The 54th Grammy Awards host LL Cool J opened the event simply and sincerely by stating, “This night is about something universal and healing — music.” He also included a short, but emotionally moving prayer for the late Whitney Houston.
The Grammys gave way to a night of entertainment, surprises and glamour with a mix of over-the-top, jaw-dropping performances and calmer, more mesmerizing acts.
Bruce Springsteen kicked off the live performances with his new single “We Take Care Of Our Own.” Springsteen was followed by Bruno Mars, who sang “Runaway Baby” while sporting a gold suit jacket and bowtie.
Duets were a common theme throughout the award show. Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt teamed up to play a tribute for the late Etta James, and Kelly Clarkson and country newbie Jason Aldean performed the hit duet “Don’t You Wanna Stay.”
Rihanna and Coldplay’s medley of popular songs was the highlight of the night. Seeing the unlikely duo onstage was intriguing and exciting for viewers.
Another high-point of the evening was Maroon 5 and Foster the People playing with The Beach Boys. Maroon 5 started with “Little Surfer Girl” and was then joined by Foster the People to perform “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” To the surprise and delight of viewers, The Beach Boys then came out and performed together live for the first time in 20 years.
Toward the end of the show, Jennifer Hudson sang a powerful tribute to Whitney Houston. Wearing all black and standing alone in the spotlight, Hudson belted out Houston classics in honor of the soul star’s recent passing.
Skrillex and deadmau5 were two names older viewers were unfamiliar with, but the electro-dance artists’ recognition brought excitement to their college-aged fans. Deadmau5 teamed up with Rihanna to perform a visually stunning performance, and Skrillex took home two Grammys for Best Dance Recording and Best Dance/Electronica Album.
British blues/pop sensation Adele stole the show, taking home six Gramophone awards, including Album of the Year. Although her winning was inevitable and predictable, Adele proved her worthiness by belting out her soulful “Rolling in the Deep.”
The Foo Fighters also walked away with four more Grammys under their belt.
Other noteworthy award winners include Taylor Swift’s “Mean” for Best Country Song, Bon Iver for Best New Artist and Chris Brown’s “F.A.M.E.” for Best R&B Album. Although both could not attend the award ceremony, Kanye West and Jay-Z won Best Rap Performance for “Otis,” and Kanye won Best Rap Album for “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”
Never one to be boring, Nicki Minaj brought an interesting act to the stage. She performed her new single “Roman Holiday,” and perplexed her viewers with a dance routine that included an odd combination of fire, levitation and faux monks. The mock-exorcism performance displayed Minaj’s intense vocals and eccentricity.
Katy Perry donned a bright blue hairstyle and silver skintight bodysuit to perform live for the first time since her split with Russell Brand. Perry sang her new single “Part of Me,” and powerfully held her own when she left the ceremony without a Gramophone award of her own.
Dave Grohl and the rest of the Foo Fighters showed up a few times throughout the night. Paul McCartney joined the Foo Fighters onstage to perform The Beatles’ Abbey Road hit “Golden Slumbers/Carry that Weight/The End” (an appropriate choice for the final performance).
According to the The Washington Post, this year’s Grammys proved to be one of the most watched, and the award ceremony certainly kept viewers hooked. From funky hairstyles and fashion choices to ecstatic award recipients and charming presenters, the 54th annual show had a little something for every music fan.
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