Grammy Country: Hits, a Miss, a Glowing Gown

Carrie Underwood performs at the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California

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It was a big night for country music at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards, with Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift delivering flashy performances and Zac Brown Band and Little Big Town both coming up big in the awards' department. The 615's thoughts on what we saw last night.

Awards
It was a big night for Carrie Underwood, and deservedly so, with a win in the Best Country Solo Performance for "Blown Away" - which also netted the Best Country Song trophy for Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins. The vocal range of Underwood -- and song's gripping story -- can't be denied, and who would even try. But, there needs to be a Male and Female category -- in all genres -- like there used to be. Though it skewed to an older demo, Ronnie Dunn's "Cost Of Livin" was a performance that was too good to go overlooked.

Congratulations go out to Little Big Town for taking the Country Duo / Group category. They have toiled a long time before getting their well-deserved time in the spotlight. There was some great competition, including Don Williams' collaboration with Alison Krauss and the all-star band The Time Jumpers, but I'm not going to quibble. It's their time!

You will also not find an argument from me concerning the Zac Brown Band's win in the Best Country Album category for "Uncaged." You could have gone with any of the nominees, but Brown's album was one of my top three albums of last year, and demonstrated their versatility more than any other.

Performances
The opening -- Taylor Swift "got the party started" with an energetic performance of her "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together." I'll be the first to admit that I don't fall in her demo, so I really didn't get the circus theme of the song -- though I am sure that I am in the minority. That being said, Swift looked fantastic -- she's not the teenage girl of the "Tim McGraw" era anymore, and I'm sure her performance will spur yet another sales bump for her former Billboard 200 No. 1, "Red."

Miranda Lambert -- What an emotional wallop of a performance of her hit ballad "Over You." I understand they are touring together, but at first, I was kind of puzzled about Dierks Bentley performing the song with her as a duet. That being said, the two did combine their talents for some impressive harmony. I thought the two sounded incredible, though the sound was far from perfect -- something that has become an awards tradition on all shows. I couldn't help but notice the looks on some of the non-country audience when the cameras panned out: totally un-interested by two of country's biggest stars. I thought it was a strong performance, though I'm still not sure what the two songs had to do with each other.

Is Kelly Clarkson "country" or not? Doesn't matter. From a performance standpoint, her medley of "Tennessee Waltz" and "You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman" could be classified simply as "damn good."

Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away" has been such a vocal showcase for the Best Country Vocal Performance winner that it was a no-brainer for her to do it here. And, as always, she did not disappoint. The special effects with her gown were also very eye-catching.