Arcade Fire! Win! Album! Of! The! Year!
Let's face it -- 2010 was an awful year for rock in the music biz. So like a lot of folks, The Amp didn't think Arcade Fire could pull in enough votes to topple megastars like Eminem, Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry for the biggest prize, Album of the Year. But they did it! Right after a very strobe-light-heavy performance of "Month of May" featuring BMX bikers, and before a performance of "Ready to Start" featuring the biggest grin we'd ever seen cross frontman Win Butler's face.
Cee Lo. Gwyneth. Puppets.
One of the night's most mind-blowing moments came from Cee Lo Green -- dressed as a colorfully strange hybrid of Stevie Wonder, Elton John, and a giant peacock -- who performed "(The Song Otherwise Known as 'Forget You')" as the Grammys kept referring to it. He got a little second-verse help from Gwyneth Paltrow, who didn't sound out of place in the least on Music's Biggest Night -- yes, she really likes to mention that she sings, but tonight she pulled it off. One complaint: The fake Muppets. We would've loved to have seen Animal on drums.
Mick Jagger Teaches a Master Class in Rock Stardom
The performance of the night was reserved for Mick Jagger, making his live Grammy debut without his partner in crime, Keith Richards. Even at the ripe old age of 67, Jagger proved he's still exponentially more of a showman that anyone else at the Grammys by absolutely wowing with a lethal rendition of "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" during his tribute to Solomon Burke alongside Raphael Saadiq. We hope Gaga, Rihanna, and everyone else at the Staples Center was taking notes and watching his hips. That is how you do it. Please, Stones, tour soon.
Intergalactic Soul God Janelle Monáe Lands on Earth
Rising stars Monáe, Bruno Mars, and B.o.B. performed on each others' songs, but Janelle closed their mini set with a star-making take on her heavy groove "Cold War." She rose from beneath the stage, tossed aside her cape, and made the magic happen -- belting, stage diving, and dancing her way to a standing ovation, ultimately demonstrating that all a great Grammy performance really needs is pure, raw talent and a singer willing to leave it all on the stage.
Lady Gaga Gives Totally Unshocking Performance
Maybe Lady Gaga has reached the point where the most shocking thing she can do it not shock us. Because her super-hyped performance of "Born This Way" was lacking any of the usual Gaga stage tricks like pyro, giant sets, blood, fire, body parts, special guests. She crawled out of the giant opaque egg womb she'd been "incubating" in on the red carpet, then just sang and danced like all the other mere mortals in the Staples Center. By the end of the night, her performance wasn't one of the most memorable -- which will have everyone talking for the wrong reasons tomorrow.
All Hail the Queen, Aretha Franklin
Christina Aguilera managed to make it through her part of the Grammys' tribute to Aretha Franklin unscathed -- save for a literal stumble at the very end of the performance. She did an impressive job belting out a few of the Queen of Soul's signature songs alongside Jennifer Hudson, Martina McBride, Yolanda Adams, and Florence Welch, but the highlight of this segment was a taped message from Franklin herself, looking fit, sharp, and on the mend.
Justin Bieber and Usher Reenact Their Bromance
Bieber's performance with Usher began with the following exchange, tracing the beginnings of the pair's very fruitful partnership. We weren't sure whether to react with an "aww" or a call to child protective services:
Usher: "I saw you in a parking lot, and you did not sing for me the first time. But I did tell you something, and what was that?"
Bieber: "You told me, if it was meant to be, we'd meet again."
Usher: "That's right, and now's your time."
Esperanza Spalding (Who?) Wins Best New Artist
In a night full of stunners, jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding had one of the biggest surprise victories, beating out Drake, Mumford & Sons, and the heavy favorite Justin Bieber to take home the Best New Artist award. Spalding's victory was a huge surprise to everyone watching the show and to a big blow to Bieber Nation, who quickly ran over to her Wikipedia page to do some mean-spirited damage. Despite being a major underdog, Spalding is the kind of talent Grammy voters flock to, and we're kicking ourselves we didn't bet a small portion of our paycheck on her victory -- with her pre-Grammy odds, we'd be booking a tropical vacation right now.
Nicole Kidman's Enthusiasm Upstages Katy Perry
The talk of Twitter during Katy Perry's two-song performance wasn't Katy's sparkly outfit or her swing routine or even the gauzy footage of her and Russell Brand's wedding that played on a screen behind the stage -- it was the two seconds the cameras caught the usually stiff Nicole Kidman absolutely rocking out and singing along with "Teenage Dream." Get Kidman a role on "Glee," ASAP.
The Bard Schools The Bieb
Dylan's voice was at its most gravely as he and two of folk rock's biggest up-and-coming bands, Mumford & Sons and the Avett Brothers, shared the stage for a rollicking performance of Dylan's "Maggie's Farm." Sure, Dylan sounded like he was gargling Bourbon, nicotine, and turpentine backstage, but it's always a treat to see music's greatest poet educate an audience of Bieber fans about rock's acoustic past. You'll note they only shot him from one, not-very-close-up angle, though...
Seth Rogen Gets High With Miley Cyrus (In His Mind)
"This is my first time at the Grammys, I'm having a spectacular time so far," the actor said before introducing Eminem's performance. "I've seen things I've never seen before, I've heard things I've never heard before. And that wasn't even watching the show, that was just backstage getting high with Miley Cyrus." Guess the bong hit heard 'round the world is still joke-worthy!
Eminem Sneaks Dr. Dre Out of the Lab
Technically, Dr. Dre shouldn't be permitted to leave his studio until we have confirmation "Detox" is really, really finished. But after a shouty version of "Love the Way You Lie (Part 2)" with Rihanna and Maroon 5's Adam Levine, Eminem coaxed his mentor on the Grammy stage. Wearing practically matching outfits of leather jackets and dark jeans (how cute!), the pair went head to head on "I Need a Doctor." Would it have killed them to throw in "Forgot About Dre"?
Rihanna and Drake Turn Up the Heat
There was a bonfire burning at the center of the stage, but that wasn't what had Drake rhyming, "It's getting hot/Crack a window, air it out" when the pair performed "What's My Name." If folks were gossiping about the pair's relationship in the past, this Grammy team-up is going to have tongues wagging for a long, long time.
[Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com]