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Friday, February 10, 2012

Awkward! The Top Five Most Uncomfortable Grammy Moments

Posted By on Fri, Feb 10, 2012 at 8:25 AM


This Sunday, Rihanna and Chris Brown are both going to be present at the always-prestigious Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. It's been just three years since they both were forced to drop out of the show last minute, due to Brown having beaten the crap out of Ri-Ri on their way over. We know they're supposed to be friends and all now, but man, we think this could get hella awkward. Which won't be terribly unusual given that the Grammys are always awash with weird, uncomfortable moments. Here are our five favorites.

5. Linkin Park, Jay-Z, and Paul McCartney Massacre a Classic, 2006

This one started off alright (unless you take into account the fact that when Jay-Z gets together with Linkin Park, it always makes their regular rapper, Mike Shinoda, look like an amateur -- poor fella). Then it happened. Right in the middle of "Numb/Encore," Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington started warbling the chorus of "Yesterday," by, of course, the Beatles. At that moment, viewers across the country, sat up, took notice and held their breaths in a collective moment of "They wouldn't! ... Would they?" Oh, but they did, ladies and gents. Out came Paul McCartney looking like a confused grandpa at a bachelor party. Bennington started singing like an overeager teenager in a school play, and Jay-Z started grunting in order to have something to do. Go on. Watch the video. This is literally the most uncomfortable we have ever seen Paul McCartney.

4. Arcade Fire, BMXers, and a Confused Barbara Streisand, 2011

What happens when guitar bands (who aren't old and/or well-known to 50+ year olds) play at the Grammy's, is that a producer will come in at some point and go "Yes, but how do we make this interesting? They're just... playing," and then decide a gimmick of some sort is necessary. Which is how Arcade Fire wound up performing while a pack of BMXers did laps around the stage with cameras strapped to their heads. It was so hugely contrived and self-conscious that only Barbara Streisand -- announcing the band's shock Album of the Year win later in the evening in a manner that made clear she didn't know if The Suburbs was the name of the band or the record -- could make the cringing worse. Then she tried to say goodnight while the mic was off. Truly awkward.

3. Taylor Swift and Stevie Nicks duet, 2010

Taylor Swift is usually pitch-perfect live, but for some ridiculous reason, she was hitting bum notes from the get-go at the 2010 Grammys. The true horror commenced, though, when Stevie "forced smile" Nicks was brought out. Taylor hung onto her hand like a little girl terrified of losing her mom at the supermarket, before wailing over the top of an increasingly embarrassed-looking Nicks during "Rhiannon." The final indignity came when (then-61-year-old) Nicks sang back-up to Swift's "You Belong With Me" -- including the line "She wears short skirts, I wear sneakers, she's cheer captain and I'm on the bleachers," weakly pointing at the air for that last part, clearly trying to take the edge off a humiliating situation. Nicks looked like she wanted the ground to swallow her whole by the end the song. We kind of wanted it to, too. Whoever thought this one up should've been fired.

2. Jethro Tull Wins Best Metal Award, 1988

So, the competition here was between AC/DC, Metallica, Iggy Pop, Jane's Addiction and, uh, Jethro Tull. You'll notice in the clip that the mere mention of the band's name in the nominee list prompts laughs from the audience, followed by a look of bewilderment from presenter Alice Cooper. So when Alice had to read those fateful words from the winner's card out loud -- Crest of a Knave, Jethro Tull -- he half mumbled it and then visibly sighed in disbelief. Frankly, we're surprised no one rioted.
1. Eddie Vedder Shits all Over the Grammys, 1996

Here's Pearl Jam winning a Grammy, in only the way a bunch of anti-establishment dudes could. "I don't know what this means," Eddie Vedder tells the audience, scratching his head self-consciously. "I don't think it means anything." When that prompts grumbling in the audience, he continues, "That's just the way I feel. There's too many bands and you've heard it all before." Not content with that bombshell, he goes on to talk about his dead father, while Stone Gossard watches on in utter disbelief. It's okay, though. Stone didn't care about the award, either. Years later, in the middle of the Pearl Jam Twenty documentary, he can be seen roaming around his house, desperately trying to find PJ memorabilia. Finally, desperate and in his basement, he points to a dusty corner and shouts "Oh look! A Grammy!" Classic.


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