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And the Grammy Goes To…

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As the ShoreTel Account Manager for The Recording Academy, one of ShoreTel's most high profile, globally recognized brands, I had the privilege of attending the 54th Annual Grammy Awards show last Sunday evening.

Operating day-to-day out of their Corporate HQ in nearby Santa Monica, The Recording Academy, shifts personnel to work full-time at the LA Convention Center and the Staples Center as they plan and prepare for the annual Grammy's Awards show. ShoreTel's Unified Communications & IP Telephony solution enables the Recording Academy and its employees to seamlessly operate at the Staples Center & LA Convention Center – as if they were still in their offices in Santa Monica. They are able to streamline operations, reduce costs and provide for one less thing to worry about as they work around the clock preparing for the Awards show.

Recognizing the value that ShoreTel provides and the assistance I've provided over the tenure of our relationship, Rick Engdahl, CIO of the Recording Academy stunned me (& my wife!) by showing his appreciation by providing a pair of his tickets to the Awards show.

The 54th Annual Grammy's Awards Show!

Hosted by LL Cool J and with an opening act by the Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, was absolutely amazing. Bruno Mars performed next and got the whole stadium moving – the energy he brought was an awesome way to start the show. Kelly Clarkson & Jason Aldean also performed a fantastic duet and got the crowd pumped up for the night to come. Rihanna & Cold Play then came back-to-back and performed together flawlessly – it was truly awesome to watch.

As all of the attendees entered the stadium, we were provided with a colored bracelet, but nobody knew what it was for... We were then told during one of the TV commercial intermissions, that is was for the upcoming Cold Play performance. As Cold Play began performing, everyone's bracelets lit up in different colors and created a dramatic light show throughout the stadium audience.

Perennial performer, Tony Bennett, and Carrie Underwood performed together and sang a soulful duet of "It had to be You." And who can forget Adele?? Adele was THE big winner of the night – pulling down 6 Grammy's! It was a triumphant return to the stage for Adele – who belted out one of the most memorable performances of the evening by singing her big hit, "Rolling in the Deep."

The Tributes to both Etta James & Whitney Houston were very emotional. Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt sang a touching duet to honor Etta James, while Jennifer Hudson sang a moving and highly charged tribute to the very recently deceased Whitney Houston. The Foo Fighters and Katy Perry each rocked the stadium inside & outside in their own ways. Maroon-5 and Foster the People, each sang Beach Boys songs – capped off with a song by The Beach Boys themselves!

Next came a welcome honor to Glen Campbell, recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's, who came out to sing Rhinestone Cowboy after tributes by Blake Shelton & The Band Perry. As the Grammy's recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, the legendary Paul McCartney came out twice throughout the show and showed that he is still as talented as ever.

Nikki Minaj's performance was the one question mark throughout the show… correctly overwhelmingly panned by the media. The audience just continued to look at each other as we collectively realized we couldn't exactly decipher what we were witnessing. The nightcap and finale of the evening was one of the highlights for me as the finale consisted of a guitar "jam session" comprised of Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Joe Walsh, and Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters). They brought the house down and left everyone standing and cheering for a few minutes. My wife and I love live music and to see all of the above performances and singers/bands all on the same stage, back-to-back, within a 3.5 hour timeframe was just unbelievable and an experience to remember for the rest of our lives.

On behalf of ShoreTel, THANK YOU to the Recording Academy & Rick Engdahl for your continued patronage.