Grammy Awards 2013

February 10, 2013

Good night for fun. | Did Jay-Z go too far? | Dress-code memo is ratings goldToo much to ask for some dancing? | Best fashion | Most memorable performances | Winners

That’s a wrap

Black Keys performs (Christopher Polk/GETTY IMAGES FOR NARAS).
Black Keys performs (Christopher Polk/GETTY IMAGES FOR NARAS).

Three-and-a-half hours later, it’s all over. No single act dominated — Mumford & Sons won the night’s biggest award; fun., had a nice haul; Black Keys collected plenty of hardware. There wasn’t a consensus best performance; everyone wanted it to be Frank Ocean, but he didn’t quite make it happen. It was a perfectly serviceable Grammy Awards and it ended on time, so we’ll take it.

That ends our live coverage for the night. Check back here in the morning as we recount the evening’s most memorable moments.

Mumford & Sons takes home Album of the Year

“Mandolins FTW!” say the people of the Grammys. You may have believed, as our pop music critic Chris Richards did, that fun. was going to sweep this show like that hot guy from Mary Poppins swept those chimneys. Perhaps you felt the year belonged to Frank Ocean. You would not have been alone in this feeling. The Black Keys and Jack White were–honestly, no one really thought either of those two were going to win but you never know at these things about upsets, underdogs, and Grammy Moments (TM).

If you predicted any of the above, you were mistaken. Along came Mumford & Sons. They strummed their way to the primo award of the night: Album of the Year. “Babel” takes it home, and maybe this is a symbol of what music is all about: a bunch of people, speaking different languages and barely understanding one another, trying to build something together. Or maybe those Grammy powers that be just really love themselves some mandolin.

Frank Ocean: Uneven but captivating

Frank Ocean performs his single "Forest Gump" (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images).
Frank Ocean performs his single “Forrest Gump” (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images).

Was that the most traditionally dazzling performance by Frank Ocean? Nope. His voice can disappear on him sometimes and the multimedia aspect and the song selection itself (the fine but not-an-album-standout “Forrest Gump”) made it seem like Ocean was buying into his own hype a little bit. But you simply can’t look away when he’s on stage or on screen. He’s a special talent who would rather play by his own rules, do something unexpected and different than simply sing his biggest hit the way it appears on the album.

Also — Earl Sweatshirt in the house! Who would’ve thought that one two years ago, huh?

Kelly Clarkson photobombed Ellen Degeneres

Kelly Clarkson is still having a really good time. Dare we say too good of a time?

Chuck Brown and Mike Auldridge featured in In Memoriam montage

Chuck Brown (Jeffrey MacMIllan for Washington Post).
Chuck Brown (Jeffrey MacMIllan for Washington Post).

D.C.’s Godfather of Go-Go, Chuck Brown, and legendary Dobro player Mike Auldridge, a member of local bluegrass greats the Seldom Scene, were among the musicians honored in the Grammys annual In Memoriam montage.

Dave Brubeck, Andy Williams, Donna Summer, Robin Gibb, Davy Jones, Dick Clark and Beastie Boy Adam Yauch were some of the others who passed away in the past year who were featured in the montage. The final image on the screen was Levon Helm, longtime drummer of roots-rock greats the Band. This led to a star-studded performance of the Band’s beloved hit, “The Weight,” featuring Elton John, Mumford & Sons, Mavis Staples, T-Bone Burnett, Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes and more.

Carrie Underwood performs, we break it down

Carrie Underwood performs (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images).
Carrie Underwood performs (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images).

Don’t say you weren’t warned, beloved readers: LL Cool J and every commercial lead-in voiceover did tell us that we would be witnessing a “Grammy moment” when Carrie Underwood performed. What is a Grammy moment? Did we just see one? Will we ever? Let’s find out in the third installment of real time performance breakdowns: Reactions in Chronological Order to Carrie Underwood’s performance:

1. Somebody went back into Taylor Swift’s “Our Song” video and stole that dress she was wearing on the porch. Slammin’ screen doors, y’all.

2. That boy with the O-Town haircut on his head, the twang in his voice and a song in his heart was Hunter Hayes. Looks like someone didn’t get the memo about “throwback hair.” Or maybe our alliteratively named young heartthrob *did* get the memo but, because he was born in the 1990s, he thought “throwback” meant “TRL’s early years.”

3. Upon closer inspection, Carrie Underwood’s dress is all very Glinda the Good Witch. This becomes even more clear when she starts singing about how there’s not enough rain or wind in various parts of flyover country to wash away our sins.

3. Speaking of Glinda the Good Witch, how about those ads for “Oz: The Great and Powerful”? Weird, right? Would it be more or less weird to see this flick back-to-back with other bizarro James Franco vehicle, “Spring Breakers”? Responses welcome.

4. WHAT ARE THESE LIGHTS WHAT IS HAPPENING IS HER DRESS TURNING INTO A GLOW IN THE DARK ANTHROPOLGIE HEADBOARD? IS THE GLOWING COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE SO TO SPEAK?

5. Now it’s a bunch of stars! Look for constellations in Carrie’s abdomen, viewers! Did Cinna design this? Is it just a screensaver? Is it the rose from Beauty and the Beast, with each falling petal symbolizing the limited number of days left the Beast has to live if he cannot learn to love and be loved in return?

6. Also, she’s still singing! Lots of head jerking, some above-average arm movement.

7. BE FREE MONARCH BUTTERFLIES! Off you go, out of the Staples Center and into the great blue sky!

Prince admits he likes that Gotye song

The Purple One — dressed in all black tonight, and walking with a cane, for some reason — comes out and immediately receives a standing ovation. Simply for being Prince. As well he should.

Gotye and Kimbra (JONATHAN ALCORN/REUTERS).
Gotye and Kimbra (JONATHAN ALCORN/REUTERS).

Then he presents the award for Record of the Year, and it’s not Frank Ocean, so no symbolic passing of the torch. And it’s not fun., to continue their coronation this evening. And it’s not Black Keys or Kelly Clarkson or Taylor Swift. But instead it’s Gotye for “Somebody That I Used to Know,” which we thought we would never get stuck in our head again but there it is now. And it’s not going anywhere. And Prince said that he loved the song!

Surprises all around.

Four photos of Taylor Swift dancing at the Grammys

Has no one told Taylor Swift that the Grammys are televised? Everyone’s favorite pop ingenue has danced through the event like no one’s watching — although, perhaps unfortunately for her, everybody is.

Here’s T. Swift rocking to Mumford & Sons…


Courtesy Vulture

… Taylor, incanting to Bruno Mars…

… Taylor and The Lumineers …

What will she dance next?

Fun. wins Best New Artist

It’s halfway to a “big four” sweep for fun., as the band takes home the award for Best New Artists. In his acceptance speech, frontman Nate Ruess gave props to the other nominees. Well, at least a couple of them. “Frank Ocean, the Lumineers,” he said, before shifting course. That would be an official burn to Alabama Shakes and Hunter Hayes.


fun. (JOHN SHEARER/INVISION/AP)

Chris Richards predicted that fun. would be the night’s big winners before the night started.

Jack White performs ‘Freedom at 21′

Jack White, in his dressing room earlier today: “Guys, has anyone seen my self tanner?”

(The Grammys stagecrew draw straws; the loser, who I’ll call Thomas, approaches White.)

 

Thomas: Umm, well, you see, Johnny Depp really needed it.

Jack: Johnny Depp needed my self-tanner?

Thomas: If it makes you feel better, he also swiped Adele’s bronzer.

Jack: That man is going to look like an Oompa Loompa. Has he thought about that?

Thomas: I can’t speak for Johnny, sir.

Jack: So what am I supposed to do now?

Thomas: Well, I guess you’ll just have to look like someone who hasn’t seen the sunlight since people listened to music on actual gramophones.

Jack: In that case, I may as well wear this bedazzled pantsuit. Here, Thomas, take my hairbrush. I don’t need it anymore.

Also, he performed a song. “Freedom at 21.” His guitar playing was epic. Epic, we say! We will not deduct points for vampiric skin tone in our Grammys Performance Report Card.

Belt AND suspenders? Oh, Lumineers

The Lumineers perform (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images).
The Lumineers perform (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images).

Everything that needs to be said — and it does need to be said — about Best New Artist nominees the Lumineers was said by our pop music Chris Richards in his recent live review of the band.

Bob Marley tribute gets standing ovation

Bob Marley tribute (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Sting, Ziggy Marley and Rihanna perform for the Bob Marley tribute (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images).

And why wouldn’t it? Is there a more universally loved figure in music than the late reggae legend? His son Ziggy emerged for a bit of “Could You Be Loved” with Bruno Mars, Sting and Rihanna and now everyone would probably rather listen to “Legend” than watch the last hour-plus of this show.

And if you haven’t yet seen last year’s documentary, “Marley,” add it to your Netflix queue immediately.

 

Everyone knows the words to ‘Locked Out of Heaven’

Taylor Swift? Check.

Neil Patrick Harris? Yup.

Adele? Her too.

The CBS cameras found each of them singing along to the Bruno Mars mega-hit as they panned through the audience.

 

Zac Brown Band wins Best Country Album

The bearded country star beat out Miranda Lambert, Hunter Hayes, Jamey Johnson and the Time Jumpers. Brown won Best New Artist back in 2010; this is his third Grammy win overall.

 

‘The Wind,’ a single from their album “Uncaged.”

What in the world is Dr. John wearing?

It’s a dream-catcher, it’s an Ewok — it’s a thousand metaphors to describe Dr. John’s truly indecipherable Grammys outfit!

Some of our favorites:

Kelly Clarkson pays tribute to Carole King

Can Kelly Clarkson give a great acceptance speech? Jury is still out on whether her thank you tonight was awful, awesome or awf-some. But even if she is, as many of us suspect, a few drinks in already, girl’s got pipes and can crush a rendition of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” the Carole King classic famously performed by Aretha Franklin.

Also: I am just remembering that time we all realized Kelly was going to be A Big Deal: when she sang Aretha’s “Respect” on American Idol. Remember that? We were all so much younger then! We were wearing flared jeans and Kelly had brown hair with yellow Sun-In stripes in it. We had no idea we’d be stuck with American Idol until the Zombie Apocalypse. Point is: Kelly could make a second career just out of singing covers of Aretha hits. Free ideas, people! Come and get ‘em.

 

Black Keys Go Big

The Black Keys got famous for making a lot of noise for just a duo, but have expanded to a foursome for live performances recently. For tonight’s performance of “Lonely Boy” they added another dozen members or so, including New Orleans legend Dr. John on keys (wearing something that made him look like an extra from the bar scene in “Star Wars”) and the horn-fueled romp made for one of the evening’s best performances so far.

Reactions to Rihanna’s performance of ‘Stay’

Rihanna performs (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images).
Rihanna performs (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images).

You might have thought that after Chris Brown refused to stand up and applaud for Frank Ocean, Rihanna would have turned to her left, looked that man-child in the eye, and said: “To quote Ms. Swift, we are never ever getting back together, like ever.” The unimpeachable Frank Ocean! But it looks like these two kids are still together because Rihanna got on stage and sang her newest single, presumably about none other than The Most Hated Man On The Internet. And so–a now-recurring feature back by popular demand!–Reactions in Chronological Order:

1. In case you heard this song and wondered, “Wait, have I ever heard this before?” rest assured: this is a new single, “Stay.” The video will premiere tomorrow on E! and knowing Rihanna it’s probably going to feature some Chris Brown doppelganger so we can all get angry about it.

2. In case you saw that guy singing and being a stoop kid sitting on the stoop and wondered, “Wait, have I ever seen him before?” rest assured: we don’t know who he is either. Cool of him to swing by Urban Outfitters before the show and pick up that hat.

3. Rihanna, you’re not going to be Adele. I admire your ambition. I had a writing professor in college who used to say “I like the try” whenever somebody turned in a story that went for a big ol’ trick but just couldn’t stick the landing. Girl, I like the try. But you can’t just stand there in a black dress and let your voice do all the work.

4. Is it wrong to think the flowy Victoria’s Secret Angel hair is the best look for Rihanna’s locks? If so, I have zero interest in being right.

5. Chick’s got impeccable makeup. The Red Lip, ladies and gentlemen.

6. I feel like the only reason this song exists and has to be called “Stay” is so all of us will read into it that Rihanna is making this ballad-style statement about how she’s STAYing with Chris Brown and we should all STAY out of her business. Which is just… you guys… I mean… I can’t.

7. If I’d rolled into the Grammys wearing that smoking red dress Rihanna had on during the preshow, I would not have changed out of it for the performance. I would wear that dress every day forever. You would see me in that dress at Trader Joe’s. Remember: there’s no such thing as being overdressed; you can only be under-occasioned.

 

“No Church In the Wild” wins for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration

“No Church in the Wild,” the lead track off “Watch the Throne,” the 2011 collaborative album between Jay-Z and Kanye West, wins for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. It’s a deserving win, and the track looks like even more of a big deal a year and a half later with the song’s featured guest, Frank Ocean, now an ascendant superstar. (It’s also been featured in roughly 21.4% of all advertisements over the last year, too. Never thought I could get sick of the song, but…)

When we discussed “Throne” a few days after its release in 2011, I noted that it was striking that the first voice on this album pairing rap’s biggest superstars was the then-relatively unknown Ocean. Turns out it was a sign of big things to come.

Was Kelly Clarkson a few in already?

Depending on your feelings toward semi-coherent, giggly acceptance speeches, Kelly Clarkson’s latest was either cute … or unbearable.

Clarkson also said she had no idea who Miguel is (Miguel, not Adele — though CBS confusingly cut to the songstress). Jon Caramanica points out the two are actually label mates. That’s awkward.

Kelly Clarkson wins for Best Pop Vocal Album

This one is a mild upset, with Clarkson and her album “Stronger” beating out fellow big names fun., Pink, Maroon 5 and Florence + the Machine. Clarkson then proceeded to give an equally puzzling and endearing acceptance speech that lived up to her, “I get nervous speaking in front of people” pronouncement at its start.

Her fiancee looked a bit horrified by the whole thing.

Maroon 5 and Alicia Keys perform

Alicia Keys performs with Maroon 5. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Alicia Keys performs with Maroon 5. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

That guy from “The Voice” and his four minions, AKA Maroon 5, performed “Daylight.” Adam Levine sort of has a similar retro hair-swoop to JT. I’m curious if the two coordinated before showtime. James Valentine hasn’t cut his hair since 1994, when Maroon 5 was actually Kara’s Flowers.

Here’s a transition that’s almost, but not quite, as awkward as the one between “Daylight” and “Girl on Fire”: Alicia Keys took a break from the piano to play the drums while singing her anthem for Katniss Everdeen.

Jay-Z and Beyonce have this look like, “Remember when Alicia sang at the Super Bowl? Ha! Just kidding, no one remembers that.”

Taylor gives them a standing ovation and claps with her arms above her head. Unclear if Taylor is a discerning standing ovation-er. Will keep you posted.

FYI Dave Grohl is still famous

Dave Grohl (Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
Dave Grohl (Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

And he’s talking with that girl from CSI NCIS!I don’t know too much about her but I can tip my hat to a woman who wears three ponytail holders on her wrist just in case her ‘do comes undid.

The two presented the award for Best Rock Performance. Black Keys take it for “Lonely Boy.” Dan Auerbach showed up dressed like Brian Fallon from the Gaslight Anthem. Whoa-ooh-oh-oh, etc.

Frank Ocean wins Best Urban Contemporary Album

Frank Ocean (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
Frank Ocean (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

And the entire Twitterverse — minus #TeamBreezy — does a celebratory fist pump. Ocean’s “Channel Orange,” the consensus album of the year, was the clear choice here. In any other year, Miguel’s “Kaleidoscope Dream” would have been a similar shoo-in. The CBS cameras cut too quickly away from the other nominee, Chris Brown — who Ocean recently had a run-in with in Los Angeles. Brown went into polite applause after realizing, “Hey, I bet the cameras are on me.”

We’re hoping to see Ocean back up accepting more awards later.

Justin Timberlake, brought to you by the ‘Earlybird’ filter

The color on your TV isn’t broken: Justin Timberlake took the Grammy stage in Instagram-like sepia-tone.

Justin Timberlake & Jay-Z: Feel the Star Power

There were plenty of huge names that performed during the first hour of the show, but the first time it really felt like there were larger-than-life stars on stage was when Jay-Z ran from his seat in the audience to join Justin Timberlake for “Suit and Tie.” The song still lacks that something special, but you can’t deny the buzz that was in the Staples Center.

And yes, the sepia tone inspired a million “InstaGrammys” tweets. Well done, hive mind.

 

Crazy Eyes on Beyonce and Ellen

Ellen DeGeneres and Beyonce just introduced Justin Timberlake and it was… well… it started innocently enough. Beyonce saying JT was “a triple threat” and Ellen cutting in to say, “Thank you Beyonce but I am so much more than that.”

Beyonce, totally breaking, made side-eyes at her co-presenter, and proceeded to almost burst out laughing for the next most excellent thirty seconds of my life.

When they finally got around to saying Justin’s name for real, they made *serious* crazy eyes. I’d make that face too, I guess, if I knew Justin was going to transport us to sepia-toned Kansas for the first half of his set.

Mumford & Sons performs

Mumord & Sons performs (Larry Busacca/GETTY IMAGES FOR NARAS).
Mumord & Sons performs (Larry Busacca/GETTY IMAGES FOR NARAS).

Johnny Depp, looking spray tanned and like someone has taken method-acting the Captain  Jack Sparrow thing a little too seriously, called Mumford & Sons “sublime” when he introduced the mandolin-lovin’ foursome. Their performance was straightforward–as in, they literally stood at the edge of the stage, “Seasons of Love” style–and played “I Will Wait.”

Johnny Depp is a hero to hipsters everywhere. Hipper than a dog-eared copy of “On the Road” smoking a cigarette in that dive bar no one knows about but the two of you. Mumford & Sons inspires nothing but ire in the hearts of hipsters everywhere. SO MUCH INTERNAL HIPSTER CONFLICT.

(Also: Internal Hipster Conflict = kind of a great band name, if anyone is in the market.)

Taylor Swift is singing along at the top of her lungs (or maybe just lip-synching; can’t be too careful in these post-Inauguration days.) “I will wait for you!” she cries, as if to undo the emotional wreckage she hath wrought by singing just an hour ago, “We are never, ever, ever getting back together.”


T. Swift sings along to Mumford & Sons. (GIF by Vulture)

Harry Styles hugs his knees to his chest, rocks back and forth, murmurs to himself, “Maybe I should buy a mandolin.”

 

Fun. wins Song of the Year for “We Are Young”

The first of the night’s “big four” awards goes to fun., for its inescapable anthem “We Are Young.” Song of the Year is the award for songwriting; Record of the Year later in the night will be for performance. Don’t be surprised if fun. walks up to accept that award as well.

Lena Dunham, girlfriend of fun.’s Jack Antonoff, was psyched for their victory. Her show, “Girls,” starts in a few minutes on HBO and having already seen this episode, I think she breaks her own personal record for time naked on screen. I mean, naked ping pong, that’s just especially gratuitous, even for her.

Miguel and Wiz Khalifa zig, zag, crush it

Wiz Khalifa and Miguel (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images).
Wiz Khalifa and Miguel (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images).

Ambitious fashionistas Miguel and Wiz Khalifa show us one way to mix prints during their performance. Do stripes and zig-zags go together? I don’t know but daaaaang Miguel, that voice goes with *everything* so do what you want, sir.

Miguel is our favorite so far. We’re keeping score with a real report card. David Malitz wants you to make like it’s the 1990s and actually BUY his album.

Carrie Underwood wins best country solo performance

And we can’t think of a single interesting thing to say about this development. Except that Miguel got to present the award. We dig Miguel.

Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley bring some Nashville to L.A.

Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley are two of the brightest talents to emerge from Nashville in the past few years but if you didn’t know that before their duet, you wouldn’t be convinced that was the case. The annual country duet is almost always a snoozer and this year was no different. A pair of performers that can be fiery and fun were neither.

Beyonce, Rihanna show off hometown pride

L.L. Cool J’s opening monologue gave the artists a chance to show off their hometown, home country or home state pride. As L.L. called out each artist most simply smiled for the camera (Justin Timberlake – Memphis, Adele- England, Carrie Underwood – Oklahoma) but Beyonce showed us how to fit in Houston and Barbabos.

When in Houston, do like Beyonce and throw up double “OK” signs.


Beyonce Knowles (Jason Merritt/

Or when in Barbados just repeat “Ba-ba-ba” and you’ll be just like Rihanna.

Spotted: Chris Brown and Rihanna

Well, no celebrity event would be complete without some Rihanna/Chris Brown canoodling — and all the necessary controversy that entails. The two musicians have been snapped sitting side by side at this year’s Grammys, with Brown’s arm around Rihanna’s shoulder.

The verdict on Twitter? Somewhere between “cute” and “horrifying.” Maybe we should just stay out of it.

Fun. performs ‘Carry On’

fun. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images).
fun. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images).

Fun. performed “Carry On” in front of what could be an abstract apartment building, or a big pile of boxes, or a giant set of dominoes  It was pretty great! If I had a Solo cup of beer in my hand, I’d have lofted it to the sky for that whole song. Perhaps as an apology for saying they would set the world on fire in “We Are Young,” the gents of fun. had rain pour down from the ceiling during that last chorus.

“These guys aren’t bad,” says pop culture editor David Malitz.

STANDING OVATION says Janelle Monae, whose opinion > everyone else’s opinion, so, you know, Standing O from the whole Style gang.

Chris Richards thinks fun. is going to win it big tonight. What say you, commenters?

Adele wins for Pop Solo Performance

This is a bit of a cop out. Adele wins for a recording from a live album, apparently because the Academy didn’t get its Adele fawning out of its system last year. She beats out a field of females: Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, Rihanna and Carly Rae Jepsen.

“I loved it last year, obviously,” Adele says in a brief acceptance speech before quickly leaving the stage.

Minutes later, the official Grammys account tweeted a picture of Adele smiling backstage with J. Lo and Pitbull.

Watch the performance:

Early winners: Kanye, Beyonce, T. Swift

Beyonce Knowles (JORDAN STRAUSS/INVISION/AP).
Beyonce Knowles (JORDAN STRAUSS/INVISION/AP).

The Grammy broadcast just started, but dozens of stars received awards this afternoon before the cameras began rolling. Among the winners? Kanye West and Jay-Z, Skrillex, Esperanza Spalding, Chick Corea, Matt Redman, Rihanna, Beyonce, Taylor Swift and Mumford & Sons.

See the full list here.

Taylor opens with ‘We Are Never…’

The Grammys are all about “once in a lifetime” (until next year) Grammy moments. Well, people, Taylor Swift opened the show and it was, umm, well, it was kind of “Alice in Wonderland” inspired, but more like a Tim Burton/Beetlejuice/pyrotechnic/Britney Spears’s circus Wonderland. Taylor, playing against type, cast herself as the Mad Hatter and not as the titular Alice. Interesting choice, Taylor. Interesting Choice.


(Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

Reactions in chronological order:

1. Pretty sure Taylor swiped those boots from Sally Draper, right? The go-go set that Megan bought her and Don took one look at and said, “Change clothes and go like Jay-Z immediately.”

2. I can’t believe she isn’t singing “I Knew You Were Trouble.”

3. She really cannot sing this song well live. I’m sorry, people. I wish she could. It’s catchy as that flu everybody was getting last month. But all the elaborate costuming and vogue-ing in the world can’t change the fact that this song is a studio jam and her pipes cannot hit those notes on stage.

4. How does Jake Gyllenhaal feel about this?

5. Is there choreography? It’s unclear. Looks like everyone threw back some shots of tequila just before going on and decided to roll with the music.

6. Her set is so hipster! I love that she is making fun of hipsters while dancing in front of giant Instagrams of Christmas lights.

7. IMPORTANT REVELATION YOU GUYS: The person who talks to Taylor on the phone HAS A BRITISH ACCENT.

8. Harry Styles, from his little hollowed-out tree trunk in Neverland, sheds one, single tear.

9. Ad-libbing about how “I’m opening up the Grammys!” is very necessary because I’m pretty sure no one can tell that Taylor is opening up the Grammys. Girl is literal, but consistent. Respect.

10. L.L. Cool J just called Taylor “T Swizzle” so everyone can go home now.

The Internet debates Taylor Swift’s “circus”

Taylor Swift’s opening performance looked like some weird cross between a circus and Alice in Wonderland — and the Internet wasn’t sure what to make of it.

Rihanna in showstopper red gown

Bad girl Riri was looking quite elegant in her A-line bright red (and quite sheer) gown, a custom design by Azzedine Alaia. She paired her very ladylike look with a matching red lip and long, flowing hair.

Rihanna (Christopher Polk/Getty).
Rihanna (Christopher Polk/Getty).

“It blows my mind, really I just can’t believe it,” she said talking about her successful career and multiple Grammy noms with Ryan Seacrest. Her new video for “Stay” will world premiere on E! news tomorrow and Seacrest called it a “finessed ballad, with some breath to it.”

“The video was really really simple, I pretty much stayed put in a bathtub. It’s a very emotional song, it’s personal,” she said.

John Legend gives a preview

The crooner obliged red carpet hosts and fans everywhere with a quick vocal harmony before the start of the show.


John Legend

Justin Bieber tries to upstage the Grammys

Teenie-bopper heartthrob Justin Bieber got shut out of the Grammys this year, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to retreat from the spotlight. Bieber announced on Saturday that he’d host an hour-long live stream this evening, starting at 8 p.m. ET — “coincidentally” the same time as the Grammys.

Bieber tweeted that he’d play new music and take questions from fans. His manager has previously taken to Twitter to rant about Bieber’s lack of Grammy love.

Braun was mute on the issue this evening. One of his other artists, Carly Rae Jepsen, is up for an award.

About that guy in a space suit…

Al Walser is out of this world. Stylistically, at least.

The controversial and little-known nominee for best dance recording reportedly showed up to the Grammys in a space suit, earning the incredulous respect of fans and fellow nominees.

The Lumineers arrive in style

 

“I answered a Craigslist ad and never thought I’d end up here.” Neyla Pekarekon on The
Lumineers first trip to the Grammys.

 


The Lumineers

Florence Welch rocks Givenchy

Florence Welch of “Florence + the Machine” stuns in an elegant forest green, long-sleeved spiked Givenchy dress. She paired it with a matching clutch and rocked multiple chunky rings.


Florence Welch (Christopher Polk/Getty).

The 26-year-old English singer said she’s worn Givenchy every time for the Grammys and called the designer “generous” and a “genius.”

 

Stars get ready for the Grammys

Celebrities — they’re just like us! Carly Rae Jepson tweeted an “early morning” (read: 12 noon) photo of herself wearing pajama pants and getting ready in front of the mirror.

Alicia Keys has also kept up a steady stream of “getting ready” tweets, including this gem about her Jimmy Choo collection:

Meanwhile, make-up artist Mikki Bey snapped some behind-the-scenes photos of all the Grammy attendees pregaming with McDonald’s. One order of chicken nuggets is $12.04, she warns.

The Black Keys win big

The Black Keys won big in the rock category this year, scoring awards for best rock song and best rock album. The band’s slightly less than rock-and-roll reaction:

J-Lo puts her spin on Jolie-legging

Another awards show. Another instance of “Jolie-legging.” J-Lo says she followed the Grammy wardrobe guideline memo by showing just “…a little shoulder and a little leg.”

Her black Anthony Vaccarello “gown” featured a slit up to the tippy-top of her leg. How high was the slit? In order to put her hands in E!’s mani-cam, a camera designed to specifically show manicure designs, Lopez had to hold her handbag around her groin so it wouldn’t make an unscheduled appearance on camera. Talking about a clutch coming through in a clutch.

Estelle really loves her Grammy dress

Estelle designed her own dress for this year’s Grammys — and she’s clearly pretty proud of it. The British pop singer shared a nervous-looking selfie before retweeting nearly a dozen people complimenting her dress. A sampling:

Estelle is up in the best “R&B Performance” category for her song “Thank You.”

Miranda Lambert talks ‘puffy skin’

Miranda Lambert in Cavalli. (Christopher Polk/Getty)
Miranda Lambert in Cavalli. (Christopher Polk/Getty)

Miranda Lambert completes the trend rule of three, with the third black Roberto Cavalli gown of the evening (along with Carly Rae Jepsen and Carrie Underwood). Responding to Ryan Seacrest’s questions about the fashion-guidelines, Lambert joked about not getting the memo, poking her exposed “puffy skin.”

Justin Timberlake in Tom Ford


(FREDERIC J. BROWN /AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Justin Timberlake is living up to the title of “Suit & Tie” with a play on a tuxedo shirt, satiny black suit and bow tie by Tom Ford. The singer caught some flack for his casual plaid suit from the Golden Globes, and obviously stepped it up for the night in advance of his performance and single release.

Taylor Swift: ‘I hope I don’t nerve out.’

Taylor Swift (JORDAN STRAUSS/INVISION/AP)
Taylor Swift (JORDAN STRAUSS/INVISION/AP)

Taylor Swift arrived on the red carpet in a “yogurt” J. Mendel Grecian inspired gown. She told Ryan Seacrest, “I feel like I see you every week,” and added about her opening performance, “I hope it’s decent, and I don’t nerve out.”

 

Skrillex botches acceptance speech

Twenty-five-year old DJ Skrillex won early at this year’s Grammys, scoring awards for best remix recording, best dance recording and best dance/electronica album.

His acceptance was perhaps less skilled than his remixing.

Carrie Underwood in Roberto Cavalli


Carry Underwood (Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS)

Carrie Underwood went classic — albeit predictably country-blonde-starlet-in-sparkles — with a strapless Roberto Cavalli featuring flattering swirl details. Carly Rae Jepson likewise chose Cavalli (an early design front-runner?) in a similar strapless silhouette and even more sequins.

Behind the scenes on the red carpet

While the Grammy Awards don’t officially start for another hour and a half, the red carpet is already crowded. Here are some photos from behind the scenes:

Sandy Hook choir unable to attend Grammys

Host Giuliana Rancic announced during the E! pre-show that because of the weekend’s winter storm Nemo that hit the Northeast, the Sandy Hook elementary school choir was unable to fly to Los Angeles for Sunday’s Grammy Awards.

Chris Brown totals car in accident on Saturday

Chris Brown arrives at the Grammys (JORDAN STRAUSS/INVISION/AP)
Chris Brown arrives at the Grammys. (JORDAN STRAUSS/INVISION/AP)

Chris Brown got into a car accident on Saturday that totaled his Porsche. But that has not stopped him from showing up to the red carpet in a pristine all-white suit.

“The paparazzi tends to get out of hand, but it’s all good though,” he said about the accident and said he had no injuries.

Brown said he is most looking forward to Miguel tonight.

Dress-code memo buzz

The early buzz on the red carpet is swirling around CBS’s leaked dress-code memo, which advised attendees that “thong type costumes are problematic,” and warned against exposing “bare fleshy under curves of the buttocks” and “bare sides or under curvature of the breasts.”

But as Lisa de Moraes of TV Column noted, CBS says that it sent the same fashion-guidance last which didn’t prohibit Fergie from wearing a black bra and briefs under an orange cut-out gown.

So who will be the first to blatantly disregard the guidelines? We’ll keep a close watch, but are guessing there’s a good chance a curvature or two will make an appearance.

Updates from the Grammy pre-show

Welcome to our Grammys live blog. Before we kick off red carpet coverage, our pop music critic, Chris Richards, has a few updates on how some Washington-area musicians fared in the Grammy pre-show.

-Toby Mac, a christian vocalist with roots in the Washignton area, won for best contemporary Christian music album for his latest album “Eye On It.”

-“Woody at 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Collection,” an album released on the Washington-based Smithsonian Folkways label, won best boxed or special limited edition package.

-Wale lost best rap song to “N***s in Paris”

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Ron Charles · February 10, 2013