Time for the Super Bowl of music, and all the glitz and pomp that comes with it. Tonight's ceremony obviously feels downcast given the death on Saturday of pop star Whitney Houston and early indications are the show will pay plenty of respect to her. On what's almost certain to be the exclamation point Adele's amazing year, how will the celebration and reverence mix? We'll soon find out.
7:01 p.m. - BROOOOOCE!
7:05 p.m. - If they could’ve squeezed Jake Clemons into that song – he’ll be taking his deceased uncle Clarence’s spot on sax with the E. Street Band on the upcoming tour – it would’ve brought an amazing roar out of that crowd. Still, “We Take Care Of Our Own” is a stone-solid Bruce song and great way to open the show.
7:06 p.m. - Host L.L. Cool J, opening with devotion for Houston; "There is no way around this, we’ve had a death in our family. The only thing that feels right to me is to begin with a prayer." Classy prayer by L.L., followed by classic clip of Houston bringing down the house performing "I Will Always Love You." Gulp. This hurts. No two ways about it.
7:11 p.m. - Bruno Mars' hair deserves its own Grammy, with royalties paid to Morris Day.
7:14 p.m. - You don't get this sense of Mars as a powerful live performer just hearing him on the radio, but the fella is bringing it.
7:23 p.m. - Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt paying tribute to Etta James with a quick, blues and gospel-drenched playing of “Sunday Kind of Love.” On a Sunday, even. Whit got a shout out before this, of course.
7:25 p.m. -Pop solo performance: Adele, Gaga, Bruno, Katie Perry, Pink. Oh hey, Adele. That woman’s gonna wear out the carpet walking between her seat and the stage tonight.
7:28 p.m. - Will Chris Brown ever not feel like a wet blanket on an awards show? Domestic abuse is a stink that just doesn’t wash off, especially when the recipient IS PERFORMING ON THE SAME SHOW. I can’t fault this performance – it’s fine. More than fine, actually. But there’s going to be a cart full of baggage following Brown around for a long time.
7:36 p.m. - Best rap performance- Chris Brown, Jay-Z & Kanye, Lupe Fiasco, Nicki Minaj & Drake, Wiz Khalifa. Jay and ‘Ye (neither of whom are there) win for “Otis”. As they should. Would that award have been televised if "N----s In Paris" was the nominated and winning song? "Hell" to the "no". And there's my sole ode to Whitney for the night.
7:38 p.m. - Kelly Clarkson and Jason Aldean performing. Kelly is like the NY Giants' punter from the Super Bowl last week. We should all be as psyched about life as they are pretty much all the time. That might mean they're a little nuts, but it keeps things interesting. And, they're hella-talented. There's also that.
7:42 p.m. - If Lennon and Harrison were brought back to life and the Beatles reunited for the Grammys and Maroon 5 was somehow involved, I’d waffle on watching it. So, this dubious Beach Boys reunion later on which, as alluded, involves Adam Levine and company? Yeah, I’m not enthused.
7:46 p.m. - “Foo Fighters” and “indie cred” in the same sentence? Nice try, Jack. Maybe back in ’97. But that’s neither here nor there since they comfortably graduated to the bigs and haven’t looked back. They ought to just rename the Best Rock Performance Grammy “The Foo Fighters Award.” (foreshadowing?)
7:51 p.m. - And the Foos show us why they're on a 10 year streak as the most reliable rock band out there. Haters gonna hate, but Grohl just keeps on doing his thing.
7:57 p.m. - Rihanna and Coldplay? OK, I’m intrigued.
8:00 p.m. - This feels like a pair of acts who dig each other and were cool with the idea of trying to partner up, but there wasn’t much more to it than that. Shrug. Nothing ventured...
8:07 p.m. - Wait. Maroon 5 AND Foster The People at once?!?!
8:08 p.m. - UNCLE!!!
8:14 p.m. - Best Rock Performance. (following a Victor Cruz salsa) – Coldplay, The Decemberists, Foo Fighters, Mumford & Sons, Radiohead. Foo Fighters take it. And I look like Nostradamus. Nice Grohl still gives Butch Vig the props he deserves for launching his career (he produced "Nevermind" 20 years ago).
8:17 p.m. - Seacrest intro-ing the Beach Boys reunion adds even more taint than Maroon 5 and Foster The People were already bringing to the table. Ugh. My brain wants to explode like that Old Spice commercial that was on all through the NFL playoffs.
8:18 p.m. - friend via chat; "I'm less opposed to this if the Beach Boys get the stage to themselves once M5 and FTP do their thing." I couldn't disagree more. I can't endorse this under any circumstance. This wouldn't happen if Brian Wilson were still alive. Oh, wait...
8:22 p.m. - louder now, "UNCLLLLLLLLLLE!!!!!" I'm not even a huge Beach Boys fan, but this is disheartening on more levels than I can count.
8:28 p.m. - Guys, I don't want to alarm anyone, but I'M ALL OUT OF COFFEE and we're barely half-way done. Waiting for Adele to knock everyone over from the stage is all I have to keep me going.
8:31 p.m. - Stevie Wonder. Playing a riff of "Love Me Do" on the harmonica before intro-ing Paul McCartney to performing with Diana Krall and Joe Walsh. Because Stevie can do whatever the hell he wants.
8:34 p.m. - Diana Krall on a Grammy performance is like a 12 points/8 rebounds per game forward on an NBA team. Not gonna win a game on their own, but pretty much guarantees a "W" behind a big star like McCartney.
8:35 p.m. - Joe Walsh. Not so much.
8:37 p.m. - Best R&B album – Chris Brown, El DeBarge, R. Kelly, Ledisi, Kelly Price. Chris Brown takes it, and keeps it simple. But wait – El DEBARGE IS STILL ALIVE?!?! Twitter has utterly failed me.
8:38 p.m. - Where was I when The Civil Wars got huge? Or are they really just good friends (as they said like 10 times) with Taylor Swift, who they just intro'd?
8:40 p.m. - Taylor's outfit begs the question; is Depression/dustbowl chic a "thing" now? I mean, her figure plays well with it, so...
8:51 p.m. - Song of the Year – “All of the Lights”, ‘The Cave”, “Grenade”, “Holocene,” “Rolling In The Deep”. Talk that walk Adele. That was a killer field, where Bruno Mars was the weakest contender. That says a lot.
8:54 p.m. - Kate Beckinsale endorsing Katy Perry’s boobs. Sorta like Jordan giving props to Kobe back in the day. Now if only Katy’s boobs could hold a tune live, we might have something.
8:59 p.m. - Best Country Album – Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, George Strait, Eric Church. Aaaaaand, Taylor gets snubbed for Lady Antebellum, who chat friend says have, “as much personality as a lukewarm bowl of tapioca pudding.” I’m in no position to argue.
9:03 p.m. - Waidaminute. They're blowing the Adele load this soon? That's an interesting booking choice by a crew that involves Austin's own Terry Lickona. I'm not going to argue with a guy who's an undisputed pro at this stuff, but hmmm...
9:06 p.m. - I’m not a religious sort, but if I were I’d be praying Adele’s voice can hold up for as long as possible. Good grief. She’s a gift.
9:10 p.m. - She's back, folks. There are no words. Find the clip on YouTube and watch it on a loop for a couple days.
9:17 p.m. - Glen Campbell tribute with contemporary country all-stars. “Snark” control switched to “off” out of respect for a legend winding down his career.
9:31 p.m. - Can we get Tony Bennett to write a “how-to” manual for life? I’d buy at least 10 copies. Chat friend; "I feel like Tony Bennett has been on a 15 year victory lap." Yep.
9:34 p.m. - Bon Iver wins Best New Artist. Makes sense, but I was pulling hard for Skrillex, just for the mashup of that dude shaking Tony Bennett's hand.
9:35 p.m. - Poor Bon Iver. The music biz is in such bad shape a Grammy winner can't even afford to buy a suit.
9:43 p.m. - Death/memorial montage got both Austinites Pinetop Perkins and Doyle Bramhall Sr., which is good to see. My money was on Nate Dogg getting missed (he wasn't). Any big omissions? Etta got the closing "hammer" position, by the way, after Clarence Clemons and Whitney.
9:46 p.m. - Kudos to Jennifer Hudson for pulling off what was a pretty tough charge, honoring Whitney with a truncated "I Will Always Love You."
9:50 p.m. - David Guetta, Chris Brown, Deadmau5, Lil Wayne and Foo Fighters doing… something. ?uestlove seemed pumped about it, though, so I'm on board to start with.
9:55 p.m. - Feels like Cee-Lo should have been involved in this patience-testing experiment in some capacity. Wonder if his gig on "The Voice" (on a competing network) caused his invite to get lost in the mail.
9:57 p.m. - As a Lollapalooza VIP afterparty that would've been the best thing ever. For network TV (on CBS, no less)... let's just call it brave.
10:06 p.m. - Chat friend says Nicki Minaj’s “Roman” stuff is among her best. She’s diving into it all the way, I’ll give her that. The gal is undeniably on some Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction"-level stuff.
10:11 p.m. - Record of the Year – “Rolling In The Deep,” “Holocene, “Grenade,” “The Cave,” “Firework”. And Adele's night continues. "This is ridiculous," she quips. Again, be glad she's got that voice back from the brink.
10:20 p.m. - Album of the Year. I hope you guys are sitting down...
10:21 p.m. - OK, Adele is easily the best thing ever. I don't throw a word like "charming" around loosely, but there's no other word for her. Maybe "gracious" works, too. Glad someone like her has had the year she's had. Let's hope there's lots more for her that come close to this one.
10:25 p.m. - McCartney puts a bow on the night with a loose medley including "Golden Slumbers," "Carry That Weight," and at one point had him jamming with Dave Grohl, Bruce Springsteen, Joe Walsh and two other guys who seemed plenty happy to be there. Because why not?