On music’s biggest night, the most shocking occurrence was the death of Whitney Houston the day prior, an untimely, devastating turn of events. On a night that should be full of letting your hair down, and getting down and dirty, the mood was reserved, constrained, and pretty boring. Perhaps this was a nod to the sobering news of Houston, but it seems the Grammys never lives up to the way music makes us feel when we drive in our car, or have a spontaneous dance party. I think Bruno Mars put it best when he shouted towards the end of his performance “Get off your rich ***es and dance!”

Adele swept all six awards she was nominated for, as expected. And though I feel her recognition is deserved, radio overplay has killed any enjoyment I get from to listening to Adele. Maybe I should stop listening to the radio? Also, maybe her jerk of an ex-boyfriend who broke her heart should get some kind of award for inspiring her to write all those heartbroken ballads? I wonder what he’s thinking right about now. Although her album 21 is fantastic overall, it has some skip-overs, and Coldplay’s Mylo Xylo, Kayne West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Bon Iver’s Bon Iver should have been at least nominated over the others albums in the running.

Song of the Year and Record of the Year (remind the difference again?) both went to Adele for “Rolling in the Deep,” although I find her “Turning Tables” to be just as moving. Best new artist rightly went to Bon Iver, (they also won for Best Alternative Album over Death Cab for Cutie and Foster the People) but lead singer Justin Vernon’s lame, ungrateful acceptance speech left a sour taste in my mouth. I love Bon Iver but they seem so resentful of the attention they have gotten; like a celebrity that calls the paparazzi and then complains about them, Bon Iver needs to learn to deal with the pitfalls of making good music. Then again, some people hate Bon Iver, and this will just add flame to the fire.

Wiz Kalifa was robbed of Best Rap Performance for “Black and Yellow” by Kanye & Jay-Z’s “Otis.” The Foo Fighter’s rightfully won Best Rock Performance for “Walk” and Best Rock Album for Wasting Light (one of their best albums ever, in my humble opinion). The Foo were also involved in two of the best performances of the night, rocking out to “Walk” outside Staples center and performing a mash up with dub step kings Deadmau5. As far as other performances, Adele was back big time with a soaring rendition of “Rolling in the Deep.” Jennifer Hudson did justice to Whitney Houston with a shortened version of “I Will Always Love You,” classy and understated in her tribute. David Guetta, Lil Wayne, and Chris Brown teamed up for a fun dance number, and Chris Brown (in addition to picking up a Grammy for Best R&B Album) also performed solo.  Am I Chris Brown’s only female fan? Or his only fan? It could be, but his F.A.M.E.  album was great, and his dancing is absolutely spectacular; he can really entertain a crowd. Rhianna and Coldplay teamed up to promote their collaboration on Mylo Xylo’s “Princess of China” track, yet it ended up being Rhi and Coldplay performing “We Found Love” and “Paradise” separately for the most part; both sounded great however.

The one thing that struck me was how many awards were not presented live (with a three and a half hour time window!) When they announced Drake (who basically WAS 2011 in music) as being a 4 time nominee, I said to myself, for what? He hasn’t been announced once tonight. They need to inject more of the rap, dance, and other contemporary categories that people are listening to. People want to see those awards. For example, Skrillex won Best Dance/Electronica Album (Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites), beating out Robyn’s Body Talk Pt. 3 and David Guetta’s Nothing but the Beat. Those are three incredibly popular albums. They also skipped the aforementioned Best Alternative Album, Best Rap/ Sung Collaboration (won by Kanye, Rihanna et. al for “All of the Lights”), Best Rap Song (“All of the Lights,” again), Best Rap Album (Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy), etc. These are the songs, albums that are on our radios, our i-Pods, our computers, and in our daily lives. Why are they excluded from presentation on live television? This is something that future Grammy producers will have to consider.

And now on to the mishaps. Firstly, Paul McCartney, who now resembles Bruce Jenner more than British heartthrob, performed two numbers, and that was one too many for me. Carrie Underwood and Tony Bennett (???) sang a duet, as did Alicia keys and Bonnie Raitt. Talk about mismatched. The Band Perry, Blake Shelton, and Glen Campbell did a few of the latter’s old standards. They brought back all the old Beach Boys and inserted Adam Levine in the middle of it all to make it modern, and the performance felt like an eternity. Nicki Minaj performed some kind of on stage exorcism and Katy Perry basically gave a televised, sparkly kiss-off to ex-husband to Russell Brand. The problem wasn’t with the artists selected; they are all a part of the music scene of the past and present and deserved to be on stage. The issue was that the performances lacked, well, entertainment value. I would have love to seen Nicki come out rapping her butt off, Drake bust in, Lil Wayne, J Cole, whoever, but instead she went with some weird Catholic/Roman storyline.  Collaboration in music is happening more and more and it’s exciting when it’s done right. Remember when Elton John and Eminem blew everyone away by performing Stan several years ago? Yeah, let’s go back to that place.

A three and half hour slog, I can’t say it was fun watching the Grammys. The performances were mixed, the results, largely expected, and as I mentioned the mood was too restrained. It may be the biggest night in music, but for me it’s just another stuffy awards show. I did learn one thing though: LL Cool J has the poise to host. Who’d have thought?