53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards Liveblog
53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards
Feb. 13, 2011
Staples Center, Los Angeles
(To view a list of 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards winners, click here.)
8:28 PT/11:28 ET:
And as this year's Album Of The Year winners play us out, that will about do it for the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards and our liveblog. Thank you again for joining us here this evening. We hope you enjoyed Music's Biggest Night, and please continue to let us know your thoughts on tonight's show, winners, and more in the comments below. Good night!
8:25 PT/11:25 ET:
Riding high from their win, Arcade Fire picks up their instruments again for a surprise GRAMMY encore of "Ready To Start." Appropriately, their GRAMMY Award is sitting next to the drum kit.
8:23 PT/11:23 ET:
And the winner is...Arcade Fire! A Canadian indie rock band on a small but venerable label (Merge) beats out some of the biggest stars around. And they seem as surprised as anyone. What a great and totally unexpected turn of events!
8:21 PT/11:21 ET:
Barbra and Kris K. retake the stage to bring us the last of the evening's most prestigious awards, Album Of The Year. And the nominees are The Suburbs by Arcade Fire, Recovery by Eminem, Need You Now by Lady Antebellum, The Fame Monster by Lady Gaga, and Teenage Dream by Katy Perry.
8:17 PT/11:17 ET:
So who do you think deserves the award for tonight's most energetic performance? For me it's a tie between Arcade Fire and the banjo boogie of Mumford & Sons. Though Cee Lo's funkadelic overload comes awfully close, too.
8:15 PT/11:15 ET:
And just think...that's pretty much Arcade Fire at their most relaxed.
8:13 PT/11:13 ET:
A riot of light and movement onstage right now. Almost impossible to keep up with it all. Multiple drummers. A violinist rocking harder than most guitarists tonight. And...people doing BMX bike tricks?
8:11 PT/11:11 ET:
And speaking of Arcade Fire, actor/writer/comedian/musician Jason Segel humbly introduces the indie-gone-sorta-mainstream troupe with a blaze of light, a megaphone, and a big beat.
8:08 PT/11:08 ET:
This is it! Countdown to Album Of The Year. Do you think Lady Antebellum will surprise everyone again? Will Eminem return to the stage to take the prize? Or will GRAMMY newbies and indie rock heroes Arcade Fire come out of nowhere to win? Find out soon!
8:07 PT/11:07 ET:
Best performance of the night so far? Vote in the GRAMMY poll.
8:05 PT/11:05 ET:
And the winner is...Lady Antebellum! Another surprise, with many predicting that Eminem would sweep the major categories this year. Perhaps Academy voting members are a little more country than most might think?
8:03 PT/11:03 ET:
Power couple Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez take the stage for one of the most prestigious awards of the night, Record Of The Year. And the nominees are “Nothin’ On You” by B.o.B featuring Bruno Mars, “Love The Way You Lie” by Eminem featuring Rihanna, “F*** You” by Cee Lo Green, “Empire State Of Mind” by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, and “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum.
8:02 PT/11:02 ET:
Rihanna's also brought along some of the night's most colorfully attired backup dancers, along with a couple of hand-drummers (perhaps on loan from Justin Bieber?), and a definite Caribbean vibe.
8:00 PT/11:00 ET:
With a bonfire behind them, a well-dressed Drake and fire-inducing Rihanna attempt to generate some sparks. They're dancing awfully close there.
7:58 PT/10:58 ET:
Man of many names Sean "Diddy" Combs welcomes Rihanna back to the stage for the second time this evening. See, told you. And like I said, this time she’s brought Canadian hip-hop heartthrob Drake along for the party.
7:55 PT/10:55 ET:
Speaking of Rihanna, she's up soon for the second time this evening. This time she'll be performing a duet with Best New Artist nominee Drake.
7:53 PT/10:53 ET:
And the winner is...Eminem! Well, no great surprise there. Recovery is one of the year's biggest albums, and Em's performance tonight shows he can still flow with the best out there. He also smartly gives a shoutout to Rihanna, whose pop touch helped "Love The Way You Lie" cross over to a new audience.
7:51 PT/10:51 ET:
Just to keep things unpredictable, here are Black Eyed Pea will.i.am and hip-hop spitfire Nicki Minaj (in an outfit that seems designed to outdo Lady Gaga) to present Best Rap Album. And the nominees are The Adventures Of Bobby Ray by B.o.B, Thank Me Later by Drake, Recovery by Eminem, The Blueprint 3 by Jay-Z, and How I Got Over by the Roots.
7:49 PT/10:49 ET:
Barbra and an orchestra float through an opulent rendition of "Evergreen," and as usual she makes this kind of drama seem effortless.
7:46 PT/10:46 ET:
Country legend Kris Kristofferson introduces a woman who’s already got a closet full of GRAMMY Awards, Tony Awards, Oscars, and well…just about every award you can name. The one, the only, Barbra Streisand.
7:43 PT/10:43 ET:
Less than an hour left on Music's Biggest Night, but still some very big awards to come. Plus peformances by Barbra Streisand and Arcade Fire. No, no. They're not performing together. Although, that would be something.
7:39 PT/10:39 ET:
Drake certainly seems to be feeling it as things build to a classic roof-raising soul climax. But really, is it any surprise Mick is still spry enough to high-step it like this? Wonder if Keef was watching?
7:37 PT/10:37 ET:
Mick's backed up by neo-soul artist Raphael Saadiq and his band, lending some more flavor to the proceedings, as everyone from Will Smith to Cyndi Lauper get their heads nodding in the audience.
7:35 PT/10:35 ET:
And out of nowhere: Mick Jagger strutting his skinny-legged stuff, paying tribute to the dearly departed Solomon Burke. This is the kind of old-school R&B that Mick cut his teeth on.
7:33 PT/10:33 ET:
And now we pay tribute to some music legends who we lost within the last year, including Lena Horne, Charlie Louvin, Teena Marie, Gregory Isaacs, Don "Captain Beefheart" Van Vliet, Mitch Miller, Don Kirshner, and (sadly) many more. R.I.P. to them all.
7:30 PT/10:30 ET:
Mr. Portnow discusses some of the GRAMMY Foundation's educational work, including GRAMMY in the Schools, which brings music education programs to kids nationwide, The Academy's charitable foundation MusiCares and the GRAMMY Museum.
7:28 PT/10:28 ET:
Matthew Morrison from "Glee," along with a Journey-believable chorus, introduces Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow.
7:25 PT/10:25 ET:
So what's been the biggest surprise for you tonight? And what do you think rock legend Mick Jagger has in store?
7:22 PT/10:22 ET:
And the winner is...Esperanza Spalding! Right now, a zillion Justin Bieber fans are crying all around the world. What a surprise! Score one for the jazz community....
7:20 PT/10:20 ET:
Jewel and John Legend bring us one of the most eclectic Best New Artist classes in recent memory. The nominees are pop prince Justin Bieber, rapper Drake, Brit alt-rockers Florence & The Machine, Brit folk rockers Mumford & Sons, and jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding.
7:18 PT/10:18 ET:
And now Em's trading rhymes with a seemingly reinvigorated Dr. Dre. Are we sure it isn't 2000? Either way, Dre's layoff seems to have done his skills no harm.
7:16 PT/10:16 ET:
Or is it? Em comes out spitting harder than any other rapper so far tonight, with a furious barrage of rhymes that establish why he's still respected despite the ups and downs of his career.
7:14 PT/10:14 ET:
But with Maroon 5's Adam Levine on piano and a dramatic intro vocal from Rihanna, this is clearly not the same Eminem who was causing so much trouble circa 2000.
7:12 PT/10:12 PT:
Hey, it's the Green Hornet! GRAMMY first-time presenter Seth Rogen lets fly with an off-color (but funny) joke about Miley Cyrus, a fitting way to introduce the notoriously off-color Eminem.
7:08 PT/10:08 ET:
Eminem will soon reunite with his mentor Dr. Dre on the GRAMMY stage. But does this mean we'll finally be getting a new Dr. Dre album after all these years?
7:06 PT/10:06 ET:
And the winner is..."Need You Now"! That's another win for Lady Antebellum. Could they take Record Of The Year as well?
7:04 PT/10:04 ET:
And now Jones, Urban and Mayer shift from performers to presenters to bring us the nominees for Song Of The Year. And the nominees are “Beg Steal Or Borrow” by Ray LaMontagne And The Pariah Dogs, “F*** You” by Cee Lo Green, “The House That Built Me” by Miranda Lambert, “Love The Way You Lie” by Eminem and Rihanna, and “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum. Keep in mind Song Of The Year goes to the songwriter or songwriters in question, which might not necessarily be the artists.
7:02 PT/10:02 ET:
Norah Jones, John Mayer and Keith Urban, armed with just two guitars, and some sweet in-the-round vocals, pay tribute to Dolly Parton's shiver-inducing classic "Jolene.'"
7:00 PT/10:00 ET:
Just when things were getting a subtle, Katy bounces in to "Teenage Dream," complete with Valentine's Day-themed backup dancers and neon conversation hearts raining across the video monitors.
6:58 PT/9:58 ET:
Former kid doctor Neil Patrick Harris introduces Katy Perry, who's under a spotlight, rocking on a swing straight out of Gone With The Wind.
6:55 PT/9:55 ET:
So what's been your favorite performance so far? Cee Lo's rainbow-tinted homage to Elton John with Gwyneth and friends? Bruno's trip back in time to the days of the Apollo Theater? The more low-key likes of Miranda Lambert?
6:52 PT/9:52 ET:
Plenty more to come, including some of the biggest awards of the night, including Song Of The Year. But I'm still giggling over those cute little puppets singing the (edited) chorus to the year's most bleeped-out song.
6:50 PT/9:50 ET:
And now Gwenyth Paltrow is climbing on to Cee Lo's piano, trying not to be upstaged by Jim Henson's creations.
6:48 PT/9:48 ET:
Cee Lo's outfit is bringing together George Clinton, Issac Hayes, and a peacock! But who cares, because his back up band is Jim Henson's puppets!
6:47 PT/9:47 ET:
Oscar and GRAMMY winner Jamie Foxx introduces his pal Cee Lo Green for one of night’s most anticipated (and purposefully profanity-free) performances.
6:46 PT/9:46 ET:
And the winner is...Lady Antebellum! Thankully they were already near the stage, so they don't need to walk that far to pick up their award. That's another win for them tonight. Remember, you can keep track of tonight's winners here.
6:44 PT/9:44 ET:
Rockers Kings Of Leon and Miley Cyrus take the stage to announce the nominees for Best Country Album. And the nominees are Up On The Ridge by Dierks Bentley, You Get What You Give by the Zac Brown Band, The Guitar Song by Jamey Johnson, Need You Now by Lady Antebellum, and Revolution by Miranda Lambert.
6:42 PT/9:42 ET:
Lady Antebellum is showing off the male-female harmonies that got them to the GRAMMYs in the first place, before finally kicking into what everyone's been waiting for, the show-stopping "Need You Now."
6:40 PT/9:40 ET:
And we’re back! With…Green Bay Packers linebacker (and Super Bowl champion) Clay Matthews and "Glee" star Lea Michele bringing Lady Antebellum to the stage. The world-conquering country act is nominated for six awards tonight, and they've already won two.
6:39 PT/9:39 ET:
This year's Lifetime Achievement Award recipients include Julie Andrews and the Ramones, surely the first time those two names have ever been included in the same sentence!
6:36 PT/9:36 ET:
Still to come we've got not one but two performances from Rihanna and a rare, special performance from the one-and-only Barbra Streisand.
6:33 PT/9:33 ET:
Until now, I thought Arcade Fire would have the most members onstage tonight, but that was quite an ensemble. And a nice little blast of harmonica from Mr. Dylan at the end.
6:31 PT/9:31 ET:
And both bands come together around grandmaster Bob Dylan for a raucous hootenany-esque rendition of "Maggie's Farm." Bob's sounding like a rock and roll preacher.
6:29 PT/9:29 ET:
The Avett Brothers start out far more subdued than their pals in Mumford & Sons, but then they quickly build to a big Americana-meets-Springsteen chorus. They also prove that it's possible to jump and play the cello at the same time.
6:27 PT/9:27 ET:
I'm always pleased to see an upright bass and a full brass section, especially when they're tearing it up like this. You'd think these guys were a punk rock band.
6:25 PT/9:25 ET:
Dave also introduces Mumford & Sons, the Avett Brothers, and special guest, the legendary Bob Dylan. And suddenly the stage is full of beards, banjos, and guys rocking out to folk and bluegrass.
6:24 PT/9:24 ET:
And now live from the GRAMMYs it’s…David Letterman? With one of his patented Top 10 lists: Suprises At The 2011 GRAMMY Awards.
6:22 PT/9:22 ET:
And the winner is...Lady Gaga! Somehow she's already managed to completely change her hair, outfit, makeup, and accessories since her performance. But where's the egg?
6:21 PT/9:21 ET:
Donnie Wahlberg and Selena Gomez, a New Kid and a new kid, are here to present the award for Best Pop Vocal Album. The nominees are My World 2.0 by Justin Bieber, I Dreamed A Dream by Susan Boyle, The Fame Monster by Lady Gaga, Battle Studies by John Mayer, and Teenage Dream by Katy Perry.
6:19 PT/9:19 ET:
Have to say I'm pretty surprised that Muse beat out three classic rock icons and the soon-to-be-iconic (if they're not already) Pearl Jam. How about you?
6:17 PT/9:17 ET:
Plenty more to come on Music's Biggest Night, including a performance from teenage dreamer Katy Perry and the awards for Best New Artist and Song Of The Year.
6:15 PT/9:15 ET:
And the winner is...Muse! Matt Bellamy gives extra special thanks to his "beautiful, pregnant girlfriend." In a few months, that baby will become a Justin Bieber fan. As will we all. Resistance is futile.
6:13 PT/9:13 ET:
New-school rockers Paramore introduce the award for Best Rock Album, a category that’s full of old-school names this year. The nominees are Emotion & Commotion by Jeff Beck, The Resistance by Muse, Backspacer by Pearl Jam, Mojo by Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers, and Le Noise by Neil Young.
6:11 PT/6:11 ET:
Even more tumbling from the backup dancers as Usher shows off his robot moves in a very Star Trek-like ensemble.
6:09 PT/9:09 ET:
A troupe of drummers! Ninjas doing cartwheels! Flames! Jaden Smith popping up out of the floor! Never let it be said Justin doesn't know how to pack his performances.
6:07 PT/9:07 ET:
A video clip of an even younger Bieber auditioning for mentor Usher back in to 2007 and you can already hear the audience screaming. And a pit full of starry-eyed fans staring up as he launches into an acoustic version of "Baby."
6:05 PT/9:05 ET:
Everyone’s favorite housewife, Eva Longoria, prepares to unleash Bieber Fever on the Staples Center. Plus Usher and Jaden Smith for a little extra “OMG.”
6:04 PT/9:04 ET:
So which R&B all-star stole the show for you? Bruno, B.o.B, or Janelle? And was Miranda Lambert your favorite female country vocal performance of the year?
6:02 PT/9:02 ET:
One hour down, and many more awards still to come. The Bieb, Usher and Jaden Smith are coming up! Plus performances by Bob Dylan, Cee Lo (who has already won for Best Urban/Alternative Performance), along with some very special (fuzzy) guests. Stay tuned as the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards (and this liveblog) rolls on.
6:00 ET/9:00 PT:
And the winner is...Miranda Lambert! She notes that on the night of her first GRAMMY performance she has won her first GRAMMY ever.
5:58 ET/8:58 PT:
And now for something completely different. Noted male country stars Dierks Bentley and Zac Brown present the GRAMMY for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. And the nominees are “Satisfied” by Jewel, “The House That Built Me” by Miranda Lambert, “Swingin’” by LeAnn Rimes, “Temporary Home” by Carrie Underwood, and “I’d Love To Be Your Last” by Gretchen Wilson.
5:57 PT/8:57 ET:
Bruno is killing it on the drums at the climax of "Cold War."
5:55 PT/8:55 ET:
With the night's biggest hair (so far) and the same dapper two-tone ensemble as B.o.B and Bruno, Janelle struts through a full-band rendition of "Cold War" before leaping into the audience for a little crowd surfing.
5:53 ET/8:53 PT:
Everything goes black-and-white literally (well, at least on TV...), as Bruno takes us all the way back to the era of doo-wop and classic Motown-style soul.
5:51 PT/8:51 ET:
In Rat Pack suits and backed by a string quartet, Bruno and B.o.B (with a monocle!) go high-class, with Janelle on the world's tiniest keyboard.
5:49 PT/8:49 ET:
"American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest introduces a triple-threat: an all-star group performance by new hip-hop and R&B heavyweights Bruno Mars, B.o.B and Janelle Monáe.
5:46 ET/8:46 PT:
So did Muse get your blood pumping? Was that performance worthy of a Best Rock Album nominee? Let us know!
5:44 PT/8:44 ET:
Viva la revolution! Or something. Still to come we’ve got golden boy Justin Bieber performing with special guests Usher and Jaden Smith. Can America’s teenagers handle it?
5:43 PT/8:43 ET:
The song's beat may pay tribute to glam rock legends like T. Rex but that climax was pure heavy metal thunder with a little U2 mixed in.
5:40 PT/8:40 ET:
Nothing intimate about this. About a billion video monitors, a sparkly dinner jacket on frontman Matt Bellamy, light-up platforms, and one of those double-necked guitars that scream "big stadium rock epic."
5:38 PT/8:38 ET:
And right away here’s Lenny Kravitz giving it up for Muse, a band that’s nominated for three GRAMMYs tonight, including Best Rock Album. With three hours still to go, there’s apparently no time to waste!
5:37 PT/8:37 ET:
For all of tonight's spectacle, this is probably the most intimate song we'll hear, a sketch of small-town life very far from the bright lights of L.A., and that subtle melody is gorgeous.
5:35 PT/8:35 ET:
Miranda front and center on a very stark stage. All the better to showcase that big voice?
5:33 PT/8:33 ET:
Country crooner Blake Shelton ambles onstage looking very dapper to show some love for tonight’s next performer and his fiancé, Miranda Lambert, the Nashville sweetheart who’s nominated for three awards tonight, including Best Female Country Vocal Performance for “The House That Built Me.” The song is also up for Song Of The Year.
5:30 PT/8:30 ET:
So what did you think of Gaga’s performance? Wow? Or not quite up to her usual antics? I’m going with “wow” myself.
5:28 PT/8:28 ET:
Well now. After that, I think we all need a little breather. Coming up soon we’ll see if British rockers Muse can outdo Gaga when it comes to sheer spectacle.
5:27 PT/8:27 ET:
And now things finally get really crazy! Gaga takes to a head-covered electric organ to pound out a horror movie-ish breakdown before kicking right back into the dance pop.
5:26 PT/8:26 ET:
Lady G is channeling her inner Madonna with this performance of her new single "Born This Way." Not only the song itself, but the multi-ethnic male- and female-formation dancing is pure late '80s Madge.
5:24 PT/8:24 ET:
Gaga emerges from her glowing egg wearing a very disco-era hat-and-skirt combination.
5:23 PT/8:23 ET:
And here’s Ricky Martin to introduce someone who’s sure to be one of tonight’s more memorable performers: Lady Gaga. More than a decade ago, Martin wowed an international audience at the GRAMMY Awards in 1999, but to the best of my knowledge he’s never worn an outfit made out of cold cuts.
5:22 PT/8:22 ET:
And the winner is..."Hey, Soul Sister (Live)" by Train. Looks like we'll be hearing that ukulele for some time to come.
5:20 PT/8:20 ET:
The ladies who just paid tribute to Aretha return to the stage to present the award for Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals. The nominees are: "Don't Stop Believin'" by the cast of "Glee," "Misery" by Maroon 5, "The Only Exception" by Paramore, "Babyfather" by Sade, and "Hey, Soul Sister (Live)" by Train.
5:18 ET/8:18 PT:
So what did you think of tonight’s tribute to the Queen? Did the performers live up to the standard set by Aretha herself? And are you ready for whatever Lady Gaga will unleash on the unsuspecting audience tonight?
5:16 ET/8:16 PT:
We've still got many performances coming up, including Album Of The Year nominees Arcade Fire and Eminem. And of course the first actual award presentation of the evening!
5:14 PT/8:14 ET:
And now a video note from Aretha herself, thanking the GRAMMYs and her fans for their thoughts and prayers during her hospitalization and recovery. Get better soon, Aretha. We need you to perform again.
5:12 PT/8:12 ET:
The furious five close things out with a group throwdown on "Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves" and blow the roof off trying to outdo each other.
5:09 PT/8:09 ET:
But Jennifer Hudson and Yolanda Adams are bringing that R&B grit and gospel gravitas that made Aretha a star.
5:07 PT/8:07 ET:
Country legend Martina McBride and upstart rocker Florence Welch are now up to pay homage and show that soul knows no genre.
5:05 PT/8:05 ET:
Among the five ladies assembled for the tribute, Christina Aguilera is already giving Aretha's voice the props it deserves.
5:03 PT/8:03 ET:
Introducing the tribute is LL Cool J. He seems in awe of Aretha’s achievements, just like the rest of us mere mortals watching at home.
5:02 PT/8:02 ET:
We kick off tonight’s show with…the long-awaited tribute to Aretha Franklin! The Queen of Soul has won an amazing 18 GRAMMY Awards, a GRAMMY Legend Award (1991) and a Lifetime Achievement Award (1994). Watching these clips from GRAMMY shows past, it’s easy to see why.
5:00 PT/8:00 ET:
And we’re off! The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards are about to get underway in Los Angeles. We've already been treated to one surprise with Lady Gaga's arrival on the red carpet...inside of a giant egg. Talk about setting an expect-the-unexpected tone for the evening.
4:45 PT/7:45 ET:
Good evening, music fans. Welcome to GRAMMY.com's official liveblog of the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards. I'm your host for the evening, Jess Harvell, and I hope you'll join me over the next three-plus hours for plenty of color commentary and up-to-the-minute coverage of all the razzle-dazzle of tonight's big event. We kick things off here at 5 p.m./8 p.m. ET.
Which nominees will go home with an armful of statuettes? Which performers will wow viewers around the world? We'll find out together soon enough! And you can get involved, too. Tell us what you think of tonight's nominees and performers in the comments section below.