There were twice as many performances as awards handed out at Sunday’s Grammys. Some of them were excellent, most of them were mediocre and a few were just awful. And then there was whatever Nicki Minaj did — that is in a category of its own. Here’s the breakdown.
Adele: Everything we could have hoped for. Well, that’s not exactly true. A second song would have been nice.
Rihanna: “We Found Love” — this song is as irresistible as it is inescapable, and Rihanna made it come to vibrant life.
Bruce Springsteen: The Boss’s new single, “We Take Care of Our Own,” is unspectacular, but the E Street Band’s power-in-numbers performance got the show off to a roaring start.
Glen Campbell: A touching public farewell for the Alzheimer’s-stricken singer who elicited plenty of smiles with a fun romp through “Rhinestone Cowboy.”
Bruno Mars: He’s no James Brown, but it’s not for lack of effort. All those fleet-footed moves and that pompadour still didn’t move.
Alicia Keys & Bonnie Raitt: With tributes, you want tender and classy. These two personify those qualities, and their version of Etta James’s “Sunday Kind of Love” was just that.
Foo Fighters: Despite plenty of energetic head-banging, hand-clapping and Slayer T-shirt wearing from frontman Dave Grohl, this performance still felt perfunctory.
Jason Aldean & Kelly Clarkson: Put Clarkson in a duet with any dude — Aldean will do — and she has the voice to make it work.
Maroon 5/Foster the People/Beach Boys: A head-scratching combination of bands to join the reunited pop icons, but you can’t argue with hearing Brian Wilson singing “Good Vibrations.”
Paul McCartney: His mid-show performance of “My Valentine” from his new standards album didn’t hit the spot, but a show-closing jam on the Beatles’ “The End” with Dave Grohl and Bruce Springsteen made up for it.
Taylor Swift: A fine live performance of a song written about writers who criticized her voice in live performances.
Jennifer Hudson: Her tribute to Whitney Houston wasn’t spectacular, but it didn’t need to be. It was touching, heartfelt and well done.
The Civil Wars: Country newcomers seemed to zip through their performance, but they’ll be back in future years.
Blake Shelton: Nothing spectacular, nothing embarrassing.
Tony Bennett & Carrie Underwood: It would have been nice to see Lady Gaga — who was also on Bennett’s “Duets II” album — up there instead.
Chris Brown: Lots of gyrating, thrusting, jumping, flipping and even more lip-synching. At least he didn’t get the standing ovation he seemed to be expecting.
Coldplay: Sometimes Coldplay gets a bad rap for being a boring band. They earned that rap tonight, though.
Katy Perry: Fake technical difficulties for a fake singer.
Deadmau5/Chris Brown/Lil Wayne/Foo Fighters: Chris Brown — Chris Brown — gets two performances? This was as much of a mess as you’d expect it to be based on this combination of artists.
A Category of Her Own
Nicki Minaj: Even after sleeping on it, it’s hard to comprehend what we witnessed with this performance.
What did you think? Tell us which artists you thought were best, worst or your choice of superlative in the comments below.
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