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Video: Who stole the show at the Grammys?

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    >> i think a lot of people were surprised.

    >> they were the most downloaded album.

    >> you never know if popularity translates into awards. the number one box office movie rarely takes it home at awards time. same thick in the music industry . you expected a few awards but not the big wrap-up they got.

    >> turned out to be a lot of surprises. justin bieber lost best new artist of the year to esperanza spaulding.

    >> i think a lot of people were googling last night.

    >> an incredible musician, singer. amazing.

    >> incredible.

    >> what happened to bieber ?

    >> justin bieber has an enormous fan base , but sometimes they go to the people who may be more technically above board . justin bieber , the greatest performer we have right now arguably, but maybe not the chops that the grammy voters wanted to see now.

    >> i guess it was truly honoring perhaps those who -- the award is for best new artist. he's been around two years.

    >> that's what's funny about the grammys. we had the situation last year with the zack brown band . people saying, they have been around a couple of years. it does honor somebody who seems new right now.

    >> an up and comer.

    >> lots of people saying this is a head scratcher.

    >> let's get to the performances. lady gaga making her red carpet appearance in the egg shell . didn't her egg shell stunt outdo her performance?

    >> if i arrived to work in an egg i'm not sure what i can do during the day to follow up with that arrival. lots of people were waiting for the song. the album isn't out until may so there was tons of hype. lots of people criticizing her for having a song that sounds like madonna's "express yourself." that's little surprise. lady gaga at every point of the way has been taking a page from the madonna playbook, how to be a fan favorite, stay popular, give your audit wrens ence --

    >> how to make an entrance.

    >> when your entrances are so outra outrageous people stop asking about you. people great with fame now know how to deflect and distract.

    >> most colorful performance, cee-lo green and gwyneth paltrow with the muppets.

    >> how much do i love that? we all know we're here to entertain and people enjoy seeing gwyneth paltrow cross the line from actress to singer.

    >> we don't have time to get to the fashion, but it was great to see barbra streisand performing, bob dylan , mick jagger for the first time.

    >> he's still got it.

    >> who knew it was his first time. so surprising.

Image: Justin Bieber and Usher
Lucy Nicholson  /  Reuters
Justin Bieber, left, and Usher perform "OMG" at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards on Sunday.
By
updated 2/14/2011 11:09:34 AM ET 2011-02-14T16:09:34
Review

Much like the music world itself, the Grammy Awards is a colorful train wreck of a television show.

Inexplicable results and mesmerizing performances mixed with the mundane added up to a generally unsatisfying evening for CBS Sunday. Unless, of course, you're Lady Antebellum.

The Grammys are barely an awards show anymore. As the music business has splintered and sputtered in recent years, the Grammys have become a performance show, advertising musicians who need the attention. Show producers don't even bother with a host anymore. For the first hour of Sunday's show, only one trophy was given out — for a live version of a Train song done better in the studio.

Video: Who stole the show at the Grammys? (on this page)
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In theory, it's a great idea. If you're unfamiliar with an artist's work, it's much better to watch him or her in action than to listen to speeches thanking managers, producers and hairstylists. Or, in Train's case, Howard Stern.

In practice, the show's success or failure is tied to whether the artists can bring the goods.

Whether they took trophies home with them or not, the night's winners included Janelle Monae, Eminem, Cee Lo and Rihanna. Among the losers were Christina Aguilera, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Rihanna.

Yes, you read that last part right. Rihanna was spellbinding for her part in Eminem's ominous "Love the Way You Lie." When she returned later to perform "What's My Name" with Drake, she curiously dropped her hand-held microphone to her waist a few times while the vocals continued on.

The opening Aretha Franklin tribute continued Aguilera's lousy month. Unlike her four collaborators, she seemed intent on making the moment more about her, losing the song in the process. Were she there, you can imagine the famously competitive Franklin hip-checking Aguilera — and that silly decorated microphone stand — out of the picture.

Let's pray that the ailing Franklin's taped message that she'll see us on next year's show comes true.

Lady Gaga emerged from an egg to lay one, debuting her new song, "Born This Way," which apparently refers to pointed shoulders. The song's uncanny resemblance to Madonna's "Express Yourself" distracted from the dance production. And when Gaga later received an award for "The Fame Monster," her bleeped expletive distracted from what became a touching tribute to Whitney Houston.

Slideshow: The 2011 Grammy Awards (on this page)

Maybe, on some nights, Justin Bieber can sing, but he sounded distressingly flat on Sunday. He was out-danced by Usher, of course, and Jaden Smith (loved watching dad Will Smith mouthing, "That's my baby," from the audience).

We'll give Bieber credit, though: He looked good.

The rock band Muse gave a strong performance of "Uprising," although we're still trying to figure out what those dancers were trying to do. It seemed a missed opportunity to explicitly tie the song's message to Egypt's revolution.

There were highlights, though. Bruno Mars sang "Grenade" in a soulful homage to James Brown, the screen even going black and white. Monae's "Cold War" was a star-making turn.

The acoustic set with Mumford & Sons and the Avett Brothers was terrific, too, sweeping and anthemic. Bob Dylan came out to croak "Maggie's Farm" with the two bands' backing him, his voice almost lost beneath the desperate strumming. But the fun was infectious. And did we actually see a dance step or two from the old master?

Cee Lo, who looked like a cross between Elton John and George Clinton with an outfit that used the blender at a paint factory, did the "Forget You" clean version of his big hit, with a backing band of puppets and vocals from Gyneth Paltrow, who deserves props for not tumbling over while standing on a piano in gigantic heels.

Slideshow: 2011 Grammys red carpet (on this page)

Arcade Fire's first performance had such an intense, flashing light show that the band itself was barely visible. It was much better when they played again after winning album of the year, it what suspiciously seemed like killing time for a show that ran short.

Don't want to say Mick Jagger's Solomon Burke tribute went on too long, but we meant to go back and check. Is he still dancing?

Good thing for the Grammys that the awards continue to be de-emphasized, because it was a strange night even for a recording academy with a long history of head-scratching choices. Esperanza Spalding for best new artist? Song and record of the year "Need You Now" by Lady Antebellum? We doubt anyone will remember that song five years from now as they will, for example, "Empire State of Mind."

Without a host, the Grammys bring a variety of celebrities on for introduction. That's fine most of the time, but it misses a humorous touch. A Top 10 list put on to promote David Letterman's show was the night's most intentional funny moment.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Awards show

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  1. A tribute to Aretha Franklin

    The show kicked off with, from left, Yolanda Adams, Martina McBride, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson and Florence Welch performing a tribute to soul queen Aretha Franklin at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 13, in Los Angeles. (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Muse

    Matt Bellamy of Muse performed the group's hit song "Uprising" at the Grammys. The group won for best rock album for "The Resistance." (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Lady Gaga

    Lady Gaga and her backup dancers performed her new single "Born This Way" in yolk-colored outfits after she emerged from her egg on stage. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Train

    Pop group Train accepted their award for best pop performance by a duo or group with vocals for their hit "Hey, Soul Sister." (Lucy Nicholson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Janelle Monae

    Singer Janelle Monae went crowd surfing during her performance of "Cold War." (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Miranda Lambert

    Singer Miranda Lambert won the award for best female country vocal performance for "The House That Built Me." She also performed the tune. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Bruno Mars

    Singer Bruno Mars performed his hit song "Grenade," and also offered "Nothin' on You" with B.o.B. and Janelle Monae. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Lady Gaga

    Lady Gaga won for best pop vocal album for "The Fame Monster." During her acceptance speech, the singer said that when she was writing "Born This Way," she pictured Whitney Houston performing it. (Lucy Nicholson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Lady Antebellum

    The members of Lady Antebellum, from left, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood paid tribute to Teddy Pendergrass by kicking off their performance with his hit "If You Don't Know Me By Now." The act then transitioned to the group's "American Honey" and "Need You Now." (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Bob Dylan

    Bob Dylan, third from right, and the bands The Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons performed "Maggie's Farm" at the Grammys. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Justin Bieber and Usher

    Justin Bieber, left, helped wrap up Usher's performance of "OMG." (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Paramore and Pauley Perrette

    "NCIS" actress Pauley Perrette, second from right, and Paramore presented the award for best rock album, which went to Muse for "The Resistance." (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Cee Lo Green and Gwyneth Paltrow

    Cee Lo Green, left, and actress Gwyneth Paltrow performed his hit song "F--- You," which was nominated for five awards. (Muppets provided backup vocals!) Not surprisingly, several lines of the tune were bleeped. Paltrow performed the clean version of the song, "Forget You," on "Glee" in season two. (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Katy Perry

    Katy Perry kicked off her act with "Not Like the Movies," which segued into "Teenage Dream." During the latter song, a video of her wedding to comedian Russell Brand played behind her. (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Rihanna and Eminem

    Eminem and Rihanna performed his hit "Love the Way You Lie," which also featured her vocals on the album version. The song was nominated for five awards. (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. John Mayer, Norah Jones and Keith Urban

    From left, John Mayer, Norah Jones and Keith Urban performed "Jolene" in honor of Dolly Parton, who received the lifetime achievement award. (Lucy Nicholson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Esperanza Spalding

    Jazz singer and bassist Esperanza Spalding was a surprise win for best new artist. She beat out Justin Bieber, Drake, Florence & The Machine and Mumford & Sons to take the honor. (Lucy Nicholson / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Barbra Streisand

    Barbra Streisand performed her 1978 Grammy-winning tune "Evergreen," and later presented the award for album of the year. (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Mick Jagger

    Mick Jagger performed live for the first time at the Grammys with "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love," a tribute to Solomon Burke. (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Drake and Rihanna

    Singer Drake performed "What's My Name" with Rihanna around a big bonfire. Drake was nominated for four awards, and Rihanna's song "Only Girl (In the World)" won for best dance recording (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Arcade Fire

    The Arcade Fire pulled out a huge surprise win when they beat out Eminem, Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry for the big album of the year trophy. The band's performance was also their first ever at the Grammys. (Matt Sayles / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image: Yolanda Adams, Martina McBride, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Florence Welch
    Matt Sayles / AP
    Above: Slideshow (21) The 2011 Grammy Awards - Awards show
  2. Image: Lady Gaga
    Danny Moloshok / Reuters
    Slideshow (31) The 2011 Grammy Awards - Red carpet
  3. Image: Lady Gaga
    Danny Moloshok / Reuters
    Slideshow (31) 2011 Grammys red carpet - Red carpet
  4. Image: Yolanda Adams, Martina McBride, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Florence Welch
    Matt Sayles / AP
    Slideshow (21) 2011 Grammys red carpet - Awards show

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