Grammy Awards 2011 Celebrate the Best of the Best

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, indeed! The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday night opened with an all-woman tribute to the Aretha Franklin, who is rumored to be battling cancer. Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Florence Welch (of Florence and the Machine), Yolanda Adams and Martina McBride did the Queen of Soul justice by belting out some of her most iconic hits. Aguilera, dressed in a shimmery black strapless gown paired with big blonde hair and red lips, sang “Ain’t No Way”—making up for her national anthem flub last Sunday.  

The next singer of the evening was Lady Gaga, who sang “Born this Way,” from her upcoming album. She was introduced by an oddly dressed Ricky Martin: He wore a jacket and tie on top and what appeared to be silver leather skinny jeans and combat boots. Surprisingly, his clothes were even weirder than Gaga’s (after she emerged from the giant egg in which she arrived on stage, of course).

Another standout performance of the night celebrated new talent. American Idol’s Ryan Seacrest introduced hip-hop and R&B stars Bruno Mars, B.o.B. and Janelle Monae as a “power trio of exciting young breakout stars with 14 nominations between them.” The threesome collaborated on “Notin’ On You.” Then half-Puerto Rican crooner Mars, who won Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for “Just the Way You Are,” gave a soulful rendition of his hit song “Grenade.” As a finale, Monae sang “Cold War” with B.oB. on the electric guitar and Mars on the drums.

Latinas represented throughout the show. Eva Longoria, dolled up in a short black and white dress and pulled back hair, introduced a video of Justin Bieber and Usher recorded in 2007, when the pair first met. And Selena Gomez, wearing a gorgeous gold gown, handed out the megaphone for Best Pop Vocal Album to Lady Gaga for The Fame Monster. Jennifer Lopez also appeared with hubby Marc Anthony by her side to present Record of the Year, which went to Lady Antebellum for “Need You Now.”

Best Latin Pop Album went to Alejandro Sanz for Paraiso Express and Best Latin Rock, Alternative or Urban Album was awarded to Grupo Fantasma for El Existential. While Best Tropical Latin Album was presented to Spanish Harlem Orchestra for Viva La Tradicíon.

The biggest upset of the night happened when jazz musician Esperanza Spalding beat out mainstream acts, like Drake and Justin Bieber, to win the Best New Artist Grammy. Viewers all over the country tweeted, “Who is she?” Even Spalding herself told us she thought it would be “wishful thinking” to even plan an acceptance speech!

Congrats to all. Go here for a full list of the winners.