Mumford & Sons. For a band that didn't win either of its two nominations, the British neo-folk-bluegrass outfit alerted TV audiences to the fact that its act is more than just a single hit. Their album "Sigh No More" shot up to No. 2 on the Billboard 200 from sales during and following the Sunday broadcast. The group's second Glassnote album is expected late in the year.
AARP performers. Mick Jagger's galvanizing stage antics during his and Raphael Saadiq's tribute to Solomon Burke whetted appetites for a possible Rolling Stones tour this summer. Aretha Franklin gave a classy thank-you from her home-and vowed to return. And Bob Dylan, as much as he croaked through "Maggie's Farm," illuminated the connection between current rock acts and his '60s glory.
Country music. Lady Antebellum wins record and song of the year after performing a three-song medley. Miranda Lambert, Norah Jones and Keith Urban sing Dolly Parton's "Jolene." And Dierks Bentley and Zac Brown get airtime as presenters. The simple presentation of the country songs seemed to have a calming effect on the audience.
CBS. For the second straight year, the Grammys attracted more than 25 million viewers, something that hadn't occurred for more than a decade. As a result, the network should be able to increase the cost of advertising for the 2012 edition, perhaps getting as much as $100,000 more for every 60 seconds.
Bruno Mars. Delivering two slam-bang made-for-TV performances established the young performer as a hitmaker willing to take risks. Reorchestrating "Nothin' on You" as a string-laden ballad and placing "Grenade" in the pre-"Mad Men" black-and-white era was genius.
Esperanza Spalding. While it may seem bizarre to call the shock-surprise winner of best new artist a loser in any context, we can't help but think it should have been an even bigger night for jazz's brightest new talent. While her fellow noms showcased their talents center stage, Spalding played backup for Recording Academy CEO Neil Portnow's message about education. A higher-profile showcase was in order, and would have produced even bigger sales spikes.
R&B and hip-hop. With only one rap performance (Eminem, joined by Rihanna, Dr. Dre, Adam Levine and Skylar Grey), one contemporary R&B performance and one award presentation, the representation of both genres felt like an afterthought. Em had all the credentials of previous winners of the top awards-significant commercial appeal, a comeback album and established longevity-so his losses in the record and album of the year categories were tough for hip-hop fans to swallow.
Choreographers. Elaborately staged performances by Usher with Justin Bieber, and Rihanna featuring Drake felt staged for the 15,000 people inside the Staples Center, while the 26 million TV viewers received a string of confusing camera pans attempting to capture the broadness of the onstage action. In contrast, Cee Lo Green's peacock was colorful, fun and more easily framed for TV.
Christina Aguilera. Nothing has clicked for Xtina in the last year: Singles flopped, her tour canceled, "Burlesque" bombed-and her singing did no justice to Aretha's songbook. After she nearly fell off the stage, one had to wonder: When will she catch a break?
TV and film stars. Matthew Morrison seemed unprepared, Ryan Seacrest was overprepared, and Eva Longoria elicited responses of "Why? She's not even on a CBS show." Seth Rogen made only a few folks laugh, and Gwyneth Paltrow's impersonation of Michelle Pfeiffer in "The Fabulous Baker Boys" made it difficult to take her seriously as a singer. -Phil Gallo