The smartest thing the Grammy Awards ever did was to stop insisting on that whole, you know, "awards" thing. Oh, the Recording Academy handed out a few shiny trophies at L.A.'s Staples Center Sunday, including album of the year (Random Access Memories) and record of the year (Get Lucky) to mute French robot electronicists Daft Punk.
But mainly, the almost four-hour show was a watchable, tweetable, snarkable concert of strange bedfellows and mash-up moments, including a "marriage" of 33 couples during Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' equality-rules hip-hop tune Same Love. In typical Grammys overkill, Queen Latifah officiated and Madonna crashed the nuptials. And we all totally sobbed! Don't lie!
Herewith, other highlights (plus Pharrell's hat) from "music's biggest night":
EVEN CYBORGS DIG 'FLASHDANCE': Show opener Beyonce's wet-hair, dirty-chair take on Drunk in Love was bleeps-aplenty hubba-hubba. But even better was the after-shot of appreciative Daft Punk politely nodding their robot heads. Love them.
AT LEAST I GOT ONE RIGHT: Slam-dunk of the night: In the show's very first award, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis won best new artist. (And poor Lewis STILL didn't get to say anything.)
DECONSTRUCTION IS ONE THING: ... laryngitis is another. Lorde, who would later win best pop solo performance and song of the year for Royals, broke down her ubiquitous hit to such a creepy degree that your sprawling Grammys team here at the Times kept jacking up the TV volume, thinking the problem was on our end. Nope.
50 MINUTES IN, THE SHOW HAD ITS FIRST GREAT MOMENT: They love strange collaborations on the Grammys, and Keith Urban and Gary Clark Jr.'s ferocious guitar freak-out was a gem. (Plus that bromantic punch at the end was the cutest thing I've ever seen.) Just as ferocious? Rapper Kendrick Lamar going [bleepin'] bonkers with Imagine Dragons.
AT 120 MINUTES IN, THE SHOW HAD ITS FIRST TRANSCENDENT MOMENT: It took a beat for Daft Punk, Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams and Chic's Nile Rodgers to lock into a groove on Get Lucky (which also won best pop duo/group performance) — but once they did, how could you stop smiling?
PHARRELL'S HAT: Times superstar page designer Brittany Volk demanded that I mention the singer-producer's overlarge, overlumpy Ranger Rick topper so that she can run a picture. She makes me look good. So here you go, superstar.
OTHER COOL PERFORMANCES PT. I: After his Blurred Lines twerkoff with Miley Cyrus at the MTV VMAs, Robin Thicke got sexy with ... Chicago?! I wonder if his wife had anything to do with that?... John Legend kept it cool behind the piano (with wife Chrissy Teigen bathed in a spotlight); Taylor Swift kept it cool too ... until she started seriously head-banging her Charlie's Angels hairdo.
THANKS, NATE RUESS! While duetting with Pink — who had just performed yet another feat of death-defying aerial derring-do — the fun. singer displayed the worst mustache since SpongeBob wore a piece of kelp under his nose. That said, I have no more fear of attempting to grow any semblance of hair on my baby face.
OTHER COOL PERFORMANCES, PT. II Theatrical Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang and mayhem-bringers Metallica teamed for a stormy-elegant One ... Miranda Lambert and Billie Joe Armstrong paying poignant homage to Phil Everly.
OTHER COOL PERFORMANCES, BEATLES EDITION: After a classically mumbled intro from Ozzy Osbourne, Ringo Starr (with a killer band that included Peter Frampton) busted out the life-affirming Photograph. Then, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Fabs playing the Ed Sullivan Show, Ringo took the drums for pal Paul McCartney's Queenie Eye.
YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO CLAP IN THE PRESSBOX ... but I might have yahooed when Kacey Musgraves beat out Taylor Swift for best country album. Same Trailer Different Park: Buy it today, kids.
CHIN UP, CHUCK OWEN! Arguably the coolest professor in town, USF jazzman Chuck Owen was nominated for both best instrumental composition and best instrumental arrangement. Alas, our man in L.A. went 0-2. But hey, the rest of us watched the show at home, right? Chuck watched next to Madonna and Katy Perry, both of whom fought for his attention. (Could be true.)
Sean Daly can be reached at [email protected] Follow @seandalypoplife on Twitter.