Missing Whitney: Thought the attention was measured and appropriate. Jennifer Hudson — who received her first Grammy from her idol at the awards a few years ago — delivered a next-best rendition (which is high praise) of “I Will Always Love You,” in an emotional moment.
Adele Ascendant: Back from throat surgery, relaxed, in command, and looking gorgeous, she swept the Grammys – and charmed with her down-to-earthiness.
No Reprieve: Chris Brown was all over the place and won for best R&B album, but men who hit women shouldn’t be so easily forgiven.
Taylor Off-Key: Is it just me, or is Swift always out of tune when she sings live? Even she seemed surprised at the applause at the end of “Mean.”
Full Throttle: Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters, performing outside the Staples Center, were one of the most electric displays of the night (they later garnered Best Rock Performance).
Walk it Back: From her entrance on the red carpet as Red Riding Hood, with the “Pope” in tow, to her Exorcist-derived production number at the end of the event, Nicki Minaj was just shock for shock’s sake.
The Bucket Boys: Nice, though slightly sad, to see the Beach Boys reunited on their 50th anniversary. The intro by Maroon 5 reminded just how tough those beautiful harmonies they executed so seamlessly back in the ‘60s are to achieve. Paul McCartney, also a bit depressing to watch — in crooner mode with white tux and a sappy Valentine song to boot. (But he came back at the close in more familiar McCartney style, with a lively version of “Golden Slumbers.”) A tribute to Glen Campbell and a performance by Tony Bennett rounded out the old-timers.
My highlight of the evening: a commercial, believe it or not, for Chipotle Mexican Grill, with Willie Nelson covering Coldplay’s “The Scientist” in the background. Worth seeing more than once.