So yeah, Adele won everything, except for the stuff the Foo Fighters were nominated for. She was obviously the big winner of last night’s Grammys, with anyone who dared step in her path coming up the big loser, but there were plenty of other winners and losers to go around. Lyrical slips, bold fashion statements, special guest performers (and athletes!), “sweet hookup”s—the award-show action was non-stop. In case you were too busy congratulating yourself on being the only one in your Hawaiian office pool not to pick Bruno Mars for song of the year, here is our comprehensive list of the people who came up big, came up small, or didn’t come up at all at the 54th Grammy Awards.
BEST ATTEMPT AT SMOOTHING OVER A PRE-GRAMMY TANTRUM: BON IVER
Justin Vernon was not shy about his opposition to performing with other artists during the live telecast, but his modest and fumbling acceptance speech made the Best New Artist winner look like just another guy in the woods who had to borrow a suit from his dad, rather than an ungrateful child who doesn’t want to share his toys.
BEST SEATS IN THE HOUSE: MARIO MANNINGHAM AND VICTOR CRUZ
Music fans who switched over to the Super Bowl for Madonna’s halftime show and Madonna’s halftime show only may not have noticed the smiling duo seated directly behind big winner Adele. Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham, of the newly crowned Super Bowl champion New York Giants, landed two second row seats at the Staples Center, and the honor of presenting the Best Rock Performance award, because salsa dancing is the only way to prepare an audience for a Dave Grohl acceptance speech.
BEST UNEXPECTED THICK ACCENT: DAVID GUETTA
Yes, we know he’s French and all, but we figured he’d spent so much time sucking up to American celebrities that his accent would have all but disappeared by now. Anyway, watching him try to explain the appeal of “Without You” on the red carpet (“The feel of a ballad…and at the same time it’s dance music”) was way more entertaining then watching him pretend to knob-twiddle with Chris Brown and Lil Wayne during the main event.
WORST GRAMMY-WINNER QUALIFICATIONS: FERGIE
Seriously, we’re actually giving Ferg a pair of statues for her negligible two-line contribution to “All of the Lights”? She didn’t even make it into the video! Hey, you can hear us sneezing during the second verse, can we get one too?
BEST 99%ER COMMENT OF THE NIGHT: BRUNO MARS
“GET OFF YOUR RICH ASSES AND HAVE SOME FUN!” Importantly, Bruno earned the comment with the night’s best hustle performance—we haven’t seen splits like that on stage since the golden age of Beck.
BEST “I’M A FUCKING STAR” MOVE: MIKE LOVE
As if a tribute in the band’s honor wasn’t enough, the Beach Boys’ frontman took the stage to perform “Good Vibrations” wearing a self-referential baseball cap that read “The Beach Boys.” Because he can. Adam Levine may think he has moves like Jagger, but does he have headware like Love’s?
BEST NO-SHOWS OF THE NIGHT: JAY-Z AND KANYE WEST
Jay and Kanye have apparently discovered that the only thing cooler than coming late is just not coming at all—which is hard to argue with, especially when it results in Marc Anthony having to awkwardly accept the result on your behalf. Why even bother showing up to this fake shit?
BEST NO-SHOW OF THE NIGHT (WHO WAS TECHNICALLY STILL IN ATTENDANCE): LADY GAGA
Could you sense that the Grammys needed a break from Gaga? Despite her “C’mon, ask me about the cane! Or how about the net thing on my face? Pleeeeeeease??” getup, we heard from Stefani not once throughout the evening’s proceedings, with Nicki Minaj happy to occupy the Country’s Weirdest Pop Star position on and off the stage for the night. We’re not complaining, and we doubt you are either.
BEST ACHIEVEMENTS IN TROLLING: DEADMAU5
Putting the phone number of the most loved/hated/gawked-at man in dubstep on your shirt like a bet between bros? Popping up during a Dave Grohl performance, something he probably has actual nightmares about? You mad?
BEST RESULTS OF WHAT MUST HAVE BEEN A MASTER CLASS WITH MADONNA, YEEZY AND ANGELA LANSBURY: NICKI MINAJ
Most anticipated album of 2012? It is now.
WORST ROCK REPRESENTATIVES: JACK BLACK AND DAVE GROHL
We support the place of rock in popular music as much as anyone here at Popdust, but listening to these two nincompoops rattle on about TEH RAWK all night has us getting all Regina George about it: “STOP TRYING TO MAKE ‘ROCK’ HAPPEN, GUYS! IT’S NEVER GONNA HAPPEN!!”
WORST “KING OF ROCK” REPRESENTATIVE: CHRIS BROWN
For his part of the David Guetta/Deadmau5 electroniganza, Brown dressed up in glasses, hat, chain and leather jacket a la Run-D.M.C. There is no interpretation of events in which this was a logical fashion choice.
BEST ODDS OF A POST-GRAMMYS SALES BUMP: THE CIVIL WARS
Pleasant folkies (see: last year’s Mumford and Sons) performing with someone beloved (OK, Bob Dylan has an entire career over Taylor Swift, but same idea)? The other wildcard was deadmau5 until whatever that medley was.
BEST FUTURE COMIC-CON COSTUME: KATY PERRY
It’s as much “cool futuristic cultural stuff” as comics, and by then, “Part of Me” will undoubtedly be played into cultural ubiquity so people will recognize you. We recommend not including the broken glass, though. Floor hazard.
BEST LAST-MINUTE ADDITION: JENNIFER HUDSON
With just about 24-hours notice, J-Hud bravely accepted the gigantic task of paying tribute to the late Whitney Houston by performing her indelible classic “I Will Always Love You.” With the room still reeling from Saturday’s news, Hudson’s openly emotional take further emphasized Houston’s unforgettable legacy.
BEST SELF-PRESERVATIONAL MOVE: DUDE FROM LADY ANTEBELLUM
Hugging Taylor Swift in apology after beating her for Best Country Album: Smart move. You don’t want to make The List, trust us.
BEST PRESENTER: STEVIE WONDER
Acknowledging the industry’s giant loss, Wonder said hello “to Whitney up in heaven” before whipping out a harmonica for impromptu Beatles chords of “Love Me Do” and a few lyrics to “Yesterday,” during his introduction of Sir Paul McCartney. Forget cheesy banter—or even hosts for that matter. Stevie and a harmonica are the only things we want to see in between acceptance speeches, except for performances by the man himself, of course.
BEST OLD GUY: PAUL MCCARTNEY
He closed the show with the second half medley from side two of Abbey Road, making AARP-eligible prog rockers everywhere weep with envy, and nearly stole the show with new number “My Valentine.” In a night that skewed surprisingly old—Glenn Campbell, the Beach Boys, Tony Bennett—Macca was the one who really proved he was still worthy of sharing the stage with the young’ns.
WORST LYRICAL MISQUOTE: LL COOL J
“The love you get is equal to the love you make”? If only there was a word instead of “get” that rhymed with “make,” huh Sir Paul?
BEST OVERALL: ADELE
We missed your voice, but we missed your personality almost as much.