Factoring the 15 minutes of actual award-giving time, the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards seemed more like a long concert, filled with pop stars “hatching” from eggs, singers dressed head to toe in feathers, lip-syncing Muppets and a large number of celebrities under the age of 17.
Kicking the night off was a tribute to the recovering Aretha Frankin, who was recently in the hospital for an undisclosed condition. Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson and other female vocalists sang a host of Franklin covers including “Respect” and “Natural Woman.”
Many performances followed throughout the night. There were five between the first and second awards of the night.
Lady Gaga performed her new single after emerging from her already notorious egg costume, and Muse lit up the stage with a combination of lighting effects and theatrics.
Both would go on to win awards later; Gaga took home Best Pop Vocal Album for “The Fame Monster” while Muse won Best Rock Album for “The Resistance.”
Lady Antebellum would also be rewarded for its performance at the show, taking home prizes for Record of the Year, Song of The Year, Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group, and Best Country Album.
Other notable performances during the night were the Usher and Justin Bieber collaboration (neither would leave with an award, however), Cee Lo Green’s performance with Gwyneth Paltrow of “F— You” (a reference to her guest spot on “Glee”) and Bob Dylan got help from current folk stars the Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons during a performance of his “Maggie’s Farm.”
Not all of the entertainment was musical, however.
David Letterman drew laughs for his top 10 list called “Surprises at the 2011 Grammy Awards,” poking fun at Lindsay Lohan, Jay-Z, Willie Nelson and Bieber.
Fashion was, as expected, interesting. Aside from Gaga, Green turned heads with his flamboyant peacock getup, and rapper Nicki Minaj walked the red carpet in an entirely leopard-print outfit, complemented by a hairdo borrowed from Marge Simpson and Lily Munster.
Despite the performances and styles, surprise winners provided some of the night’s most exciting moments.
The biggest surprise was the Best New Artist winner, Esperanza Spalding, a pop-jazz artist, who overcame mainstream artists including Bieber and Drake.
Alternative rock band Arcade Fire performed right before it won Album of the Year. The prize was another surprise announcement. Despite being critically adored, fan favorites Eminem and Lady Gaga were heavily favored.
Although nearly 3.5 hours in length, the show still had one of its highest ratings in the last decade, according to The New York Times. The artists apparently came for trophies, the viewers came for the celebrity.