Also: Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Coldplay, Taylor Swift, The Beach Boys
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Best: Bruno Mars
Backed by a full band including horn section and clad in a shiny gold blazer, Bruno Mars really took the house down with his rousing performance of "Runaway Baby" at the beginning of the show. Having to come in with such an upbeat tune after the dour opening in which Whitney Houston's death was acknowledged by host LL Cool J couldn't have been easy, but Mars did a great job of walking the line by billing the song as a celebration of the late singer midway through (and also imploring the audience to "get off your rich asses and let's have some fun!"). As a performance, it was nearly flawless, with Mars' soulful voice, slick dance moves and remarkable stage presence leaving no question as to the multiple Grammy nominees' formidable talents.
- Chris Eggersten