The “slimmed down” but 78 category strong 2012 Grammy Awards are here, and our Click Track team is live-blogging everything from the red carpet to the show’s Whitney Houston tributes. The live updates are below, starting with the red carpet pre-show at 5 p.m. EST and the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. EST. We’re blogging in reverse chronological order and appreciate any feedback in the comments section at the bottom of this blog. Refresh your browser to see the latest updates. You can also tweet us @ClickTrack_Blog.
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11:43 p.m. | It’s a wrap
11:22 p.m. | Adele wins Album of the Year for “21”
As expected, it’s a clean sweep for Adele. “21” wins Album of the Year, making Adele a perfect six for six on the night and establishing her as one of music’s upper echelon superstars. After holding back emotion for all of the night, Adele bursts out in tears while accepting this award. Her emotion in accepting her award is genuine and real, the same qualities — along with that voice — that has helped her resonate with listeners.
11:18 p.m. | Adele wins Record of the Year, Nicki Minaj leaves audience confused
“People seem to really, really enjoy it,” Adele says of “Rolling in the Deep” while accepting the award for Record of the Year. That is the understatement of the show so far, as she picks up her fifth award of the night.
There was absolutely nothing understated about Nicki Minaj’s over-over-over-the-top performance. They promised people would be talking about it tomorrow and that’s likely to be true. Here’s how most of those conversations will go: “What was that?” “Seriously, what was that?” “Can you explain what that was because I have no idea what happened?” There were priests, monks, exorcisms, a video vignette and so much more, every element more incomprehensible than the next.
11:05 p.m. | Deadmau5 + Chris Brown + Lil Wayne + Foo Fighters = ???
What are we watching right now? What is happening? That was a very fair question to ask during a bizarre and without-any-redeeming qualities performance that featured masked electronic performer Deadmau5, Chris Brown, Lil Wayne and Foo Fighters. If that looks like a bad combination, just imagine how it sounded. Why does Chris Brown, of all people, get two performances tonight? What are those masks everyone is wearing? Why is this going on so long? And you actually tried to tie this into a tribute to Don Cornelius of “Soul Train”? Yikes.
10:52 p.m. | Jennifer Hudson sends chills through the Staple Center
Nobody had a more unenviable task this evening than Jennifer Hudson. With just 24 hours notice she was tasked with honoring her idol, Whitney Houston, by singing Houston’s most iconic song live on TV. Hudson did exactly what she needed to do, delivering a lovely and tasteful version of “I Will Always Love You.” It wasn’t a show-stopper, but it was enough.
10:35 p.m. | Bon Iver wins Best New Artist
In what has to be considered a mild upset, indie favorite Bon Iver beats Nicki Minaj, the Band Perry, Skrillex and J. Cole for Best New Artist. But after the Arcade Fire won Album of the Year last year, perhaps this is now a trend.
Washington Post pop music critic Chris Richards wrote about Bon Iver’s self-titled 2011 album: “It’s the sound of pop music trying to figure out what it must become in a new century, gently turning itself inside out, showing off its gorgeous guts.”
10:30 p.m. | Glen Campbell reprises “Rhinestone Cowboy”
Country takes over for a bit. The Band Perry (up for Best New Artist) and Blake Shelton both zip through performances that don’t make much of an impact. The same can’t be said of Glen Campbell. The country star is suffering from Alzheimer’s and is in the midst of a farewell tour, but there was nothing weepy about his version of “Rhinestone Cowboy.” It was an uplifting moment and Campbell still sounded in fine voice.
10:17 p.m. | Adele’s performance doesn’t disappoint
The most anticipated song of the evening was not a let down.
Adele’s first performance after undergoing vocal surgery was a stirring version of “Rolling in the Deep,”one that served as a perfect reminder of why tonight’s show is a coronation of the 23-year-old singer as the Next Great Pop Star. She didn’t dance or wear a flashy outfit, she simply stood still in the middle of the stage and sang like few others can. You could almost feel Twitter going silent as everyone stepped away from the computer and simply basked in her voice.
10:15 p.m. | Lady Antebellum wins Best Country Album
A year after taking home five Grammys, Lady Antebellum received just one nomination for its 2011 album “Own the Night,” but made it count by beating out Taylor Swift and others for Best Country Album.
9:58 p.m. | Adele, Paul Epworth win Song of the Year
Another award for Adele, and this is one of the evening’s “Big Four” — Song of the Year. She and co-writer Paul Epworth win for “Rolling in the Deep.” That’s 4-for-4 for Adele so far — two more to go for a clean sweep.
9:45 p.m. | Taylor Swift gets the last word
“Some day, I’ll be singing this at the Grammys/And all you’re ever gonna be is mean.” The first half of that line was an ad lib by Taylor Swift, just for this special occasion. She already won a couple of trophies for the song that addresses critics of her voice, and took another shot with this live performance, all while decked out in some sort of hobo chic outfit.
Read more on Taylor Swift’s performance.
9:42 p.m. | Chris Brown wins Best R&B Album, Paul McCartney attempts to get us in the mood for Valentine’s Day
In introducing Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder has some words about Whitney Houston: “I just want to say to Whitney up in heaven, We all you love you, Whitney Houston.”
McCartney plays a subdued version of “My Valentine” from his new standards album, “Kisses on the Bottom.” No “Helter Skelter” tonight, sorry.
The fourth award of the telecast goes to Chris Brown for Best R&B Album. “Team Breezy man, it’s all for you,” he tells his fans. Brown’s acceptance back into the mainstream seems to be complete, for better or worse.
9:32 p.m. | Beach Boys bring “Good Vibrations”
Maroon 5 and Foster the People were somewhat bizarre choices for a Beach Boys tribute. Their performances were muted and simply set the stage for the long-awaited reunion of the pop icons. As the band played “Good Vibrations” — certainly one of pop music’s peaks — it was hard not to be struck by its composer, Brian Wilson, sitting stage center behind a piano, with a far-off look in his eyes, as fellow Beach Boy Mike Love hammed it up with Maroon 5’s Adam Levine.
Read more on the Beach Boys reunion.
9:19 p.m. | Foo Fighters win Best Rock Performance
Hey, an award! Foo Fighters take home their fifth of the night — Best Rock Performance for “Walk.” “It’s not about what goes on in a computer,” Dave Grohl says, touting the virtue of real rock-and-roll. In a rich bit of irony, he is then prematurely played off the stage by LMFAO’s cheeseball dance smash hit “Party Rock Anthem.”
9:07 p.m. | Rihanna, Coldplay’s psychedelic collaboration
Rihanna is joined by a small army of backup dancers for her hit “We Found Love” which is as irresistible as it is inescapable. It’s the evening’s best performance ... and the momentum is immediately killed when Coldplay follows with a somehow both limp and overblown version of “Paradise.” The show is just over an hour old and we’ve had seven performances and just two awards handed out so far.
8:55 p.m. | Foo Fighters rock out LA Live
Pre-telecast big winners Foo Fighters perform their award-winning “Walk” on a stage outside of the Staples Center. Frontman Dave Grohl breaks out all of his best rock star moves — head-banging, hand-clapping, a Slayer t-shirt — yet it all feels somewhat perfunctory.
8:40 p.m. | Jay-Z, Kanye West win Best Rap Performance
Yes, it’s music’s biggest night, but two of its biggest stars are missing. Jay-Z and Kanye West won Best Rap Performance for “Otis” from their “Watch the Throne” collaborative album, but presenter Marc Anthony was left to accept the award on behalf of the missing duo. New father Jay-Z not being there is understandable. The lack of Yeezy is just a bummer, though. Perhaps a protest for not being nominated for Album of the Year?
8:25 p.m. | Adele wins Best Pop Solo Performance
On a night that is expected to be filled with the tributes, the first comes from Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt who team up for a tender version of Etta James’ “Sunday Kind of Love.” The duo then present the first award of the telecast. No surprise here — Adele wins Best Pop Solo Performance for “Someone Like You.” Her acceptance speech is short. She knows she’ll be back up there again later.
8:22 p.m. | Bruno Mars: “...have some fun!”
“Get off your rich [explative]s and have some fun!” Bruno Mars commands the audience during his energetic and fleet-footed performance that still didn’t mess up his trademark pompadour.
It’s worth noting, audience members were on their feet without prompting during Bruce Springsteen’s show-opening rendition of his new single “We Take Care of Our Own,” a politically-charged rocker that sounds much more vital when performed live.
8:12 p.m. | LL Cool J: “We’ve had a death in the family”
LL Cool J opened the 54th annual Grammy Awards with a prayer in honor of Whitney Houston. The video of Houston and the standing ovation that followed, seem to set the tone for the night.
“Whitney, we will always love you,” said Cool J.
Let the show begin.
8:10 p.m. | Springsteen opens
“America are you alive out there?!” It was an eyebrow-raising opening question from Bruce Springsteen given the events of the past 24 hours. But the Boss and the E Street Band opened the show with a supercharged version of new single “We Take Care of Our Own” that immediately brought the crowd to its feet.
Don’t expect to see many trophies handed out during tonight’s show. Only nine awards are unaccounted for so far. For those keeping track at home, they are: Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best New Artist, Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Rock Performance, Best R&B Album, Best Rap Performance and Best Country Album.
7:57 p.m. | Whitney Houston autopsy results on “security hold”
As we move on to the awards ceremony, E! reports that we will not be getting any more information about Whitney Houston’s autopsy tonight. The autopsy results are on a “security hold,” and police are holding on to it because releasing information from the autopsy could compromise the ongoing investigation of her death. E! reminds us that the last time we heard about a security hold on a celebrity’s autopsy, it was for Michael Jackson.
7:55 p.m. | Fergie in Jean-Paul Gaultier
Fergie, nominated for Song of the Year for her collaboration on Kanye West’s “All of the Lights,” wore one of the red carpet’s more eye-popping outfits so far — a bright red see-through Jean-Paul Gaultier lace dress, with a black bra and panties peeking out from underneath.
“I had two choices. This was the safe one,” Fergie said to Ryan Seacrest.
Fergie arrived with her mom, who said she is taking the dress in stride. “I said, ‘Pick the more conservative one,’” her mom laughed. “She’s my rock ‘n’ roll rebel.”
7:50 p.m. | Rihanna in Armani
7:45 p.m. | Taylor Swift in Zuhair Murad
Taylor Swift, who (as we previously mentioned) has already won for “Mean,” her song about being criticized for a previous Grammy performance, tells Ryan Seacrest that she’s really excited to perform it tonight.
“It’s really a song that I wrote about one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through — criticism, rejection,” she tells Seacrest, without a hint of gloating. “The fact that I get to perform it on the Grammys is a really wonderful thing.”
She’s wearing a champagne-colored beaded and sequined dress — one of her most mature and loveliest looks so far, and according to Swift, one of her favorites. As for her future plans for her music: “You just have to let your life happen, and write about it.”
7:40 p.m. | Updates on Whitney, Bobbi Kristina
Bobbi Kristina, Whitney Houston’s daughter, has been released from the hospital, E! reports. Her father, Bobby Brown, is en route to Los Angeles to be with her. E! also reports that an autopsy has already been performed, but they results are on a “security hold.” It’s raising questions about whether the investigation will be going in a new direction, even though no foul play was suspected in Houston’s death.
7:27 p.m. | Nicki Minaj arrives in red nun’s habit
Get the full scoopon Minaj’s outfit in Celebritology.
7:17 p.m. | Celebrity reactions on Twitter
Stars are taking to Twitter to post updates from the red carpet and pre-tel ceremony, including photos, behind-the-scenes info and more. We’re collecting the best tweets here.
7:15 p.m. | Civil Wars win Best Folk Album
Here’s a name you’ll be hearing more of in 2012 — the Civil Wars. The up-and-coming country-folk duo will perform on tonight’s show and was a perfect two-for-two in the pre-tel, taking home awards for Best Folk Album and Best Country Duo/Group Performance. The duo opened for Adele in the U.K. and has collaborated with Taylor Swift. Click Track talked to the band’s Joy Williams and John Paul White in May.
7:08 p.m. | Wiz Khalifa, Amber Rose arrive in black and yellow
Wiz Khalifa, with Amber Rose, are the embodiment of Khalifa’s song “Black and Yellow” — Rose is wearing a buttercup-yellow Versace one-shoulder dress, and Khalifa is in a black-and white tux with a low-cut t-shirt underneath.
7:01 p.m. | Katy Perry in Elie Saab
Katy Perry is a little “Matchy-matchy,” according to Giuliana Rancic — she’s matched an ice-blue Elie Saab dress to her bright blue hair. Definitely an understated look for the star, who usually rocks the runway in something a little more outrageous.
6:53 p.m. | Kelly Rowland on Whitney, winning
Kelly Rowland, wearing a nude and sheer dress embellished with beaded flowers, shared her thoughts about Whitney Houston with E!. “It’s a very somber tone tonight at the Grammys, because we lost our hero,” said Rowland. “I just hope she knows how much she impacted not just the music industry, but the world with her gift.”
Rowland is nominated tonight for best rap/sung collaboration with LilWayne for “Motivation.”
“I have four [Grammys], but I did want another one tonight,” said Rowland
6:41 p.m. | Foo Fighters win Best Rock Album
Foo Fighters are perfect so far. The Dave Grohl-led rockers took home four awards in the pre-tel, including Best Rock Album for “Wasting Light” and Best Rock Song for “Walk.” “Wasting Light” is also up for Album of the Year later this evening.
“Well we know we ain’t going home empty handed now,” joked drummer Taylor Hawkins after accepting one award.
6:40 p.m. | Corinee Bailey Rae arrives in Christian Siriano
Corinne Bailey Rae, who already won for Best R&B performance, is wearing a ruffled Christian Siriano dress tonight. “Whitney Houston was influence on really all singers my age,” she tells Giuliana Rancic. “I didn’t know what to say, just really, really sad news.”
6:28 p.m. | Taylor Swift wins for “Mean”
Taylor Swift just won two awards — Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song — for “Mean.” Swift winning awards is no surprise at all — even the perpetually shocked Swift seemed to expect it this time around. But that it’s for this song is interesting. The song was inspired by writers who criticized Swift’s voice in live performances — with much of that criticism stemming from her performance at the 2010 Grammys. Full circle...
6:22 p.m. | Host LL Cool J on Whitney tribute
Grammy host LL Cool J spoke to E!’s Ryan Seacrest about the last-minute scramble to prepare for the Whitney Houston tribute. “We immediately had to jump in gear and figure out how we could be respectful and show her the love she deserves,” he said. “I hope that Whitney Houston’s family and her friends, first of all, appreciate what we do.”
He said that it’s difficult to keep the balance of celebrating Houston’s life, but also celebrating all of the artists who are nominated this year. “You don’t want to lay this dark cloud over their Grammy appearance,” he said. Cool J didn’t want to give up too many details about the tribute, but he did say that he got a preview of Jennifer Hudson’s upcoming performance. “It sends chills through your spine. She is obviously a different singer, different diva, but she’s the closest thing we have now to Whitney.”
6:15 p.m. | Kanye, Skrillex big winners in Pre-Telecast
As the stars arrive on the red carpet, the vast majority of tonight’s awards are being handed out at the Pre-Telecast ceremony. The big winners so far: Skrillex and Kanye West, who have each won three awards. Skrillex has become the face (and hair) of the emerging electronic music scene and took home awards Best Dance Recording and Best Electronic/Dance Album. West’s critically-acclaimed 2010 album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” was a surprise snub in the Album of the Year category, but won for Best Rap Album. West also took home the award for Best Rap Song for his hit “All of the Lights.”
6:00 p.m. | Red carpet royalty, robots and tutus
Some early red carpet arrivers seem to be erring more on the side of silly. Zamora, a piantist nominated for best new age album, showed up wearing a scepter, cape and golden crown. PappaHugs Band posed with a life-sized robot.
Sophia Grace and Rosie, the fast-rapping young British girls famous for their appearances on Ellen and YouTube, are wearing their signature pink tutus and glittery tops that say “Ellen.”
5:45 p.m. | “Glee” to celebrate Whitney
E! interviewed actress Amber Riley from “Glee,” because this Tuesday’s episode will include Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.”
“Ryan Murphy had been trying to push me to sing it,” said Riley. “It spoke to my heart .... It’s very befitting that we’re doing it this Tuesday.” Riley said that she met Houston at a pre-Grammy award event earlier this week, and she was overcome with emotion. She expects that the next episode of Glee will be imbued with emotion, as well. “We’re celebrating her passing and her legacy,” said Riley.
Also on the E!, Kelly Osbourne summed up the mood on the red carpet: “People are almost ashamed to be excited about tonight, because it is such a tragic loss.”
5:42 p.m. | Adele‘s first Grammy of the night
Adele just won her first Grammy of the night, for the Video of “Rolling in the Deep.” It surely won’t be her only win tonight. Check out the video here:
5:40 p.m. | Betty White wins first Grammy
In the pre-telecast awards, Betty White just won a Grammy for Best Spoken Word album for her book “If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won’t).” At 90 years old, it is her first Grammy. She beat out fellow stars Tina Fey, for “Bossypants,” and Val Kilmer for his recording of “The Mark of Zorro.”
5:30 p.m. | Bobby Brown and Bobbi Kristina reportedly reunited
E! Is reporting that Bobby Brown may be with his and Houston’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina, who was hospitalized earlier today for anxiety. Brown was in Mississippi on tour with New Edition when the news of Houston’s death broke yesterday. He reportedly broke down in tears at the concert last night.
5:10 p.m. | Jennifer Hudson to sing tribute to Whitney Houston
The glitz and glamour of the red carpet is overshadowed this evening with mourning over the death of Whitney Houston. Grammy producer Ken Ehrilich announced that Jennifer Hudson will perform “I Will Always Love You” as a tribute to her idol at the show. We will report more details on the tribute as they are revealed.