2011 Grammys Recap

That was the most entertaining Grammy Awards I’ve ever seen. Naturally, controversy will be called — perhaps because Justin Bieber lost Best New Artist to Esperanza Spaliding (who?), or that Lady Antebellum won Song of the Year. But while the actual awards given out at the 2011 Grammys might have been a bit random they were, for the most part, fair. But that’s not the story.

The 2011 Grammy Awards showcased the magic of live music performance. It started with Lady Gaga, who lived up to her zaniness with “Born This Way.” And although she had some sort of mutant/alien thing going on, it was somehow tastefully tame, by her standards.

Cee Lo Green channeled Elton John then out-did him by breezing through the feel-good “Forget You” complete with a Muppet backing band — yes, awesome Muppets — all while wearing a massive peacock-as-gladiator costume. Unfortunately, Gwyneth Paltrow caused an awkward distraction.

But the performance everyone was waiting for would come from Eminem. With a backdrop of raging fire, Shady did “Love the Way You Lie Part 2,” and he killed it. He was sharp, agitated and explosive. Afterward, the Grammy audience was buzzing, literally, during the next award introduction. See video of Eminem’s 2011 Grammy performance, below.

Mumord and Sons did justice to their genre, along with Avett Brothers and a still-alive Bob Dylan. Rhianna sounded great. Incidentally, am I the only one that feels like she’s crossing into skank territory up there? There were other notables, including Justin Bieber and … Barbara Streisand.

Finally, Arcade Fire’s blistering rendition of “Month of May” prefaced the most shocking of all the awards — victory for Album of the Year. It’s a much-needed breath of fresh air for the mainstream music industry. And what better way to close out the awards? As @SPIN put it, “Win Butler just casually placed a Grammy on top of his amp. Then started playing the best song he ever wrote.”

The 2011 Grammy Awards was a huge success for music. Mostly, because such incredible care was put into the music itself, the stages, and the performances. It was fun. Diversity was on display and every performer brought their best to the stage. Except for J. Lo and Marc Anthony. What the hell was that?

List of winners and nominees.

Eminem performs “Love the Way You Lie, Part 2”