jeans, a black t-shirt, and matching black baseball cap. His staging included lots if cool spotlights shooting out throughout the stage. Luke also brought his showmanship to the table by showing off fun dance moves, and interacting with the fans. He’s performance definitely made this our “kinda night”. Good job Luke!
Now if you own a radio and do not live under a rock, you know who Bastille is, and you’re guilty of car singing their hit ‘Pompeii’ one too many times( it’s ok we’ve all done it…and the song is definitely awesome enough to warrant that crazy look random strangers on the road give you as you’re driving). Bastille gave an amazing performance that included lots of cool flashing lights, and the lead singer assisting on the drums at different points of the song. The performance made an impression by being very memorable, and so intriguing that you couldn’t look away. I think that this performance proved that Bastille will become as famous as they want to be (yes it was THAT amazing!).
Ed Sheeran began his performance with an up tempo version of his 2012 (2011 in the U.K.) hit ‘The A Team’. The performance was shown via satellite from the ‘Hotel Cafe’ in Los Angeles, CA. He followed up this song with his newest hit ‘Sing’, which not only showed off his amazing vocal abilities, but also his guitar skills. It was a very fun performance to watch, and further cemented why Ed’s talent has been able to capture his fans’ hearts.
Ariana began her performance with her breakout hit ‘The Way’ (which you have DEFINITELY had hairbrush karaoke sessions too). Ariana came out wearing a black jazz with knee-high white go-go dancing style boots. She was accompanied by several male dancers who wore white shorts and black dress coats, enter background singers wore black dresses that matched Ariana dress except they wore black boots. The back screen had ‘Ariana’ written in large bright lights. As always, Ariana gave spectacular performance of ‘The Way’. She then changed into a sparkly black dress, her background singers wore black pants and white mid drifts, and her background dancers wore black shirts (some wore white shorts) and no shirts. After changing, Ariana sang her new hit song ‘Problem’, which of course she sang flawlessly, which warranted cheers from the crowd.
The most anticipated performance of the night was definitely the premiere of Michael Jackson’s debut single ‘Love Never Felt so Good’ off of his second posthumous (which means that it was released after his death) album ‘Xscape’. The track features Justin Timberlake, and was previously recorded by Johnny Mathis in 1984. The performance was really intricate, with numerous dancers who were dressed like Michael, and danced along with video of clips of Michael (which were shown on the back screens). Usher came out as the song began and danced along with the other dancers. It was really cool to see all of these talented dancers pay homage to Michael Jackson, and celebrate his work. The performance ended with a large poster falling over the screen, with the cover of Michael’s album on it. This was definitely the crowd favorite performance of the night.
Hip-Hop/Rap artist was up next with his track ‘California Love’. He wore a baseball cap, blue jeans, and a cool jacket. Before his performance he did a testimony about seeing a Dr. Dre and Tupac shoot a music video in his hometown of Compton, CA. His song gave off a very 80s meets Run DMC meets Will Smith vibe, and the performer was a lot of fun to watch.
30 Seconds to Mars:
30 Seconds to Mars performed their new song ‘City of Angels’ (I’ll give you one chance to guess which city the song is about…well go on take a guess…you know you know it). The performance included testimonies from celebrities and regular people trying to have a career in LA on the good and bad things about the city (these testimonies were also in the band’s music video for the song). The performance had a very haunting vibe about it, and ended with a superman impersonator saying, “Do I think I’ll make it in the industry? Only if I keep believing”.
Next Shakira performed her new song ‘Empire’. The staging was very elaborate and perfectly matched the vibe of the song. The back screen had images of leaves falling behind a black background that alternated between black, pink, and yellow. Then once the chorus hit, colored smoke was released. Shakiest certainly got really into her performance, which made the crowd go crazy for her. Shakira also brought a very rock and road vibe to her performance at one point, when he grabbed her mic stand, turned it upside down, and sang into it while holding the mic above her head. It was a very fun and unforgettable performance to watch.
Next up was Blake Shelton who performed his new track ‘Doing What She Likes’. The staging was very simple, with a back screen that changed colors from blue to yellow, with the image of a palm tree on the screen. Blake accompanied his band on the guitar, and definitely gave a fun performance that the audience just loved.
Arcade Fire performed their track ‘Normal Person’ (which was shown via video). Their performance included cool purple lights that lit up the stage, and the audience wearing cool foam fingers. This high energy performance was a lot of fun to watch, and continued the high energy trend that ruled the evening.
The last performance of the night was given by Pharrell Williams who did a medley of several of his hit tracks. He began his performance with his track ‘Come Get it Bae’ off of his album ‘GIRL’. The staging was definitely the most elaborate of the night, and included multiple stages, and numerous dancers who wore very futuristic ‘Jetsons’ style outfits. The next song that was performed was the 2013 hit ‘Blurred Lines’. While singing this song, Pharrell went into the area that the celebrities were sitting, and sang to them. The next song that was performed was another big hit from 2013 entitled ‘Get Lucky’. While this track played, the dancers went into a circle of mirrors and danced to the song. The finally song that was fine was ‘Happy’ (which was included in the ‘Despicable Me’ soundtrack, as well as ‘GIRL’). The dancers reemerge in letterman jackets, which have them a very 50s vibe, and was a nice finishing touch to an amazing number.
This award show also contained numerous testimonies from artists such as Iggy Azalea, Coldplay, John Legend, Lady Gaga, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Pete Wentz of Fallout Boy, Adam Levine of Maroon 5, Rita Ora, and many more. the artists spoke about their experiences in LA, their first times encountering the city, and the lessons that they’ve learned from their failures and triumphs in the music business.
Ok, last night (March 2, 2014) the Oscars aired, and it was a night full of fun, jokes, exciting musical performances, and A LOT of amazing film stars. Due to the amazing films that were nominated, the musical performances that were booked, and the humor and wit that always follows Ellen Degeneres (the host this year), it was easy to predict that the show would be amazing! So if you missed the show last night, or just want to review all of the amazing moments, then keep reading! Ready? Let’s get started!
This year’s Oscars were hosted by actress/comedian/talk show host Ellen Degeneres. Ellen emerged on stage in a really cool black velvet suit, which instantly made her stand out from the rest of the celebrities. She began her opening monologue by stated that “it’s been a tough time for us [in California]…it’s been raining…thank you for your prayers”. She then spoke about how movies inspire important things like, “love, family, and friends…and if you don’t have these things, then you end up in this [show] business”. Ellen then compared the Oscars to the film the ‘Hunger Games’ by stating that, “everyone’s hungry…and Jennifer Lawrence wins everything”. She then made fun of Jennifer Lawrence’s infamous falls at the Oscars last year and this year and stated, “If Jennifer Lawrence wins again, we will bring her hers [award]…” Ellen certainly brought numerous other hilariously memorable moments throughout the night. One such moment was Ellen’s now famous group selfie with numerous stars such as: Jennifer Lawrence, Jared Leto, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep, Channing Tatum, among others. This picture instantly went viral, and actually shut down the social networking site Twitter for several minutes, making it a true historical event. At point Ellen continued the selfie mania by taking a photo of her reaction to how large the crowd was, and then jokingly placing emphasis on stating that she would be tagging the photo, “#selfie, #blessed”. At one point in the show, Ellen came out dressed in an all white suit, then looked at herself and stated, “oh new clothes!”. Another one of Ellen’s funniest moments came when she appeared on stage as ‘Glinda the Good Witch’, after P!nk’s rendition of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow” as part of the ‘Wizard of Oz’ tribute. Upon “realizing” that she “missed” the tribute, Ellen said, “Guys that’s not cool!”, “you always had the power…oh never mind…”. However, the finniest moment of the night had to be when Ellen brought a pizza delivery man on stage, and stared handing our pizza to numerous celebrities (honestly what could be better than a pizza party with Ellen!…oh by the way Ellen I’m still waiting for my piece of pizza…just so you know… Ellen later took Pharrell Williams’ infamous brown hat, and went around to the various celebrities present and asked for a tip, she even “scolded” Brad Pitt for not donating “enough”. Due to all of these hilarious moments, and her natural charisma and lightheartedness, Ellen certainly further proved that she is truly a hilarious comedian, and a great entertainer. As always she didn’t disappoint, and proved that this is the “age of Ellen Degeneres”. I look forward to the next show Ellen hosts, because you know that if Ellen leads, then hilarity will follow.
*This is only a partial list of the winners, for a full list please visit Oscars.com
Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave
Even though it was not my pick, I can certainly see why ’12 Years a Slave’ took home this coveted award. The acting in the film was superb (especially the performances of lead actors Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o). The actors were really able to translate the emotional depth of the script to the screen, and thus made the audience feel the correct emotions at precisely the right time. The ability to have great dramatic timing is not an easy task to perform however, the actors in this film were able to do this with ease. This film also had an amazing script, which contained thought provoking themes, and dialogue such as “I don’t wanna survive, I want to live”. The dialogue had audiences clinging to the film’s every word, and helped the film strengthen its grip on all those watching it. I also loved the meticulous detail that the costume department and other crew members obviously used in order to make every aspect of this film perfect and this further invoking our attention.
Actor in a Leading Role: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
Now this was truly a very difficult category to judge because all of these actors gave superb performances in their respective roles however, I do see why Matthew won this category. Matthew has the uncanny ability to perfectly embody any character he is given, and use his performance to transport an audience to where they need to be. His performance in Dallas Buyers Club was certainly no exception. In this film Matthew was able to make us feel every moment that his character Ron faced when he was diagnosed with AIDS. The fact this film is inspired by actual people and events (it has been noted that some characters and situations have been changed and/or created in the film), adds a great amount of credit to Matthew’s performance because it is very difficult to accurately translate a person’s life in screen (and selfishly I did want Matthew to win for ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ because he’s from Texas, and I’m from Texas, so I have to root for my fellow Texans!).
Actress in a Leading Role: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
With stellar performances in films such as: ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, ‘The Aviator’, ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’, etc. etc., it should come as no surprise that Cate had a great shot at winning this award. The competition for this category was stiff due to the appearances of veteran A-List actresses such as: Amy Adams, Sandra Bullock, and of course Meryl Streep (yeah “the” Meryl Streep). But despite the other amazing actresses in this category, Cate Blanchett’s performance in ‘Blue Jasmine’ was too amazing to ignore. Cate’s portrayal of a woman who goes from being extremely wealthy to losing it all ( including her mind) is perhaps some of Cate’s finest work. She is able to portray the process of a woman’s unraveling , without making it seem over dramatized or unnatural.
Actor in a Supporting Role: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
This was another extremely tough category to participate in, but Jared Leto was able to rise above the rest. Although he has given several other good performances in various other films, I really think that Jared Leto was breathtakingly good in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’. He was not only believable as the unique character of Rayon ( a young HIV Positive transgender woman who Matthew McConaughey’s character meets during one of his hospital stays, and later goes into business with when he begins the Dallas Buyers Club). In the role, Jared is able to accurately portray all of Rayon’s emotional highs and lows. Through this performance, Jared further cemented his place as a phenomenal musician and actor. Although he has said that he will focus on his band’s music ( 30 seconds to Mars), I think that Jared has proven that he has the talent to portray any character, and we will certainly see him in another Oscar caliber role soon.
Best Animated Feature Film: Frozen
Although there were many deserving films in this category ( the minions in Despicable Me are soooo cute!) you just can’t beat a Disney animated movie. With talented actors such as: Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff, etc. etc. there was no way for this film to fail. Another thing that this movie had in its’ favor was a heartwarming story, amazing music (we’ll talk about ‘Let it Go’ later, but another favorite I mine was ‘In Summer’ performed but Josh Gad, which was a hilarious and adorable song that told the story of a snowman’s desire to experience summertime), and unforgettable moments and characters. These elements are what have made several other Disney films such as: ‘The Lion King’, ‘The Little Mermaid’ , ‘Mulan’, ‘Snow White’, and various other films classics among children and adults. Since its release, ‘Frozen’ has received praise from critics and has also grossed over $1 billion ( That’s unbelievably impressive isn’t it!?!). I definitely think that this film will enter the elite club of Disney classics, and I will definitely be first in line when they make ‘Frozen’ 2 ( hint hint Disney ).
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)
Once again we face a category that had many amazing contestants however, I have to say that I do agree that Lupita’s performance in ’12 Years a Slave’ was fantastic. I recently did some research on the actress, and I was baffled to learn that ’12 Years a Slave’ was Lupita’s first major film! Her delivery of the emotionally charged script was riveting, and left the audience completely entranced by the story. Obviously this was an amazing film for to help Lupita get her name out there, and I think that we will certainly see more amazing films from this talented new star. I can’t wait to see where her career takes her, and how many unforgettable moments and characters she will create.
Best Original Song: ‘Let it Go’ (from Frozen)
Frozen strikes again!!! I was so excited that ‘Let it Go’ won for two reasons: 1) It is an amazing and inspiring song about shedding what others think and expect of you, and living your own life ( this is a classic Disney theme, and one of the things they makes Disney music so epic!), 2) Idina Menzel performs the song!!! Now many people may recognize her from the hit Fox show ‘Glee’ however, my fellow theater nerds will recognize Idina from her various roles on Broadway (probably the most famous is ‘Wicked’, but seriously this woman is like the queen of Broadway…ok I’ll stop fangirling now…wait…ok I’m done now for real). With the combination of an amazing vocalist like Idina Menzel performing the song, and the talented writers at Disney, there was no way for ‘Let it Go’ to lose! This and all of the other music in Frozen definitely left me wishing for a sequel ( and Disney has now announced that ‘Frozen’ will be adapted into a Broadway musical…so maybe Idina will reprise her role??? Probably not but we can dream, can’t we?!).
First up was Pharrell with his track ‘Happy’ from the animated film ‘Despicable Me 2’. It was obvious that he used the fun loving, carefree tone of the song to inspire his performance. When the performance began, he appeared on stage in jeans, red sneakers, a T-shirt, track jacket, and a black hat reminiscent of his infamous Grammy hat. As the song progressed, back-up dancers appeared and danced around joyfully. Pharrell then walked off stage and went to the front row, where he preceded to dance with several of the actresses that were seated there. All of the backup dancers were dressed in fun, everyday clothing. The back screen had the lyrics of the song, and at one point of the song, a dance circle was formed and several backup dancers did break dancing in the middle. The song then ended with a back screen full of minions (small, yellow creatures that are characters in the film). The overall feel of the performance was fun, and it left you “happy”.
Karen O (most widely known as the lead vocalist of the rock band the ‘Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ ), performed the song ‘Moon Song’ (from the film ‘Her’), with Ezra Koenig ( guitarist for the band ‘Vampire Weekend’). The execution of the performance was very simple (which perfectly complemented the acoustic elements of the song). The staging consisted of a single spotlight on Karen and Ezra, with a bright moon in the background. Karen had on a beautiful, sparkly red dress, and sat on a set of steps with Ezra. The overall presentation of the performance was very serene and was dominated by Karen’s strikingly unique vocals.
Next up was the iconic rock band U2, who performed their song ’Ordinary Love’ from the film ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’. As always, U2 was phenomenal, and truly had the crowd mesmerized from their talent. This band has had numerous hits that have become rock staples , so it is no surprise that their experience and overall phenomenal charisma was able to keep the audience engaged . They certainly showed through this performance like wine, this band only gets better with time.
Wizard of Oz Tribute:
Next up was P!nk who performed ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ as part of the show’s ‘Wizard of Oz’ tribute. The back screen played scenes from the ‘Wizard of Oz’ throughout the performance, and the lights and staging were kept very simple in order to place emphasis on P!nk’s performance. P!nk looked every bit the classic Hollywood star, with a lovely sparkly red dress, and perfectly placed hair and makeup (she is a Covergirl, so you know she’s going to look awesome!). Her performance was simply breathtaking, and showed that P!nk is truly one of the most vocally gifted artists in music today. Her technique was flawless, and her execution appeared effortless. She was also able to translate the emotional depth that the lyrics of the song contain, and left the audience feeling every emotion that the lyrics depict (I honestly had to work hard at not crying…ok maybe I cried a little, but don’t tell anyone ok ). At the end of her performance she received a well earned standing ovation.
When Bette Meddler performed, all hope of not crying was eliminated. Bette came on stage (after the Oscars honored those in the film industry who passed away this past year), and performed her iconic track ‘Wind Beneath my Wings’. Bette did a phenomenal job performing this moving track, and truly entranced her audience. Her performance ended with a standing ovation, and further cemented that fact that she is truly a star vocalist and entertainer that is able to continue to move a crowd to her bidding even after all these years.
Last but most certainly not least, Actress/Vocalist Idina Menzel performed ‘Let it Go’, the winner of the Oscar for ‘Best Original Song’. Idina wore a gorgeous dress, and the stage had blue and silver sparkly chains. When the chorus of the song kicked in the stage was lit up with gorgeous blue lights that perfectly complemented the rest of the staging. As always Idina’s vocals were nothing short of spectacular, and she was truly able to express the deep emotions that the award-winning song conveys through its lyrical content. She left the audience stunned and amazed, and definitely proved why she has always been considered one of Broadways’ brightest stars. She also received a standing ovation at the end of her performance, further adding acclaim to a golden night for ‘Frozen’.