Well, after countless announcements and a ton of mind-blowingly awesome rehearsals, it’s finally time for the 51st annual Grammy Awards. Leah Greenblatt and myself will be live blogging the broadcast right here in this post starting just before 8 p.m. Eastern, with possible on-the-scene updates from Whitney Pastorek at the Staples Center. In the meantime, let’s get to talking: What’s everyone out there most looking forward to tonight? We were very bummedto hear at the last minute that Rihanna and Chris Brown won’t be performing due to a situation that’s still developing, and we’re sending out our best wishes to all involved there — but we’re thinking Al Green, who’s singing in their stead, should be a treat. How about you?
LEAH: So here we are, halfway through the red-carpet hour, and so far, all we know for certain about the developing Chris Brown/Rihanna situation is that neither will be in attendance tonight.
LEAH: Rumors are that Justin Timberlake may step in to replace Brown in his performance slot.
LEAH: We’re sad to hear about the whole situation, but the show must go on.
SIMON: Yeah, that story is definitely going to make it a little harder for me to enjoy the Grammys fun.
LEAH: Lots of stars so far. Coldplay look like a pack of Mentos.
LEAH: Or maybe JuJuBees.
SIMON: Is Ryan Seacrest hitting on Paris Hilton?
SIMON: And Paris thinks Coldplay are "legends." Bet Chris Martin is feeling very proud right now.
LEAH: She looks like a slutty grape.
SIMON: I’m picking up on a definite "finger food" theme in your observations tonight, Leah.
LEAH: You know who looks great, though? Adele, very sleek — supposedly personally styled by Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour for tonight. She already picked up the Best Pop Female Vocal Performance.
LEAH: Also winners already? John Mayer for Best Male Pop Vocal, and Duffy, for Female Pop Vocal Album, I believe.
LEAH: These are big-ish awards, but I’m guessing there’s no room for them to be televised with the 89,745 live performances slated for tonight.
SIMON: Apparently will.i.am and the mayor of L.A. are "buddies"?
LEAH: Will.i.am always wears these odd little yodeling hats. He’s like an urban sheep herder.
SIMON: I’m digging his baby-blue coat / golden bowtie / chocolate shirt combo.
SIMON: Whoa, M.I.A. really is due today!
LEAH: M.I.A.: Will she have her baby onstage? She says she’s got "transportation organized" if the water breaks.
SIMON: And a red carpet interviewer just suggested she could name her kid "Grammy." Maya did not seem very amused.
LEAH: She looks cute, though! And spherical.
LEAH: Kings of Leon look like they all just got the GQ makeover… What happened to the hair-farming?
LEAH: Jennifer Hudson sort of looks like she’s wearing a very pretty paper napkin on her chest. But where is Lil Wayne??
SIMON: Yeah, Seacrest seems sad that Wayne hasn’t stopped by to chat yet. Maybe he’s just not that into you, dude.
LEAH: I don’t know, Seacrest already asked John Mayer out for margaritas a minute ago. His dance card’s full!
WHITNEY [from the Grammys] Rihanna’s definitely not performing, unclear about Chris Brown. When I asked if Al Green and/or Justin Timberlake would be performing instead, Recording Academy president Neil Portnow said he "wouldn’t say no."
LEAH: Good to know. Now Ryan’s buttering up Quincy Jones… then again, he’s one man who actually deserves it. Legend!
SIMON: Seacrest’s glib little summary of the developing Rihanna/Chris Brown story is kind of gross. Could he at least try to be serious for a sec here?
LEAH: Katy Perry, pretty in Pepto. Very ’40s hair. Paula Abdul looks like an ambassador from the planet Banana.
SIMON: Ha. My mother just IM’d me: "WHAT IS THAT ON PAULA ABDUL’S HEAD??"
SIMON: Sadly, I could not answer her question.
LEAH: I love that your mom IMs.
LEAH: And yeah, if Paula was smart she would have called Aretha’s people.
LEAH: If you like it then you should have put a bow on it!
SIMON: So true.
SIMON: Okay, time to switch over to CBS for the real deal!
SIMON: CBS’ pre-recorded intro still says Rihanna and Chris Brown are performing. Weird.
SIMON: Okay, first up: U2!
LEAH: Bono: doing the dignified Irishman’s version of the David Lee Roth split-kick.
SIMON: They’re playing new single "Get on Your Boots" – with lyrics in a huge italic Arial font behind Bono. Very helpful!
SIMON: I like this song, but the performance seems a little lackluster…
LEAH: FYI, the song is No. 1 in Canadian Rock National Airplay. Stateside? It’s hovering around No. 37 on the Billboard Hot 100.
SIMON: So you know Nickelback is loving this choice of opening number. (Sorry, Canadians! The jokes are just too easy.)
LEAH: Get on your boots, eh?
SIMON: Thoughts on the guyliner under Bono’s shades?
SIMON: Whoa, Whitney Houston is the first presenter.
LEAH: Ooh, Simon! You’re hi-def is better than mine. Whitney Houston looks…diva-licious.
SIMON: And she’s getting a standing ovation.
LEAH: "Thanks Bono. I knew I shoulda worn my boots."
SIMON: Best R&B Album! I am rooting for Al Green here.
SIMON: …and Whitney’s putting off announcing the winner to thank Clive Davis. How…sweet?
LEAH: She looks amazing, but a little slurry.
LEAH: Jennifer Hudson takes it!
SIMON: And she gets another standing O. Well deserved.
LEAH: Oh boy, how could she not cry? Very sweet. Though odd that she’s still carrying her purse in one hand.
LEAH: The Rock! Because when I think music, I think wrestler-turned-actor with spectacularly groomed eyebrows.
SIMON: Lesson of the evening: The Rock likes funny acronyms.
LEAH: And tweezers.
SIMON: Also, The Rock likes Katy Perry songs. So many new facts to learn!
SIMON: ALSO: The Rock likes borderline-creepy sexual harassment jokes.
LEAH: His teeth are like snow-white Chiclets.
SIMON: Okay, I think I’ve had about enough of the Rock’s borscht-belt stand-up act. Sorry dude, but could we get some actual music soon?
LEAH: Justin Timberlake, the man in black!
LEAH: He’s like a handsome, floating head with that dark stage background.
SIMON: Those silver things in his ears make him look like a Star Trek extra.
LEAH: Introducing fellow Tennessean Al Green…
SIMON: …and Keith Urban and Boyz II Men!
WHITNEY: Wow, Al Green is a pro. And I wonder how fast they had to write Timberlake’s teleprompter copy?
SIMON: Al’s still got it.
LEAH: "Let’s Stay Together"… what a smoothie. He looks great.
LEAH: Justin looks like a giddy fanboy! Love it.
SIMON: This is pretty great for something that seems to have been thrown together at the last minute.
LEAH: Totally. And it feels organic, like all the people on stage genuinely like and respect each other.
SIMON: Wow, Al Green can really hit those high notes after all these years.
LEAH: HE’S THE REVEREND, SIMES!
SIMON: And tonight, I am saying "Amen."
LEAH: Can I get a few million witnesses?
SIMON: So, will any performances tonight top that one? My money’s on Radiohead, of course, but the race is on.
LEAH: Oh, you. Thom Yorke is your spirit animal isn’t he?
SIMON: He totally is. You know me too well.
LEAH: More actors: Simon Baker from that psychic-detective show, introducing Coldplay. Cue piano!
LEAH: Cue feelings!
SIMON: They’re doing "Lost!" — my favorite song from their new album, but I sorta hope/wish they’re gonna break into the remix version with Jay-Z.
SIMON: AND THEY ARE!!
SIMON: Sweet. I am psychic.
LEAH: Flow: unstoppable. Crowd: stoked.
LEAH: Oh shizz, it’s a medley!
SIMON: I guess it’s probably too much to ask for Jay-Z to come rap over "Viva La Vida" too, huh.
LEAH: Count your blessings, young man! The sound is sort of bad though.
SIMON: It is. I’ve grown to really like this song, though. Almost as much as Joe Satriani does.
WHITNEY: I love "Lost!," but only when there’s drumming. What does that mean? And does Jay-Z count as "drumming"? First press room Sophie’s Choice: listen to "Viva LaVida," or listen to Beau Bridges talk about winning best spoken wordalbum? Hmm.
LEAH: I have a feeling this is just the first inkling of Coldplay’s Grammy victory lap tonight… even if Satriani slaps them with legal papers at the door, like he promised to.
LEAH: Who knew Chris Martin was so bendy?
SIMON: And who knew Carrie Underwood was such a rocker?
LEAH: Carrie Underwood, four-time Grammy winner, including one already tonight. She’s doing "Last Name," one of the rockiest cuts she’s ever done.
LEAH: It’s not Jesus at the wheel on this one!
LEAH: Incidentally, we’re 31 minutes in, and the Grammy count is: One.
SIMON: This thing’s going all night!
SIMON: Time to brew another pot of coffee for us live-bloggers.
SIMON: Best Country Duo/Group Performance with Vocals. I wonder what Whitney thinks of this category…’cause honestly, I have literally no opinion on it. (Sorry, country fans!)
LEAH: It’s a win for Sugarland! Isn’t that song from 2007?
SIMON: Maybe? Sugarland seemed like cool folks in Whitney’s rehearsal video, so I’m happy for ‘em.
LEAH: Yes! Released as a single in September of 2007, from their 2006 album. These guys are adorable, but that’s kind of bunk.
SIMON: Ah, Grammy eligibility rules — the only thing more arcane than Oscar eligibility rules?
WHITNEY: WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! (This is my reaction to Sugarland winning. It is very articulate.)
WHITNEY: Also, Keith Urban is replacing Chris Brown’s performance, according to scuttlebutt in the press room.
LEAH: Al Green totally doing "Moon River" a cappella! Duetting with Duffy on "Bridge Over Troubled Water"!
SIMON: And Song of the Year goes to…
SIMON: Coldplay! Or Joe Satriani’s lawyers.
LEAH: They seriously look like Sgt. Pepper’s Fruit of the Loom.
SIMON: The Coldplay dudes seem really sincerely grateful. Gotta love those guys.
LEAH: And way to give a bandmember who is not Chris Martin the mic!
WHITNEY: Oh sure, Coldplay will apologize to McCartney for stealing the outfits…
SIMON: OOF, Kid Rock. It’s times like these that I wish DVR’s came with fast-forward options for live broadcasts.
LEAH: The Kid is doing his social-consciousness anthem, "Amen."
LEAH: Usually, he’s more about the WO-men.
SIMON: And Kid Rock’s version of "socially conscious" involves some nonsense about how he doesn’t like feeling "guilty for being white." Lovely.
SIMON: What a deep thinker he is!
SIMON: Hey, he’s doing that song that samples "Werewolves of London" and "Sweet Home Alabama." I like those songs! This one…I do not.
LEAH: BTW, that was a shout-out to Billy Powell, Lynyrd Skynrd’s keyboardist, who died last week.
WHITNEY: This is apropos of nothing except my lack of interest in Kid Rock: I am pissed the Grammys are sponsored by Pepsi this year. I can’t drink that crap!
SIMON: On my screen right now: Chris Brown’s Doublemint ad. That is unfortunate timing.
SIMON: Here comes Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus’ duet. An historic moment!!!
SIMON: (In my head, I heard The Soup’s "IT’S MILEY!" scream when the announcer said her name.)
SIMON: So I think Miley and Taylor are both very talented songwriters and cool pop-culture personalities…but neither of them is the world’s best live vocalist.
SIMON: You know who must be really loving this performance, is the Jonas Brothers. C’mon, camera crew, show us their blank expressions!
LEAH: Total. Though this is one of Taylor’s best songs, "Fifteen."
LEAH: All about—hey!—soul-less, cruel teenage boys.
SIMON: Yeah, I am not too proud to admit that I really like this and several other Taylor Swift-penned songs.
SIMON: Aww, Miley called Taylor "my best friend."
LEAH: It’s very VH1 Storytellers meets Tiger Beat.
LEAH: Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals goes to…
SIMON: Robert Plant and Alison Krauss!
LEAH: Sooooo Grammy bait, those two.
SIMON: Awesome song, but, uh, way to keep the awards relevant, Recording Academy!
LEAH: Look at all those luxurious blond locks! And Alison’s too!
SIMON: Question: Does Robert Plant know who he just hugged?
LEAH: White t-shirt and black leather jacket—Robert Plant is grease lightning.
WHITNEY: While Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift were setting up for their duet, production let the sound feed come through here to the press room for some reason. While they were in commercial, Miley said, "Taylor? Everything that we’ve ever stood for and that we wanted to do, we’re proving to them right now."
WHITNEY: Also, during rehearsals? The band was on the platform with the girls. Wonder who pulled strings to boot them off?
LEAH: Jennifer Hudson is sexy senorita in black sequins… the pretty paper napkin is gone.
SIMON: Anyone else tearing up a little at Jennifer Hudson’s "You Pulled Me Through"? Wow.
LEAH: Shivers. And she is feeling this one.
LEAH: Good lord that’s a large choir.
WHITNEY: Mary J Blige, you just got served.
LEAH: Sean Combs guest-starring on CSI: Miami? Will he solve the crime that is Aubrey O’Day?
SIMON: Ooh, Danity Kane BURN.
SIMON: Speaking of CSI: Miami, here is a person from that show with Jason Mraz for some reason!
LEAH: BTW, how insane is it that Led Zeppelin never won a Grammy, other than a Lifetime Achievement in 2005?
SIMON: Whoa, is that true? Absurd.
LEAH: I can explain some of these actors… It’s CBS touting their shows.
SIMON: Yeah, and so subtly!
LEAH: Stevie + JoBros = total cognitive dissonance!
JASON [live-blog editor] This is pretty Frampton-tastic.
SIMON: So HE’S that "Bonus Jonas" everyone’s always talking about!
LEAH: I love you, Simes.
LEAH: But seriously, in Stevie’s hands this song actually has FIRE.
SIMON: And he’s rocking a vocoder! T-Pain, take notes.
LEAH: V05 Hot Oil, take note of Joe’s hair.
LEAH: From "Burnin’ Up" to "Superstition," damn!
SIMON: This is cool, but when the Jonas kids start singing I just wanna hear Stevie again.
LEAH: This song is from 1972. The youngest Jonas was born in 1992. Food for thought.
LEAH: Blink-182, random!
SIMON: Whoa, they’re actually playing music together again? Or just talking about it? Oh well.
LEAH: Best Rock Album goes to…
SIMON: Look at Chris Martin gazing up at the stage admiringly. He is SUCH a Blink-182 fan.
LEAH: Chris Martin: "We’re not the heaviest of rock bands, more of a limestone kind of band."
SIMON: Running count of Coldplay band member jokes about Paul McCartney: 2
LEAH: The Brits are so good at charming self-deprecation though, aren’t they?
SIMON: They are!
WHITNEY: Al Green just told the press room he’s going to celebrate tonight by repenting, because he skipped church this morning.
SIMON: Craig Ferguson claims he used to be a drummer in a punk band. I do not believe this.
JASON: Yep, here’s a link to an article Ken Tucker did on him: "Ferguson really was in a punk band, but it was called the Bastards FromHell, and he performed in it, much of the time, dead drunk."
SIMON: He also claims he has a sex tape, which I wish I did not believe.
SIMON: I find Katy Perry’s voice when she sings live without Auto-Tune to be physically painful to listen to.
LEAH: Craig Ferguson don’t lie! Nor do Katy Perry’s hips!
LEAH: Though the singing is sadly shout-y. And it sort of looks like the IceCapades.
SIMON: Is she even singing anymore, or are those just yowls of pain?
LEAH: Kanye sequins!
SIMON: YES! He’s doing his awesome verse from Estelle’s "American Boy"!
SIMON: And there’s Estelle. Attention, Katy Perry: This is what a singer who can actually sing sounds like.
LEAH: No 808s and Heartbreak here. Just mullets.
LEAH: I totally called this one. By the way, she said on the red carpet that the jerk-y boy she wrote this song about now works at a cell phone store in London. And she is a Grammy winner. Justice!
WHITNEY: Back in the press room, I asked Sugarland which of their fellow nominees they’d like to collaborate with in the future. They said McCartney, but then Kristian Bush admitted the guy probably thinks they’re crazy as loons.
LEAH: Do the actual awards and their attendant speeches seem oddly rushed to anyone else? It’s like they’re pesky little side salads next to the real entree: performances.
SIMON: Morgan Freeman introduces someone who’s "a poet, a pirate, a dreamer"…
SIMON: …and it’s Kenny flippin’ Chesney?
LEAH: Yarrrr, it’s Kenny Chesney!
LEAH: He looks like Feivel in a ten-gallon hat.
LEAH: This is a pretty ballad, though. "Better as a Memory." Renee Zellweger is all, "what-what!"
LEAH: Herbie Hancock, Natalie Cole and Diddy announce Record of the Year.
LEAH: Not a single non-Brit up for it, other than one half of Page and Plant, FYI!
SIMON: I think M.I.A. might have just gone into labor when they said her name.
SIMON: And the winner is Robert Plant and Alison Krauss! Again.
LEAH: Sorry, I call MAJOR BS. This song is ten years old! From a ’98 Page and Plant album! Boo.
SIMON: It is a good song though! But yeah, not the hippest or most cutting-edge choice.
SIMON: Diddy is scowling. I think he was rooting for Coldplay.
LEAH: Nah, he’s just mad at Kanye’s hair.
SIMON: I hate McDonald’s, but I sorta love that they are advertising Happy Meals with Os Mutantes’ "A Minha Menina."
LEAH: Oh, you lightning fingers, you! Just beat me to it.
SIMON: No offense, but Dean Martin passed away 14 years ago! Why is he getting a lifetime achievement award now, exactly?
SIMON: Here come Jay-Z, Kanye, Lil Wayne, T.I., and M.I.A. to do "Swagger Like Us." That’s more like it.
LEAH: Latifah dubs Jay-Z, T.I., M.I.A. and co. the Rap Pack.
SIMON: And the broadcast is in black-and-white, just like for the old Rat Pack. Clever…?
SIMON: Lil Wayne wears those formal threads pretty well!
LEAH: Love how they’re all in tuxes and M.I.A. is wearing Minnie Mouse’s bathing costume.
LEAH: First Lil Wayne spotting of the night!
SIMON: That was pretty amazing. Chris Martin was loving it!
SIMON: Ooh, here comes Paul McCartney!
LEAH: Kate Beckinsale is a cute Beatle-bot!
LEAH: Grohl and McCartney have done Wings songs before in concert, but only in the UK I believe, but this is their first U.S. appearance together…
SIMON: It is a teensy bit skeevy when Macca sings about a girl who "was just 17, you know what I mean"…but whatever, this song rocks!
LEAH: He’s talking about Miley, yo.
LEAH: How happy is Dave Grohl up there?? Downright jolly.
SIMON: Paul McCartney might be the coolest old dude in the Staples Center tonight. (No offense, Robert Plant.)
WHITNEY: I’m gonna get reamed for this, but does Paul McCartney have any, like, NEW songs?
SIMON: Aw, come on, who complains about hearing a Beatles song! That is, like, the definition of musical Grinchdom.
LEAH: In fact, he does! A pretty great new album from last fall. But that is clearly not what the Grammys want to hear tonight.
SIMON: John Mayer beats Paul McCartney, Ne-Yo, and other worthies for Best Male Pop Vocal — and my cable temporarily shorts out in protest.
LEAH: "Say," John Mayer. Which I swear he slipped up and confessed to having already won on the red carpet. Popwatchers, back me up?
SIMON: True fact: LL Cool J is older than Paul McCartney.
LEAH: And balder!
SIMON: (Warning: The preceding "True Fact" is not, in fact, true.)
LEAH: Uh-oh, Mama said knock us out.
LEAH: Sugarland and Adele, an odd-pairing, but a vocally impressive one.
SIMON: I am so not a country person, but this song is helping me understand why people like Sugarland a little better.
LEAH: Torch ballad from mistress’s perspective, country is so good at wronged women!
LEAH: Glad Adele removed her chewing gum for this number. She seems nervous, but man, what a VOICE.
SIMON: And Adele reminds us why she took home that Best New Artist trophy.
LEAH: Also? Best eyeliner. Sorry, Bono.
LEAH: She also beats Winehouse hands-down at interpreting her songs live, don’t you think?
LEAH: Though honestly, that was a pretty tenuous connection, putting those two acts together. But I guess the name of this Grammy game is: COLLABORATE!
SIMON: She’ll never have Winehouse’s can’t-look-away charisma, but yeah, Adele is a pretty great performer.
WHITNEY: Adele health report: she had her shoes off on the carpet because she found them excruciating. Also, she ripped off one of her thumbnails on Friday. Finally, I believe she stole that brooch from my grandmother.
WHITNEY: Natalie Cole is in the press room, talking about needing a kidney transplant. If you haven’t registered as an organ donor, please do so now.
LEAH: Gwyneth introduces her own husband’s heroes, Radiohead!
SIMON: Gwyneth Paltrow is quoting Radiohead lyrics!
SIMON: Get a load of Thom Yorke’s haircut!
LEAH: Gwyneth as groupie, kind of adorbs actually.
LEAH: Thom Yorke, have you been taking hair tips from JoBros?
LEAH: Also, is that the USC Marching Band?
SIMON: Yes it is!
SIMON: So I would be beside myself with joy anyway, but the marching band really takes this song over the top.
LEAH: Simon, do you need CPR? DO NOT GO INTO THE LIGHT!
SIMON: The only way this could be cooler is if they segued from here into a cover of "Tusk."
LEAH: He is SO doing Jagger moves up there. Go Thom!
SIMON: And the whole USC marching band is wearing the t-shirts from Radiohead’s last tour. (I have one of those!)
LEAH: I have to say, what could have been gimmicky is actually great. I’m loving the tubas.
SIMON: Okay, non-Radiohead-superfans, tell me: Am I wrong to think that that performance blew everything else we’ve seen tonight out of the water?
LEAH: [Pause while Simon wafts back to earth]
WHITNEY: Going on record as saying this Radiohead number is the best Grammy performance of the ever.
SIMON: See guys, it’s not just me!
LEAH: I drank the Kool-Aid too, guys. It was delicious!
SIMON: Mmm, tasty brooding British Kool-Aid.
LEAH: JT and TI = true man love.
SIMON: And they’re doing a song from T.I.’s unjustly neglected album Paper Trail. Nice.
LEAH: T.I. is indeed the King. He sounds fierce.
SIMON: And Tip and Justin get a little marching band action of their own. Not quite as cool as Radiohead with USC, but still pretty sweet.
LEAH: Orchestra and bucket drums!
WHITNEY: Herbie Hancock is keeping the press room waiting while he texts his daughter. "Herbie Hancock texts?" said the lady in charge.
LEAH: Obama, two-time Grammy winner! NARAS head Neil Portnow, chatty Cathy!
SIMON: And Neil Portnow is still talking.
SIMON: You know what’s almost as awesome as music education and civic engagement, is REASONABLY LENGTHED AWARDS CEREMONIES.
LEAH: He sort of looks like Michael McDonald. Gimme some "What a Fool Believes," Neil!
LEAH: Smokey Robinson honors the Four Tops… and pays tribute to the late, great, Levi Stubbs.
SIMON: I love Ne-Yo.
LEAH: Ne-Yo and Jamie Foxx, stepping in for "Reach Out I’ll Be There"..
LEAH: They’re even doing the Four Tops moves! Arm sweep! Step out! Make it Fosse!
LEAH: Smokey looks a little eye-jobby, but how can you not love him?
SIMON: That crotch-sweep Jamie Foxx just pulled was NOT an original Four Tops move.
SIMON: All kidding aside, though, those guys did those immortal tunes proud.
LEAH: Three Tops and a Thrusting Middle.
WHITNEY: "Are we all Facebooking, or MySpaceing?" Katy Perry asked when she walked on stage in this press room full of bored journos. She’s funny. And freakishly tall. And she was "definitely, really nervous" while hanging in that banana.
SIMON: Here comes Josh Groban to make sure the broadcast doesn’t get TOO awesome.
LEAH: Awesome just got squared, fool, it’s NEIL DIAMOND!
LEAH: Is that mesh shirt, Neil? I’m mesmerized.
LEAH: Touching me, touching you, touching this audience for sure. They can’t get enough!
SIMON: I love Neil, but my friend just mentioned Will Ferrell’s SNL impression of him in the ’90s, and now all I can hear is "I wrote this song about the time I killed a vagrant…"
WHITNEY: "Are we all Facebooking, or MySpaceing?" Katy Perry asked when she walked on stage in this press room full of bored journos. She’s funny. And freakishly tall. And she was "definitely, really nervous" while hanging in that banana.
WHITNEY: Leah? Does Neil Diamond have any new songs?
LEAH: Yes! And also, in tribute to Mr. Ferrell, this could possibly use more cowbell.
LEAH: Why has Lil Wayne not come in for the mid-song breakdown yet? I thought this was a duets show!
SIMON: Jay-Z is clapping mad emphatically!
SIMON: Aw, time to remember those musicians we lost in ’08. No jokes for a couple minutes, y’all.
LEAH: We’ve got a live tribute to Bo Diddley, starring John Mayer, BB King, Keith Urban…
SIMON: Blues fans, stand up!
SIMON: (But not blues performers.)
LEAH: So am I wrong, or did Lil Wayne get totally shut out of all televised awards so far?
SIMON: Nah, we haven’t seen Weezy take home a statuette yet. The hour is growing late…
SIMON: And Allen Toussaint is joining Lil Wayne and Robin Thicke’s poignant post-Katrina song, "Tie My Hands."
SIMON: This is Weezy (Thoughtful Edition) — always a pleasure to see, much though we enjoy his other iterations.
LEAH: Definitely Grammy-palatable steez, and Allen Toussaint, N’Awlins hero on backup!
SIMON: I am in awe of Allen Toussaint’s boogie superpowers.
SIMON: Oh man, and here’s Terence Blanchard!
SIMON: That performance got a lot better after the jazz legends came out.
[Whitney's BlackBerry died, but she wanted the live blog to know via text that she congratulate Plant/Krauss on their win]
LEAH: FYI that’s Professor Longhair’s "Big Chief" boogie you’re hearing… sampled by Lily ALlen on her song "Knock ‘Em Out."
LEAH: And we are officially on overtime!
LEAH: Are will.i.am and T-Pain seriously going to hand out the biggest award of the night? What, no one left from Gary Unmarried?
LEAH: Sorry, it’s rap album! We’re more behind schedule than I thought!
SIMON: And Best Rap Album goes to…Joaquin Phoenix? J/k, of course it’s Lil Wayne.
LEAH: Oh Simon, you know Joaquin’s not eligible til next year. But seriously, was there a chance it would be anyone else?
LEAH: Did Weezy just have his family waiting in the wings? Cute!
SIMON: Tha Carter III isn’t Weezy’s best work, not by a long shot, but 2008 was his year.
LEAH: I can’t help but think this is the consolation prize, because voters knew it wouldn’t be happening for him in the top-three categories.
LEAH: Zooey Deschanel, actress #42 to introduce a band! But she is a little lavender button, isn’t she? Plant and Krauss, take it away!
SIMON: It’s a little late in the night for a "venerable elders" performance, but these two can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned.
LEAH: Agreed, kind of a momentum-killer this late in the game… But I like that Krauss has her own gentle-wind machine, which fails to rustle nary a curl on Plant.
SIMON: Medley! Maybe they’re gonna burst into a little Zep? "Whole Lotta Love," anybody?
SIMON: Okay, never mind.
LEAH: I would prefer them singing to each other a little more, they’re like two passengers on a commuter train at this point.
SIMON: Look at Robert Plant groove! I think he was trying to groove a little more vigorously, actually, but his creaky hips wouldn’t let him.
LEAH: Green Day, two-thirds blond!
LEAH: Rick Rubin, producer of the year shout-out. And now the Album of the Year…
SIMON: I like that Tre Cool pronounces "Rick Rubin" in a pseudo-French/something accent.
LEAH: Pepe le Pew!
SIMON: When they said the syllable "Rai-," I really hoped they were gonna end with "-diohead." Instead, it was "-sing Sand." Oh well.
LEAH: Why am I so unsurprised, and so underwhelmed? This was record was a whole lotta like, but love? Not so much.
SIMON: I really like it! But yeah, this is an anticlimax.
LEAH: Herbie Hancock last year, Plant and Krauss this year… maybe Michael McDonald has a chance next year after all.
SIMON: I guess we shouldn’t be surprised after Herbie "He had an album out this year??" Hancock won in ’08.
SIMON: At least Radiohead took Best Alternative Album.
LEAH: Stevie Wonder takes us out!
SIMON: I dunno, without the Jonas Brothers, I just can’t get behind this performance. (KIDDING!)
LEAH: EXCEPT NOT!
SIMON: And…we’re out. Good night, everyone!
LEAH: Sweet dreams, Grammy fans!