Michelle Obama was the best part of the Grammys. Alicia Keys was the worst part.


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I wanted to talk about how amazing it was to see Michelle Obama at the Grammys, but I also wanted to talk about how terrible Alicia Keys was as host. So let’s do both – you could really feel Alicia’s stamp at certain moments throughout the night, especially when Michelle Obama came out in the first minutes of the show, and stood there with Jennifer Lopez, Jada Pinkett Smith, Alicia and Lady Gaga.

First of all, it was GREAT to see Michelle and it was great to see how everyone in the audience totally loved her and cheered for her. Second of all, I have no idea how this appearance was pitched to Michelle, but I wonder if she would have said yes if she was told that she would stand up there with that particular group of women. It felt like… yay, a celebration of women, but also: Michelle should have been up there alone, because that grouping was random AF. The other women felt tacked-on, last minute, and they hadn’t even rehearsed anything. It felt like an excuse for Alicia to find some way to stand next to Michelle Obama.

Which brings me to the other conversation, about Alicia Keys and how awful she is. She’s been awful for years. She’s been a haughty narcissistic a–hole for years. When it was announced that she would host the Grammys, I knew exactly what would happen: she would pontificate endlessly, and she would find a way to make everything about HER. Mid-show, she basically hijacked the telecast because she wanted to cover some songs in a bit that went on for WAY too long. She repeatedly made references to her own career and how many Grammys she’s won and what she felt. She did what she always does – sucks all the air out of the room and makes people feel uncomfortable for her and her narcissistic journey.

Update: Sorry, I forgot to include the video.

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76 Responses to “Michelle Obama was the best part of the Grammys. Alicia Keys was the worst part.”

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  1. Sash says:

    I strongly disagree on Alicia Keys. I thought she was a fantastic host. Calm, knew her music and kept it moving. I hope she hosts again next year, to be honest lol

    • LB says:

      I agree, I thought she did a really good job all around.

      • Venus says:

        Me too. The show last night was much more about actual music than previous ones, I thought. I thought she did a great job.

      • velourazure says:

        I liked her. I never usually make it past 10 minutes of the Grammy’s but I think Alicia set a nice tone. Awards shows are a big narcissism-fest for everyone, always. I actually think she seemed kind of refreshing.

      • Gina says:

        They were raving about her performance as a host on the news here in LA this morning – ktla. They were even saying the Oscars should contact her and have her host.

    • Winnie Cooper's Mom says:

      I agree. I think she’s the best host they have had in years. She was positive throughout and introduced each person with love and warmth. I found her super likable. My one gripe – which is probably the fault of production – is that the cameras would come back from commercial, and she would just be standing there for a few seconds waiting to start. Otherwise, I loved her and thought her mid-show performance was touching.

    • Trillion says:

      agree! Everyone I watched with commented on how low-key, fun, personable, and cool she was. And she’s just so bloody talented. A great night for the ladies, all-around!

    • a reader says:

      I thought she did a wonderful job. She kept it moving, she was kind and respectful and supportive of the nominees and winners, and her performance was beautiful.

      Give her the job next year too!

    • FHMom says:

      I liked Alicia, also, and was impressed when she played the 2 pianos. I went to bed after 2 hours, so I didn’t catch it all.

      The biggest disappointment was Gaga’s rendition of “Shallow”. My girls love that song and were sad she went all David Bowie or something.

      The part that made me laugh out loud was Miss Diana Ross going all ‘happy birthday to me’. Always a diva.

      I loved Miley singing Jolene.

    • CA Family Code says:

      Alicia Keys was the whole show. She is an amazing lovely lady. End of story. If we need to talk real crap…Jlo…horrid

  2. Darla says:

    I enjoyed her hosting and I loved when she played both pianos and did some songs. And gosh is she gorgeous.

    It was so fabulous seeing Michelle!

  3. Diana says:

    Her “ narcissistic journey”— nailed it per usual, Kaiser! 🤣

    • Wilady says:

      I didn’t see that as a narcissistic monologue like, AT ALL. she sounded a little high, a little hippie, and didn’t talk about herself in that clip at all. Sounds like a personal issue with her, and maybe some projection? I thought bringing out other women was awesome (though Gaga’s head wobbles made me cringe a little) and I thought it set a nice, calm, “let’s just love the common love of music no matter how different we are” vibe.

  4. Susie says:

    As I understand it, Michelle Obama was up there with Keys because Keys was a speaker at the Lincoln center for Michelle Obama. It wasn’t random, and they were talking about ‘Becoming’ the women that they are now.

    • Megan says:

      The reception Michelle got makes it clear she should have been booked as the Oscars host. Everyone loves her.

  5. SK says:

    I’m so confused… I didn’t see the telecast. Did they all come out together with microphones and then just stand there and giggle while Michelle spoke?

  6. Jen says:

    Wow, this is a little harsh! I thought the Grammys were awful and disjointed, but I didn’t think she was the worst part by a long shot.

    • CA Family Code says:

      There was real feeling to what she did and a point to it that landed. The sincerity is obvious. I appreciated her contribution more than any other in a show that was, at best, off kilter.

  7. Wow says:

    To be fair, Katy Perry singing out of key and murdering that Dolly Parton song was the absolute worst part. It really sounded like a person moving how country music is sung not actually singing it.

    • Trillion says:

      Katy Perry is the most overrated pop singer I can think of right now. She annoys the hell outta me. What was she even doing up there? Ugh.

  8. MellyMel says:

    I cannot stand Alicia & you perfectly stated my exact feelings about her.

  9. LeaTheFrench says:

    High-profile political figures’ appearances are negotiated in great details several months ahead of an event by their team. What they will do, at which moment, and with whom are all part of the negotiation. As well as speaking order, seating / standing arrangements, choice of moderator and fellow panelists / participants…So yes Michelle Obama knew this would be the setting.

  10. Mumbles says:

    I’m gratified someone called this out. Back after 9/11, the networks ran a fundraising concert for families who had lost loved ones, and Clive Davis decided this would be a great opportunity to push a then-unknown Alicia Keys. Although I have to assume it was Davis’s doing it has always left a bad taste with me. It doesn’t help that I find her music so meh in spite of her strong singing.

    • Adrien says:

      Read it somewhere her music sounded like commercial jingles for airlines and feminine hygiene products.

    • sid says:

      Uknown? “Fallen” the single and the “Songs in A Minor” album were already huge #1 hits by the time that concert was done.

      • Mumbles says:

        The album and the first single was released in June of that year and not huge hits by early September. Besides, the other acts performing included Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Mariah Carey, Sting, Celine Dion. She wasn’t in that league. Her booking just stood out as opportunistic.

      • sid says:

        Mumbles, are you sure? The album debuted at #1 when it came out in June. The song also hit #1 before September and was big internationally. The hype was insane. I remember this well because I was surprised (and pleased) that the general public was going gaga over a pure r&b ballad. Davis definitely built up a big machine behind her, but I just can’t agree that she was unknown at the time of the concert. But yes, as a newbie she was absolutely not at the level of many of the other acts.

  11. me says:

    I think Alicia did that medley because they had to fill in time. Remember Ariana was supposed to perform? I’m guessing they had Alicia fill that time slot.

    • DP says:

      I loved it! I just think it would have made more sense if it was songs from this year.

    • BB says:

      Fill time? They could have televised more of the awards being given out then. Out of 85 categories only like 10 were given out on TV.

  12. Adrien says:

    That Motown tribute by JLo was the worst part. Best part was BTS.

    • Trillion says:

      that was a record scratch moment for me. She should’ve just danced while Chloe and Halle handled the vocals.

  13. Jessica says:

    Strongly disagree on Alicia Keys. Jennifer Lopez doing the Motown tribute was the worst for the next 5 years. They also only did one song in an Aretha tribute.

    • DP says:

      So strange Jennifer did it. She’s a talented performer but not a strong singer. They should have had Jennifer Hudson!

  14. Jayna says:

    Alicia Keys was fantastic. A fantastic host, fantastic performance. Love her. She performed the Grammys host duties admirably. Rock on, Alicia.

  15. DP says:

    Agree that Michelle was the best part and should have stood alone or with just Alicia. Those other women could have presented at a different time. How I wish Michelle would run for president. Sigh.
    Ps I think Alicia is very talented and did a great job!

  16. outoftheshadows says:

    Don’t know much about her public persona or her performance last night, but I met Alicia Keys in a bathroom line in NYC and she was pretty charming.

  17. Tw says:

    Michelle Obama disagrees, too. Check out her IG post on Keys.

  18. B says:

    I definitely did not get that vibe from Alicia Keys at all. I though she was delightful. Calm, relaxed, talented and genuine. She was a fantastic host.

    • Blanster says:

      I agree – I thought it was a great show and she was a delightfully positive host. And I am not a normal fan of hers. I also loved Miley Cyrus and thought she was the only singer who could match Dolly’s singing and phrasing. Katy Perry was awful in that tribute.

  19. NicoleInSavannah says:

    Alicia did just fine.

  20. Lizzie says:

    alicia keys is a derivative of a derivative and there are thousands of people who are better musicians. her piano playing is basic and her scream singing makes my skin scrawl. the fact that she’s regarded as anything but “fine” is a testament to how brilliant a marketing team can be.

    • Lady D says:

      +1. Like someone above said, she has a voice for commercials.

    • Grant says:

      So agree. I remember when she was on the Voice with Kelly Clarkson, she was trying to woo a contestant to her team by saying they needed to be with someone who has, essentially, serious vocal range…like her. This, coming from a woman who sings almost all of her songs in the same octave, sitting next to someone like Kelly Clarkson, who can sing from the top to the bottom of the vocal scale. Curious to say the least.

    • SloppyInsomniac says:

      That’s a very harsh write up. Too much bad energy

  21. melior says:

    I wonder what’s up with this post. It seems mean spirited which is not the vib i usually cet from Celebitchy. The comments on Key’s performance were mostly positive on other sites.

  22. Ann says:

    I don’t like Alicia Keys but I never thought she was a narcissist. I just don’t like that she says the word “love” constantly and in some kind of faux hippy bohemian way that doesn’t jive with me. Couldn’t even make it through that video because she said “love” 4 times in less than 30 seconds. Find a new emotion, lady.

  23. Case says:

    I really enjoyed the entire show last night, and I usually can’t say that about the Grammys. The performances were really good and I thought she made a delightful, positive host.

    • justwastingtime says:

      Ditto, I am kind of confused by Kaiser’s commentary. Alicia was lovely. JoLo, well let’s not go there…

  24. KT says:

    Alicia is WAY too far up her own butt

  25. Michelle says:

    I like Alicia Keys’ music, but it seemed like she tried to toot her own horn WAY too much throughout the night. The bit she did with the two pianos was not impressive to me and if she was trying to kill time, then they should have used it for people who actually won awards. They cut off way too many people because of ‘time’. Yes, some were rambling but others were not. Katy Perry massacred that song with Dolly and JLo need to go sit in a corner and let someone else do the Motown tribute. She’s good and has a wonderful stage presence but Jennifer Hudson would have killed it!! Just my two cents….

  26. Usedtobe says:

    I flipped it on for only 5 minutes because 5 minutes of Alicia Keys was enough. I felt embarrassed for her, I couldn’t watch anymore.
    Sounds like I didn’t miss much anyways.

  27. Karen2 says:

    Meesh talks the talk but she was only ever Flotus. vs Condi who actually held a legit position in govt. I want Condi to go on about female empowerment & then I believe its happening more.

  28. Jerusha says:

    Don’t know where to put this, but Jimmy Carter won a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for narrating his biography.
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/music/grammy/jimmy-carter-wins-grammy-for-spoken-word-album/ar-BBTpOeB?ocid=sf

  29. Pandy says:

    JLo trying to pull focus with that stupid hat was one of the worst moments for me. It was the only moment I watched … so, not a high opinion of the show. No opinion on Alicia other than she’d better not claim to have been make up free last night!! And I liked that green jumpsuit.

  30. Tallia says:

    I loved when Alicia Keys did the medley of songs she wishes she would have wrote and at the end went into, “New York”. They need that every year.

    I loved the opening with Camila Cabello, Ricky Martin and J Balvin, H.E.R. ‘s performance and Janelle Monae.

  31. Charfromdarock says:

    I love Michelle Obama.

    JLo looks like she was cosplaying as Beyoncé.

  32. ann carter says:

    Jada? WTF? Seriously?????

  33. Misty says:

    Brandi Carlisle was the best part of the show for me.

  34. JRenee says:

    I thought the dual piano playing was a nice nod to Hazel Scott. She did a decent job, just seemed a bit nervous.

  35. Velvet Elvis says:

    I thought Alicia was perfect as hostess. She didn’t try to be funny. It didnt sound like she was reading crap from a teleprompter. Instead she brought a genuine feeling, a chill vibe to the show. I say bring her back next year.

  36. Beer&Crumpets says:

    I ca t say I’m exactly a fan of Keyes, though I appreciate the hell out of her talent. I find her sort of annoying, she’s too much of a hippie for my taste. That’s more like a question of personal taste more than anything, I think. But… I mean, I was expecting much worse based on the send up. I thought she did pretty well and came across as sincere and, like, gracious, I guess. I didnt catch the narcissism.

  37. Helen says:

    i loved how woman-centric the show was, with dolly/diana ross/cardi/brandi carlile etc. performing.

    and diana ross’ actual birthday isn’t for another six weeks lmao i guess the while first quarter of 2019 is her 75th birthday

  38. Bisola Bisi Balogun says:

    Really surprised at your criticism of Alicia. Its unlike you to be so harsh and critical of someone undeserving.
    People raved about her performance. And it speaks to how much Michelle likes her that she agreed to come.
    She seemed genuine and I like her a lot.