Surprise winners and losers aren't the only things that keep the Grammy Awards show pumping. With 20,000 music lovers jammed into the behemoth Staples Center — and millions more watching at home — the Recording Academy's biggest night is one rollicking party featuring some of the world's best house bands. Here's what was seen and overheard from inside and outside Sunday's 52nd annual show.
Just another awards-show night in Los Angeles: Dozens of limos of all varieties — traditional stretches, SUVs, even one with an unoccupied hot tub in the back — line up outside the Staples Center shortly before the show begins. Russell Brand, the bawdy British actor-comedian, leans out of the back of his black Escalade while nibbling an apple to taunt a small group of religious protesters gathered on the sidewalk. "Get down on your knees and pray to God," one of them tells him, but he doesn't comply.
You can't see the show without a scorecard — and a pair of glasses. As they clear security, people entering the Staples Center are handed an official program and a pair of filmsy 3D glasses, the kind you can pick up at your local Target store. The glasses are needed for the Michael Jackson tribute featuring Usher.
Just before showtime, the fashionably late are noshing on nachos and $7.75 cups of draft beer. Those who have already taken their seats in front of a stage bathed in teal blue light are listening to tunes from Celine Dion, Justin Timberlake and Green Day.
Despite a calm female announcer's voice telling the crowd, "Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats, the show will begin in 12 minutes" most of the crowd continues its noshing and hobnobbing. Still, the show gets off right on schedule, with a dynamic opening performance by Lady Gaga.