My Top Six GRAMMY Performances

I’ll be honest… The GRAMMYs usually don’t impress me. Last year I DIED when Dave Grohl performed (per usual), but I don’t remember ANY GRAMMY award show being NEARLY this entertaining.

The talent level was outstanding.

And I know it was REALLY entertaining because I was sober the whole show and still loved every bit of it! 😉

So with that, I have carefully selected my top performances of last night.

As you know, I am a rocker chick at my heart, and I think my choices clearly show that.

That being said, I know that some of you are going to scoff at my choices. Particularly the fact that I left a few great performances out. But honestly, the talent was so superb, I could have probably included more… but these six performances truly gave me EVERYTHING!

6. The Lumineers/Jack White


This act has a special place in my heart because when I worked at Cafe 939 in Boston, I got to work The Lumnineers show right as they were on the brink of making it big! They were incredibly nice, packed the house, and the show was FANTASTIC! I remember when everyone started to buzz about them and all I could think was that I as SO LUCKY to have seen them in an intimate 200-person room.

My job at 939 was my favorite job I’ve ever had for many reasons… but the amount of SHEER talent that has come through those doors is incredible.  And it’s so great to see acts who come through 939 “make it big.”

Then Jack White took the stage with “Love Interruption,” one of my favorite songs with his band of sirens.  I know that he’s borderline vampire status, but I LOVE JACK WHITE! I think he strange and beautiful and mysterious and I just eat it all up.

And those lyrics! “I want love to roll me over slowly/Stick a knife inside me and twist it all around.”


Keep doing your THANG Jack! I love you.

5. Mumford and Sons


I will admit… I resisted the Mums for a while.

I was not a huge fan of Little Lion Man and then The Cave came out and I started to believe in these guys.

Then I listened to their albums. They blow me away.

I should have never doubted the magic of Mumford or their Sons.

I never thought I would see the day where I swooned over a band who has just a kick drum as their percussion, but it has happened. These men are so freaking talented, I can’t even get over it. They don’t need any fancy stage, or lights, or pyrotechnics, or dancing bunny rabbits (Taylor Swift).

They just have their instruments and the music.


4. Kelly Clarkson

The 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards - Show

We all know Kelly can sing, but this girl gave me some SOUL last night.

I’m always skeptical when singers do “tribute” performances because there is A LOT of pressure, and it’s easy for viewers to get disenchanted.

Not in this case. Kelly’s tribute to Patti Page with “Tennessee Waltz” moved me to tears. The song is beautiful on its own, but the way she crafted that vocal was incredible. She didn’t oversing it like many pop tarts would attempt to do. We all know Kelly can do whatever she wants with those flawless pipes, but her embellishments were purposeful and not overdone.

Then she began her Carole King  tribute with “Natural Woman.” And THIS is when shit got REAL.

How man times have you heard this song? Probably about a million. Every time some girl who can sing with a lot of licks and turns sings this song, I usually despise it.

Kelly did it perfectly. She also added some unexpected blues note embellishments that made me stand up and say, “PREACH GUUUUURL!”

Wow. There is a reason she is still famous after winning American Idol all those years ago.

And THAT my dears, is why.

(And this is where it gets tough… because my top three were SO IMPRESSIVE, I kept going back and forth between who my top spot was going to be.)

3. Justin Timberlake


Can JT do ANYTHING wrong???

Man has style, moves, is wifed up to arguably the most beautiful woman in show business…

Oh yeah… and he can SANG HIS ASS OFF!

I am a HUGE fan of the JT and the Tennessee Kids band. Everything he did just OOOZED class and sexiness.

I was a little worried that the background dancers would look a little campy, but they were great too! And then Jay-Z came up… and shit got even BETTER!

Justin Timberlake is a FREAK of nature and he deserves every bit of fame he has ever received. No matter if you like his music or not, you cannot deny that this man has talent. It literally seeps out of him like some strange super-human sexiness that enchants everyone who crosses his path.

Swoon… x 100,000,000

2. Bruno Mars/Sting



I need to just take a second to give it up to the TIGHTEST, SEXIEST BACKING BAND I’VE EVER SEEN.

Bruno Mars and his band are SO in synch with each other and make everything they do look incredibly flawless. I have to give it up to the incredible horn section and FUCK that bass line gets me every time!

Oh yeah… and then STING came out. The way he sang Bruno’s song, you would have thought that it was a Police song. Not to mention that that funky bass line was made for Sting.

The tribute to Bob Marley was breathtaking and the performance had so much life and spunk that I never wanted it to end.

Ok… can we please talk about this backing band again!?!?! I mean, SERIOUSLY! Where can I find player with that much swag???

(And I need to be real with you. I HATE the word swag, but how else do I describe these beautiful, sexy creatures who mesmerized me with their musicianship and dance moves???)

I feel like I was paying attention to the band more than Bruno. They were EVERYTHING to me last night.

***And here we go.. my Number One spot! After a lot of thought and careful consideration I have chosen:

1. The Black Keys/Dr. John


Many of you know that I’m from Ohio, so naturally I love The Black Keys.

But that was not the only reason I chose these illustrious men as my top spot.

Again, like Mumford, I feel like The Black Keys can get on stage and just PLAY their music and have magic happen.

Throw in Dr. John and you have sheer perfection.

How can you not get up and dance when “Lonely Boy” starts playing.  The song is AMAZING! In my opinion, the best song of the year. The Black Keys have been around for SO many years, and are FINALLY getting the accolades they deserve.

I remember being an intern at Cincinnati Magazine in 2008 and writing about The Black Keys and thinking, these guys are FUCKING GREAT! Why aren’t they famous!?!?

And here we are. I just watched two guys from Akron, Ohio TEAR up the GRAMMYs with the legendary Dr. John and kill every moment of their time on stage.

Boom. There you are.

I know some people are going to MURDER me for not mentioning other acts (Elton, Rihanna, fun., Carrie Underwood, etc) but like I said… there were SO many great performances and these were only MY top six. Feel free to weigh in, agree or disagree with me.

All I know was that this was the most entertaining GRAMMYs I’ve watched probably ever!

These are the times that despite all the bullshit of the music industry, that I’m so proud to call myself a musicians who writes original music and wants to perform for a living.

These artists inspire me on so many levels.

Until next time,


Shannon Allen


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