Unlike past years, the 2012 version of the Grammy Awards was not a particularly shock-filled show. Most of the awards went to Adele, so it’s telling that the one big left-field selection came in a category that did not feature the big-voiced Brit.
When it came time to announce the winner for Best New Artist (awarded by the charming tag team of Tony Bennett and Carrie Underwood), any one of the five names nominated could have walked away with the award. (Well, OK, everybody except J. Cole.)
But while many, including Las Vegas bookies, thought that Nicki Minaj would walk away with the gold, the name in the envelope ended up being Bon Iver.
It was clearly an uncomfortable moment for Bon Iver mastermind Justin Vernon, who had already won a prize earlier in the night for Best Alternative Album. In the weeks leading up to the Grammys, he had said dismissive things about the show, noting that he was not interested in winning awards nor did he want to perform unless he was allowed to play his own songs. Would his victory turn into a Fiona Apple moment?
When he finally stepped up to the microphone, Vernon did mention that the joy of making music was reward enough, but he was also gracious in thanking the voters, other nominees, and musicians who would never be nominated. He also gave a shout-out to his label Jagjaguwar, in what is almost certainly the first time that tiny indie shingle has been called out on the Grammy stage.
What did you think of Vernon’s victory and speech? Did you notice that Minaj looked super upset when they announced Bon Iver’s name? Drop your best new thoughts in the comments.