We all knew it would be a clash of the divas going into the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards Sunday night, and fortunately the awards were spread evenly so everybody got something (though I'm miffed we didn't get to see at least one on-air acceptance speech from Lady Gaga -- even though she took home several awards during the pre telecast). Still, the shocker of the night was a willowy, barely-of-age country singer taking the top Album of the Year prize -- a trophy usually reserved for a rock veteran.
In case you missed any of the action this year, here's a short play-by-play of the night's big moments -- in EST, of course:
8 PM - Gaga tears the roof off the Staples Center with her pitch-perfect pipes belting out "Poker Face," followed by a tete-a-tete piano showdown with Elton John. Don't let the scary stage makeup on both fool you: Their mashup of her "Speechless" and his "Your Song" was priceless. Great way to kick things off!
8:10 PM - Beyonce misses her first chance to take the stage and accept an award. She's backstage prepping for her performance when the best song of all time, "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)," won the first award for Song of the Year. Where was Kanye when you needed him to jump up and say "I told you so!" Lady Gaga still looked thrilled from backstage, clapping for her friend even though she lost. (The two just shot another video together for their song "Telephone" so the love is still flowing).
8:14 PM - J. Lo keeps pushing that comeback, announcing Green Day's kick-ass version of "21 Guns" with the cast of the upcoming Broadway show, American Idiot. Well done, guys! Can't wait to see it on the Great White Way. And definitely keep the female singer who started it off.
8:25 PM - Go Taylor! Swift scores her first televised award of the night for Best Country Album and it's another dream come true -- as every award is for her. This time it was an "impossible dream." Just wait, dear: The real one's coming up later.
8:29 PM - Time for Sasha Fierce! Beyonce lifts from Shakira's AMA performance and employs a military motif, mixing up "If I Were A Boy" with Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know" just like in her last tour. I was just wishing Alanis herself would have rolled out for a cameo during this one like the other divas had. At least Beyonce scored a big standing ovation from hubby Jay-Z at the end.
8:40 PM - Pink takes her performance to new heights again with another up in the air, acrobatic adventure. One change this time: She also doused herself -- and the whole audience -- in water as she hung from a dripping sheet. A whole lotta women I'm sure were freaking out below at their weaves coming undone. I bet the women's bathroom was very crowded during the next commercial break.
8:46 PM - The Zac Brown Band wins for Best New Artist? What?! Where were my boys in MGMT? Oh well, guys, there's always that award curse with this one so don't feel too bad.
8:55 PM - The Black Eyed Peas perform -- but what's that on Will.I.Am's face? Is he going to mime school on the side? At least Fergie's slamming body took the attention away from the mask -- and those strange speaker dancers again. Gotta love them.
9:10 PM - Kathy Griffin is pissed that she loses Best Comedy Album to Stephen Colbert before Kings of Leon thankfully take home Record of the Year for "Use Somebody." I would have given anything to see Kathy's acceptance speech over Colbert's desperate attempts to win approval from his daughter.
9:22 PM - Jamie Foxx and T-Pain sound the death knell for Auto-Tune with their performance (though nice boots, JF). Even a Slash guest spot couldn't save the now-tired song. No wonder Jay-Z looked stonefaced in the front. Hova called it first with "Death of Autotune."
9:33 PM - Green Day beats Dave Matthews Band for Best Rock Album, an early indicator that things won't go so well for Matthews later in the night. A long career, a great performance and the death of a founding member still can't save them, marking a change in typical Grammy voting.
9:45 PM - Taylor Swift and Stevie Nicks! Yay! Well -- not that great. Couldn't they have done any of Stevie's amazing songs except "Rihannon?" The Taylor picks were obvious and great, but her voice would have been so much better on "Gold Dust Woman" or the country-tested "Landslide." Even the Adam Lambert lookalike guitar player couldn't save the underwhelming pairing.
9:52 PM - Who's bad? Just about everything in the Michael Jackson tribute except his kids coming out to accept his award. The song is one of his worst, the 3-D effects didn't quite work and most of the singers including Jennifer Hudson and Carrie Underwood, lacked a real emotional connection to MJ. At least Beyonce seemed to be enjoying herself.
10:10 PM - OK, Bon Jovi: Getting tired of the whole 'fans voting for the song you will perform' thing. "Livin' On a Prayer"? Seen it all before, and Jennifer Nettles didn't add much to it. Snooze...
10:17 PM - Thankfully somebody remembers Kanye when Jay-Z thanks him for his "genius" when picking up the Best Rap-Sung Collaboration trophy for "Run This Town" with Rihanna and Solange's kid, Jules. Cute moment, and let us not forget Kanye held the majority of the nominations in the category. Nice to see he won one even though his name has been tarnished because of the Taylor Swift/VMA debacle. Get over it, America: His contributions to music are still worth way more than any public slip-up.
10:24 PM - Mary J. Blige and Andrea Bocelli pay tribute to Haiti with a stirring version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water." Nobody takes over a bridge like MJB! All hail the queen!
10:47 PM - Beyonce finally shouts out her "husband" Jay-Z in an acceptance speech, even adding an "I Love You" while picking up the Best Female Pop Vocal award for "Halo." Jay looks stunned. It's official now: You're public!
10:55 PM - Maxwell and Roberta Flack make magic happen on "Pretty Wings" and "Where Is The Love." Ultimate soul pairing.
11:12 PM - Getting tired by now but Drake, Lil Wayne, Eminem and Travis Barker wake me up. Good performance, but is Drake really worth the hype? It all seems a bit too much, too soon to me. At least Taylor Swift was really into it, dancing her little tush off before she took home the final award for Album of the Year. Stunning! The rules change. Out with the old rock dinosaurs (sorry Mr. Matthews) and in with the fresh, young blood. What a show! Well deserved, my love (even though Gaga did not look thrilled).