LL Cool J returned again to host the 55th Annual Grammy Awards, with a heartfelt introduction and a performance later on that brought the crowd to its feet. From J Lo to Sting, there was no shortage of sexy star power in the room. Justin Timberlake’s return to the stage was a major event, as Jay-Z joined him and everyone seemed as excited as if Frank Sinatra himself had risen from the grave to perform.
The 55th Annual Grammy Awards hosted by LL Cool J aired on CBS Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 8:00 pm ET.
The night kicked off with a ho-hum performance by Taylor Swift, as even a circus of dancers, white rabbits, and clowns (basically, all the characters from Panic at the Disco’s first tour) couldn’t cover her awkward lack of stage presence. Luckily, this was quickly followed by Ed Sheeran and Elton John bringing real musicianship to the stage with “The A Team.” Fun.’s Grammy version of “Carry On” even included a dramatic rain effect on stage (that must have been “fun” for the cleanup crew!).
Country music was represented by Dierks Bentley and an appropriately sparkly Miranda Lambert, as Miranda’s husband Blake Shelton cheered her on from the audience. Maroon 5 and Adam Levine brought their generic, pleasant pop to the stage, with a much-welcomed assist from Alicia Keys on vocals and drums. Rhianna delivered a boring, bleating performance, with her knees knocked together as though she needed the restroom. The Black Keys livened things up again with help from Dr. John and Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
Bruno Mars took the lead in an all-star celebration of the music of Bob Marley that included Sting, Rhianna, and Ziggy Marley and had everyone in the audience singing along, from Neil Patrick Harris to Nicole Kidman. Jack White certainly had the most attractive band of the night as he was surrounded by a bevy of beautiful female musicians. Carrie Underwood’s singing was completely outshone by the wild lighting effects of sparkles, gold, and roses on her gown.
On-Stage Presenter Moments
Always beautiful Jennifer Lopez found a new way to bare skin while joking about the dress code memo for the evening, as she outdid even Angelina Jolie’s famously leggy look in a sexy dress. Speaking of sexy, Johnny Depp looked roguishly handsome as he took a rare step into the awards show spotlight to introduce a performance by Mumford & Sons.
Remembering the music industry’s losses is always a bittersweet part of the annual celebration, and many in the crowd were obviously still affected by the untimely death of Whitney Houston. LL Cool J also took a moment to remember Dick Clark’s contributions to the music industry as the host of American Bandstand, and Kelly Clarkson sang a moving tribute to Patti Page. Donna Summer, Robin Gibb, Dave Brubeck, Davy Jones, Marvin Hamlisch, Adam Yauch, and many others were also celebrated. Elton John and T Bone Burnett marshaled a version of “The Wait” in memory of Levon Helm of The Band.
Snubs and Surprises
The early part of the evening was short on snubs and surprises, with favorites like Adele and Carrie Underwood taking home the prize. Fun. was a bit of a happy surprise by thankfully winning Song of the Year over Carly Rae Jepson’s ubiquitous “Call Me Maybe.” A new category this year, Best Urban Contemporary Album, pitted Frank Ocean against Chris Brown, and happily class-act Ocean won out. The Black Keys probably never imagined that they would win Best Rock Performance over Bruce Springsteen. Kelly Clarkson beat out fun. and Maroon 5 for Best Pop Vocal. Gotye not only beat out Taylor Swift for Record of the Year, but he received the award from Prince, so he was clearly the winner of the night.