My favorite line from this year's Grammys came about an hour in and was spoken by the anonymous female announcer: “Ladies and Gentleman, Nelly Furtado, from ‘Without a Trace’ Roselyn Sanchez … and Andy Williams.”
How random is that? Were they picking the presenters out of a hat? Or have Andy Williams and Roselyn Sanchez from “Without a Trace” recorded a Tejano duet that I'm not aware of?
Let's back up. The Grammy's 50th birthday bash certainly got off to a classy start with Alicia Keys at the piano in a green Keira Knightley “Atonement” gown.
I'm currently obsessed with Ms. Keys because she's the only person I can think of who seems to be unequivocally thriving in '08. The sub-prime housing crisis, the writers strike, rising gas prizes; Alicia seems immune from it all. In Alicia-land, it's like it's 1998 all over again. And she proved herself a winner as show opener, by dueting with Frank Sinatra on a video screen. She's flying so high right now she can actually raise the dead.
More Entertainment stories
Autistic ballerina dances her way into hearts
In a popular YouTube video, the beaming little ballerina dances an entire four-minute routine seemingly perfectly, matchin...
- Every on-screen drink in 'Mad Men' in 5 minutes
- See the 'Dancing' stars' most memorable moves
- Emmy's biggest snubs? Cranston, Hamm, more
- 'Toy Story' toys burn up in prank on mom
- Autistic ballerina dances her way into hearts
Next up, Carrie Underwood performed her ode to auto vandalism “Before He Cheats” and looked amazing in her hot pants and “Pretty Woman” hooker boots. I worry that Carrie's supple tan legs are going to be the thing that finally sends Britney over the edge.
Then Prince showed up and presented the Best Female R & B Grammy to Alicia Keys. I love that the Artist Formerly Known as High Maintenance was able to just show up and present an award like a normal person, with no special trap door entrance or indulgent musical ad-libs. He just took care of business. Could you imagine Michael Jackson doing that? No, he'd have to ride in on a llama.
Speaking of ’80s flashbacks, did anyone else think Rihanna looked like Sheena Easton during her “Umbrella” performance? She was very, "Come spend the night inside my sugar walls," although I hear Rihanna's more a NutraSweet girl.
Video: High notes of the Grammys For pure spectacle, the excerpt from Cirque de Soleil's Beatles-themed show, “Love” really delivered. At first, I thought the long-haired female acrobat on the straps was Jane Seymour, trying to redeem herself after losing to Marie Osmond on “Dancing with the Stars,” but it turns out it was just an agile look-alike. Maybe next year, Jane.
Before presenting the Best New Artist award, Cyndi Lauper made no secret of the fact that she was rooting for Amy Winehouse, which I think is bad award-show form. Then Amy won and Cyndi went bananas. Feist is probably going to cry herself to sleep now. Hope you're happy, Cyndi.
Kanye West gave an energetic, passionate performance of his hit “Stronger,” then brought the place to tears with a deeply felt musical tribute to his mother, who died last year due to complications following plastic surgery.
When Fergie started into her ballad “Finally,” my heart sank a little bit. Is she coming out with another song from that album? When is it enough, Fergie? But she sang her heart out and I'd be really surprised if she didn't score a prime slot at Clive Davis's next holiday party.
Video: Grammy winners and losers Cher introduced the powerhouse diva duo of the night, Beyonce and Tina Turner, who did a sizzling version of Proud Mary. I have this fantasy that Tina originally turned down the Grammy offer until the producers sweetened the deal by promising to move her abusive ex-husband Ike Turner to underneath the Staples Center so she could literally dance on his grave. That's what got her on the plane.
Kanye West won Best Rap Album, which was a huge relief because there's nothing harder to watch than a man in a battery-operated dinner jacket having a hissy fit. When Vince Gill accepted his Best Country Album award from Ringo Starr, he gushed, “I just got an award from a Beatle. Have you had that happen yet, Kanye?” Though the crowd went nuts, I'm sure a few buttocks were tightened in nervousness. Then Vince said, “Just kidding,” which means that Amy Grant's favorite rabbit will live to see another day.
OK, remember when I said I thought Alicia Keys is having a better life than anyone else on earth? Well, I stand by that because she got to perform again! She sang her hit “No One,” with special guest John Mayer, and she looked and sounded phenomenal. Alicia gets my vote for performance of the night. Now, if she can just do something about health care.
Finally, we got to get our Amy Winehouse fix, via satellite from London. She seemed a little loopy during her mini-medley, but she managed to clap on the same beats as her back-up boys so maybe she was just high on Grammy love. When she won Record of the Year, Amy seemed both grateful and bewildered. There was something about her dazed look that reminded me of Molly Shannon as Mary Katherine Gallagher. I kept waiting for Amy to smell her own armpits.
When Usher presented the Album of the Year award to Herbie Hancock for “River: The Joni Letters,” all I could think was, ‘How do people in dark sunglasses read the teleprompter?’ As Herbie gave his speech, I prayed that they wouldn't cut to Kanye West. I just couldn't handle it. We already had to deal with Mitt Romney going down. One stunned loser was plenty for one week.
All in all, I thought the 50th Annual Grammy Awards was a solid, entertaining show. In fact, the only moment that irked me came afterwards when former-winner Natalie Cole was asked by a local news reporter about Amy Winehouse. “I don't think she deserved it,” Natalie huffed. “She needs to get her life together first and then get the awards later. You don't get awarded for bad behavior.”
Wow, Natalie's cranky. Maybe she just needs a hug from Alicia Keys. I know I could use one.
Dennis Hensley is the author of Misadventures in the (213) and Screening Party and a co-host of the radio show Twist. www.dennishensley.com
© 2013 msnbc.com. Reprints