"Green Day behaved less punk than Tim McGraw, obediently thanking its label, radio and a bunch of other boring people nobody cares about."
——critic Aidin Vaziri


CBS Telecast Clobbered by Desperate Housewives, Savaged by Critics
Last year, 26.29 million people tuned in to the Grammy Awards;. The estimated audience for this year’s telecast Sunday night was 18.83 million, a shocking 28% drop and the lowest rating for the show since 1995. The reason? Simple: the Grammys, on CBS, were going against ABC’s runaway hit Desperate Housewives, which has become a nationwide guilty pleasure.

“This was the show to beat in terms of how it was produced,” TV analyst Shari Anne Brill said of the Grammys in an AP interview. `”It was just great. It wasn't about someone handing out awards. It was about performances. Viewers who didn't tune in missed a treat.”

But not everyone agreed that the show was first-rate. N.Y. Post critic Jim Farber was less than kind in his pan, while the S.F. Chronicle’s Aidin Vaziri got off a bunch of zingers in his review, writing that the night’s big winner, Ray Charles, “was lucky to have missed the show.” Some other choice one-liners: “Bono did his best to bring back Jose Eber's coked-out '80s salon owner look… Green Day behaved less punk than Tim McGraw, obediently thanking its label, radio and a bunch of other boring people nobody cares about… Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez made their live debut together on a stage designed by Bed, Bath and Way Beyond with a script provided by the soap opera writers at Telemundo.”

Not even the all-star performance of “Across the Universe” for tsunami relief escaped criticism. Wrote AP reviewer David Bauder, “Forget ‘Across the Universe.’ You can buy it from iTunes with proceeds going to tsunami relief—but better to send in your money and delete the song. Bono looked vaguely embarrassed to be there. The song was a couple of keys away from Norah Jones' comfort zone. Steven Tyler tried to wail it into an Aerosmith song. And why couldn't Scott Weiland have stayed in the background with the rest of Velvet Revolver?

There was also controversy generated by Apple’s delay in making the download of the song available in the iTunes music store. “The Grammys offered a textbook example of how to torpedo something innovative: tell millions of people to go to a web site to download something that's not ready and won't be for hours,” said paidcontent.org in an editorial. “The Chinese-menu (one from every column) of artists finished singing ‘Across The Universe’ 2 hours and 45 minutes into the Grammy awards and already viewers had been told—without any warning that production would take at least an hour—to head to the iTunes store for $.99 downloads for tsunami relief or to CBS for a streaming version followed by a donation request. The message was repeated numerous times before the show's end. But anyone who went right away saw only a tiny ‘in-production’ sign at iTunes, which is giving the song less space than the iPod special edition, and nothing on the front page of CBS. More than two hours after the show, the song had yet to be posted… Another off-key note: the mixing of the 'don't download illegally' message with 'aren't we great for doing this?'”

Hey, you guys, if you can't say something nice, you shouldn't say anything at all.