The top awards went to the French born “robots” of Daft Punk who, in a refreshingly change for an awards show, didn’t utter a word of acceptance all night long. But, as has been the case in most Grammy telecasts in recent years, all points of interest went to the performances.
While ‘who won what’ was largely beside the point, The Musical Box decided to distribute 10 mock awards of our own for our annual Grammy post mortem
+ Best power couple: Beyonce and Jay-Z. Together, they could probably buy and sell the entire pop universe. Onstage, during the show-opening Drunk in Love, they were just your everyday husband and wife in heat. Jay-Z also got bonus points for the best acceptance speech later in the evening, which he directed to daughter Blue Ivy: “Look, daddy’s got a gold sippy cup for you.”
+ Best dexterity: Pink, for bends, twirls and contortions while being suspended over the Grammy audience. When the singer was earthbound again to sing Just Give Me a Reason, she looked like she could snap duet partner Nate Ruess in two like a twig.
+ Best nostalgia moment: Ringo Starr. The much ballyhooed duet with fellow Beatle Paul McCartney was good fun. But Ringo’s delivery of his 1973 hit Photograph was full of such simple, effective pageantry that one almost forgot how devastatingly sad the song was.
+ Best party moment: Daft Punk with Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williamsand Nile Rodgers. The Daft Punk dance hit Get Lucky took Record of the Year honors, but last night’s live version threw ageless pop-soul legend Wonder into the mix. Everybody in the all-star audience seemed to get their groove on.
+ Best utility man: Lang Lang. The celebrated pianist turned rock star and cranked up the histronics to perform One with Metallica and then returned to his classical security base with a brief but solemn tribute to the late Van Cliburn.
+ Best sisterhood: Carole King and Sara Bareilles. Representatives of two pop generations, each possessed with boundless vitality, squared off with nothing but two pianos and obvious mutual admiration to back them up.
+ Best affirmation: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis with Trombone Shorty, Mary Lambert, Queen Latifah and Madonna. The occasion stole the show in a faith-driven version of One Love that served as a live backdrop for the simultaneous marriage of over 30 mixed and same sex couples.
+ Best surprise: Kasey Musgraves. Continuing a tradition of upsets in the Best Country Album category, Musgraves’ smart, open and uncompromising Same Trailer Different Park beat out cookie-cutter top sellers by Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean and Blake Shelton.
+ Best simplicity: John Legend. As with the King/Bariellies duet, pop-soul star Legend performed All of Me by accompanying himself on piano. The simple beauty was underscored when Taylor Swift followed by turning the piano-fueled All Too Well into a bombastic, self-involved mess.
+ Best parting shot: Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Lindesy Buckingham and Dave Grohl. Daft Punk won top honors for Album of the Year with a surprisingly touching acceptance speech by ‘70s popster Paul Williams. But Buckingham and NIN chieftain Trent Reznor made sure everyone went home with their ears ringing.