The 52nd Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Jan. 31 promises to be music’s biggest night … and also ladies night.
Beyonce Knowles, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga (left) made such an impact 2009, and they’re well represented at the Grammy Awards with several nominations apiece.
Besides the usual performances and outrageous fashions (how can she sit in that?), this year’s telecast also features a rare appearance by Michael Jackson’s children, Prince Michael and Paris, who will accept a lifetime achievement award on behalf of their late father.
If you need to steal away during the festivities, no worries, we’ll be recapping all of the show’s highlights.
All times are Eastern.
8:00 p.m. – We’ve been promised some Lady Gaga for the opening, and there she is! She’s left behind the Milky Way Galaxy red carpet look and instead is wearing a sparkly turquoise poofy Judy Jetson number with glitter mask to perform “Poker Face.” This theatrical number is just over the top. “She’s a monster!” yells the MC.
Ah yeah, Gaga has joined Elton John on stage. He’s stolen part of her
earlier dress and is wearing it as an earring. Dueling blingy specs.
Dirty, dirty faces and what’s with the horrific disembodied arms
sprouting out of the piano? Is this like a Han Solo in carbonite? This
must have looked a lot cooler live. [Check out video of Gaga’s performance]
8:07 p.m. – Stephen Colbert is the first presenter and starts doing shout outs. Jay-Z is looking wary. Colbert warns his daughter, who’s in the audience, to stay away from Katy Perry. After giving the worse backhanded compliment to Susan Boyle (“a 48-year-old Scottish cat lady with sensible shoes”), he whips out the iPad. It was inevitable. We want one.
8:12 p.m. – Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” wins for song of the year. A trio of men who aren’t Beyonce accept.
8:14 p.m. – Second performance time. J.Lo introduces Green Day and the cast of the “American Idiot” stage show. What? We’re not quite sure what this is. Is there supposed to be plot? It’s like a triumphant fist-raising performance a la the end of “Breakfast Club.” It’s uplifting. Let’s overthrow something and sing in unison! This is the band that once had an album called Dookie.
8:24 p.m. – “When in Rome” stars Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel are on stage. Show of hands who saw the rom com? Or did you just watch “Avatar” again?
8:26 p.m. – Best Country Album goes to Taylor Swift. We’re not surprised, but this lets us take a closer look at the geometric neckline. Hey, it’s her first time winning a (televised) Grammy! She calls this an “impossible dream.”
8:28 p.m. – Beyonce invades with a whole lot of SWAT guys from the audience. She’s scaring me in a good way, and the wind machine is cranked up high. Oh, jeez. Crotch grab. Nice illustration of the lyrics. She’s giving us several songs, including the ultimate angry woman song, Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know.” I don’t think I want to mess with Beyonce. Those head bangs could drive nails into cement. Okay, we kid. Very powerful and energetic performance. Truly awesome.
8:40 p.m. – Hallelujah! Seal mentions that Leonard Cohen has received a Lifetime Achievement award. Too bad there’s not more time for at least a medley? Or just bring back Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris for their “Hope for Haiti Now” song.
8:41 p.m. – P!nk is in a hooded, drapey number singing “Glitter in the Air,” then gets semi-naked to spin, suspended in a giant diaper, ready to be carried off by a stork. Really, that’s what it looks like. It’s a very pretty song, but the performance is very distracting. And now she’s wet and … still spinning, but upside down. It’s Cirque du Soleil meets a spiderweb meets afterbirth.
8:45 p.m. – Loretta Lynn also gets a Lifetime Achievement award!
8:46 p.m. – Yup, as expected, the chicken-fried Zac Brown Band wins the Best New Artist award. They’re smart, letting each member thank only a couple people at a time, but dammit, they still get played off.
8:54 p.m. – Black Eyed Peas are up. It’s kind of space agey, but … after the extremes between Beyonce and P!nk, this seems a bit lackluster. Oh, wait, they’re switching it up to “I Gotta Feeling” as walking Transformers/stereos bounce along. I want to see them transform back into stereos. No denying that it’s a catchy song.
8:59 p.m. – And this is Hanh signing off, leaving you in the capable hands of Rick.
9:03 p.m. – So, to recap, two of the great songwriters of the last 50 years, Leonard Cohen and Loretta Lynn, got about 15 seconds worth of lip service to their lifetime achievement awards. Seriously — no one could sing a song or two by them?
9:05 p.m. – We don’t squeal over the Jonas Brothers anymore, right?
9:07 p.m. – Lady Antebellum is on stage singing “Need You Now,” which has to be the most heartfelt song ever about drunk-dialing.
9:09 p.m. – Best comedy album gets a prime-time spot, introduced by “Big Bang Theory” star Kaley Cuoco and Juanes — and for some reason she won’t let go of his arm.
9:10 p.m. – Colbert wins for “A Colbert Christmas” — “This is a Christmas album, so obviously I should thank Jesus Christ for having such a great birthday.” Aww, and nice throwback to his earlier bit: “I want to ask my daughter, am I cool now?” She looks genuinely happy for her pops and nods a yes.
9:17 p.m. – The Bobby Darin montage looks way off, with footage of him playing over Norah Jones and Ringo Starr talking about him.
9:18 p.m. – Record of the year: Kings of Leon for “Use Somebody.” Huh. Given that Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Beyonce were also nominees, that’s gotta be a bit of an upset.
9:19 p.m. – “We’re a little drunk, but we’re happy-drunk,” one of the Leons says. Cheers to that.
9:21 p.m. – Robert Downey Jr., “the most self-important actor of his generation” (says the voiceover lady), tries to class up the proceedings by introducing … Jamie Foxx and T-Pain. Audience shot of George Clinton, who heartily approves.
9:24 p.m. – And Doug E. Fresh! And Slash!
9:26 p.m. – Justin Bieber looks like he’s afraid Ke$ha is going to make him get drunk or something. And folks voting for the Bon Jovi performance: Let’s do the right thing and pick “Livin’ on a Prayer,” ‘K?
9:32 p.m. – My favorite presenter pairing of the night, Alice Cooper and Katy Perry, present best rock album to Green Day fo “21st Century Breakdown.”
9:34 p.m. – CBS is not wasting its chance to pimp its stars. Chris O’Donnell is at least the third Eye star to get face time tonight.
9:38 p.m. – Leon Russell sits in with the Zac Brown Band. It’s a rollicking little medley.
9:45 p.m. – Ryan Seacrest introduces Taylor Swift with just a touch of hyperbole: “You could not make up success story like this.”
9:47 p.m. – She sings “Fairytale,” then introduces … Stevie Nicks? … for a duet of “Rihannon.” Sure. Then Stevie rturns the favor by joining in on “You Belong with Me,” which is more than a little odd. This is a song to be sung by someone young — you know, like the 20-year-old Swift. It’s like watching a girl and her mom duet.
9:52 p.m. – Get your 3-D glasses ready, folks. Lionel Richie is introducing the Michael Jackson tribute.
9:54 p.m. – Celine Dion, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Smokey Robinson and Usher will be singing along with Michael Jackson on “Earth Song.”
9:58 p.m. – The 3-D effects are pretty much a bust to those of us watching here, but Beyonce is grooving with her glasses on at Staples Center.
10:00 p.m. – The actual performance, though, pretty well brings the house down. As does Prince and Paris Jackson coming on stage to accept a lifetime achievement award.
10:02 p.m. – And th
at’s all for Rick. Andrea Reiher will take you through the end of the show.
10:05 p.m. – Hi gang! Andrea here for the last half-hour of the Grammys.
10:08 p.m. – Sheryl Crow lets us know Doug Morris received the President’s Merit Award to Industry Icons. Neat. She then introduces Bon Jovi performing a medley. The Jersey girl in me is very excited, though I don’t really love their more recent stuff.
10:09 p.m. – These songs are okay, but they’re kinda slow and overplayed. This is like geriatric Bon Jovi. It gets better when Jennifer Nettles joins them. I like her quite a bit.
10:11 p.m. – I really wanted to hear “Dead or Alive” or “Runaway” or “Blaze of Glory.”
10:14 p.m. – “Livin’ on a Prayer” won the vote. I am shocked (SHOCKED) to find that gambling is going on in here! You know, I used to like this song.
10:16 p.m. – Mos Def and Placido Domingo announce that Leonard Cohen (maybe, I had a hard time understanding Placido) won a Lifetime Achievement award and then present the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration to Jay-Z, Rhianna and Kanye West for “Run This Town.” Kanye is conspicuously absent, but some little kid is there. Who is that?
10:25 p.m. – Wyclef Jean does some Haiti shout-outs, teaches a little to the audience and then introduces David Foster, Mary J. Blige and Andrea Bocelli to perform “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” which you can purchase on iTunes to benefit Haiti.
10:28 p.m. – Bocelli’s part is just beautiful and then Mary J. comes in to really kick it up. Surprisingly, they sound really good together. I say “surprisingly” because they have such different voices not because I think either one lacks talent.
10:36 p.m. – Neil Portnow, current president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, lets us know that music mogul Clive Davis donated some money for a studio, the Latin Grammys are 10 years old, that Neil Young was MusiCares person of the year, something about a President’s Merit Award to Ken Erlich and that somebody died. I missed it. To quote Willow Rosenberg: Bored now.
10:39 p.m. – Portnow then gives us a firm talking-to about not illegally downloading music. This is so unfair — the other recappers got Pink du Soleil and Lady Gaga and I get THIS? And now Adam Sandler is here. Huh.
10:41 p.m. – After a weird intro about an usher, jail and a Burger King, Adam Sandler introduces the Dave Matthews Band for “You and Me.”
10:45 p.m. – I had no idea Dave Matthews was actually a leprechuan! Did you see his jig?
10:47 p.m. – Lea Michele and Ricky Martin are here to present Best Female Vocal Performance. It goes to Beyonce for “Halo.” Cool, I like that song a lot. I’m not crazy about Beyonce’s silver dress, what happened to her beautiful taupe red carpet dress?
10:54 p.m. – LL Cool J announces Honeyboy Edwards earning a Lifetime Achievement Award and then introduces Maxwell doing “Pretty Wings.” This is a find performance, he’s a good singer and all but… this awards show is TOO LONG for only giving out 9 awards. I mean… seriously.
10:58 p.m. – Maxwell is joined by Roberta Flack for “Where is the Love?” Does anybody else think Roberta looks like if Aretha and Carol Channing had a kid?
11:00 p.m. – Look Who Died part. I recognize Mary from Peter, Paul and Mary, Dan Seals, DJ AM, Vic Chestnutt, Al Martino (but only because of “The Godfather”) and Les Paul.
11:03 p.m. – Les Paul is honored by Jeff Bridges and Jeff Beck with singer Imelda May on “How High the Moon.” Cool, this is great.
11:12 p.m. — Quentin Tarantino announces Clark Terry’s Lifetime Achievement award and then introduces Travis Barker, Drake, Eminem and Lil Wayne.
11:14 p.m. – There are LONG spots of dead air that I presume are because of profanity. Neat. Sounds like the perfect song to perform live on network TV.
11:25 p.m. – Carlos Santana and John Legend present Album of the Year to Taylor Swift for “Fearless.” WOW. I am surprised. I think Taylor Swift seems like a really sweet girl, but I am shocked that she won. I thought for sure Lady Gaga would take it home.
11:28 p.m. – Hey Grammys, only 28 minutes over your timeslot! And yet, only 9 awards. Seriously, there could’ve been some fat trimmed here, I’m fairly sure. Thanks for reading along, y’all. Night!
Photo credits: Getty Images