The 56th annual Grammy Awards red carpet was a well-documented snooze. Even Queen Bey, a couple of French robots and an oddly minimalist New Zealander couldn’t save the bland train wreck of what was once an annual fashion holiday. Without the likes of Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj (none of whom were nominated), there seemed an enormous drought of talent willing to take an outsize risk. And no, Paula Patton’s zebra monstrosity does not count. (Seriously, Paula, we’re really worried about your stylist.)

A handful of the veterans did their part, albeit in foreseeable formats.

Beyoncé reasserted her dominance for the zillionth time, skipping the red carpet and opting to make her debut onstage for the opening performance in a cage bustier over a black bra, hot shorts and dotted tights from La Perla’s “Cage” collection for spring 2013. She followed it with a gown by “Project Runway” alumnus Michael Costello — it had a large white lace pattern over flesh-colored lining.

Beyoncé performs onstage. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Beyoncé poses in the press room. (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)

Taylor Swift looked like a perfectly grown-up version of Taylor Swift in a shimmering metallic Gucci column with short sleeves. It was chic, it was sparkly, and it was Taylor at her Taylory-ist.

Taylor Swift arrives at the 56th annual Grammy Awards. (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Other high points require a deeper dig. Much deeper. Different events altogether deeper.

Rihanna, proving once again her cool-girl stature, didn’t bother with the main event, rather showing her sartorial prowess at various side offerings. She pulled a sophisticated look from the Altuzarra spring 2014 collection for Saturday’s Roc Nation Pre-Grammy Brunch, pairing the sleek skirt-and-shirt combo with white lace-up Manolo Blanhik pumps. She went ultra saucy in a yellow Alexandre Vauthier for Clive Davis’s annual Pre-Grammy Gala later that day.

Rihanna arrives at the Roc Nation Pre-Grammy Brunch on Saturday. (Angela Weiss/Getty Images)

Rihanna attends Clive Davis’s Pre-Grammy Gala and Salute to Industry Icons at the Beverly Hilton, also Saturday. (Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS)

Miley Cyrus was also in attendance at the Clive Davis event. She wore a simple Calvin Klein sheath with a large, pink shearling coat — which may have been made at the expense of one of her dancing teddy bears.

Miley Cyrus arrives at the Pre-Grammy Gala and Salute to Industry Icons on Saturday. (Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP)

Iggy Azalea was stunning in a blue Roberto Cavalli for the Friends ’N’ Family 17 Grammy VIP Host Dinner on Thursday. It was a promising vision for the relative newcomer, who played it fairly safe on the red carpet in a white Elie Saab.

Iggy Azalea attends the Grammy Awards. (Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS)

Most attendees Sunday night suffered from an extreme case of Average Formal Dress Syndrome.

Pink and Bonnie McKee fell into the trance of the sweetheart neck and mermaid silhouette that tends to dominate awards shows. Neither was so much a flub as a disappointment from otherwise edgy and stylish women.

Ariana Grande gave us a severe case of deja vu with her half-up hair and tea-length gown.

Whoever is responsible for this repeated look, and the nude stockings and satin shoes, should be dismissed immediately.

Ariana Grande arrives for the Grammy Awards. (Michael Nelson/European Pressphoto Agency)

Colbie Caillat looked as if she was being choked by an angry red nightgown that was cast out by Victoria’s Secret.

Skylar Grey’s nude leather Michael Costello gave the appearance that she bathed in her foundation and a few of her tattoos were starting to seep through.

Singer and songwriter Skylar Grey arrives at the Grammy Awards. (Danny Moloshok/Reuters)

And Madonna, once our saving grace, seems to have fully run out of ideas, admitting she let her son pick out her Ralph Lauren tuxedo that at once felt old and head-shakingly embarrassing when she revealed a gold grill.

Gaga, please, come back to us next year.


Grammy Awards 2014: Full coverage

Who won at the Grammys? Who stole the show? Everything you need to know.

Complete list of winners