This year’s Grammys were a pretty tame and unremarkable affair — partly because Whitney Houston’s sudden death the night before cast a somber shadow over the proceedings, and partly because Kanye West wasn’t in attendance. And for some reason, the producers relied on a stable of three musicians (Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney, and Chris Brown) to account for roughly 92% of the show
For those just tuning in: Adele won many things, Foo Fighters won a couple, and Bon Iver won Best New Artist. Both Adele and Jennifer Hudson gave us understated, commanding performances that outshined the Beach Boys reunion, the histrionics of Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj, and even the Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen-led six-ax attack. But, this being the Grammys, buried within those often-laborious, sometimes-wonderful 210 minutes of industry back-patting was a smattering of strangeness. We’ve broken down our five favorite WTF moments here.
1. Bruce’s earring situation
The Boss opened up the show with a stirring rendition of his new, soon-to-be-misappropriated song “We Take Care of Our Own.” But we couldn’t really get past his giant earrings flopping around. Bruce, you’re 62, you can’t be taking fashion cues from Shaq in Kazaam anymore.
2. Dave Grohl cut off by LMFAO song while championing rock music
During his acceptance speech for Foo Fighters’ Best Rock Performance award, Grohl implicitly dissed the processed music movement by advocating the “human element” of music-making. Near the end of the speech, as LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” drowned him out, Grohl was relegated to yelling “long live rock & roll!” It was the saddest, most accurate metaphor for the current music landscape, really.
3. Dubstep Foo
But Grohl immediately erased those “organic” rock principles when the Foos shared billing with David Guetta, Lil Wayne, and dancer/sometime woman-beater Chris Brown before performing a dubstep remix of “Rope” with Deadmau5. The only possible explanation for this head-scratching collaboration was that Grohl saw this as one of those “keep your enemies closer” situations. Or it was a tacit acknowledgement that Korn has had it right all along.
4. Roman Reloaded … and misfired
Nicki Minaj’s disappointing, overwrought “Roman Holiday” performance managed to make Lady Gaga’s past award show extravaganzas seem off-the-cuff. We think there was music or a song hidden somewhere in this jumbled nightmare-scape, and we suspect it wasn’t a particularly good one. To make matters worse, her surely earnest Exorcist-inspired interlude struck the unintentional comedy chord and was greeted with audience laughter. Oh, and she also took a pope as her date (see above).
5. Ron Paul, stage manager!
If you thought this year’s iteration of the Grammys had a conspicuously anti-IRS feel, it’s because Ron Paul was working the floor.