Grammy rehearsals, day three: Bon Jovi (with Jennifer Nettles) and a tribute to Michael Jackson
The final day of Grammy rehearsals is upon us! Oh, it seems only yesterday that I was fighting to get through security in time for Zac Brown’s rehearsal, but no, that was Thursday. Oh, the memories! (You can read our coverage of previous days here.)
It was a slow Saturday at Staples for me, since only a few acts were scheduled before I had to head home and get gussied up for tonight’s Clive Davis bash. I’ll have full coverage of that star-studded event tomorrow, but for now, read on for the scoop on Bon Jovi (with Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles) and the Michael Jackson tribute from Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood, Smokey Robinson, and Usher. Sadly, I was bounced from the room before Beyonce could rehearse, but I’ll say this: She is using the whole stage.
The morning kicked off with a laid-back Bon Jovi run-through, as the venerable Jersey band probably doesn’t need a lot of practice to play their rockin’ greatest hits. Jon and the guys are being honored at the show, one presumes, just for being Bon Jovi, and the celebration kicks off with their newest single, “We Weren’t Born to Follow.” Next up in the medley: “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” with their original duet partner, Jennifer Nettles. If you’re the sort of person who keeps track of such things, you’ll know that this tune won the band their only Grammy Award (for Best Country Collaboration). Nettles was in her usual fine voice as the group took several no-frills passes through the hit, and she remained on stage for the final component of Bon Jovi’s Grammy Moment: a song-to-be-named-later, which is being voted on as we speak by You, The Fans. I can tell you the three songs practiced today were “Livin’ on a Prayer,” “It’s My Life,” and “Always,” so don’t forget to vote if you want to put your favorite over the top.
The set-up for the Michael Jackson tribute took a while, as more and more random people with video cameras and whatnot began to pack the room. It seems the death of the King of Pop is still big news—I wonder if this Grammy salute will finally put him to rest? They’ve certainly brought in the big guns: Celine Dion, Usher, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, and Smokey Robinson will come together on stage to honor the late pop great. It’s possible their tremendous voices are being under-utilized on “Earth Song,” since they’ve little to do but trade off lines with the Jackson recording while standing in front of jumbotrons running a 3-D video of a little girl running through a forest. As the song wears on, gorgeous shots of ponies and polar bears and snowy mountains slowly morph into a burning, post-apocalyptic landscape, before ending on a shot of Earth from outer space, and a moment of respect for Jackson. Again: All in 3-D! (Get your glasses at Target.) I’ll be curious to see how this plays with the folks at home—it’s possible the emotion of the moment will elevate things during the show. On a side note, I especially enjoyed that both Dion and Underwood were wearing their “Talent” credential stickers on stage, and would like to be introduced to any security personnel that might have a hard time identifying those two women sans sticky pass.
Tune in to the 52nd annual Grammy Awards, live on CBS tomorrow, Jan. 31, at 8 p.m. ET/PT — and don’t forget to sign up for our Grammy live blog!
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