Grammy performances: Radiohead has rhythm, new Rat Pack 'swaggas'

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There were no awards given out for the performances during the show, so we thought we would handle that.

Here goes:

Best of Show: Who else? Radiohead, with a surprising assist from the former rhythm section for Fleetwood Mac -- the University of Southern California marching band. Thom Yorke, looking more like a rock star than he ever has, took the stage after a reverent introduction by Chris Martin's wife, Gwyneth Paltrow, and showed Coldplay and everyone else how it was done with a stunningly rhythmic and beautiful "15 Step."

Second Best of Show: The exquisitely tuxedoed, modern Rat Pack of Kanye West, Jay-Z, T.I. and Lil Wayne bursting from black and white into color on "Swagga Like This." Even more bursting was their female cohort, M.I.A., who looked she was going to drop the first Grammy newborn on the stage.

Best Last-Minute Fill-In: Al Green and Justin Timberlake picked up the slack for the indisposed Chris Brown and Rihanna with a falsetto duel on "Let's Stay Together." It was all a bit chaotic, but Green is still the best singer Timberlake has ever stood next to.

Best Aerobic Workout by a White Guy: Chris Martin jumping up from his piano duet with Jay-Z to lead Coldplay through its anthemic "Viva La Vida."

Best Performance by a Beatle: Paul McCartney with drummer Dave Grohl on "I Saw Her Standing There," but I was hoping they'd do "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

Best Use of a Dylan Song: U2's "Get On Your Boots," a new single that borrows that rap cadence from "Subterranean Homesick Blues" and tosses it into a sunny psych-rock garage tune.

Best Country Song that Wasn't Country: Carrie Underwood screaming her way through the cacophonous "Last Name," a song that, yeah, her mom might be a little ashamed of.

Best Use of Fake Fruit: Keeping Katy Perry from bouncing out of her dress during "I Kissed a Girl," a high energy and breathless vocal performance that surely had my mom and her friends saying, "They don't make 'em like Streisand anymore."

Second Best Use of Horns: Lil Wayne joint that morphed into a brassy New Orleans tribute.

Most Unlikely Pair to Unplug: Youngsters Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus (with the runaway pitch) crooning "15."

Most Airy Performance: Kenny Chesney in a performance so understated it was barely there.

Most Outrageous Collaboration: The Jonas Brothers with Stevie Wonder. Why? Seriously, why? I don't mind the Jonas Brothers -- I even like them -- but they have no business anywhere near Stevie Wonder and should not have been jumping around him shouting "C'mon, Stevie! C'mon Stevie!" Stevie knows very well by now when to 'C'mon!"

-- Scott Mervis,

Scott Mervis can be reached at or 412-263-2576.


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