Last night's Grammy awards provided a nice mix of music for the whole family. There was Justin Bieber for the kids, Mick Jagger and Barbra Streisand for the parents and Lady Gaga for the misunderstood cousin.
The show opened with a rousing tribute to the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, which featured Yolanda Adams, Martina McBride, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson and Florence Welch. Each singer took a turn performing one of Aretha's classics in what felt like the best karaoke competition ever.
Since they only hand out 10 awards on the show, it is a performance heavy night. Big winners included Lady Antebellum who won for song and record of the year for "Need You Now" and in the the biggest surprise of the night, Arcade Fire for album of the year.
In the night's second biggest surprise, outstandingly talented jazz musician Esperanza Spaulding won for Best New Artist, beating out front runners Bieber and Drake. What happened is Drake and Bieber probably split the vote leaving room for Spaulding, but that doesn't take anything away from her as she is really good and deserves to be recognized. I can only hope this makes more people interested in her music.
Unfortunately, she is now becoming a victim to the Bieber Army, as she is being bashed on Twitter by thousands of heartbroken girls. These kids need to realize that the number of Twitter followers and movie tickets sold has nothing to do with who wins a Grammy.
Anyway, back to the performances, Lady Gaga followed up her red carpet theatrics with a cool yet surprisingly normal performance of her new single "Born This Way."
The most spectacular performance of the night belonged to Bruno Mars, B.o.B and Janelle Monae who joined together for a triple threat of their big hits. B.oB. started it off with "Nothin on You," then Mars launched into a exciting old school doo-wop version of "Grenade," and then Monae concluded with a crowd surfing, manic yet awesome performance.
After some average performances by Muse, Miranda Lambert and Lady Antebellum, Eminem showed up to re-energize the crowd.
Rhianna began with "Love the Way You Lie Part 2" with Adam Levine of Maroon 5 on piano and backing vocals, then Eminem jumped in bringing life to the domestic abuse tale, this ferocious performance was followed by Skylar Grey and Dr. Dre on Dre's new single "I Need a Doctor" and judging by the crowd reaction, the fans agree with that title.
The night's most fun performance came in the form of Cee-Lo, Gwyneth Paltrow and a cast of Muppets rocking out to the ridiculously catchy "Forget You." Cee-Lo was decked out in his finest Elton John 1970s costume and fit right in with the hilarious puppet band. Paltrow then showed up halfway through and seemed to be performing in character as Holly Holliday from "Glee." Coming late in the show, it was a nice wake up call.
Rhianna popped back up with Drake for a sexy rendition of their current single "What's My Name." After watching them perform together, if they're not already dating again, they will be soon. This performance also came near the end of the show and helped liven the proceedings.
The show surprisingly ended on time with a follow up performance from Arcade Fire after they won their album of the year Grammy.
The ratings are up from last year's show and the Grammys earned some credibility with unconventional awards, but the most interesting part will be to see how wins effect the sales of Arcade Fire and Esperanza Spaulding.