It's something of a culture shock to be sitting in a basement apartment on a cold and rainy Seattle evening after having spent the previous night in Los Angeles in the same room (well, arena) as Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen. Part of me wants to curl up in bed and wallow in my post-vacation depression, but I'd be a remiss journalist if I didn't share my observations from attending last night's 54th Grammy Awards at the Staples Center. It was a strange weekend to be in Los Angeles--I'm referring, of course, to the glitz of the Grammys being somewhat overshadowed by the sad drama of Whitney Houston's death on Saturday night. That unexpected event definitely cast a pall over the ceremonies, but this being L.A. and the entertainment business, the party still went on. In the style of our 2011 Coachella blog post, here are the 50 greatest things you missed at the Grammys this year (from the pre-telecast and the official telecast, both of which I attended):
1. Skrillex thanking the EDM community, Justice, and Daft Punk after winning Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical for "Cinema."
2. Skrillex, still rocking the half-shaved head, otherwise known as "The Skrillex."
3. A tiny hobbit-like figure, upon closer examination revealed to be Sum 41's Derek Whibley, wandering through the aisles.
4. Chick Corea air piano-ing while presenting the Grammys in the Christian categories.
5. Chick Corea air stand-up-bass-ing while presenting Best Tropical Latin Album to Cachao.
7. Member of OK Go saying, "I can't believe I'm going to say this... but I accept this award for Betty White," after White wins Best Spoken Word Album but sadly does not show up.
8. Matt Stone, after "The Book of Mormon" wins Best Musical Theatre Album: "Mormons are having a great year! They've got a Grammy now too!"
9. Skrillex to Deadmau5: "You should've worn a tux. Get with it."
10. Tony Bennett receiving a standing ovation after winning his sixteenth Grammy, Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Duets II.
11. Jimmy Jam flubbing the title of Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Fantasy after it wins Best Rap Album. (West is a no-show).
12. Corinne Bailey Rae in a beautiful black floaty-hemmed Christian Siriano dress, winning Best R&B Performance for her cover of Bob Marley's "Is This Love."
13. Tony Bennett bringing Amy Winehouse's parents, Mitch and Janis, on stage after Bennett and Winehouse's duet, "Body and Soul," wins Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.
14. Mitch Winehouse: "We shouldn't be here; our darling daughter Amy should be."
15. Mitch Winehouse: "Long live Whitney Houston. Long live Amy Winehouse. Long live Etta James. What can I say, there's a beautiful girl group up in heaven."
16. Taylor Swift hiding in the back watching Steve Earle's performance of "This City."
17. Taylor Swift high-fiving her entourage after winning Best Country Solo Performance for "Mean."
18. The Civil Wars' John Paul White, after winning Best Country Duo/Group Performance for "Barton Hollow": "I just lost a bet. I bet a man a bottle of whiskey this wouldn't happen."
19. Hostess MC Lyte presenting the Grammy for Best Alternative Album to "Born I-Vuhr."
20. Bon Iver's Justin Vernon concluding his acceptance speech by shouting "Jagjaguwar!" into the mic.
21. Attendants at the entrance to the Staples Center handing out pink, blue, and green bracelets with the words MYLO XYLOTO stamped onto them. The bracelets later in the evening lit up spontaneously during Coldplay's performance of "Paradise," turning the arena into a glittering map of neon colors.
22. Diplo and A-Trak jumping to the front of a long line to get California Pizza Kitchen pizzas before the ceremony.
23. Ellie Goulding and Robyn, two tiny blondes, signing autographs.
24. Robyn and Skrillex (also tiny) ordering popcorn together at CPK.
25. Sia tromping through the crowd in leopard print booties.
26. Ex-Seattleite/songwriter for Britney Spears, Katy Perry, and Kelly Clarkson Bonnie McKee wearing some towering Gaga-esque gold heel-less platforms.
27. Bruce Springsteen looking more and more like Neil Diamond the older he gets.
28. Grammy host LL Cool J using the phrase "Sir OG Paul McCartney."
29. Alicia Keys' butter-smooth voice pairing surprisingly well with Bonnie Raitt during their short duet of Etta James' "Sunday Kind of Love."
30. The night's big winner Adele sporting fabulously glam makeover, with pink lips, blonde waves, and diamond earrings.
32. Kelly Clarkson, sounding amazing and looking lovely in a flowing navy halter dress during her performance with Jason Aldean--about a hundred times better than she looked squeezed in a way too tight dress on SNL recently.
33. Dave Grohl bringing Butch Vig on stage after Foo Fighters win Best Rock Performance for "Walk" and shouting "long live rock and roll!" before walking off stage.
34. Mark Foster of Foster the People in a cute striped shirt and jacket but looking terrified to be on stage performing "Wouldn't It Be Nice" as part of the Beach Boys tribute. (But also still receiving a standing ovation from Chris Martin).
35. The original Beach Boys, in their first performance since reuniting, looking ancient but sounding perfect playing "Good Vibrations."
36. Mike Love in a baseball cap making sexy faces at the camera throughout "Good Vibrations."
37. Stevie Wonder introducing Paul McCartney by playing "Love Me Do" on the harmonica.
38. Taylor Swift singing right in key despite her bad reputation for live performances (see her 2010 Grammy duet with Stevie Nicks).
39. Adele chomping on chewing gum while accepting the Grammy for Song of the Year with producer Paul Epworth.
40. New divorcee Katy Perry in a crimped blue bob and skintight metallic bodysuit performing a brand-new song, "Part of Me," which includes lyrics like "You ripped me off/Your love was cheap" and "You can keep the diamond ring."
42. Bon Iver's Justin Vernon thanking Grammy Academy voters after winning Best New Artist: "Sweet hook up."
43. Jennifer Hudson performing a tasteful, subdued, but still goosebump-inducing performance of "I Will Always Love You" in tribute to Whitney Houston.
44. Deadmau5's mouse head making LED winky faces.
45. Nicki Minaj rapping, singing, levitating, and offending Catholics the world over.
46. Weird Al walking around with his Mini-Me (son?), who also has long scraggly hair.
47. A large-breasted woman getting her photo taken with Ron Jeremy, who is just as greasy and gross-looking IRL.
48. Best dressed man of the night? Paul McCartney, in a baby blue shirt with a Peter Pan collar and suspenders, looking and sounding like a fresh-faced teenager.
49. A guy selling "Whitney Houston: We Will Always Love You" t-shirts outside the Staples Center.
50. Glen Campbell, still in chic blazer, dining post-ceremony at LA Market, and according to a member of my party, having trouble getting water to come out of the automatic sinks in the restroom, giving up on washing his hands and stating, "At least we didn't piss all over ourselves."