Sure, there were plenty of trophies handed out at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, held Sunday night in Los Angeles. But as always, the real focus of the more than three-and-a-half hour telecast was the performances. Here’s a rundown of who played what:
Beyonce and her husband Jay Z opened the show with a super-sexy rendition of her hit “Drunk In Love.” She wore a skimpy black bodysuit, and a short “wet-look” hairdo; he wore a suit and patted her backside while performing. The couple shared a hug as they walked offstage.
Lorde performed a mostly a cappella rendition of her hit “Royals” which went on to win her two awards. The 17-year-old singer sang while wearing a blouse, slacks and dark fingertips, in front of a projection of a statue of an angel.
Country star Hunter Hayes sang his latest hit, “Invisible,” whose lyrics carried an “It Gets Better”-type message.
Katy Perry staged an elaborate performance of her latest hit “Dark Horse.” She’s said that the song was inspired by The Craft, a movie about witches, and she took that idea to the max, singing in a crystal ball while wearing a cape and glowing red top, surrounded by black-clad dancers and a demon horse. She also sang in a ring of fire, and did a pole dance on a witch’s broom.
Robin Thicke teamed up with the legendary band Chicago for a medley of their hits — “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?,” “Saturday in the Park” and “Beginnings” — and his own hit, “Blurred Lines.”
Country star and American Idol judge Keith Urban and singer/guitarist Gary Clark Jr. teamed for a version of Keith’s single “Cop Car.”
John Legend sang his romantic ballad “All of Me.”
While seated at the piano, Taylor Swift sang “All Is Well,” a fan favorite from her album Red that wasn’t a single. She gave an excellent vocal performance, at times appearing to snarl the words of the tune, which was a takedown of a former boyfriend; many believe Jake Gyllenhaal inspired the song. At one point, she head-banged so hard that her hair flipped up and down like crazy, inspiring fans to create some fun gifs of the moment.
Pink did a sequel to her show-stopping aerial performance at the Grammy Awards back in 2010; this time around, she sang her hit “Try” while soaring through the air, and spinning upside down. When she finally came back to earth, she and Nate Ruess performed their nominated duet “Just Give Me a Reason.”
Imagine Dragons and rapper Kendrick Lamar gave the most energetic and rocking performance of the night, doing a mashup of the band’s “Radioactive” and Kendrick’s “m.A.A.d City.” There was tons of smoke, lights, shock and awe, and Taylor Swift was dancing her butt off in the front row the whole time.
Kacey Musgraves unfortunately had to follow that performance with a simple rendition of her hit “Follow Your Arrow;” at least her cowboy boots had blinking electric lights on them.
Ex-Beatle Ringo Starr performed his classic hit “Photograph” with an enormous band that included Peter Frampton on guitar; Ringo also played drums behind his old bandmate Paul McCartney, as Sir Paul sang one of his new songs, “Queenie Eye.” It was a 50 percent Beatle reunion!
Country legends Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson, joined by Blake Shelton, performed “Highwayman,” “Okie from Muskogee” and “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.”
Daft Punk, joined by Pharrell Williams, Nile Rodgers and Stevie Wonder, had the entire house on their feet and dancing to “Get Lucky,” which incorporated bits of “Le Freak,” by Rodgers’ group Chic, and Stevie’s song “Another Star.” It was only the duo’s second-ever TV performance.
Carole King and Sara Bareilles teamed for a mashup of Carole’s “Beautiful” and Sara’s “Brave.”
Metallica teamed up with Chinese pianist Lang Lang for a rendition of their classic song “One.”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, joined by Mary Lambert, sang their hit “Same Love,” while Queen Latifah married 33 couples, some same-sex, some heterosexual, in the audience. Madonna, sporting a white suit and cowboy hat, then joined them to sing a bit of her song “Open Your Heart.”
Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong and country star Miranda Lambert sang “When Will I Be Loved” in tribute to the late Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers.
The show closed with Nine Inch Nails, Fleetwood Mac‘s Lindsey Buckingham, Queens of the Stone Age and Dave Grohl rocking out, first with the song “Copy of A,” by Nine Inch Nails, and then the Queens song “My God Is the Sun.”
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