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Best Tribute: In a moment reminiscent of a vintage VH1 Divas performance, Christina Aguilera, Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine, Yolanda Adams, Martina McBride and Jennifer Hudson open the show with a medley tribute to Aretha Franklin. The group takes on "(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman" and "Ain't No Way," before honoring Franklin with separate songs. While all the ladies do the Queen of Soul justice, it's Hudson's rendition of "Respect" that stands out for its sheer brashness. Somewhere, Celine Dion and Mariah Carey sit at home gnashing their teeth because they missed out.
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Best Afterbirth: After an introduction by Ricky Martin, equal-rights advocate Lady Gaga emerges from an egg to perform her self-acceptance anthem "Born This Way." Although we are spared any umbilical-cord imagery, semi-nude dancers encircle Gaga, who appears to be sporting pointed shoulder implants. What, no placenta?
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Biggest Statement: Muse indulges militant themes for its performance of "Uprising," which was highlighted by simulated riots and guerrilla fighters taking down the man by destroying banks and burning British pounds.
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Oddest Grouping: Nothing against collaborations, but B.o.B.'s sweet rendition of "Nothin' on You" and Bruno Mars' Motown take on "Grenade" pale in comparison to Janelle Monae, who then takes the stage to sing "Cold War" with energy, vocal prowess and one sweet pompadour.
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Weirdest Accompaniment: After Usher introduces his 16-year-old protégé Justin Bieber, he's joined on stage by drumming ninjas and a rap interlude by celeb offspring Jaden Smith, which would be weird if Bieber wasn't singing a medley that includes "Never Say Never," his theme for The Karate Kid. But where's hair-whipping Willow?
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Best Diva-to-Diva Shout Out: In her acceptance speech for Best Pop Vocal Album (take that, Bieber!), Lady Gaga thanks Whitney Houston, the artist whom Gaga imagined singing her song "Born This Way" when she wrote it. Talk about your greatest love of all.
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Worst Fumble: Following Christina Aguilera's shaky performance at the Super Bowl, where she sang the wrong lyrics to the national anthem, the 30-year-old songstress really needed a win. She nails her performance in the Aretha Franklin tribute, but as she left the stage, she takes a literal tumble.
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Most Sensational, Inspirational, Celebrational: For a song with so many expletives, Cee Lo Green makes the interesting artistic choice to have a group of Jim Henson-like puppets (with foam breasts!) accompany him for his clean performance of "Forget You." Gwyneth Paltrow, who sang the number on Glee, is also there. It's already a crowded stage, but nothing overshadows Green's fantastical attire, which is an almost-exact copy of the outfit Elton John wore to sing "Crocodile Rock" on The Muppet Show in 1977.
9 of 14 Cliff Lipson/Landov/CBS
Best Captive Audience: Katy Perry shares home movies of her wedding to Russell Brand while she sings a rather uninspired version of "Not Like the Movies," but when she switches it up for her infectious hit "Teenage Dream," everyone joins in, including Nicole Kidman, who was caught singing along. Utterly adorable. Who needs Darren Criss?
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Best Impromptu Performance: Norah Jones, Keith Urban and John Mayer sing a heartfelt cover of "Jolene" to honor Dolly Parton, a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. No puppets or dancing ninjas necessary.
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Worst Bleeping Performance: Although Eminem turns out a fiery performance with special guests Rihanna, Skylar Grey and Dr. Dre, CBS can't keep up with his foulmouthed vocal acrobatics, muting long stretches of his rapping in hopes of catching all his profanity. It left a bad taste in our mouth. Brisk iced tea, anyone?
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Best Upset: Who the heck is Esperanza Spalding? Of the five nominees for best new artist, she's definitely the underdog. So it comes as a huge surprise when she's announced as the winner. Sorry, Justin Bieber, your dream of taking over the world was just thwarted by an unknown.
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Most Vajazzled: Rihanna returned to the stage with Drake for their Grammy-winning "What's My Name?" Honestly, after getting a look at Rihanna's sparkly crotch appliqués, we forgot our own names.
14 of 14 Lucy Nicholson/Reuters/Landov
Most Nausea-Inducing Act: Between the blinding strobe lights and BMX bikers with helmet-mounted cameras criss-crossing the stage, Arcade Fire's first-ever performance at the Grammys makes us sick. What didn't: their win for Album of the Year -- beating out crowd favorites Eminem, Katy Perry and Ladies Gaga and Antebellum.