Recap: Grammys Honor Whitney, Etta
Celebrities give the singers a fine send-off. Plus: Nicki Minaj's performance, Adele and more.
The show did indeed go on. The Grammys are always about the performances, and the producers packed a variety of acts into the three-and-a-half-hour show. Here are some of the more memorable moments:
The Night of Adele
Though Houston's death overshadowed music's big night, the evening still belonged to Adele. The British singer, who hadn't performed publicly since having a polyp removed from her vocal cords in November, gave a captivating performance of her hit "Rolling in the Deep," from her best-selling album, 21. She would go on to win every award for which she was nominated, taking home six trophies, including Album of the Year, and Song of the Year and Record of the Year for "Rolling in the Deep." (A complete list of winners can be found here.)
Chris Brown Returns
Brown took to the Grammy stage for the first time in three years with performances of "Turn Up the Music" and "Beautiful People." Brown and his dancers put on an acrobatic show, jumping and flipping over a pyramid of blocks that changed colors in time with the music. Later, Brown would accept the Best R&B Album trophy for F.A.M.E.
"First and foremost, I just got to thank God for this opportunity and thank the Grammys for letting me get on this stage and do my thing," Brown said. While the audience (and fans) seemed to have forgiven the beleaguered pop star for the events of 2009, there were some who weren't so ready to forgive and forget.
Brown returned to the stage later in the show with dance producer-DJ David Guetta, electro star Deadmau5 and rockers Foo Fighters for the Grammys' tribute to dance and electronica music.
Rihanna Gets Down and Dirty
Brown's ex Rihanna, who ditched her vibrant-red curls for a dirty-blond do, showed up in a mesh shirt and high-cut leather shorts for her energetic performance of her dance hit "We Found Love." She gave a shout-out to Houston before joining Chris Martin of Coldplay for an acoustic duet of "Princess of China."
What the Hell, Nicki?
Rap star Nicki Minaj, ever the attention seeker, was a woman possessed during a slightly creepy, Exorcist-themed performance of her song "Roman Holiday." The rapper may earn the ire of the Catholic Church for a set featuring religious imagery, stained glass windows and dancers frolicking in church robes while the rap diva levitated over a flaming stage.
The most nominated artist of the night (seven) didn't show up to crash the stage or even accept his trophies -- in a preshow ceremony, he won three Grammys for Best Rap Album (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy) and Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "All of the Lights." West and Jay-Z also won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance for the single "Otis." New father Jay at least had an excuse for not being there. We'll admit, we kind of missed 'Ye's crazy award antics.
Genetta M. Adams is a contributor to The Root.