Although she wasn't there, Amy Winehouse's presence was all over Sunday's Grammys.
The singer, who performed live from London during the broadcast, seemed utterly stunned when her name was read for Song of the Year. As her mother and father, with bandmates piling on, hugged the troubled artist, the entire city seemed to be cheering behind them.
There were awards, yes, but the performances is what rocked the house on CBS Sunday. And Winehouse's was at the top of the list:
Alicia Keys began the show singing with what Prince called a "150 year-old" Frank Sinatra. Carrie Underwood channeled her inner Shania Twain walking down stairs in her stilettos and short-shorts singing "Before He Cheats." Although not the biggest country fan, the American Idol champion blew off the doors of the Stapes Center with her voice.
Morris Day and the Time reunited for a quick moment only to serve as a springboard for Grammy-winner Rihanna. With Jimmy Jam accompanying the Time mastermind, "Jungle Love" set the tone for the 50th anniversary awards that the past will be connected with the current on this evening.
With what many believe is the song of the year, the performance of "Umbrella" proved a bit half-hearted considering she had to stick to the "Jungle Love" beat.
Whole Lotta Love
The Beatles were also in high presence at Sunday's Grammys. Besides winning one for producer George Martin and his son Giles for their work with the astounding Cirque du Soleil "Love," the Fab Four were feted for their astounding body of work with performances of "Day in the Life" by Cirque from their Vegas show and the vocal talents behind the Beatles-themed film Beyond the Universe who brought "Let it Be" to another level.
Kanye West and Daft Punk teamed up as did Fergie and John Legend with the latter proving skeptics wrong that the Black Eyed Peas singer can't sing live.
Then there was the earthquake of Tina Turner and Beyonce. Turner's solo performance proved that this woman cannot age. Then bringing Beyonce to the stage, their rendition of "Proud Mary" was a Grammy milestone.
The Foo Fighters, accompanied by Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones' 30-piece orchestra, proved to be this year's fodder for an amateur's "Grammy Moment." But this year it worked. Performing "The Pretender," the band proved why there are enjoying their greatest success over a decade after their founding in the wake of Kurt Cobain's death.
As explosive as Aretha Franklin and a bevy of Gospel greats bringing down the house was with their tribute to the musical genre that got this writer out of his seat dancing like a character from The Blues Brothers in church, Feist's take on "1, 2, 3, 4" was subtle and one of the show's gems.
Kid Rock and Keely Smith were charming in another tribute to the past meets present where Mr. Rock substituted for bandleader Louis Prima.
Then, Alicia Keys chucked Old Blue Eyes and showed why she is ready for the mantle of pop's next great voice after Whitney and Mariah. Her "No One" was emotionally charged leagues beyond any performance of the evening.
Herbie Hancock jammed with Gershwin then the cameras shot across the pond for the main event—Amy Winehouse.
Would she fall down? Isn't she supposed to be in rehab? Is she going to sing "Rehab?" Questions flew but the singer answered with a powerhouse performance that finished with a playful rendition of "Rehab" that at times had the singer appearing confused, but all the while, she kept her cool and belted out an instant classic.
The momentum of that performance was felt in the mob that surrounded her on that London stage when it was announced when won Record of the Year. Beehive and all, that was a moment almost more powerful because she was stuck in London because her parents were there to embrace her as she accepted her award knowing that their daughter is appreciated for her talents regardless of what the headlines say about her life.
Major category Grammys 2008 award winners:
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Points and Prizes Keyword: SINGLE worth 25 points good through 02/17/08.