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It's My Party: Clive Davis on stage at his 2011 Pre-GRAMMY Gala and Salute To Industry Icons Honoring David Geffen. (Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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R. Kelly singing the National Anthem halfway through the festivities was just one of many surprises at this year's annual pre-Grammy Gala presented by Clive Davis and the Recording Academy. The gala, held once again at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., also included the 2011 Grammy Salute to Industry Icons honoring Geffen Records founder and DreamWorks SKG co-founder David Geffen. ¨Some 300-plus tables of ten stretching from the front to the back of the Hilton ballroom made for some tricky maneuvering but deterred absolutely no one from table-hopping. All sectors of the media were represented. The diverse crowd included CBS chief Les Moonves, HBO personality Bill Maher, "Glee" stars Jane Lynch and Matthew Morrison (the latter of whom performed "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" during the gala), Jane Fonda, Warren Beatty, Max Martin, Bruno Mars, Quincy Jones, Sean Combs, Katy Perry, Rob Stringer, Barry Weiss, Steve Rifkind, Barry Manilow, Kristin Chenowith, Jimmy Iovine, Berry Gordy, Doug Morris, Lucian Grainge and L.A. Reid to name just a few.

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Music Machers: The evening's honoree David Geffen (center) flanked by Interscope CEO Jimmy Iovine (left) and Universal Chairman Doug Morris (right), (Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

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The F word was liberally bandied about during the evening. Songwriter/producer David Foster was the first to drop the bomb during his formal introduction of Clive Davis. "Neil stole my f**king speech," joked Foster of Recording Academy president Neil Portnow's earlier opening remarks. Cher provided one of the evening's several "wow" moments when she was brought onstage to say a few words about Geffen before he was presented with the Academy's President's Merit Award. "I have no idea what this f***ing award is," said Cher to audience laughter. "But whatever it is, I'm sure he [Geffen] deserves it. Then the F man himself, Cee Lo Green (whom Davis noted had come to the Hilton from his sick bed) got everyone on their feet and singing along to the unadulterated version of his Grammy-nominated song "F**k (Forget You)."

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Before leaving the stage, Cee Lo laughingly tossed out this foonote to all: "F**k you. F**k all of you!". (Photo: Kevin Mazur/FilmMagic)

Noting that he would have never signed the group Chicago if it wasn't for Geffen, Clive Davis remarked that the honoree "personified everything a manager should be; he felt and lived the music." Warren Beatty, featured in a video clip about Geffen's career, said, "He reeks of smart." Before Geffen was brought onstage to receive the award, Mary J. Blige performed Joni Mitchell's "A Free Man in Paris," which was inspired by a phone conversation with Geffen. After the presentation, Geffen noted, "When I got in this business I had great role models like Clive Davis and Berry Gordy. I'm still doing it…at least I hope I am. I'm very grateful for this award."

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Left to right: The night's saluted music icon David Geffen, singer/f-bomb thrower Cher, NARAS President Neil Portnow (Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

Opening the nearly three-hour music portion of the evening was best new artist nominee Mumford & Sons. The group's energetic and heartfelt performance of its debut hit single, "Little Lion Man," (video below) earned the evening's first standing ovation. Additional performers included fellow Grammy nominee Janelle Monae and Matthew Morrison of "Glee."

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Clive Davis (left) shaking hands with Musician Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons onstage. The British group received Best New Artist and Best Rock Song Grammy nominations. (Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

The evening's biggest surprise had to be R. Kelly, who walked to the stage from the back of the ballroom (followed by two background singers) while singing -- of all things -- the National Anthem. Once onstage, he shifted back into his signature R&B, performing a mini-concert of several hits ranging from "Step in the Name of Love" and "Ignition" to his recent chart climber "When a Woman Loves."

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Left to right: The patriotic R. Kelly, Dionne Warwick, celbrating her fifth decade making music, and Clive Davis. (Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

The slimmed-down singer Jennifer Hudson belted out her new single, "Where You At," written and produced by R. Kelly. She followed up with a spiritually rousing version of "A Natural Woman," offering a taste of what's in store when she, Florence Welch, Christina Aguilera, Yolanda Adams and Martina McBride pay tribute to Aretha Franklin during tonight's ceremony.

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Jennifer Hudson looking fabulous from the stage of the Beverly Hilton Hotel.(Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic))

In honor of cousin Dionne Warwick's 50th anniversary in music, a silver-gowned Whitney Houston came onstage to a standing ovation. Noting that she "didn't have to look for an 'American Idol'; she was in my home," Houston performed a medley of the singing legend's hits. The brief set featured a jazzed-up version of "Walk on By, "I Say a Little Prayer" and a snippet of "Alfie," the latter of which found her struggling a bit vocally. That awkward moment turned into a poignant one, however, when Warwick came onstage to sing her 1985 hit "That's What Friends Are For." Sweetly harmonizing together, the two ended their performance with a fervent embrace to audience applause.