This year, the 50th Annual Grammy Awards pulled every stop as they celebrated their half-centennial with big fashion and bright lights.
The decline of the music industry and flushing out of record labels couldn't stop the Grammys from pulsating as laudably as ever.
This year's nominees were lead by Kanye West, the Foo Fighters and British bad girl Amy Winehouse.
West took home the Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance, Best Rap Song, Best Rap Performance by Duo (with Common), and Best Rap Album, all of which he dedicated to his late mother. West was a shark on the big stage as he performed his single, "Stronger," with arguably the greatest jacket ever made (LED lit). West's was easily the best performance of the night, and was followed by a heart-melting ballad to his mother, "Hey Mama," sung on one knee.
Unfortunately for the talented John Legend and less-talented Fergie, who performed together immediately following, nothing could or would trump West's neon-light drenched performance.
Winehouse, who won five of six nominations including Best New Artist and Song of the Year, performed live from London on impermanent leave from rehab. Winehouse's anticipated performance was dry, hoarse and perhaps the weakest performance of the night. Winehouse nonetheless beat nominated talent such as Nelly Furtado, Paul McCartney and Corinne Bailey Rae.
Alicia Keys ushered in a strong opening for the program as she performed a retro duet version of "Learnin' the Blues" with a black-and-white video of Old Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra. Moments after the performance, she won Best Female R&B Vocal and proceeded to perform her single, "No One," with guest guitarist John Mayer.
Other prominent performances were from The Time, together for the first time in 15 years alongside Rihanna; a discomforted and stiff but still strong Tina Turner with Beyonce; and the impressive Cirque du Soleil's aesthetic homage to The
Foo Fighters, who won Best Rock Album and Best Hard Rock Performance, had the honor of sharing the outside stage with the comical Jason Bateman, who was the most colorful of all presenters.
Best Country Album went to Vince Gill, who, when he received the award from Ringo Starr said, "I just had an award given to me by a Beatle. Have you had that happen yet, Kanye?"
Other winners were Justin Timberlake, The White Stripes, Bruce Springsteen, Carrie Underwood and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (Best Spoken-Word Album). The biggest shake-up of the night came when Herbie Hancock snatched Album of the Year out from Winehouse and West's hands.
Fifty years deep, the Grammy's are still a sensation much stronger than the industry, and easily of a higher modishness.