Musicians scheduled to appear on-stage at the 54th annual Grammy awards are expecting unforgettable performances and once-in-a-lifetime collaborations. Hopeful audiences are expecting inspired utterances of “did that just happen?”
This year has much to live up to. Especially when we remember the stunning performances seen in the last decades. Before this year’s top choices take the stage, there will be a count-down of the 10 best Grammy performances from 2000-2011 and the networks will be broadcasting it widely across the world.
The 48th Grammy’s started off as no other Grammy’s had before — with an opening band that wasn’t even three-dimensional. The animated act Gorillaz took to the stage to perform the Record of the Year. This nomination-was “Feel Good Inc.,” and was joined briefly by the real De La Soul and a hologram of Madonna. When the real-life Madonna appeared onstage moments later to perform her 2005 hit “Hung Up,” the Grammy-crowd exploded.
Crashing the stage to ramble about children and do interpretive dances, the laws of decency were challenged. Then, performers kissed and made up in front of millions. Another group got busted for faking funk. The Grammy’s have been known to swing from famous fights to bold boycotts. Comcast will be broadcasting the 10 weirdest, wildest, wackiest and most jaw-dropping moments in Grammy history this year.
Way before Kanye West hit the awards show stage by crashing jump-the- shark, 50 Cent experimented with the form. Who really knows why the “In Da Club” rapper — was so sure he’d won — that he sauntered right up to the microphone podium during the Evanesence ’04 Best new Artist acceptance speech. Composed and focused lead singer Amy Lee shrugged at the interruption while going on to thank supporters “in addition to 50 Cent.”
Former child star turned international icon, Michael Jackson stepped up to accept a Grammy Legend award in ’93. He was just becoming known as an eccentric hermit known far more for his weird-factor than his music. Jackson helped the re-calibrate the event with his “Grammy Legend” acceptance speech broadcast widely across Comcast channels. Poised next to his sister Janet, Michael told the revealing story of the Jackson family’s abnormal youth.
Jackson told the world that normal childhood pleasures “we exchanged for hard work, struggle and pain.” Yet the very personal revelations that felt scripted and calculated to some were seen by others as an indication when he said “It feels good to be thought of as a person, not as a personality.” Fans suggest he may have already known that’s what he would eventually become.
“We need to shock the people. So let’s shock the people!” came the ’96 Grammy emcee Tupac Shakur declaration. Seconds later, the rapper was joined onstage by Kiss. This unexpected reunion was formally announced just at that shock-factor moment. Appearing as Star-child, Space Ace, Demon and Cat Man, the four founding members of the rock band took the stage in front of the Comcast broadcasting network audiences.
Fully made-up and costumed for the first time in 15 years — the roaring audience members were genuinely surprised. Fans were more than a little bit amused at the spectacle of Tupac surrounded by tongue-dangling old dudes in spandex and platform boots!
Finally, the ever-controversial Sinead O’Connor ripped up a photo of the Pope during a live SNL performance. She also made a remarkable point at the 1990 Grammys — by refusing to show up. O’Connor claimed her absence and refusal to accept her Best Alternative Music Performance Trophy for “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got” was her way of boycotting the over-commercialization of the ceremony awards