Hitting the Grammys' high — and low — notes

8:00 And they're off! Alicia Keys is beautiful, talented, and singing with a dead guy — partnered with Frank Sinatra la Natalie Cole/Nat King Cole style. It's not bad ... but it ain't good, either.

8:03 Wow, at least Alicia's emerald dress is better than that Super Bowl mess she had on. Wonder how many other aging or dead celebs they'll trot out by the end of the show.

8:05 Oh, look, they're continuing the Sinatra tribute. How else do you explain Carrie Underwood's outfit and boots — she stole Nancy's "These Boots Are Made for Walking" boots, right? Right??

8:06 Seriously, shorts are over, aren't they? Why, Carrie, why? This is why people won't let country go completely mainstream — the costumes.

8:09 Prince!!!! He's so smooth — literally, smooth. Does that man moisturize or what?

8:10 It's Christmas onstage! A red-clad Prince and greened-out Alicia Keys make me long for a candy cane. She thanks God and her mother, plus every breathing person on Earth, before moving on to the universe.

8:17 What the hell is The Time doing there? How long has it been, 15 years? Don't get me wrong, I still like to say "You don't have to go home but you can't stay here," as much as the next person, but let's just say some of us (ahem, Morris Day) aren't aging as well as Prince....

8:18 Oh, Rihanna, how did you get mixed up in this mess? And why did you wrestle an ostrich and lose?

8:24 Noooo Cirque du Soleil! Is that really what we want in a Beatles tribute?

8:25 Somewhere out in the audience, you know Chris Brown is plotting how to outdance/-fly/-swing the trapeze lady in red.

8:35 Best new artist announced by odd couple Miley Cyrus and Cyndi Lauper. The "Cy"s must be what make them compatible. I only know three of the new artists nominated. Winehouse wins! I'm a little surprised.

8:48 Yesssss. Daft Punk robots! It's their first TV appearance, like, ever! Plus DayGlo violins!

8:50 Oh, lump in the throat. Kanye's mama tribute. Touching. Sad. After his over-the-top performance, this simple staging is just as amazing.

8:52 Fergie ... and John Legend? She looks classy. Sounds great. But I'm bored of the song already. I guess I like my Fergie tarted up and belting pop.

9:03 Cher!! What are you wearing, dear? You're introducing someone who's been a hero to you since YOU were 16? How old are they??

9:07 Tina Turner, prisoner of love ... or those spandex silver pants?

9:12 Attention Nelly Fertado: Blondes don't have more fun. Dye your hair back.

9:32 George Lopez? He cracks a race joke. Imagine that. Hmmm. Brad Paisley wins something. I fast forward. Sorry. My country dosage only comes in Cash, Parton, Lynn, and Yoakum.

9:43 Aretha Franklin, you are truly a wonder. I heart you, but man am I concerned about your health ... and the jacket on the man next to you. It looks like a Rorschach test on a dinner jacket.

9:45 Trombone duel!

9:47 I have no idea what's happening. But please let it end soon.

10:00 Kid Rock is still invited to these things?

10:15 Grammy darling John Mayer shows up to jam out with Keys. I think if they mated, they'd actually breed tiny gramophone-shaped statuettes.

11:01 Dead-musician montage: Don Ho, Porter Wagoner, Dan Fogelberg ... some guy that worked on Ernie's "Rubber Duckie" song ... Ike Turner (cameraman practiced restraint and didn't pan to Tina), Pavarotti.

11:15 Jerry Lee Lewis? I thought for sure you were dead. As an Elvis fan, I'm comforted he can't be trotted out for these things.

11:17 ... a thought further confirmed by the appearance of a freaky Little Richard.

11:27 Thanks, Will.i.Am, for the worst Grammy-inspired rap ever. That's not going to help the sales of your already bombing new album.

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