LL Cool J (in a charming little hat!) welcomes us to the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, California, which has turned into the windiest city on earth for the occasion. Here’s hoping the power won’t go out. Don’t want to miss a second of this Nomination Concert extravaganza!

We get it, lady.

Lady Gaga starts with “Marry the Night,” a lot of smoke machines, and skeleton makeup that isn’t shocking anyone any more. There are some dancers and I really wish this was on ABC so that maybe Tristan MacManus and some other DWTS hotties might be involved. Guess we’ll have to settle for Lady Gaga in lingerie and a blazer. She also maybe has a trash can hat at the end.

Niki Minaj and her pink hair come out to announce the Record Of The Year nominations: “Rolling In The Deep” Adele; “Holocene” Bon Iver; “Grenade” Bruno Mars; “The Cave” Mumford & Sons; “Firework” Katy Perry. Anything Mumford is nominated for, they should win. That’s all. The end. Give them everything. I find it absolutely preposterous that Katy Perry is mentioned along side them. She is what she is and I’m not above one of her tunes every now and then, but compared to “The Cave,” nothing she has done even really seems like music.

I should mention here that she reveals the noms by walking across the stage as a fifth of the screen behind her goes from screen saver Grammy logo to a photo of the nominee. Which is kind of cool, right? Not too flashy or ridiculous. Just a good use of technology.

Rihanna satellites in a performace of “We Found Love,” while wearing a giant striped skirt/swimsuit bottom/weird thing. Mostly there is a lot of jumping around, but girl can sing.

Next up is The Band Perry, which apparently brought excitement to country music this year, but I have never in my entire life heard of these people. I’m not a big country music listener, but I’d like to think I at least have a general idea of what is happening over there. Apparently not. Also, if I have heard them before, I likely assumed I had already heard them before because this song is so boring and conventional it feels like it’s been none a hundred times before. Definitely loving the lady’s sparkly dress though. Need her to give it to me for New Year’s Eve. Then something terrible happens. Instead of stopping at the end of their mediocre song, they accidentally start ruining “Free Falling” by Tom Petty. How. Dare. They.

Taraji P. Henson gives us Song Of The Year: “All Of The Lights” Kanye West; “The Cave” Mumford and Sons; “Grenade” Bruno Mars; “Holocene” Bon Iver; “Rolling In The Deep” Adele. I’m not entirely sure how this category differs from Record Of The Year, other than that Katy Perry has been replaced with Kanye West. Wikipedia says that Song Of The Year means “song as written” and goes to the songwriter, where Record Of The Year is for the recording of the song and goes to the performer. So I guess it makes sense that “Firework” isn’t recognized for just being a great song. Because it isn’t. Again, Mumford deserves it all, though I wouldn’t be upset if this went to Kanye.

Jason Aldean and his cowboy hat take the stage next to perform “Dirt Road Anthem.” He is a cowboy rapper apparently. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I guess it’s okay – Ludacris joined in to help things along.

Bruno Mars has the Best New Artist nominees: The Band Perry; Bon Iver; J. Cole; Nicki Minaj; Skrillex. I’d go with Bon Iver, if only because I am frightened of Nicki Minaj.

And now it’s time for Common and Grand Master Flash. The latter is being inducted into some kind of Recording Hall of Fame. They rap for a while and Nicki Minaj gets really into it down in her seat. LL Cool J can’t contain himself either and the two of them dance together for a bit. Then LL Cool J is on stage for some reason, rapping along with them. Somewhere in her he lost his hat. If they had needed a PA dedicated to holding his hat during this number, they really should have called me. I totally would have taken care of that.

LL Cool J now takes a moment to introduce Usher, who is going to give us a preview of the ‘In Memoriam’ segment at the Grammys proper. He is honoring Nick Ashford and Jerry Lieber. This particular performance (with Valerie Simpson and Mike Stoller) is sort of incredible and makes me like Usher again.

I still hate Katy Perry though! She’s here to announce Album Of The Year (and manages to bungle Frank Sinatra’s name in the process): 21, Adele; Wasting Light, Foo Fighters; Born This Way, Lady Gaga; Doo-Wops & Hooligans, Bruno Mars; Loud, Rihanna. If I was voting, it would be Adele or Rihanna.

After LL Cool J asks us all to tweet him (I’ll get right on that and will be asking about his hat), Lady Gaga is back, this tie with a giant bow for a dress, two black eyes, and Sugarland for the final performance of the night. They surprise me by actually being entertaining and interesting, then get really into it and do some arm waving and head shaking that is not dissimilar to what Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph do during the end credits of Bridesmaids as “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips plays.

So that’s it. Kanye leads the way with seven nominations, Adele and Bruno Mars following with six each. Now we don’t have to worry about this again until February 12th. Since they only addressed four of the seventy-something total nominations, here are some other notable noms:

  • Best Alternative Music Album – Bon Iver is up here (in addition to their other noms, noted above) against Death Cab For Cutie’s Codes and Keys, Foster the People’s Torches, My Morning Jacket’s Circuital, and Radiohead’s The King Of Limbs.
  • Best Rap Song & Best Rap Album – Kanye gets four of his seven nominations in these two categories alone: “All Of The Lights” and “Otis,” and Watch The Throne and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, respectfully.
  • Best Country Song – “You and Tequila” by Kenny Chesney is nominated. If you haven’t yet, go listen to this immediately. It’s something special, and not in a good way.
  • Best Folk Album – this category is like a mother choosing which child is her favorite, with The Civil Wars, Steve Earle, Fleet Foxes, Eddie Vedder, AND Gillian Welch. It’s like my dream concert scenario.
  • Best Pop Duo/Group Performance – Tony Bennet and a posthumous nomination for Amy Winehouse should be the obvious win here. Though anything that isn’t that horrible “Moves Like Jagger” thing will make me happy.
  • Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album – Seth Macfarlane is nominated here against a bunch of regulars (Tony Bennet, Barbara Streisand, etc.) and he is surprisingly kind of fantastic.
  • Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance – Sum 41 is nominated for something here. Nice to know those boys are still together.
  • Best Rock Song & Best Rock Performance – The Decemberists are nominated in both these categories for “Down By the Water” which I think could have easily been nominated for Song of the Year as well.
  • Best Americana Album – Emmylou Harris! She’s up for Hard Bargain, and is still one of the more talented ladies in all of music.
  • Best Bluegrass Album – Steve Martin, who you probably remember as the waiter in the original Muppets movie, and The Steep Canyon Rangers are nominated here for some seriously great banjo business.
  • Best Spoken Word Album – Tina Fey’s Bossypants versus Shakespeare’s Hamlet. A battle for the ages (Betty White is in here too, but Tina is my girl).
  • Best Comedy Album – If Kathy Griffin beats Louis C.K., Weird Al, The Lonely Island, AND Patton Oswalt, nothing about life will be worth living.

See the complete list of 2012 Grammy Awards nominees here.