In a press conference after last night's Grammy Awards, longtime show producer Ken Ehrlich answered reporters' questions. Here is an edited transcript of his comments.
Q: How did this year's set design -- Garage Band Meets Angry Birds - come together?
A: There were two ideas that were kind of fighting each other. One was our graphics company came up with this kind of Garage Band theme, which is what that part was. And then the graphics part, as you saw in the title, it was very Angry Birds. It was late night pizza, and I was sitting at the computer playing Angry Birds and I saw those birds hitting those letters, you know, the blocks, and I thought that could be kind of fun. That's what's happening with millions of kids.
Q: What was it like setting up Lady Gaga's egg performance?
A: Probably the most difficult one -- not because she's difficult, but just conceptually there was a lot involved -- like Lady Gaga last year. She's a very complex person. She's great to work with, she's incredibly supportive. That might have been one of the more complex ones. That idea definitely came from her. What was the easiest? Well, none of them are easy.
Q: How about Cee-Lo channelling Elton John?
A: Cee Lo was just so much fun. We had one conversation, I think at the Grammy nomination show in December, and he said he grew up watching "The Muppet Show." And he said, "Do you remember that Elton John appearance on 'The Muppet Show'? I said absolutely. 'Can we do that?' And that's how it started.
Q: Was the Arcade Fire's outro planned?
A: I didn't think about ending the show with Arcade Fire playing a second number until maybe yesterday, and they had already rehearsed, so I didn't really get a chance to talk to them about it. But I was thinking about doing it. One year in New York at Radio City we asked a band to come back and do something. I love this band, I think there's such vibrancy. I knew that I was going to put them at the end of the show, because we were able to open up both stages for them. Once both stages were there, and there wasn't a performance that was going to follow them, I just said, let's leave them up. I talked to Win, I said either way, will you come back? He said absolutely. That was one of the unexpected things.
Q: How much planning went into the Norah Jones/Keith Urban/John Mayer performance?
A: The Norah Jones, Keith Urban, John Mayer thing, I don't think we put that into the show until maybe Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. I was looking for something that fit in a moment where we wanted to do something musical but we didn't have room or time to do anything really full-blown. We like to try and do these things, where it's more about the music, and more about trying to find a place for people who have something to say musically than it is about production.
Q: How did you get Mick Jagger to perform on the show for the first time?
A: It was really fortuitous. We had been asking the Stones and Mick to play for years. Twenty-five years ago, we did a remote from London - it was kind of a late night in London, it was reasonably alcohol-y. We presented them with a lifetime achievement award. We needed to make up for that at some point. I mean it's just been a dream. In the fall I was at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame show in New York, and we were in a hallway talking, and a publicist that you probably all know named Fran Curtis, she said to Mick, you know maybe it's time, maybe you ought to think about doing the Grammys. And needless to say I wasn't unhappy to hear that. And it started a conversation, some emails. When Solomon Burke passed away, obviously the Stones and Mick loved Solomon, so that's really what brought him here, the idea of being able to honor one of his heroes.
There's something about the Grammys that is just different from most other shows. I don't want to say it's holy, but the fact of the matter is they come to this show with very different feelings about it. We often ask them to do things that they might not do on other shows or even in other venues. They're really open about it, and they bring their A-game and know that it's the Grammys.