Well, if you want to start your award show strong, starting with Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is one way to do it. I know that the only First Lady we acknowledge didn’t actually open the Grammys (Camila Cabello did with a performance I forgot about immediately after it happened) but it felt like the show didn’t start until she stepped on stage hand in hand with Jada Pinkett Smith and Jennifer Lopez. Gaga was there too. We’ll come back to Gaga and her extra later. We’re also going to come back to JLo. There’s a lot to discuss. Don’t worry. We got you.
First, let’s take a minute to appreciate Michelle Obama in her silver, shimmering fancy-ass pyjamas – I STAN – igniting a standing ovation from the second she opened her mouth. Seriously, it was pandemonium in the room when Michelle started speaking. So much so that she had to motion to everyone to chill the f-ck out, “All right, all right, we got a show to do”, before she could get her lines out.
“From the Motown records I wore out on the South Side to the ‘who run the world’ songs that fueled me through this last decade, music has always helped me tell my story, and I know that’s true for everybody here.”
Michelle’s appearance was a surprise. She was there to express with the other four women (including Alicia Keys) on that stage that music is a lifeline and a vessel to tell stories. Michelle’s full story, in her own words, was released late last year. We know that she and Barack are knee-deep in creating new ways to tell their stories through Hollywood. This is an industry that they are going to be a part of for a long time. I would have guessed that the Oscars would be the show they turned up for but staying present in these spaces is a smart move for the Obamas. And it’s a GREAT look for the Grammys to have Michelle and four other powerhouse women stand on their stage and validate their existence. We know that last year the Grammys were male-dominated. When Recording Academy president Neil Portnow was asked about the clear disrespect for women the Grammys displayed, he stepped in it even further by basically blaming female artists for not “step[ping] up.” Last night felt like an atonement for Neil’s dumbass comments.
What better way to atone than with the most beloved and powerful woman in America? And to have her flanked by other respected women excelling in their fields? It was SMART. The moment saved Alicia Keys from an awkward opening bit (I refuse to call it a monologue) that foreshadowed a night of more discomfort from Alicia and sloppy production decisions. It also foretold a night that would be dominated by women who showed their work. It pains me to say this but I don’t think Alicia showed her work last night. Some of the onus is definitely on the production as a whole (we got a full view of a floor director in a headset giving stage directions, for f-ck’s sake), but some of the blame falls on Alicia’s lackluster performance. It felt disorganized, lethargic and frankly at times, shambolic. I think part of it is that Alicia’s laid-back personality doesn’t go with the vibe you need to carry an awards show but some of it was just plain messy.
Michelle Obama is the opposite of messy. Alicia’s uneven hosting job was emphasized by the fact that Michelle was RIGHT THERE and once we had a glimpse of her, the question then became “why isn’t she hosting the whole damn thing?” Let Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama host all the things! Oscars, there’s still time!
.@MichelleObama makes a surprise appearance at the #GRAMMYs: "Whether we like country or rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves: our dignity and sorrows, our hopes and joys. It allows us to hear one another, to invite each other in" https://t.co/pEHw6h7hdE pic.twitter.com/AE9y2PG6Wy— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) February 11, 2019