For better or worse -- mostly, worse -- Grammy producer Ken Ehrlich went out of his way to make sure the Grammy performances were unlike anything we've seen from these artists on all those other shows.
Sorry to be negative, but ...
Best glimpse of dystopia: Lady Gaga and Elton John looked like they were on the way to a Jetsons convention when the apocalypse struck. The music was far more tame, a polite piano face-off of "Speechless" and "Your Song," after a touch of "Poker Face."
Dizziest performer: Pink, a vision in white, was on the way to putting us to sleep early until she turned into a nearly nude member of Cirque, singing, spinning and taking a bath all at once.
Band most likely to star in a remake of the "Sgt. Pepper" movie: The Black Eyed Peas want to be so 3008, with their robots dancers, but those black uniforms also screamed Beatles fetish.
Best posse: Forget the likes of Jay-Z and Kanye. The R&B diva marched down the aisle with the riot squad from the G-20 summit for militant renditions of "If I Were a Boy" and Alanis Morrissette's "You Oughtta Know."
Biggest trainwreck: Jamie Foxx's joint with T-Pain and Doug E. Fresh wasn't chaotic enough, so it needed Slash to lay a screaming guitar on top.
Best bleepin' rap medley: The Eminem/Lil Wayne/Drake/Travis Barker mash-up that kept tripping the censors. Or was that my TV?
Best display of red, white and blue charm: The Zac Brown opening with an a cappella version of "America the Beautiful" before moving on to some serious pickin' and grinnin', with Leon Russell as Father Time mixed in the middle.
Worst audition for Fleetwood Mac: Taylor Swift cracking on the high notes of "Rhiannon" in a duet with Stevie Nicks. Worse yet, Mac diva had to hang around for a duet on "You Belong With Me," even though it was clear she didn't.
Best display of democracy: The ageless Bon Jovi doing, by popular vote, "Livin' on a Prayer," a song that may not have thrilled people but certainly didn't offend them.
Best health update: Soul man Charlie Wilson working "I beat prostate cancer! ... and I'm up for two Grammys!" into his pre-telecast jam.
Most impressive note: Andrea Bocelli outgunning Art Garfunkel on "Bridge Over Troubled Water," with Mary J. Blige as Simon.
Best Joe Cocker impersonation: Dave Matthews elbow-dancing while singing "just you and me baby" with about a thousand musicians behind him.
Schlockiest moment by a formerly credible punk band: Fans of "Dookie" might have hurled watching the once-great Green Day turn an already bland anthem, "21 Guns," into Broadway pap with the cast of the musical. Couldn't they have just done "Longview"?
Best tribute to Michael Jackson: The fact that, with Smokey Robinson, Usher, Celine Dion, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson on stage for the 3-D "Earth Song," the best voice by far was Michael's.
Scott Mervis: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-2576. First Published February 1, 2010 5:15 AM