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Backstage at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards

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This post was written in liveblog (reverse chronological) format: Please scroll to the bottom to read the earliest entries. The latest updates are at the top.

8:20 p.m.: "What the hell?" asks Win Butler as Arcade Fire comes back from 0-for-2 to win the big one - Album of the Year. "Holy shit! We're gonna go play another song..." Seems the only thing easy to predict when it comes to The Grammys is that artists such as Eminem and Lady Gaga will continue to get many more nominations than actual awards.

8:10 p.m.: John Legend comes into the media room cradling his three Grammys won tonight. "I think I'm getting Grammy's-wrist," he says. Lookout for the Sade w/ John Legend tour coming through Staples in August. He's only the second person today to mention / comment on the popular uprising in Egypt (Herbie Hancock was asked about it earlier).

8:05 p.m.: The Lady Antebellum sweeps continue as the country act is picked over the top rap/hip-hop tracks of the year for Record Of the Year. Lady A is now 5-for-5 with Album of the Year still to be announced. In their acceptance speech, Lady A expresses disbelief that they're collecting for the song ("Need You Now") that they performed on the Grammy stage just last year. Way to keep it fresh, Recording Academy!

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7:50 p.m.: Eminem finally takes one over Jay-Z (who has won three awards already tonight) with Best Rap Album. Thinking back a few minutes, I can't help but note the irony of the house band playing "Don't Stop Believing" during the break before Recording Academy president Neil Portnow's plea for us to continue acquiring music legally.

7:45 p.m.: So far it's not Eminem's night -- he has only one Grammy with a couple shots at redemption (or should we say recovery) left should he nab Record of the Year or Album of the Year. His performance was definitely a crowd favorite, with Dr. Dre himself joining Em onstage (with Skylar Grey) for "I Need a Doctor." Still 3 performances to go - Barbra Streisand, Rihanna feat. Drake and Arcade Fire.

7:35 p.m.: Mick's moment. He takes off a gold cape and further unbuttons before launching into Solomon Burke's "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love," with Raphael Saadiq.

7:30 p.m.Going into the home stretch. Who have we lost this year? James Moody, Lena Horne, Charlie Louvin, Teena Marie, Gregory Isaacs, Gerry Rafferty, Don Van Vliet (Capt. Beefheart), Ronnie Chasen, Mitch Miller, Ronnie James Dio, Don Kirshner, Jimmy Dean, Alex Chilton, Solomon Burke are among those honored by the Academy.

7:20 p.m.: Woah! The entire press room groans with disappointment as Esperanza Spalding upsets the field for Best New Artist. What were they hoping for, Bieber? Spalding is the first jazz musician to win the award.

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7:06 p.m.: Another win for Lady A. The Nashville-based group beats out Cee Lo, Ray LaMontagne, Eminem, and Miranda Lambert for Song of the Year.

7:05 p.m. Norah Jones, Keith Urban and John Mayer do a quick "Jolene" as a makeshift tribute to Dolly Parton. How many times has "Jolene been performed on the Grammys?

7:00 p.m. Cee Lo definitely a highlight of the show, sitting at the piano in a full-on peacock outfit, doing his best Elton John impersonation with Gwenyth Paltrow dancing on the piano and the muppets as backing band (but no Animal on drums?!?)

Cee Lo Green and Gwyneth Paltrow perform "F*** You" (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
6:45 p.m. We're anxiously awaiting Cee Lo's performance of "F*** You," which already won an award tonight, to be accompanied by Gwyneth Paltrow and the Jim Henson Co. muppets.

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6:44 p.m.: It's the country section of the broadcast. Lady Antebellum, which has already won two Grammys tonight and is up for Record of the Year, performs. Miley Cyrus and Kings of Leon then presented Lady Antebellum with their third award of the night -- Best Country Album.

6:35 p.m.: Bob Dylan performs "Maggie's Farm," apparently still having failed to clear his throat for the past half-century.

Here's a great shot of Janelle Monae taking it to the crowd. She performed "Cold War" from her outstanding debut album The ArchAndroid.


(AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

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Gaga accepts the award for best pop vocal performance. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
6:25 p.m.: Lady Gaga's "Fame Monster" wins Best Pop Vocal album. This monster really is a star, strutting up to the stage in a tight leather catwoman-with-plastic-bubble-butt get up. Her first words into the mic are an overwhelmed "oh shit!" She thanks Whitney Houston, saying that she wrote "Born This Way" with her in mind. Gaga won for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Short Form Music Video (both for "Bad Romance") earlier in the day.6:05 p.m.: Justin Bieber and Usher are cuddling onstage. Reminiscing about the old times. Remember when you were 13 and we met that one time? "Baby, baby, baby," sings Bieber, and then a pow wow of drummer boys appears behind. "Never say neverrr," sings Bieber. And we never thought we'd really hear an entire Justin Bieber song and survive to write about it.

5:55 p.m.: Train is backstage talking about how blessed they feel to have affected so many people worldwide with a song that took ten minutes to write ("Hey Soul Sister" [live]). Meanwhile i can feel the rocking of Janelle Monae's "Cold War" blowing up the arena faintly in the background. The dichotomy of seeing Monae throw her mic stand down on the muted screens and these douchebags joking that they're going on tour with Shakira "probably because I have a similar figure" is ample proof that we live in an unjust society.

5:45 p.m.: While we're waiting for Seacrest to intro Bruno Mars, B.o.B., and Janelle Monae (this should be good!), check these goodies in the Grammys red carpet Instagram stream and some lame footage from rehearsals at

5:40 p.m.: It seems the Grammy Live channel is still no help for those stuck waiting for the west coast feed of the broadcast. Is this so? In case you're looking for a live feed there seem to be a couple streams up at the moment.

5:35 p.m. Blake Shelton introduces his fiancee Miranda Lambert. CBS, what a nice, wholesome, family broadcast. Too bad they didn't have Kathy Griffin, who presented 12 awards on the pre-show interlaced with dozens of f-bombs. Classic. Fortunately we have a run of show outline back here so we'll survive this sappy-ass Grammy moment knowing that the next performance will be Muse, "Uprising."


(AP Photo / Matt Sayles)

5:24 p.m.: Oh yeah, it's Gaga time. "Don't be a drag just be a queen" is the catchy refrain of her latest single "Born This Way." And who better to introduce mother monster than Ricky Martin? Scroll down to the bottom of this post for video of Lady Gaga showing up inside a giant egg on the red carpet.

5:22 p.m.: Train wins the first award on the broadcast, thanks Justin Bieber for "not being a duo or group" and we immediately wonder what the hell we're doing here.

5:15 p.m.: We're in the radio / TV room in the San Manuel room at Staples. It's tough to follow the awards as the audio is repeatedly cut when the winners come in to take questions. Of course, that's where you come in. We will ask your questions - hit us in the comments or on Twitter.


David Guetta who earlier won for best remix (of Madonna's "Revolver" remarked that he was very happy to see a rise in the popularity of dance music in the U.S. in the past year. He mentioned that he would only be making alien music, collaborating with aliens in effort to ensure that dance music would remain at least a year ahead of pop music.

English electro-pop duo La Roux were similarly thrilled to win the Grammy for best Electronic / Dance album for their debut.

5:08 p.m. Grammys executive producer warms up the crowd and is maybe the only person in the house who thinks that having Mick Jagger perform on the Grammys is the greatest thing to ever happen to music.

The broadcast opens with an Aretha Franklin tribute. The 68-year-old queen of soul was recently released from hospital after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Unfortunately Christina Aguilera might be slowing her recovery with a horrid and annoying take on "Ain't No Way" (though she did remember all the words).

A fitting tribute to Aretha - an 18-time Grammy winner - and a great way to get the likes of Jennifer Hudson, Yolanda Adams, Florence Welch, and Martina McBride on stage together.

4:55 p.m. Five minutes until showtime. CBS won't let the West Coast in on the action until 8 p.m. but you can watch live at or just hang with us here [spoiler alert].

4:45 p.m.: We're backstage in the media room at Staples Center for the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards. It's already been an eventful day -- most of the 108 awards were handed out earlier at the Convention Center. Lady Gaga showed up in a giant egg, Jay-Z took 3 early awards and Eminem won just 1 out of 10 possible awards in the preshow. Mavis Staples, Buddy Guy, Herbie Hancock, Neil Young, Paul McCartney and Pinetop Perkins were among the senior nominees to win.

Arcade Fire was shut out on both of its nominations. Jay-Z nearly swept the early rap categories Best Rap Performance by duo or group ("On to the Next One"), Best Rap/Sung Collaboration ("Empire State of Mind"), and Best Rap Song ("Empire State of Mind").

Lady Gaga arrives in a giant egg on the Grammys red carpet. She'll perform "Born This Way" early in the show.

Here's a list of some of the Grammy winners from the 90 categories presented before the broadcast:

Female Pop Vocal Performance: "Bad Romance," Lady Gaga
Male Pop Vocal Performance: "Just The Way You Are," Bruno Mars
Rock Song: "Angry World," Neil Young
R&B Album: "Wake up!" John Legend & The Roots
R&B Song: "Shine," John Legend & The Roots
Rap Solo Performance: "Not Afraid," Eminem
Rap Song: "Empire State of Mind," Jay-Z and Alicia Keys
Male Country Vocal Performance: "'Til Summer Comes Around," Keith Urban
Country Performance by a Duo or Group: "Need You Now," Lady Antebellum
Latin Pop Album: "Paraiso Express," Alejandro Sanz
Contemporary Jazz Album: "The Stanley Clarke Band," The Stanley Clarke Band
Classical Album: "Verdi: Requiem," Riccardo Muti, conductor
Traditional Gospel Album: "Downtown Church," Patty Griffin
Dance Recording: "Only Girl (In The World)," Rihanna
Electronic Dance Album: "La Roux," La Roux
Alternative Music Album: "Brothers," The Black Keys
Urban/Alternative Performance: "F*** You," Cee Lo Green
Spoken Word Album: "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Audiobook)," Jon Stewart