Suits, ties and banjos: The best performances of the 2013 Grammys

Ri-Ri rocking out. Photo from E! Online.

Ri-Ri and Bruno working it. As usual. Photo from E! Online.

This year’s Grammy Awards was nothing short of spectacular. Whereas 2012 was the year of Adele, this awards season was anybody’s game, featuring a more of an eclectic cast of artists. Between pop hits, diverse tributes and rip-roaring banjo playing goodness, there was hardly a dull moment all night (aside from LL Cool J’s awkward hosting diatribes). For the most part, each performance was spot on and a lot of deserving artists went home with golden statues. From The Lumineers to Carrie Underwood, it’s hard to narrow down the best of the best, but we know how important it is to glorify the artists worthy enough to make it all the way to these awards. Here’s a brief list in no particular order.

The Return of JT 

JT's bringing swagger back, one awards show at a time. Photo from ABC News.

JT’s bringing swagger back, one awards show at a time. Photo from ABC News.

Ladies and gentlemen, you are correct. Super mega-star Justin Timberlake is back. After taking a long leave of absence from the music world to concentrate on his “acting career,” (which isn’t terrible by any means, but Justin, we needed your sexy back) JT returned with an electrifying performance of his new songs “Suit and Tie” and “Pusher Love Girl.” He was even joined by hip-hop mogul Jay-Z. The much anticipated performance did not disappoint as Timberlake’s falsetto caused ladies all over the world to become weak in the knees.

Bob Marley Tribute: Sting, Bruno Mars, Rihanna, and the Marley Brothers.

One of the many tributes in last night’s show, the sensational nod to reggae pioneer Bob Marley was absolutely astonishing. Bruno Mars has become something of a Grammy golden boy recently, and deservedly so. He started off the tribute with his own reggae infused hit, “Locked Out of Heaven,” before being joined by Sting, Rihanna, Stephen Marley and Ziggy Marley for a fantastic rendition of “Could You Be Loved?” This performance was one of the most well-received of the night, not to mention one of the most fun as well.

Oh, and speaking of fun…

fun. “Carry On” 

fun. deserves an extra Grammy just for looking super cute while soaking wet. Photo from The New York Times.

Fun. deserves an extra Grammy just for looking super cute while soaking wet. Photo from The New York Times.

The band fun. (who took home Best New Artist and Song of the Year) joked about the irony of writing “We Are Young” despite being in the show business for over 12 years. However, no one could complain about technicalities as the song was nominated for several awards last night. Fun. was also responsible for one of the best performances last night, with their mid-tempo ballad “Carry On.” The band was so good they literally made it rain on stage. Literally.

The Black Keys, “Lonely Boy”

Critical darlings and Akron natives The Black Keys stunned the crowd with their killer performance of “Lonely Boy.” The song has been a commercial favorite (literally, listen to several commercials and you’ll hear it) as well as impressing some of the most famous names in music at the award ceremony. Their sweet rock sound caught the attention of many, proving exactly why they are so respected in the industry.

Mumford and Sons, “I Will Wait” 

The Mumford boys had us rocking out with TSwift last night. Photo from The Los Angeles Times.

The Mumford boys had us rocking out with TSwift last night. Photo from The Los Angeles Times.

Not just any band gets introduced by Johnny Depp, but Mumford and Sons isn’t just any band. They took home top honors last night (“Album of the Year,” what up) as well as several other accolades. The London-based group impressed with their hit single, “I Will Wait,” and no one enjoyed the performance more than Taylor Swift. Seriously. Their banjo-heavy folk mixed with rip-roaring rock sound creates a signature style that makes Mumford and Sons one of the most respected bands in the industry. It’s no wonder “Babel” was one of the best-selling albums of the year, completely deserving of its winning status.

Well, there you have it folks. Many other great performers took the stage during last night’s broadcast, but these are a few that you have to YouTube ASAP. You won’t be disappointed.

What was your favorite Grammy performance? Were you jamming along with Taylor? Leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts, or tweet us @SpeakeasyMag!

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