The Grammys took over television last night, broadcasting live from Los Angeles’ Staples Center and while the overall tone of the awards was somber in light of the plethora of loss the music community has endured this year, from Etta James to Amy Winehouse and especially Whitney Houston, there were still some moments of levity and joy. We could regale you with tales of Chris Brown’s incredible lip-synching cube dance or the jarring juxtaposition of Deadmau5 and David Guetta as the performance after a touching Whitney Houston tribute, but instead, we’ll share our favorite moments from Music’s biggest night.
Adele is the most lovable, adorable human ever. Not only is this 23 year-old unbelievably talented and not only did her buttery, almost unnaturally haunting voice make a full recovery after being threatened by health problems, but she won almost every award the Grammys had to offer and took it all in with such palpable gratitude and incredibly humility that it makes us squeal more than a video of 10 puppies rolling around with a flock of bunnies while kittens frolic on the sidelines. In other words: her multiple acceptance speeches, especially that for Album of the Year during which she told her mother “Mum, girl done good,” were heartbreakingly adorable. Not even Lady Gaga’s overwhelming jealousy (don’t act like that face-net was holding it in- we all know Gaga’s not a gracious loser) could undo the joy of watching Adele get the praise she so greatly deserves. Bruno Mars and his 10,000 flashing light bulbs are upstaged by two singers, a keyboard and guitar. If you’re a Bruno Mars fan, I’m sorry, but aside from the spectacle of the shiny lights, his performance was a little vanilla. This was thrown into stark relief when it was immediately followed with a bare-bones tribute to the late Etta James performed by Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt. The two songstresses have solidified themselves as some of the best artists of all time, and it was clear when their sweet, honest performance of “Sunday Kind of Love” brought down the house without a fancy set-up, flashing cubes to dance on, or flame-throwers. They sang a beautiful song, pure and simple – and that was more than enough to silence the entire Staples Center and everyone watching at home. It was a bad night to be an ex-boyfriend. While Katy Perry didn’t take home any golden statues, she certainly gave a performance that’s got to have Russell Brand hanging his head. She performed her new single, “Part of Me,” complete with flame throwers, hot male dancers, and an outfit that would be at home in The Fifth Element. If she’s sad about the split, we wouldn’t know it because all we’re hearing is “girl powers.” And if that wasn’t enough, think about what it feels like to be Adele’s ex-boyfriend – a.k.a. the inspiration for all her soul-crushing songs – right about now. Not only did she practically sweep the ceremony, but she took the stage and sang “Rolling in the Deep” as if the heart-breaker was sitting right in front of her. How’s that for “winning” a breakup? Johnny Depp opened for Taylor Swift. Okay, it wasn’t really Johnny Depp, but the lead singer of The Civil Wars has to be going to the Depp look. His mustache is slanted like Jack Sparrow’s classic facial accoutrement, but he had the unruly, yet shaggy mop too! And if you don’t agree that he looks like the actor, can you at least agree that the band’s reason for opening for Taylor Swift before a Grammy performance was non-existent? Was it in Swifty’s contract that her buds get some screen time too? Kanye and Jay-Z were too cool for school. They were nowhere to be found, and the lack of the two kings of hip hop – not mention Queen Beyoncè – was palpable. It just wasn’t the same. And I’ll give Jay-Z a pass because he’s a new papa, but what could Kanye possibly be doing? Sure, it’s New York Fashion Week (and we know how much he loves that), but there’s this wonderful invention called the red-eye that will get you from California to New York overnight. Look it up, Yeezy. (Translation: We missed you.) Nicki Minaj is the most committed, solidly crazy weirdo out there. Her performance puts all past Gaga spectacles to shame. I’m not saying it was prolific or even good – but it sure was something. From the overt religious and exorcism elements, to her classic crazy face, there was nothing basic or expected about this performance. I’m still scratching my head, but you can be certain I’ll be watching this insanity at least a few more times. Jennifer Hudson didn’t leave a dry eye in the nation with her tribute performance of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.” We knew it was coming. After Saturday evening’s devastating news that the music world had lost one of its greats, Miss Whitney Houston, there was no doubt that a fitting, yet somber tribute was in order. The duty fell to Jennifer Hudson, who stood alone with just a single spotlight as she choked back her tears to say good bye to the icon. Hudson sang beautifully, with her raw emotion bursting through her attempted composure, but it was that break in her stoic countenance that made the rendition so perfect. Losing Houston is a largely personal loss for the majority of the artists in that room, and to hold back tears too greatly would be dishonest. What Hudson delivered was, in a word, perfect. Did I miss any of your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments or get at me on Twitter @KelseaStahler.