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Posted at 11:25 AM ET, 02/14/2011

Grammys: The best, worst and most puzzling performances from last night's Grammys

By Allison Stewart

lady gagaIt may have sounded a lot like Madonna, but Lady Gaga still brought it. (Mark Ralson/AFP Getty Images)

Lady Gaga arrived in an egg. Mick Jagger was relevant. For a brief moment, Jaden Smith was the world's second most powerful teen: Last night's Grammys were weird.

Click Track has sorted through the best, worst and most head-scratching performances from last night. We can't get to them all, which means we won't be able to tackle crucial existential questions like: "Does Muse really need to exist?" so the yolk's on us. No? Too soon?

Anyway, let's get to it:

The Best

Lady Gaga

Except for the whole dramatic entrance in a glowing egg thing, this may have been the most conventional-and jubilant-Gaga performance we've ever seen, which might have had something to do with the traditionally more conservative Grammy viewer: The Lady knows her audience. She went smaller (at least for her), reminding everyone she can actually sing and dance. And yes, her pointy, nude-colored shoulder pads made her look like she was wearing unicorn nipples, but she probably wears stranger things to church. We also liked the egg, presumably intended as a symbol of rebirth. Also, they're delicious.

cee loWe should know better than to doubt Cee Lo. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

Cee Lo, Gwyneth Paltrow and some not-Muppets

An entertaining mess. In the night's single most impressive move, Paltrow (isn't it still strange to see her singing?) managed to effortlessly jump from a lying to a standing position, on top of a piano, while wearing stratospheric heels. No one at Click Track has ever tried this, but we assume it's difficult. Also, she was the only person onstage who didn't look like she was in danger of molting.

(Jagger surprises, Aretha lives, and more after the jump.)

rihanna emimenThe most fiery thing about this performance was the fire. (Matt Sayles/AP)

Mick Jagger

Bless his heart, he's still got it. He was also one of the few artists all evening who performed as if the Grammys still mattered. Awesomeness all around.

B.o.B., Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae
The ultra-assured Mars is a firecracker of a live performer-probably better than he needs to be. And the gender-bending Monae, with her James Brown cape and her fearsome hair, was a revelation. Did anyone notice how her hair and shoes remained intact even after she crowd-surfed? Who would have dared mess with them?

The worst

Martina McBride, Christina Aguilera, Yolanda Adams, Jennifer Hudson and Florence Welch

Are medleys ever not terrible? And don't tributes usually happen later in the show? And isn't the subject of the tribute usually dead (we weren't entirely sure Aretha Franklin was still alive until they showed her on video)? This was one of those Grammy moments when members of a demographically assembled group of famous people try to outsing each other while everyone who isn't singing stands around onstage awkwardly. If this tribute was happening in 2012, Adele probably would have gotten the Florence spot.

Rihanna and Eminem: "Love the Way You Lie"

Eminem was fiercer than we've seen him in years, and Rihanna was ... there, too. But no matter how much you dress it up, this is still a song that morally equivocates about domestic violence. Why it has gotten a pass for this, we will never understand. And the appearance of Dr. Dre probably would have been a lot more exciting had those weak "Detox" leaks not been making the rounds.

The head-scratchers

Usher, Justin Bieber and Jaden Smith

Usher is really working the Bieber angle hard, to the point where he's beginning to seem a little demeaned by it. The fire-breathing medieval ninjas were awesome, though. And Bieber can certainly bring it. But the Smith children are just a plague.

katy perryKaty Perry: She can't dance and she can't sing. (Mark Ralston/AFP Getty Images)

Katy Perry

How did a girl in a princess dress sitting forlornly on a swing become the latest awards show cliche? Did anyone else find the projection of her should-have-stayed-private wedding footage tacky? Still, the fact that she can't dance is oddly endearing. The fact that she can't sing, less so.

By Allison Stewart  | February 14, 2011; 11:25 AM ET
Categories:  Grammys  | Tags:  Aretha Franklin, B.o.B., Bruno Mars, Cee Lo, Christina Aguilera, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Florence Welch, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jaden Smith, Janelle Monae, Jennifer Hudson, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Martina McBride, Mick Jagger, Muse, Rihanna, Usher, Yolanda Adams  
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Next: In concert: Baths and Braids at Rock & Roll Hotel


Glad they won, although I wonder how the voting broke down. I bought eminem's "Recovery" after hearing him on NPR and thought it was a great piece of art -- and I"m not a big rap fan myself.
you may get videos at URL:

Posted by: mastermind7526 | February 14, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

lets not get too cozy with the bias blinders- yeah, Katy Perry is foisted upon the world in unhealthy doses, and yes you can see '1-2-fist pump, shimmy' scrolling across her forehead as she does her stage routine... but even i gotta admit that she's a solid singer.

if you must hold somebody up for public flogging, holla at 2-Note Red, aka Rihanna... yeeks, what's your voice coach's name? don't have one? GET ONE...

Posted by: audiohysteria | February 14, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Both Perry's and Rihanna's voices are painfully horrendous.

::takes opportunity to post video of Stephin Merritt and Claudia Gonson covering Katy Perry just because::

Posted by: azaghal1981 | February 15, 2011 12:01 AM | Report abuse

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