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Top Five: Grammy Performances

Courtesy of MCT

The 2011 Grammys brought its regular dose of crazy fashion (Nicki Minaj’s leopard explosion, Rihanna’s weird toilet scrub dress), crazy upsets (Arcade Fire wins Album of the Year!) and just general crazy (check out Gaga’s alien pod). Interspersed in all that were some mighty fine performances by some of the industry’s finest around right now. Check out Intermission’s rankings below:

B.o.B./Bruno Mars/Janelle Monáe
Opening with a strings-only rendition of “Nothin’ On You,” Mars stole the show with a grin-inducing doo-wop version of “Grenade” that added a rock ‘n’ roll edge to his typically smooth croon. Janelle Monáe amped up the energy afterwards with a frenzied “Cold War.”

Cee Lo Green/Gwyneth Paltrow
Cee Lo and Gwyneth’s performance of “Forget You” (oh, censorship) was utterly delightful. The stage was an explosion of color, peppered with Muppets and topped off by Cee Lo’s wackadoodle costume — a chainmail headpiece and ridiculous, feathered bodysuit — paying homage to Elton John’s 1977 “Muppet Show” appearance.

Mumford & Sons/The Avett Brothers/Bob Dylan
The three acts were a fantastic tribute to folk music. Mumford & Sons took the stage first with an exhilarating, banjo-strumming take on their single, “The Cave.” Next up were The Avett Brothers with a rousing “Head Full of Doubt, Road Full of Promise.” Dylan strutted onstage to end the performance with a throaty “Maggie’s Farm,” backed by Mumford & Sons and The Avett Brothers.

Arcade Fire
Their first performance, “Month of May,” was bit chaotic between the epileptic lights and BMX bikers, but the Montreal rockers, fresh off their surprise Album of the Year win, toned down the sensory overload for the much stronger “Ready to Start” which closed out the night.

Lady Gaga
As per her usual fashion, Lady Gaga arrived at the Grammys in a bizarre alien egg contraption that made more sense when she hatched out of it during her performance of her new Madonna-esque single, “Born This Way.” Other than the pod, Gaga, clad in a demure (for her) mustard yellow ensemble and “I Dream of Jeannie” ponytail, kept things relatively low-key, focusing more on choreography than spectacle.