We knew that Cee Lo’s Grammy performance would be “weird and cool,” and the throwback MC delivered a dollop of campy whimsy to his stage takeover by teaming up with a slew of colorful, amped-up Muppets and inviting Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow for the ride.
Fresh from a Grammy win earlier in the night for Best Urban/ Alternative Performance, the Lady Killer crooner held court on a space-age set populated with alien-like Muppets and cartoony rockets sporting “Cee Lo” on the sides. Groovy extraterrestrial puppets, including a creature with a detached brain and a drummer with unruly rods snaking from its head, bopped along in the background as Cee Lo worked a grand piano for “Forget You” in an extravagant jumpsuit replete with red, blue and yellow feathers and a glittery headpiece recalling Elton John in his psychedelic heyday.
Rocking a much more subdued catsuit (also recalling the disco era with its plunging neckline), Gwyneth Paltrow ascended down the stairs for the second verse, marking the first time the pair have publicly performed Cee Lo’s smash — Paltrow revamped it on “Glee” — together. The Oscar-winning actress joined in the loopy fun, bellowing, “I really hate your hate your ass right now” at the Goodie Mob alum. Then the star swung onto the piano for the bridge and she and Cee Lo belted the whiny “Why!” cries. The Gnarls Barkley frontman stood up and Paltrow stood on the piano as the pair and their puppet friends rode out the rest of the song.
MTV News got some inside information about the performance just days before Cee Lo, Paltrow and their puppet posse worked the stage. Jim Henson Company CEO Brian Henson said the set was inspired by the marionette mob’s recent theater turn.
“We have a live theater show in New York called ‘Stuffed and Unstrung,’ and we’ve taken a bunch of the characters from that cast and made them into a band and backup singers for Cee Lo,” Henson said of the fuzzy puppets from the made-for-grown-ups improv show. “He’ll be backed by puppets who will make up a very weird and cool band.”
Henson said the idea to sing with the puppets came from Cee Lo, who approached the Henson Company with a concept of what he wanted to do. “We had never worked with him before, and he’s just a fabulous guy,” Henson said. “I think he’s a lifelong fan of the Muppets, and he had a pretty good idea of what he wanted.”
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