If the shows during Awards Season was to be thought of as a family, then the Grammys would be the youngest sibling: crazy, irreverent, starving for attention, but full of promise all the same. Heavy on the performance, light on the actual awards, the Grammys give artists plenty of opportunity for antics, be it crazy sets, mindblowing collaborations, or mischievous wardrobe choices, as evidenced by CBS's "memo" asking that guests keep their buttocks, "female breasts," "fleshy curves," and "genital regions" properly covered. Here are some of the weirder moments of the night:
Taylor Swift's Britney Spears moment
Taylor Swift made a circus of her talents—literally—in her opening performance of "We Are Never Getting Back Together." Wearing a garish white ringmaster suit and top hat, Swift was flanked by dancing rabbits, clowns, people on the stilts, and other big tent acts. The bizarre motif failed to reach the Lady Gaga-ian avant-garde aesthetics it aspired to, and the young male strapped onto the spiral target board looked only vaguely like Jake Gyllenhaal, about whom the song was reportedly written.
LL Cool J's hosting skills
Ladies Love Cool James, and Cool James loves saying the word "hashtag." When this year's Grammy MC wasn't relating the experience of hosting the Grammys to his actual grammy, LL Cool J was imploring viewers to tweet about the show and reading their tweets on air (really, CBS, this is not how social media works). Plenty of people did tweet about the show, but many about how many times LL Cool J licked his lips (28 times, by @nativeapprops's count).
Seeing Rihanna and Chris Brown together
Pop music's Romeo and Juliet—if Romeo had beat Juliet to a bloody pulp and found a dozen other ways to offend common decency since—have been back together for some time. Yet seeing Rihanna and Chris Brown sit together and canoodle throughout the show was a jarring experience. Her performance of the hopelessly romantic "Stay" didn't help—please leave him Rihanna! And just to remind us how much he has matured since assaulting his girlfriend (read: not at all), Brown was the one guy who refused to give singer Frank Ocean a standing ovation for his award, as the two reportedly got into a violent scuffle over a parking spot last month.
That guy in Indian head dress during The Black Keys performance
Jay-Z throwing some shade on The-Dream
Accepting the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration award for "No Church in The Wild," Jay-Z teased his collaborator The-Dream about his headgear, a Boyz N the Hood cap topping a "parental advisory" beanie. "I'd like to thank the swap meet for his hat," joked Hov. After the show, The-Dream said the diss was all in good fun, bragging that Jay-Z's wife complimented him on the very same hat.
Carrie Underwood's Lite-Brite dress For her performance of "Blown Away," the country crooner donned a beautiful Cinderella gown, which, as she transitioned to "Two Black Cadillacs" turned into a technicolor nightmare, lighting up in a series of glowing designs. The gimmick spawned a number of less-than-appropriate comments on Twitter, distracting from Underwood's performance rather than complementing it. To see how to properly incorporate technology into one's performance, Underwood should look to Frank Ocean's stunning rendition of "Forrest Gump," as he appeared in front of giant video projection screen, serving his musical talents, rather than strangling them.
LL Cool J's and Co.'s closing performance
The Grammy closer gave us the mash-up no one asked for, as LL Cool J was joined by Tom Morello, Travis Barker, Chuck D, and Z-Trip for a rap-rock homage to the late Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys. Any remnants of street cred these artists had was swiftly undercut by the announcer interrupting their set to thank the Grammys' corporate sponsors. At least no hashtags were involved.