Host LL Cool J referred to The 55th Annual Grammy Awards as the “greatest music show on earth” -- and, for the most part, it lived up to the hype. Taylor Swift (or “T-Swizzle,” as LL called her) opened the show with “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” on a carnival set, and the ante only rose from there.
The showcase was full of great moments -- fromJustin Timberlake premiering a new track to Jay-Z poking fun at The-Dream's "Swap meet" attire on the podium to Beyonce sharing an endearingly on-stage akward moment with Ellen Degeneres. Read on to find out which 10 moments will be all the buzz around water coolers today.
Frank Ocean Performing “Forrest Gump”
Without ever moving a step, Frank Ocean’s sullen performance of “Forrest Gump” from his “Channel Orange” album stood out as one of the show's best visual spectacles. While he stood still at his keyboard, a digital display showed Ocean’s legs running, giving moment to the slow-burning ballad. Behind him was another display with bicyclists, cheerleaders and more chasing. He sounded a bit off, but made up with the overall performance. His set was easily the most entrancing.
Ocean also won a Grammy for Best Urban Contemporary Album.
Carrie Underwood’s Dress
While performing her hit single “Two Black Cadillacs,” a projector targeting Carrie Underwood’s gown displayed gorgeous images of flowers blooming and then wilting. It was an elegant touch that drew applause from music, fashion and special effects fans across the board.
Jay-Z Clowns The-Dream during Acceptance Speech
After a stylish, suited Frank Ocean graciously thanked Jay-Z for putting him on Watch the Throne's “No Church in the Wild,” a considerably dressed down The-Dream — a contributing songwriter on the track — had his go on the microphone, thanking the fans, his mom and his grandparents for "the gift that he has." Jay-Z stood off to the side, only stepping to the mic long enough to tag a dig at Dream's attire: “I’d like to thank the swap meet for his hat,” Jay said to a load of laughter. Ha!
Miguel and Wiz Khalifa “Adorn” the Stage
Although it made for an awkward transition afterwards, Miguel briefly performing his smash alt R&B single “Adorn” with a suited, shirtless Wiz Khalifa spotting him a remix verse was a cool moment. Following a standing ovation from fans like Rihanna, Miguel went on to present the Best Country Solo Grammy to Carrie Underwood for “Blown Away."
Prince Steals the Show
With a black hoodie covering his head, dark sunglasses sheilding his eyes, and a platinum cane accentuating his strut, legendary funk and rock star Prince came out to present the Record of the Year award. "I love this song," Prince said as he presented the trophy to Belgian-Australian singer Gotye and featured songstress Kimbra for "Somebody That I Used to Know."
The pair seemed as excited about the presenter as they were about the award itself: Gotye refrenced Prince several times during his speech, crediting The Purple One as inspiration, and Kimbra's kiddiness was summed up with three quivvering words at the end of her speech: "Thank you Prince!." Prince likely would’ve gotten the same response from whoever he presented the award to -- he effortlessly upstaged the winner with his presence alone.
Bruno Mars, Sting, Rihanna, and the Marleys Honor Bob Marley
Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven” sounds an awful like a Police single, so it was only right that Sting joined him on stage at the Grammys. Mars’ single led to the Police man walking out and doing his group’s “Walking on the Moon.” Then the performance turned into a Bob Marley tribute, with Bajan superstar Rihanna stepping out with Marley sons Damian and Ziggy for their pop’s “Could You Be Loved.” We're still not sure why the Grammys chose to honor Marley this year in particular, but we're glad the icon finally got his due.
Ellen Fawns Over Beyonce
While Beyonce was trying her damndest to focus and read the teleprompter, TV host Ellen DeGeneres stood by her side, staring at her longingly — as if she had forgotten all about her partner Portia de Rossi sitting in the audeince. The funniest part is that it didn’t look like Bey’ was in on the joke, peering down every now and then at a too-close Ellen, with a look that suggested she take several steps back.
Kelly Clarkson Wins Award, Meets Miguel, Covers Carole King
Kelly Clarkson was excited for several reasons when she took the Grammy stage to accept her Best Pop Vocal Album award. Minutes before, her RCA labelmate Miguel killed it with his performance of “Adorn,” and Kelly felt compelled to tel him so. Funny enough, she didn’t know who he was until the moment he sang. “Miguel, I don't know who the hell you are, but we need to sing together!” she yelled during the night's most charming acceptance speech. “That was the sexiest damn thing I've ever seen." Later that night she Instagrammmed a shot of the two together; it appears that the two are well acquainted now.
Clarkson later performed a simple yet stellar cover of Carole King’s classic song “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” that brough the house down.
The Black Keys Rock with New Orleans Icons
The Black Keys brought out New Orleans legends Dr. John (dressed like a voodoo priest) on piano and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to bring new life to their hit “Lonely Boy.” The duo of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney won three Grammy awards, sweeping the rock categories, and also scored a hit as one of the most vibrant live performances of the night.
Justin Timberlake Returns to the Grammy Stage (with Jay-Z)
The awards may have belonged to Fun. and Mumford & Sons, but Justin Timberlake owned the performance stage. Starting with his recently debuted single “Suit & Tie,” Timberlake and his band -- appropriately titled the Tennesee Kids -- brought a sleek retro feel for their black-and-white-broadcasted performance. JT got Jay-Z out of his front row seat next to drop his verse on the song to the delight of everyone watching.
As an added treat, Justin then debuted “Pusher Love Girl," another cut from his forthcoming “The 20/20 Experience” album. On the sultry cut, Timberlake craves a woman like an addict does drugs. This was Justin’s first Grammy performance since 2007, and from the standing ovation he earned, it’s obvious that many were ready for their long-awaited Timberlake fix.