The performance roster ignited some truly inspired performances. Adele, the night’s big winner, was an obvious standout; however, tributes to Whitney Houston, Glen Campbell and Etta James were equally outstanding.
Jennifer Hudson’s last minute, emotional rendition of “I Will Always Love You” was one of the evening’s most moving moments. Even members of the press room applauded after Hudson finished. Meanwhile, Campbell’s rousing rendition of “Rhinestone Cowboy” brought the audience to its feet, as did the Civil Wars’ version of his “Gentle On My Mind.” And Bonnie Raitt and Alicia Keys’ soulful reading of Etta James’ “A Sunday Kind of Love” was a poignant moment early in the evening.
Even sometimes spotty performers like Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift brought their A-game.
LL Cool J served as the Grammys’ first host in many years and it’s easy to see why NARAS picked him for the job. He was fun, energetic and kept the show moving along.
Upon accepting the Foo Fighters’ fifth Grammy of the night, front man Dave Grohl urged artists to concentrate more on singing and playing instruments.
Breakout dub step artist Skrillex surprised everyone and won three Grammys (Best Remixed Recording, Best Dance Recording and Best Electronic/Dance Album). It’s always refreshing to see NARAS embrace new genres of music.
Tony Bennett and the late Amy Winehouse were widely expected to win the Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group, and they did. Bennett and Winehouse’s parents accepted the Grammy on the pre-telecast. NARAS missed out on a great opportunity by not having this affecting moment on the main telecast. And it’s also a bit odd that Winehouse didn’t have some sort of mini tribute during the main show.
And although Bonnie Raitt and Alicia Keys performed a tribute to Etta James, James’ photo was not included in the “In Memoriam” segment. This was a truly lazy omission.
Was it really necessary for NARAS to give multiple artists (Foo Fighters, Chris Brown, Paul McCartney) two performance slots?
A handful of atrocious performances loomed over the ceremony. Coldplay and Rihanna shared zero chemistry on stage and it didn’t help matters that their vocals were wildly off key. Katy Perry once again struggled vocally as well. And both Maroon 5 and Foster the People fell flat during their tribute to the Beach Boys. But Nicki Minaj’s frantic, offensive performance could go down as one of the ceremony’s worst.
NARAS aimed to do a tribute to “Soul Train” and Don Cornelius, but instead they grouped the Foo Fighters with David Guetta, Chris Brown and Lil Wayne for a dance tribute. It’s baffling that NARAS didn’t group some veterans to pay homage to Cornelius.
One of the few non-predictable wins of the night was Lady Antebellum’s Country Album win. Unfortunately, the country group continues to rack up Grammy wins for bland, middle of the road material.