The 54th Grammy Awards: Some Things We Learned

It was a wild night for music last night as the annual Grammy Awards were handed out (well, about six of them, anyway) to the best and brightest in the music industry (and also to Chris Brown). While we were all collectively mourning Whitney Houston’s death, we also got the chance to dance out our grief with a little help from David Guetta, Katy Perry, Rihanna, and that old familiar dance group Foo Fighters. Here are some moments that’ll stick with us for at least the rest of the day. 

For Someone Who Sings About Being Lazy, Bruno Mars Does a Nice Job Channeling the Hardest Working Man in Show Business

Say what you will about Mr. Mars or the lackluster “Lazy Song,” but dude helped bring the energy and spirit of James Brown, complete with dance moves and pompadour, into the building. There was something satisfying about him telling all the people in the audience to “get off their rich asses” and dance.

Mario Manningham + Butch Vig = True Love 4Evr

One of the moments Team BlackBook was most excited about last night was when, following the Foo Fighters’ win for Best Rock Performance, Mario Manningham of the New York Giants hugged Foo Fighters and Nirvana producing legend Butch Vig. Still not over it.

Chris Brown is Apparently Worthy of More Screen Time than the Following More Important Musicians Who Died In the Past Year: Amy Winehouse, Don Cornelius, Gil-Scott Heron, Jerry Leiber, Heavy D, Sylvia Robinson

There were a lot of tributes to the recently deceased and ailing last night, pretty much all of which were well-executed and well-deserved (Glen Campbell rocked “Rhinestone Cowboy” and Bonnie Raitt and Alicia Keys did a nice job saluting Miss Etta James), and this did indeed have to be Whitney Houston’s night, so it makes sense the Grammys didn’t want to overdo it on the musical obits as to not overshadow recent tragedies or cast an even darker pall over the evening.

But saluting the late, great Don Cornelius by having a “Soul Train” line led by Chris Brown — who had already performed once and ugh, everyone — featuring Lil Wayne, Deadmau5 and David Guetta?

Here’s what a Don Cornelius tribute looks like:

Also, no Amy Winehouse tribute? We were hoping for a surprise Adele rendition of “Back to Black.”

Chipotle Gives People Feelings Other Than Burrito Cravings, Indigestion

Willie Nelson’s beautiful acoustic rendition of Coldplay’s “The Scientist” for a new Chipotle commercial got more emotional response than Coldplay themselves. Go figure.

Dave Grohl, Proponemt of Non-Computerized Music, Still Loves the Heck out of Deadmau5

Dave Grohl, in his acceptance speech: "This award means a lot because it shows that the human element of making music is what’s most important. Singing into a microphone and learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that’s the most important thing for people to do.

"It’s not about being perfect, it’s not about sounding absolutely correct, it’s not about what goes on in a computer; it’s about what goes on in here (heart) and it’s about what goes on in here (head)."

And then Deadmau5 performed.

The Internet Waits for No One

Perhaps in anticipation following the general shock of Arcade Fire’s win last year, it didn’t take long at all for a “Who Is Bon Iver?” Tumblr to become a reality. Brooklyn Vegan also has an archive of all the kids on the Twitters asking who “Bonny Bear” was. The memes just write themselves.

West Side Story Can Be Terrifying

Since Gaga was too busy raising awareness about the adverse effects of commercial tuna fishing on dolphins, it was up to Nicki Minaj to carry the Madonna torch of provocative performance and blasphemous use of Catholic iconography that will undoubtedly offend someone somewhere.

Minaj’s performance was perhaps the most polarizing of the night, but one thing’s for certain: no one here will ever listen to Sondheim the same way again.

Adele is Wonderful, Even When She’s Talking About Snot

Enough said. As she put it herself last night, “girl did good.”

Her performance of "Rolling in the Deep" was class, but here’s a video of her best award-show performance: tearing it up at the 2011 BRIT Awards. Get the tissue box ready.

There Will Never Be Another Whitney Houston

Again, probably more a reinforcement of what we already knew. Whitney Houston was a legend whose music and cultural impact were beyond-beyond. Although Jennifer Hudson’s rendition of “I Will Always Love You” was gorgeous, appropriate and impressive in the singer’s maintaining of composure, it served as a reminder that Whitney herself is truly irreplaceable.

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