The Grammy Awards: Or How Carrie Underwood’s Voice and M.I.A’s Belly Stole the Show

underwood The Grammy Awards: Or How Carrie Underwoods Voice and M.I.As Belly Stole the ShowWe didn’t plan on watching the 51st Grammy Awards (see the winners here), but all the glitz and ridiculousness simply sucked us in. This show was so humongous that U2 was the opening band! Let’s put it this way: pop chanteuse Katy Perry got lowered onto the stage in a 20 foot-long banana before she sang her drive-by lesbian hit "I Kissed a Girl" and it still wasn’t the most bananas thing we witnessed all night. (And that was literally bananas!) If the Academy Awards wants to match this telecast in two weeks, they better have something great up their sleeves; launching Hugh Jackman out of a canon would be a start. Here are our favorite observations and moments from last night.

The "No Awards" Awards Show

Grammy producers have figured out one way to make awards shows less boring: get rid of the stupid awards! During the three-and-a-half hour ceremony only nine actual awards were handed out on air; the rest were announced before the show even started. That’s certainly one way to do it. The blowback of all this was more room for the performances–so if you ever wanted to see Sir Paul McCartney singing along to Neil Diamond’s "Sweet Caroline" from his seat in the audience, you had your chance.

Please Stick to the Music

We never expect a whole lot from the Bruce Vilanch-inspired scripted banter that stars are mindlessly expected to recite while at awards shows, but special notice must be given to last night’s Grammy Awards. This was some of the worst banter we’ve ever heard, and poor Dwayne Johnson was given the shortest straw of all. The man formerly known as The Rock was forced to do a hackneyed bit about Katy Perry and a restraining order, and then name an upcoming performance by Sir Paul and Foo Fighters lead singer Dave Grohl, "Beatle Fighters". Huh? "Beatle Fighters"? If anyone finds the joke in that one, please let us know.

You’re too Kind

We love standing ovations as much as the next person, but enough already! We’re not heartless, so we definitely got a lump in our throat when the audience gave Jennifer Hudson a standing ovation after her performance last night. But did Best New Artist winner Adele deserve one? Or… Neil Diamond? Basically, if you didn’t get a standing ovation last night, it must mean everyone hates you.

Best Worst Performance

The most insane moment of the show included four of rap’s biggest superstars, tuxedos and a nine-months pregnant M.I.A. dancing around the stage in a mesh shirt. Did we mention it was all in black and white? The performance of "Swagga Like Us" by Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Kanye West and T.I., and featuring a sample of M.I.A.’s hit "Paper Planes," was billed as "The Rap Pack" (hence the tuxedos), but we have a hard time believing Frank and Dean rolled around with a pregnant lady. Still, credit must be given to the preggers Sri Lankan rapper–she was more energetic than every other performer on stage.

Best Best Performance

With apologies to Radiohead, who performed their song "15 Step" with the USC Marching Band (the first time in history of earth that being in the marching band could be considered cool), no one brought the house down like… Carrie Underwood? Really, we were surprised, too. But Ms. Underwood’s performance of her Best Female Country Vocal-winning "Last Name", a salacious number about a potential one-night stand that turns into a quickie Vegas wedding, was unbelievable. Showcasing her booming voice and a fantastic stage presence, "Last Name" made us want to reconsider the entire country music genre. If the songs sound like this, then sign us up! (Ms. Underwood was more rocking than Best Rock Album winners Coldplay.) Unfortunately the crowd didn’t give her a standing ovation, something that certainly doesn’t bode well for her Q rating. The only thing Ms. Underwood received was some polite applause from Kenny Chesney and our 99 cents when we purchased her song. But hey, every little bit helps!