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Hey, critics! Would you quit slamming the Grammys?

For much of its 53-year existence, the Grammys have taken a critical beating. While this year is no different, it seems the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences may be closer to actually getting it right.

For much of its 53-year existence, the Grammys have taken a critical beating. While this year is no different, it seems the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences may be closer to actually getting it right.

One traditional shortcoming of the awards show is its attempt to be all things to everyone, ending up seeming out of touch. Early announcements that Barbra Streisand and Mick Jagger would be involved this year gave rise to suspicions that these trends would continue. Legends? Yes. Relevant to today’s music? Not entirely.

But one of the Grammys’ biggest strengths is providing performances you’d never see anywhere else. Jagger will reportedly sing with Raphael Saadiq, paying tribute to the late soul singer Solomon Burke, who died in November. The details of Streisand’s performance have not leaked yet.

The Wall Street Journal ran an editorial by Jim Fusilli earlier this week, in which he criticized the ceremony as a smoke-and-mirrors show “aimed at selling more product regardless of quality.” Yowch. While Fusilli makes some good points, a second look at the nominees in the biggest categories reveals a heartening amount of diversity, and even a bit of boundary-pushing (see sidebar).

And despite popular criticism that the Grammys don’t reflect the public’s taste — each year, some blogger inevitably reminds readers that the Academy has never honored Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and The Who — the Record of the Year and Album of the Year categories have apt representation of the figureheads of today’s popular tastes.

As far as who wins, does it really matter to viewers? We get to watch Muppets singing a swear word in a song we love.

Cee Lo’s ultimate ‘F— You’

Cee Lo Green’s “F— You” is nominated for five awards, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year. And while a victory wouldn’t be the first time somebody dropped an F-bomb at the podium, its mere inclusion as a nominee is the first time the Academy has considered a song with a swear in its title. Oh, and we forgot to mention — Green is scheduled to perform the song with Gwyneth Paltrow and the Jim Henson Company Puppets.

 
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