The 10 Least Boring Moments From The 2012 Grammys

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The 10 Least Boring Moments From The 2012 Grammys

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Barely 24 hours before this year's Grammy Awards ceremony began, Whitney Houston, a woman who'd once seemed like a cyborg engineered to win as many Grammys as possible, was found dead in a Los Angeles hotel room. Houston was exactly the sort of artist who the Grammys are built to honor -- enormously talented, ridiculously popular, showy in a way ...

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Jennifer Hudson's Whitney Houston tribute. The show should've done more to honor her, and Hudson isn't a performer on the level that Houston was. (Our friend Rich Juzwiak called her tribute "a crayon paying tribute to a rainbow." But none of these things are Hudson's fault, and she gave it everything she had, bringing a gospelly howl and a ton of emotional gravitas. Plus, at least they did something.
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That Chipotle ad. A canny bit of planning from the evil geniuses at Chipotle: Following up Coldplay's endless, uninspired Rihanna collab with a weirdly moving computer-animated ad set to Willie Nelson's simple, plainspoken rendition of "The Scientist," one of Coldplay's best songs. So: A goddam burrito place managed to work up a Grammy moment better than almost anything the Grammys provided.
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The Glen Campbell tribute. The pop-country all-star, now in the midst of retiring from music and dealing with his Alzheimer's, effectively ended his career with a sharp, swaggering "Rhinestone Cowboy." Rather than the gloopily emotive segment it could've been, this was a final moment of professional badassery, which means it was way more inspired.
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Nicki Minaj's insane performance. The song itself was a godawful mess, but the drama-class absurdity of her performance reached the giddy theatrical heights of that time Bone Thugs did "Crossroads" at the VMAs. Nice to know that somebody was up there having fun and doing what she felt like doing.
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The Deadmau5/Foo Fighters pile-up. The Foos performed something like 42 times last night and generally remained on-camera just about forever. But their best moment came after Dave Grohl's long-live-the-rock acceptance speech, when they let this blinky-eyed goon throw bass-drops all over "Rope." And, I mean, Deadmau5, wow. For sheer giddy televised ridiculousness, only Nicki Minaj came close last night.
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Bon Iver's itchy, prickly acceptance speech. Justin Vernon had said that he wouldn't perform, and he made good on that promise. But his shuffling, uncomfortable acceptance speech, in which he expressed something resembling genuine gratitude while calling the entire enterprise into question, was a minute or so of riveting TV. Also, great Kathleen Edwards reaction shots.
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The brief euphoric feeling that Chris Brown might fall and break his face. Make no mistake: It was a terrible idea for the show to invite this guy back, especially for multiple performances, three years after he spent the night before the show beating the living hell out of Rihanna. Grammys exec producer Ken Ehrlich made things way, way worse in an interview by saying that the Grammys "were kind of the victim of what happened." Brown spent his first performance dancing frenetically on a staircase-mountain thing covered in laser-light projections, and it seemed for a minute like there might be some karmic retribution involving a disfiguring fall. But no, he stuck every landing, alas.
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Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift sitting next to each other in the audience. Adorable!
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The compromised return of the Beach Boys. So they had to share a stage with Maroon 5 and Foster The People, and Brian Wilson looked gently terrified, but this was still one of rock history's greatest bands, performing together for the first time in forever and sounding pretty good on arguably their greatest song. That's worth something.

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