The 2011 Grammy Awards kept things classy this year: There wasn't even a single mention of Ke$ha during the entire show!
Martina McBride, Jennifer Hudson, Yolanda Adams, Christina Aguilera, and Florence Welch kicked off the show with a great tribute to Aretha Franklin and a big redemption for Christina considering last weekend's Super Bowl slip up. Christina performed beautifully.
TThe childhood photos of Miranda Lambert that were being shown in the background while she sang "The House That Built Me" were cheesy. She sounded good, but the performance was bland.
Lenny Kravitz came out to introduce Muse, which was a nice surprise. Where's he been? Meanwhile, Muse was great. The lighting looked like a Tetris production during part of the song, which was pretty cool. Matt Bellamy rocked the shit out of "Uprising."
B.o.B.'s monacle was baller as hell. On the flip side, I learned why Bruno Mars has always worn a hat... and should always do so. At least Janelle Monae always looks classy. The motown rendition of Bruno Mars' hit "Grenade" was even better than the original version of the song. Shit got real when B.o.B. grabbed a guitar and Bruno got behind the drums for Monae's performance of "Cold War," which was stellar as expected. And I don't think I've ever seen an artist crowdsurf into the fan pit before at an awards show, so extra kudos go out to Monae for that.
Justin Bieber and Usher's banter at the beginning of their performance was downright awkward. Bieber played an acoustic version of "Baby," which was alright. He sounded like a little more of a man on "Never Say Never." Will Smith's son Jaden Smith rapped on the song and did a great job as one of his first performances. Usher's moves were off the hook as always, and his dance routine with J. Biebs was neat. Also, I drank every time anyone said the name Justin Bieber throughout the award show.
I loved that while Gaga was saying her thank you's after she received the award for Best Pop Vocal, Will Smith was pictured in the background saying something along the lines of, "Yeah, I'm feelin' this." And I can't believe they gave Lady Gaga the "wrap it up" orchestra music.
I wish more people knew about Mumford & Sons. They're fabulous. The Avett Brothers gave a nice performance as well. I also noticed that if Caleb Followill of Kings of Leon dyed his hair black, he'd look just like Scott Avett of the Avett Brothers. Anyway, Mumford & Sons and the Avett Brothers had the honor of performing "Maggie's Farm" in a folk act trio with Bob Dylan, who sounded like he swallowed the contents of an ashtray right before he went on stage. It's a shame that artists like him and Joni Mitchell, among others, have smoked themselves silly throughout their lifetime that now their vocals are nowhere near what they used to sound like... not like Bobby D was ever known for great vocals in the first place, but still.
Lady Antebellum started off with a less-than-special cover of "If You Don't Know Me By Now" but recovered with a nice rendition of their song "American Honey." "I Need You Now," a big award winner, sounded very pretty as well.
I certainly wasn't expecting everyone's favorite bong hitter Miley Cyrus to announce the best country album with America's favorite alcoholics, Kings of Leon. Another highlight of the show was when Seth Rogen joked about getting high with her backstage.
Cee Lo's vivacious peacock-like outfit was so Cee Lo and was really a sight to see. Gwyneth Paltrow, who performed with him, surprisingly wasn't half bad.
Katy Perry looked like a gorgeous fairy princess during "Not Like the Movies." The clips of her wedding to Russell Brand that were shown in the background were pretty cute. "Teenage Dream" was a grand production that was fun to watch since Perry might have sounded the best out of everyone that sang at the Grammys.
John Mayer, Norah Jones and Keith Urban sang Dolly Parton's "Jolene." Mayer looked almost exactly like Johnny Depp.
Rihanna sounded so much better than she did at the VMA's. Eminem brought his A game and rapped hard. Skylar Grey whined her way through "I Need a Doctor" while Dr. Dre got everyone excited for his upcoming album.
The biggest shocker of the show was the winner of the award for Best New Artist. Esperanza Spalding beat Justin Bieber, Drake, Florence and the Machine, and Mumford & Sons. It's great that this category wasn't a popularity contest in 2011. A great musician got the prize, and it was well-deserved. This is also the first time that a jazz musician has won the Best New Artist award.
Mick Jagger got the crowd going right off the bat. He sang "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love" and rocked the house in his killer green suit. He sure was lively for a guy in his late 60s.
Barbra Streisand was backed by a full orchestra for her beautiful performance of "Evergreen."
Nicki Minaj beat Lady Gaga for my award for craziest costume. She looked like a cheetah with a Frankenstein wig. Gaga wins for craziest entrance though. She came to the Grammys inside a fucking egg.
Drake and Rihanna's performance of "What's My Name" was sexed up. The Caribbean feel she gave to the song this time around was pretty cool.
Arcade Fire's performance of "Month of May" had so many bright flashing lights that I couldn't see half of what was going on. They were energetic nevertheless. They were alright, but I honestly don't understand why everyone loves them so much, and I especially don't think that they are worthy of the award for Album of the Year.
Best Song by a Duo or Group: Train, "Hey Soul Sister"
Best Female Country Vocal: Miranda Lambert, "The House That Built Me"
Best Rock Album: Muse, "The Resistance"
Best Pop Vocal Album: Lady Gaga, "The Fame"
Best Country Album: Lady Antebellum, "Need You Now"
Song of the Year: Lady Antebellum, "Need You Now"
Best New Artist: Esperanza Spalding
Best Rap Album: Eminem, "Recovery"
Record of the Year: Lady Antebellum, "Need You Now"
Album of the Year: Arcade Fire, The Suburbs