The Grammys this year were the same as most years: a bit of a mix | The majority of the awards were won before the ceremony was televised, which would read that they just get the “boring” ones out of the way first | However, wins by seemingly fairly commercial artists such as Jay Z, Bruno Mars, and Lady Gaga were also omitted.
What did fit into the televised portion was therefore some of the more commercial awards, a lot of performances, a cute tribute to Aretha Franklin (which opened the show), and a fairly comprehensive In Memorandum to artists that had passed away.
Of the “big four” awards, the winners were the following:
Album of the Year: “The Suburbs” – Arcade Fire
Record of the Year: “Need You Now” – Lady Antebellum
Song of the Year: “Need You Now” – Lady Antebellum
Best New Artist: Esperanza Spalding
Perhaps the biggest surprise was Arcade Fire’s win (it’s amazing to think the Canadian indie rock band has gone this far), although in usual award show logic they lost in the Best Alternative Music Album category to The Black Keys “Brothers” | Jazz singer and bassist Esperanza Spalding’s win also seemed unlikely (preteen girls everywhere will be heartbroken that Justin Bieber didn’t get it) | Meanwhile, Lady Antebellum’s hit single “Need You Now” is a little dull and formulaic, but their performance was surprisingly good, with a Teddy Pendergrass tribute, singing “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” (their songs are probably a notch above those of the bland Taylor Swift).
Muse had the best rock moment of the night – playing an awesome “Uprising”, with their album “The Resistance” winning Best Rock Album (and finally seeing some Grammy recognition after twelve years of great records) | Mick Jagger also put on a great performance; it was exactly what you would expect, but there was an overwhelming air of the 67-year old rocker showing the kids how to do it.
On the pop side, Katy Perry, who has always had a bad girl image (perhaps?), started with a ridiculously sappy slow song, complete with a massive montage of her wedding to Russell Brand, before launching into a Valentines-themed “Teenage Dream” performance | Lady Gagaperformed her new single “Born This Way” which sounded, well, like a Madonna song (specifically “Express Yourself”) | In terms of the theatrics she arrived on stage carried by half-naked men in a plastic pod chariot, before popping out and performing with prosthetic shoulders | Justin Bieber was just as putrid as he’s ever been, singing snippets of his songs before Usher appeared to perform his insanely annoying “OMG”.

Rap-wise, Eminem, who came in with the most nominations at ten, won two | The usually sullen (in a refreshing way) artist seemed fairly pleased when he won Best Rap Album for “Recovery” | His performance peaked when Godfather of hip-hop and former Eminem producer Dr. Dre joined him on stage | Drake also gave a performance, but failed to win in any of the categories.
Probably the most entertaining performance of the night was for Cee Lo’s “Fuck You/Forget You” with muppet-like characters dancing in the background, before Gwyneth Paltrow – surprisingly good at singing – arrived in a (presumably tongue-in-cheek) trashy outfit | A cheeky Jamie Foxx introduced them, grinning because he pretended he was going to say the F-word on several occasions.
Another notable performance – or string of performances – was byMumford & Sons, followed by The Avett Brothers, before Bob Dylancame on stage to perform “Maggie’s Farm” with them both.