Lady Gaga, Muse Light Up Grammys Stage, Win Early Awards
There weren't many awards given out during first 90 minutes of the 53rd annual Grammy awards telecast. Instead, music's biggest night kicked off by focusing on music, often moving from one energetic performance to the next.
The event kicked off with a rousing tribute to Aretha Franklin, as female singers across all genres -- R&B diva Jennifer Hudson, country queen Martina McBride, pop princess Christina Aguilera, gospel powerhouse Yolanda Adams and alternative chanteuse Florence Welch -- performed a medley of hits in honor of the queen of soul.
But soon enough, the Grammys stopped looking back and took a huge step forward as Lady Gaga emerged from a futuristic egg pod to perform her new single, "Born This Way" for the first time on television. The performance featured a pink-ponytailed Gaga -- equipped with prosthetic shoulder horns -- gyrating on stage in front of a chorus of dancers wearing flesh-colored body suits.
Other standout performances included a dance-off duet between a black-leathered Justin Bieber and his fancy-footworking mentor Usher, an impressive, retro-tinged display from Bruno Mars, Janelle Monae and B.o.B, a rocking and riotous rendition of "Uprising" from British band Muse and a demure but powerful rendition of "The House that Built Me" by Miranda Lambert, who was introduced by her gushing fiancé Blake Shelton.
Between the back-to-back performances, the academy also found time to give out a few trophies as well. Train took home the first televised award of the night for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group for its ubiquitous song "Hey Soul Sister." The band humorously thanked Justin Bieber in its speech, specifically for "not being a duo or a group."
Shortly after her performance, Lambert was awarded a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. Chart-topping trio Lady Antebellum walked away with the prize for Best Country Album. Muse followed suit, winning Best Rock Album for "The Resistance" shortly after their performance. In the band's acceptance speech, frontman Matt Bellamy thanked his nameless "pregnant girlfriend," otherwise known as actress Kate Hudson.
Lady Gaga took the stage again, this time after a big win for "The Fame Monster" as Best Pop Vocal Album. The pop singer ascended the stage, showing off a black dress featuring padded butt plates. In addition to thanking her fans and family, Gaga gave Whitney Houston an unexpected shout-out. "I want to thank Whitney Houston because when I wrote 'Born This Way,' I imagined you were singing it," Gaga told the Grammy crowd, adding that she wasn't confident enough to envision herself singing it.
Before the telecast began, many artists took home statues that were given out during the pre-telecast ceremony. The Black Keys lead the pack with three awards (Best Alternative Album, Best Rock Performance for Duo/Group for "Tighten Up," and an award for Art Direction for their album "Brothers"). La Roux took home an award for Best Electronic/Dance Album for the British duo's self-titled debut. Additionally, Usher and Fantasia took home awards for Best Male and Best Female R&B Vocal Performances, respectively, for "There Goes My Baby" and "Bittersweet."