Last night during the Grammy Awards, one thing became abundantly clear to me: I don't have to watch awards shows anymore. I can just read Twitter.
Because I live on the West Coast and the telecast wasn't being shown live here, the East Coasters in my Twitter feed told me all I needed to know about the show. Before I had made my dinner, I already knew who the winners were, and how Esperanza Spalding turned an entire generation of Justin Bieber fans into the world's whiniest demo within moments (quick aside: can we give this Bieber kid his own version of Twitter already, so the grownups can keep playing without being interrupted by his tween minions?). What's the point of watching a tape-delayed broadcast when the entire internet can spoil it for you?
It's taken a while for the awards people to get hip to this fact. The Oscars have been broadcasting their telecast live in Pacific Standard Time for years, which gives the West Coast audience the ability to get a decent night's sleep, no matter how long the show runs. Consider it a perk of living in the same time zone as the Hollywood elite. Primetime ratings be damned, people WILL watch four hours of tarted up celebrities accepting trophies at 5 pm.
So why don't the Grammy people realize this? The whole point of televising these shows (other than wasting millions of dollars for a night of self-congratulatory adoration) used to be the element of surprise, the excitement generating around not knowing what's going to happen. Thanks to Twitter, not only is every 'shocking moment' ruined before I can lay eyes on it, it's also been processed and snarkified by all the people I follow. This means I already have a preconceived notion about what hasn't been shown on my television yet. Twitter has removed my ability to enjoy what should be spontaneous moments of entertainment.
There are, of course, options here. One might suggest I stay off Twitter during the time a show I might want to watch later is being televised (ha, that's funny. Stay off Twitter. It is to laugh.), or just live-Tweet along with the other kids. Here's how into Twitter I am: when the Grammy tweets started rolling in, I turned on my set to be able to join in and live-Tweet along with the other insane crazies who live online. I wasn't even aware of the fact that Grammys were being tape-delayed to the West Coast; I'd just assumed that in this overly digitalized age, they'd be live to everyone, everywhere. And, not.
This left me slightly bemused, but Twitter kept me informed and entertained while my kids watched "Worst Cooks in America" on the Food Network. The tweets coming in from my feed were hilarious. I saw the pictures of Lady Gaga-as-human-Balut. I learned who won, who was performing, who was dreadful, who looked terrible, and who wasn't actually all that bad. I honestly had had no intention of watching the Grammys without Twitter to help me through it, since there was not a single award presented during the broadcast that I cared about. And, once the show actually started here, I had no reason to waste any time watching it. Between Twitter and the DVR, nobody has to live in the moment anymore. Or live in it alone.
Still, it might have been nice to have the visuals to go with the jokes my friends were making about Cee-Lo, Gwyneth, and the Muppets (oh, sorry, I meant Bob Dylan and Mick Jagger). So this is my official suggestion to the Grammy Committee: consider going live to the West Coast next year. With new music coming out from Radiohead, Foo Fighters, R.E.M., and the Decemberists, to name a few, next year's show is definitely one I'll want to watch. WITHOUT SPOILERS. And yes, I'm more than willing to live tweet the show...if'n someone wants to pay me for it.
NOW! Bring on the Oscars...and make sure you follow me on that day. I promise it'll be more entertaining than the actual show itself.