After spending much of the night embracing older acts and older music fans, the Grammys got some much-needed heat from an unknown 19-year-old contest winner — in her very first moments in the TV spotlight.
Robyn Troup, of Houston, took the stage — on her birthday — to sing with Justin Timberlake and T.I. after edging out two other finalists in the “My Grammy Moment” contest, an “American Idol”-style gimmick by the Grammys to liven up the show and try to boost its ratings with a reality-TV contest.
“This is just the most amazing thing that ever happened to me,” she said after the show.
Troup’s performance was a fiery highlight of a show that for the most part offered a trove of established acts — the Police, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dixie Chicks, Mary J. Blige, to name a few.
The old-school feel kicked off with a highly anticipated and hyped reunion by the Police, with the ‘80s powerhouse trio delivering jazzy version of their hit “Roxanne.”
Older music fans would have recognized veteran faces among the award winners, too.
Tony Bennett and Stevie Wonder, who dueted on a remake of Wonder’s “For Once In My Life,” beat out two of the year’s biggest songs, Nelly Furtado and Timbaland’s “Promiscuous” and Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” for best pop vocal collaboration.
In addition to performances by established acts, several artists performed tributes to music legends the Eagles and James Brown.
For the Eagles’ tribute, “Idol” alum Carrie Underwood sang “San Anotonio Rose” and “Desperado.” Rascal Flatts performed the Eagles’ epic “Hotel California” and “Life in the Fast Lane.”
Christina Aguilera performed a sometimes shrill rendition of Brown’s “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World.”
Timberlake attempted to give the show a spark early on singing “What Goes Around Comes Around,” during which he took a handheld camera and pointed it tight on his face.
Shakira and Wyclef Jean combined for “Hips Don’t Lie,” replete with Mediterranean-styled dancers.
But the bulk of the evening’s trophies and camera time went to veterans.
The Dixie Chicks nabbed five Grammy awards, including record and song of the year for “Not Ready to Make Nice.” They also won best country album.
Mary J. Blige picked up three wins for her album “The Breakthrough.” The Red Hot Chili Peppers also won three for their double-disc “Stadium Arcadium.”
Carrie Underwood won best female country vocal performance for “Jesus Take the Wheel.”