The Grammys: USD Radio goes Mainstream?

Official 52nd Annual Grammy Awards Logo

The thrill behind an evening at the Grammy Awards is something that most people don’t have the opportunity to experience away from their living room TV. It’s an invitation only event open to members of the Recording Academy that sells out every year. Yet as I’ve found with most things in life, if you play your cards right and shake hands with the right people, anything is possible. Long story short, I was able to grab two tickets to the Grammys.

What you don’t see on TV the night of the awards is the fact that blocks around Staples Center are closed off and guarded by police officers of all kinds. SWAT teams stand by on call ready to mobilize if they are needed. Due to the traffic nightmare, my girlfriend and I were dropped of a block from the venue and started to walk toward celebrity central. As we arrived at the venue, we approached what looked like a limousine drop-off and walked right to the nearest limousine to avoid traffic. To a nearby security guard, it appeared as though we had just exited Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman’s limo and we were ushered with them down the Red Carpet. They walked feet from us along the red carpet as I heard a security guard speak into his earpiece, “Be prepared, the Jonas Brothers are up next.” As we walked down the red carpet, celebrities we directed along an alley of cameras and reporters while “guests” were escorted along a side carpet area.
“Just act like we belong,” I told my girlfriend as we continued along past Ryan Seacrest who was interviewing Adam Lambert. As we got to the area where we merged back together with the celebrities, my girlfriend grabbed my arm and whispered into my ear, telling me to look to my right. I turned and saw Katy Perry while her fiancé Russell Brand tagged right behind. She was as nice as could be and I talked to her about her metallic dress. It jangled along as we walked and she joked about how she felt like a cat wearing a bell on her collar. As we got to the door Akon walked by dressed in a T shirt and jeans. I went to follow him through the entrance but accidently bumped into his wife who was right behind him. Once through security, I walked passed MGMT, dressed in retro attire, anxious to find out if they would win for “Best New Artist.”

During commercial breaks, Staples Center comes to life with people standing up to get food or go to the bathroom. During the telecast, attendees are not supposed to leave their seats. Ushers do not let anyone into the seats while on air, in fear that they will lose their jobs by stretching the rules. Seen live, the musical acts have an even more significant meaning. The sheer fact that so many famous and well-recognized performers share one stage is amazing. The actual fact that I saw it all live reminds me that this is an unforgettable experience.

The awards themselves seemed to bring what many have been quick to call upsets or undeserved. The winner for “Best New Artist”, The Zac Brown Band seems minimal to me compared to other nominees such at MGMT or even the Silversun Pickups. Yet The Zac Brown Band is huge on the country music scene and was recently booked to headline at The San Diego Sports Arena (a 15k person venue) on March 2nd. Taylor Swift has also been criticized for her Grammy win for Album of the Year. However, her album Fearless was able to transcend genres, outsell any other album this year, and was written largely by herself. For her young age, this proves to be an incredible feat.

Rubbing shoulders with the famous and seeing live performances of the best songs of the year is one way to create a memorable evening. The only issues seem to be getting there and getting in. You can by a ticket on the street for over a thousand dollars but that method violates the Academy’s rules. But who knows? It all could be worth it to walk down the Red Carpet hand in hand with Snookie from the Jersey Shore.