Amy Winehouse sure knows how to put the funk in dysfunctional. Judging by her performance at last night's Grammy Awards via satellite from London, rehab has done Winehouse a world of good. She may not have been able to get a visa from the U.S. government in time to appear at the show, but the crowd's reaction proved that at least some Americans are on her side (Although apparently not all).
Winehouse's performance (sans crack!) was undoubtedly the most anticipated of the show, and she surpassed my - and I'm assuming many other people's - expectations. Her defiant smirk as she belted out smash single "Rehab" made it clear that she understands the irony of her smash single and is perfectly comfortable laughing at herself. At the same time, she seemed truly grateful to the fans who have continued to support her throughout her struggles and to the show's producers for allowing her to perform - albeit from across the ocean.
The best was Winehouse's completely gob-smacked reaction when she won Record of the Year for "Rehab." Her stunned silence made it seem like, after winning five awards, she might have realized her true potential for the first time. She's drawn innumerable comparisons to Britney Spears for her tabloid-y exploits, but in my view there's no similarity between the two. For one thing, Winehouse has genuine talent and an incredible voice. Compare her performance last night with Spears' at the VMAs earlier this year. Britney's was a disaster. Winehouse's offered a glimmer of hope that she can overcome her personal problems and continue to make contributions to the music world for years to come. That's what I call a comeback.
A few more thoughts on the Grammys:
-I totally have a girl-crush on Rihanna and I'm not afraid to admit it:). Her performance with The Time was the best of the night. And while I loved Winehouse's shout-out to "Blake Incarcerated" in her priceless acceptance speech, "Umbrella" should have taken home the prize for Record of the Year.
-Kanye West's tribute to his "Mama" was genuinely moving. Too bad his inflated ego prevents anyone from feeling too sympathetic toward him.
-I wish Feist would have won at least one of the four categories in which she was nominated. Sigh. But maybe her lack of mainstream awards will keep her indie cred intact. Oh, wait.
-And last (and least), Herbie Hancock?!? No wonder the Grammys have a reputation for being out of touch with the current music scene. Given that the theme of the show was a 50th Anniversary celebration of stars from the past, I guess it's only fitting to give the award to a legendary old-timer. But what a letdown for mainstream music fans. Hopefully the upset won't send Amy back into the bottle.