Grammy acts shine at ceremony

I was watching “Morning Joe” on MSNBC last Monday after the Grammys and heard Joe Scarborough mention that in 1964, when the Beatles headed up the “British Invasion” with five out of the top 10 hits on Billboard that year, the Grammys awarded “The Girl From Ipanema” the Record of the Year award. Scarborough said it made him think the Grammys were more about politics than which songs should get the award.

My aide Shannon and I watched the Grammys on my DVR that same Monday, and here is what we think.

The Grammys were hosted by hip-hop artist and “NCIS: Los Angeles” actor L.L. Cool J. The show started out with Beyonce and Jay-Z singing a duet, which seemed to be the theme for the evening, with many duets in between the awards being given out. I can’t tell you the order of the awards or the singing, but I remember seeing Katy Perry come out singing a new song called “Dark Horse.” Both Shannon and I really liked the song. Perry has a great stage presence.

Following Perry came more awards and performances, including Chicago with Alan Thicke, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr and even Stevie Wonder. Willie Nelson and Blake Shelton were part of a foursome onstage with Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard, reforming the old Highwaymen group.

Hunter Hayes gave an outstanding solo performance. Keith Urban came out as part of a duo and did an excellent job as well. He also teared up during a special segment on same-sex marriage. Queen Latifah presided over 33 same-sex marriages during the show, with Ryan Lewis and Macklemore as well as Madonna singing a mash-up of what has become a standard for same-sex weddings, “Same Love,” with Madonna’s “Open Your Heart.”

It was nice to see Julia Roberts introduce McCartney and Starr as part of the proceedings. I’m not sure what she has to do with the music business these days. I think the last time I was with her was at her birthday party in 1993 in Southern California. As shown by her performance in “August: Osage County” with Meryl Streep, she definitely has had staying power two decades later.

All in all, it was a very unusual and innovative show with old and new musicians paired up, along with the wedding ceremonies.

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns and contact information may be accessed at her website,