I was watching the Grammys last night because I had nothing better to do, and it dawned on me that, for all of the Grammys' shortcomings (and there are many), I enjoyed watching that telecast FAR more than I've enjoyed watching any Oscars telecast over the past 10 or 20 years. Here's why:
• There are no random idiots taking the stage at the Grammys. You only get four major acting awards at the Oscars. Every other jackass that comes up to claim a statue is some art designer or short film documentarian that no one in their right mind tuned in to watch. At the Grammys, famous people are on display at all times.
• Musicians are still willing to dress like complete idiots. Ever since Björk rocked that swan dress at the Oscars and got killed for it, most everyone who attends the ceremony now dresses conservatively. The biggest wardrobe gaffes are ones that are only discernible to the Nina Garcias and Melissa Riverses of the world. ("Another empire waist? I'M BORED.") Last night at the Grammys, though, Lady Gaga showed up wrapped in roadwork netting and brandishing a scepter, and Nicki Minaj wore a cape and brought a Pope. What morons.
• The Grammys know that you don't care about the award bullshit. When I watch the Oscars, all I care about is who wins what. I care about the AWARDS. Consequently, every filler segment that actively prevents me from finding out who won—every clip montage, every unwanted musical number, every tribute to some vague genre format ("Tonight, we celebrate the musical comedy")—all of that is DEATH. The Grammys, meanwhile, KNOW that you don't give a shit about who wins a Grammy. The emphasis is on the live performers, and the awards are presented and dispatched with minimal fuss.
• It has a better live audience. The Oscars have the worst live audience in all of show business. These are people who are afraid to laugh at jokes because it may cost them work, or because they're generally unfunny and miserable pieces of shit. The Grammys are now held at the Staples Center with audience members who seem genuinely pleased to be hearing live music. Plus, Paul McCartney always shows up drunk and confused.
• And better music. There hasn't been a decent Best Song nominee at the Oscars since Eminem's "Lose Yourself." Trudging through all those horrible Best Song performances is one of the worst parts of that show. The Grammys make every effort to feature songs and artists that you've actually heard of.
• There's more to hate. The whole reason we watch awards shows these days is to either a) watch it with friends and make catty remarks while getting shitfaced, or b) watch it alone and make catty remarks about the show online, while getting shitfaced. Either way, the Grammys offer much more raw material. In the first hour last night, I was treated to LL Cool J rocking a crushed velvet suit, some country asshole singing with Kelly Clarkson inside a clock factory, Katy Perry's John Boehner spray-tan job, and Chris Brown jumping around on that Q*Bert stage while most people were publicly praying that he'd fall off.
There's so much more to make fun of at the Grammys, and really, that's the most important contribution any awards show can make to society. All awards shows are inherently pointless and stupid. For a long time, I valued the Oscars MORE than other awards, which was dumb. They're just as arbitrary and meaningless, and they're regularly handed out with nauseating self-regard. The Grammys, on the other hand, trot out as many live performers as possible with the hope that a few things will stick. When it comes to watching live so you can shit-talk famous people on Twitter, I'll take them any day of the week.
[Image via Getty]