What an amazing night for music. Not because of the awards. Those are whatever. I’m talking about the epic battle between the old men who work at CBS and the public’s unquenchable hunger for famous people’s privates. I don’t need to remind you what everybody with an Internet connection already knows. CBS sent out a memo (probably on mimeographed paper) with the most gloriously ridiculous rules, requesting that Grammy guests make sure their “buttocks and female breasts are adequately covered.” Also, “thong-type costumes” should be avoided, as should any outfits “exposing bare fleshy under curves of the buttocks and buttock crack.” And it should go without saying that “sheer see-through clothing that could possibly expose female breast nipples” is just a terrible idea, as is anything that might result in “visible ‘puffy’ bare skin exposure.”
Wow. You see what they did there? Did you catch it? It was brilliant! With one amazing memo, they made the Grammys relevant again. For most of my life, the Grammys have been a pointless, out-of-touch awards circle-jerk that nobody who truly loves music even pretends to give two shits about. But now, they’re like the Reverend Shaw Moore to the music industry’s Bomont. Who didn’t watch the Grammys just to see who’d be the Kevin Bacon of inappropriate award show fashion?
As it turns out, nobody rose to the occasion. Sure, Rihanna’s nipples made a cameo. And Katy Perry’s dress was so tight you could’ve traced her lower intestines. But otherwise, it was a slow night. Nobody showed up with coin slot ass cleavage, or a testicle hanging out of their tux, mocking the Grammy morality police with each pendulum swing. If anything, it was shockingly conservative.
Or was that the point? Maybe the Grammy nominees were being sexually subversive in reverse? Maybe they were responding to the new Grammy rules by saying, “You don’t want us to be too sexy? Fine. We’ll be too sexy LIKE YOUR GRANDPA!”
Does that make any sense? It makes a weird sort of sense to me, but that could be because I watched Grammy coverage for six hours straight, with no interruption, and I’ve had maybe too many bourbons. Anything is sexy and scandalous if you examine it in the right context. An outfit may not be sexy by 2012 Grammy standards, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t have blown minds at your grandpa’s high school prom. It wasn’t the Grammys, it was the grammies.
Here’s my pick for the sexiest Grammy attendees who totally could’ve gotten laid by one of your grandparents.
LL Cool J
The bow tie, the white jacket after Labor Day, the Newsies hat. Even before he opened his mouth and started rambling incoherently about how he used to be cool before you were born, you could tell just by looking at LL that he’s on the fast track to being the most popular guy at the Villages retirement community in Florida.
Was the blue velvet jacket supposed to be ironic? Ironic like when he called his penis racist? I didn’t buy it then and I don’t buy it now. When he walked carefully onstage with Bonnie Raitt, his bow tie askew and his hair ruffled, all I could think was “Don Knotts is looking good.”
The guys from fun.
Yes, they’ve got the mohawks and the hipster glasses. But they also wear skinny ties and white bucks, the very shoes my grandfather was buried in. Also, was Lena Dunham’s boyfriend wearing Jack LaLanne’s jumpsuit? What a perfect compliment to Lena’s grandma summer cocktail dress.
The Black Keys
I don’t know what it was about those leather jackets. I assume they were supposed to look badass and dangerous. But they only reminded me of the Yellow Jacket Boys, Danny Devito’s elderly street gang from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. During their acceptance speech, I felt like they were going to break into adorable doo-wop at any moment.
My wife insists that Clarkson was wearing a doily. I’m not entirely sure what a doily is. Isn’t it something that goes on a dining room table, or am I confused? Whatever it is, I’m pretty sure my grandmother has one in her home. And now she has something in common with Kelly Clarkson.
She’s just 29 years old, but she had a Mother of the Bride vibe going on at the Grammy red carpet. I looked at her and thought “cougar,” which is really confusing because she’s a decade younger than I am. Can you think of somebody as a MILF when they’re 30 years younger than your own mother? Her age says “Stop looking at me that way, old man,” but her dress says “I shouldn’t be kissing you at my daughter’s wedding.”
I know somebody, who may or may not be a grandma (spoiler alert: she totally is), who told me not long ago, “I don’t understand that DJ fellow with the huge mouse head. He looks ridiculous. And how is his neck not sore from carrying that ridiculous thing around? He should take off the mouse ears and just be himself.” Well played, Joel Zimmerman. And if you’re interested, I know a few grandmothers who have some nice Jewish ladies they’d like to set you up with now.
Jack White, Janelle Monáe, Taylor Swift, Mumford & Sons, The Lumineers, et al
It was a night of many hats. More hats than have probably ever been seen outside of a community theater production of a John Steinbeck play.
The tuxedo would’ve been enough to qualify him for grandpa excellence, but what was with the size of that bow tie? It was like a luna moth. A guy with prescription coke bottle glasses could’ve tied it without assistance. Well, you know what they say about guys with big bow ties. (Wait for it. Waaaaaait for it!) They have bad prostates. Oh, and in case you didn’t notice, his Grammy performance was shot in black and white. IN BLACK AND WHITE! Like a Bing Crosby musical, this guy.
Remember when Beyoncé performed at the Super Bowl and she wore an outfit that seemed to be giving her hoo-haa a wedgie? The 2013 Grammy Beyoncé is a totally different beast. What the hell was that anyway? A pantsuit? You know who else wears pantsuits? Did she have hard candy in her pockets? Only Jay-Z knows for sure.
For the win! The Internet will give itself an aneurysm trying to come up with the cruelest comments about her dress. But this dress was only terrible if you think about the Grammys as something that’s not your grandparent’s high school prom. If it’s a pre-World War II clambake and flappers are considered floozies, this is actually kinda daring and ground-breaking.
(This story originally appeared, in a slightly different form, on MTVHive.com.)