Welcome to the 53rd Grammy Awards, which will be featuring appearances and performances from some of the biggest names in music. Those names include Eminem (who leads all nominees and who could make history this evening), Lady Gaga (fresh off the premiere of her new single “Born This Way”), Rihanna, Drake, Arcade Fire, Cee Lo Green, Justin Bieber (who is currently in a knock-down, drag-out box office battle with Adam Sandler’s “Just Go With It” for the coveted first place spot), Muse, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson and Bob Dylan (just for good measure). It promises to be an eventful, historic night, and the MTV Newsroom Blog is going to be right on top of all the most outstanding performances, biggest awards upsets and most incredible Grammy moments. The show always features a number of surprises (both scheduled and not), so it should be a fantastically entertaining three-and-a-half hours.
So grab a snack, crack open a cold beverage and follow along with the official Grammy Awards live blog. Between the broadcast and the MTV News correspondents on the ground (including Sway and James Montgomery), it should be jam-packed full of reports, observations and behind-the-scenes tidbits that are sure to make your Grammy experience complete.
11:28: Well, that was an unusual evening, wasn’t it? Stay tuned to this space and to MTV News for all the latest backstage gossip, interviews with the winners (and losers), tales from the after-parties and all the analysis from one of music’s biggest nights. Thanks for hanging out!
11:26: It has been a crazy year for Arcade Fire, who went to number one on the Billboard chart, headlined Lollapalooza and sold out Madison Square Garden. With this victory, they are now not just a cult favorite — they’re one of the biggest bands in the world.
11:24: In an astounding upset, Arcade Fire grab the Grammy for Album of the Year. They seems genuinely shocked at the development. They thank Canada and return to their instruments to play the show out. “We’re gonna play another song, because we love music,” Win Butler says.
11:22: Were people really clamoring for Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson to get back together? In any event, they’re here to give out the prize for Album of the Year.
11:14: The crowd at the Staples Center has no idea what they are looking at, partially because of the weirdness of Arcade Fire and partially because of those strobe lights.
11:11: Jason Segel welcomes us to the Grammys over three hours into the show. He’s here to pull back the curtain on Arcade Fire, who as we’ve been reminded all night are making their Grammy Awards debut.
11:06: The only thing left tonight is Arcade Fire’s performance and the award for Album of the Year. Who is going to take home the top prize of the night? Will Lady Antebellum continue their streak?
11:04: Congratulations to Lady Antebellum and “Need You Now.” They’re totally going to win Album of the Year, aren’t they?
11:02: Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony come out to give out the hardware for Record of the Year. This should go to Cee Lo, Eminem or Jay-Z, right?
11:01: Drake’s verse in “What’s My Name” is pretty filthy, isn’t it? Also, are they reenacting “The Wicker Man” behind Rihanna?
10:58: Diddy (who has won three Grammys himself) introduces Rihanna and Drake, who are staging “What’s My Name” around a giant bonfire. There has been an awful lot of fire tonight, right?
10:53: Eminem picks up another award for Best Rap Album (it’s the fifth of his career in this category). He gives props to Rihanna, Dr. Dre, his producers, the fans and Detroit.
10:50: Nicki Minaj and will.i.am are here to give out the prize for Best Rap Album. Nicki’s hair is crazy sick. And so is B.o.B’s red dinner jacket.
10:46: Kris Kristofferson comes out to introduce Barbra Streisand (who was MusiCares’ Person of the Year). Streisand — who hasn’t lost much in the vocal department — to sing “Evergreen,” which won a Grammy way back in 1978.
10:42: During the break, Lady Gaga returned to her seat and received an embrace from none other than Justin Bieber. A great meeting between two of the biggest stars on the planet and a true Grammy moment.
10:38: Everyone in the building is on his or her feet for this Jagger performance, and he’s giving that energy back in spades.
10:35: Whose cape was better: Janelle Monae’s or Mick Jagger’s? Like Dylan, Jagger still manages to rule every room he walks into.
10:32: Morrison returns to the microphone to introduce the “In Memoriam” segment, which features fallen stars Lena Horne, Charlie Louvin, Teena Marie, Gerry Rafferty, Captain Beefheart, Alex Chilton and Ronnie James Dio. The montage ends with Solomon Burke, which gives way to Mick Jagger’s tribute to the late soul legend.
10:28: “Glee” star Matthew Morrison introduces NARAS president Neil Portnow to talk about all the non-awards work the organization does. He introduces the Grammy Jazz Ensemble and the Grammy Camp Band.
10:22: Esperanza Spalding just became the answer to a trivia question. Still, Drake did give her a standing ovation when she walked by (that’s guy’s a pro).
10:20: That’s another full-scale standing ovation. Next up on the docket? Jewel and John Legend, out to present the award for Best New Artist.
10:18: Welcome back, Dr. Dre. We missed you. Dre’s entrance got the same kind of reaction that the Undertaker always gets every time he comes back after a layoff from the WWE (which is to say utterly gigantic and full of awe).
10:17: Em’s first verse on “I Need a Doctor” must already have the prize for Verse of the Year wrapped up, right?
10:15: In a reverse of their VMA performance, Rihanna starts and then makes way for Eminem to storm the stage. Slim Shady seems especially savage tonight.
10:12: Seth Rogen is here, and it’s his first time at the Grammys. He jokes that he was just backstage getting high with Miley Cyrus, which gets an incredibly strange reaction. He introduces Eminem, Dr. Dre and Rihanna (and Adam Levine!) for what may be the biggest performance of the night.
10:05: “Need You Now” somehow beats both “F— You” and especially “Love the Way You Lie,” which is logical but also somewhat disappointing. Eminem will just have to blow everybody off the stage during his performance to make his mark tonight.
10:02: Nothing will stop Keith Urban and John Mayer from performing (along with Norah Jones). They rip through a version of “Jolene” as a tip of the hat to Dolly Parton, who picked up a Lifetime Achievement Grammy tonight. They’re also presenting Song of the Year, one of the biggest awards of the night.
10:01: Perry has remained consistent with Teenage Dream‘s candy theme, as her backup dancers are dressed up like candy hearts.
10:00: Perry gets raised high above the Staples Center floor while video of her wedding to Russell Brand (who did a heck of a job on “Saturday Night Live” last night) airs on a sheet behind her. It’s a delightfully cinematic moment that gives way to “Teenage Dream,” who she dedicates to “all the Valentine lovers.”
9:57: Neil Patrick Harris is here to introduce Katy Perry. He jokes that just last week he had sex with her (which is true, at least in the reality of “How I Met Your Mother”). Perry sits on a swing (not unlike Britney Spears did on her Circus tour) for a run through “Not Like the Movies.”
9:50: Cee Lo’s outfit is even better when he stands up! Turning it into a duet was a little awkward, but the performance of “F— You” was so surreal that it’s hard not to love it.
9:47: Cee Lo is dressed as a peacock (but, you know, with a breast plate). For some reason, there’s a pug puppet dancing right next to his piano, which must be pretty distracting. The Muppet backup singers are pretty awesome.
9:46: Jamie Foxx (who is halfway to an EGOT) comes out to introduce Cee Lo Green, Gwyneth Paltrow and some Muppets for what should be a lively “F— You.”
9:44: Miley Cyrus and 75 percent of Kings of Leon — together at last! They’re here to give out the prize for Best Country Album. Country music has gotten an awful lot of face time tonight, hasn’t it? Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now wins.
9:39: “Glee” star Leah Michele and Green Bay Packers star Clay Matthews — together at last! They introduce Lady Antebellum, who pay tribute to Teddy Pendergrass.
9:33: Dylan and company pick up the third standing ovation of the night, and it is well-deserved. Dylan’s permanent scowl is the best in all of rock history.
9:31: Even after five decades in the spotlight (think about that), Bob Dylan is still the best at most everything. He may have lost a step, but he remains naturally charismatic and powerful. “Maggie’s Farm” is a great song choice.
9:28: People who tuned in to see Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Rihanna are probably pretty confused by the number of banjos and beards on stage right now. Still, both Mumford & Songs and Avett Brothers deserve to be heard, and this is by far their biggest exposure yet.
9:24: David Letterman drops in with a Grammys-themed Top 10. Highlight? Lady Gaga and Lady Antebellum teaming up to form “Lady Antegagum.” Letterman then throws to Mumford & Sons, who will be joined by Bob Dylan and Avett Brothers.
9:23: Gaga admits that when she wrote “Born This Way,” she envisioned Whitney Houston singing it. Also, was she wearing horns on her forehead?
9:22: Best Pop Vocal Album goes to Lady Gaga’s The Fame Monster, which means it’s probably time for an amazing acceptance speech. Her outfit is great — not quite a meat dress, but her molded buttocks are sublime. What did she say that needed to be bleeped out, viewers?
9:20: Selena Gomez and Donnie Wahlberg is a VMA-level pairing. They’re here to give out the award for Best Pop Vocal Album. Will Gomez hand it to boyfriend Bieber?
9:14: Paramore and somebody from “NCIS” are out to hand out the prize for Best Rock Album. Muse win the prize. Matt Bellamy tosses out a reference to his pregnant girlfriend (who is, of course, actress Kate Hudson).
9:12: Bieber returns to help Usher finish, and the crowd loves it. That’s the second standing ovation of the evening.
9:10: Jaden Smith’s leopard-print pants are a bold choice. Will and Jada approve. Once Bieber and Smith are done, Usher takes the stage wearing a blue bodysuit. Between this show and the Super Bowl, “OMG” has gotten an awful lot of big-time exposure in the past few weeks.
9:08: The ninjas provide a transition into “Never Say Never.” The dancers (including a few fire-breathers) are dressed like Sub-Zero from “Mortal Kombat,” which kind of rules.
9:06: Usher told Bieber, “If it was meant to be, then we’d be together.” A nice segue into an unplugged version of “Baby.” Of course, the ninjas with drums arrive right after … wait, what?
9:05: Eva Longoria comes out to introduce Justin Bieber, Usher and Jaden Smith. Somebody messed up a cue, but we do get to see footage of Bieber singing for Usher in 2007 (props to his Toronto Maple Leafs shirt).
8:58: Zac Brown is here to give out Best Female Vocal Country Performance. The prize goes to Miranda Lambert and “The House That Built Me.”
8:57: The trio get a much-deserved standing ovation — Cyndi Lauper was especially excited.
8:55: Mars then tosses to Monae, who is wearing an amazing black cape. She starts with “Cold War” (with Mars on drums) before stage diving on the mini pit in front of the stage. She clearly learned a thing or two about being a showman from her time on the road with Prince.
8:52: Bruno Mars travels through time (and shifts into black and white) for an old-school soul version of “Grenade.” As great as the radio version is, this blows it away. (Although R. Kelly’s Sam Cooke tribute act remains slightly superior.)
8:50: Ryan Seacrest rolls out to throw to B.o.B, Janelle Monae and Bruno Mars. The fact that B.o.B is wearing a monocle is the best moment of the Grammys so far.
8:42: Kudos to Matt Bellamy for reminding the world that there aren’t nearly enough double-necked guitars being played on national TV. Also: FIRE!
8:40: It looked like the guy with the stick was going to channel “Soy Bomb,” but he’s clearly part of the show.
8:38: Lenny Kravitz comes out dressed as some sort of glam rock caveman to introduce Muse. Even after a year in heavy rotation, “Uprising” still sounds terrifying.
8:33: Blake Shelton comes out to introduce Miranda Lambert (who is also his fiancé). “The House That Built Me” was a gigantic smash in the country world but seemed to be missing that one x-factor that turns songs into crossover hits. The line about her dead dog buried in the yard probably didn’t help.
8:27: Who else but Lady Gaga would be able to make a pipe organ solo sound kind of badass?
8:25: That was a tremendous (albeit short-lived) piece of headgear. This is pretty low-key for Gaga (especially compared to last year’s performance), but she remains the most dynamic live performer in pop (and her pipes remain staggeringly great).
8:23: Ricky Martin is wearing the craziest pants in the history of crazy. That being said, that’s an appropriate garment to be wearing to introduce Lady Gaga (and her egg). It’s “Born This Way” time! Put your paws up!
8:22: Pat Monahan channels Metallica by thanking Justin Bieber for not being a duo or group. He also thanks Howard Stern for reasons that will probably be clarified later.
8:20: The Aretha Franklin tribute crew is back (let’s call them Fox Force 5 from now on). They’ll be handing out the prize for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group. Train score the win for the live version of “Hey Soul Sister.” No love for “The Only Exception”?
8:13: Via a taped message, Aretha Franklin thanks all the fans for their cards, flowers and prayers (plus a special shout-out to Clive Davis). She’s in Detroit regaining her health, but she promises she’ll be back next year.
8:12: A whole bunch of awards have already been given out, including prizes for Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars and the Black Keys. One bummer? Herbie Hancock somehow beat out “Telephone” for Best Pop Collaboration. Really?!?!
8:09: Welch’s own songs don’t have the same kind of bravado as “Think,” but she’s totally owning this song. And obviously Jennifer Hudson has a thing or two to add to “Respect” (and all of them are exceptional).
8:05: All five women sound especially on-point tonight, especially Florence Welch (who is lending a certain understated grace to the proceedings). Also, where did Aguilera get that microphone stand? It looks like a piece of demonic candy (which means it’s awesome).
8:02: Justin Bieber is totally the Jack Nicholson of the Grammys tonight, as his all-white tuxedo and front row seat stand out from the rest of the audience.
8:00: And we’re live! The tribute to Aretha Franklin — which MTV Newsroom blog voters declared was the most hotly-anticipated performance tonight — kicks off the show.
7:58: Anybody in the comments section want to take bets on the significance of Lady Gaga’s egg? It could end up being one of the evening’s best developing stories.
7:54: Andy Rooney says, “I like movies that remind me of something I know about.” His favorite films include “Barry Lyndon,” “Jurassic Park” and “10,000 B.C.”
7:48: Lady Gaga admits that she smokes a lot of pot while writing music (though it’s doubtful she’ll be covering “Slave to the Traffic Light” any time soon).
7:00: Nicki Minaj just arrived. She has a hair style that’s half leopard print, half “Bride of Frankenstein,” all blonde. The leopard spots match her dress, of course. Also, Nicki totally grabbed Snooki’s boobs.
6:48: B.o.b and Paramore just exchanged pleasantries and handshakes on the carpet. Snooki totally wanted to storm onto the live stream and take a photo with B.o.b.
6:22: Continuing to build a bridge with the indie community, Snooki just chatted up the guys in Vampire Weekend. We did learn that VW’s favorite “Jersey Shore” cast member is Ronnie (except for Rostam, who loves Vinny) and that Snooki and Vinny aren’t exactly on the best terms. “It’s hard, literally,” she said.