With a star-stuffed evening heavy on performances, it’s hard to know where to start when compiling the hottest Grammy Awards moments.
Was it the surprise rainstorm during Fun.’s “Carry On”? Jack White showing up with both of his solo bands? Or watching Drake score his first Grammy after a dozen nominations and celebrate by dropping his “Started From the Bottom” video?
As far as awards go, it was a big night for Fun., who scooped up Best New Artist as well as Song of the Year for “We Are Young,” not to mention Mumford & Sons, who snagged Album of the Year for Babel and Gotye, who snagged Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Somebody That I Used to Know” and Best Alternative Music Album for Making Mirrors.
The Black Keys did pretty well, too, with wins for Best Rock Album for El Camino, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance for “Lonely Boy” and Producer of the Year, Non-Classical for guitarist Dan Auerbach, while Skrillex once again ran the EDM categories, with three wins.
What were the night’s biggest moments?
Justin Timberlake Brings His Really Big Band
Justin Timberlake does not mess around. So when time came to make his return to the Grammy stage, JT made sure to fill it with his own 15-plus person big band and a full orchestra for runs through “Suit & Tie” and another new track from his upcoming third solo album, “Pusher Love Girl.” Backed by his Tennessee Kids band, Justin sang in his incomparable falsetto, shimmied across the stage like an old school pop idol and gave “Tie” a Rat Pack feel by calling Jay-Z out of the audience for the rapper’s verse. Whether in black and white or color, JT brought down the house.
Taylor in Wonderland
Surrounded by aerialists, ballerinas, fire dancers and a stage full of circus performers, ringleader Taylor Swift opened the show in grand style by mixing a surreal circus with a bit of “Alice in Wonderland” magic. The Cirque du Soleil-style blowout helped open a broadcast packed with performances, but Swift, dressed in an all-white ringmaster outfit, made sure to pull out all the stops to help get the night off the launch pad. Her mind-bending performance of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” featured a wayward lover strapped to a spinning wheel and Swift joking, “So, he calls me and says, ’I still love you.’ And I’m like, ’I’m sorry, I’m busy opening up the Grammys and we are never, ever getting back together. Like ever.’ ” Did she stutter?
Rihanna, Bruno Mars and Sting Stir It Up
We’re not sure what Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven” has to do with reggae icon Bob Marley, but when Sting came out to play on the song that people already thought sounded like the Police, well, who could argue? Once it slid into the skanking “Walking On the Moon” we started to get it. And by the time Ziggy Marley and Rihanna teamed up for Bob’s “Could You Be Loved” and Damian Marley brought some dancehall jump to it, everyone from Pharrell to Nicole Kidman were bopping their heads in the audience.
Run, Frank Ocean, Run!
Carrie Underwood may have had that cool CGI dress, but Frank Ocean really burned out optic nerves with a trippy performance that made it look like he was running to stand still. Wearing his signature headband, Frank stood behind a waist-high keyboard surrounded by a white screen for a meditative “Forrest Gump.” While a movie of his churning legs running down a secluded desert highway screened below his torso, Ocean crooned the meditative tune flawlessly. Plus, he threw in a sweet whistling solo as he turned to leave the stage.
Jay-Z and The-Dream Try Standup
Usually when you win a Grammy you thank your label, producer, manager, publicist, girlfriend, baby daddy, fans, etc. But when Jay-Z, Frank Ocean and The-Dream took the stage to accept the award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “No Church in the Wild,” they dished out a few gracias, but mostly stuck to punch lines. The shy Ocean said a few words, then The-Dream, sensing the walk off music was coming, shoved the Odd Future crooner aside. “Yeah, back up,” Dream said in order to make sure he got thanks in to his fans, mom and grandfather. Hov, fighting the swelling orchestra, kept it simple. “I’d like to thank the swap meet for his hat,” he quipped about The-Dream’s old-school “Boyz n the Hood” cap over a parental advisory bandana.