01/31/2010 AT 11:50 PM ET
Once again, the Grammy Awards felt like one big concert.
This year’s telecast was stuffed with everything from opera to hip-hop, and featured inspired pairings and surprise guests and mash-ups. Here are five of the most exciting superstar performances that you’ll want to re-watch on YouTube.
Six-time winner Beyoncé marched toward the stage in an armor-like costume, flanked by foot soldiers. The pop diva was clearly channeling her Sasha Fierce alter-ego as she poured out her hit “If I Were a Boy,” complete with a sassy crotch grab and plenty of hair-tossing. But then, when you thought she was done, the singer launched into a revved-up cover of Alanis Morissette’s angst-ridden “You Oughta Know.”
Pink soared above the Staples Center – and even threatened to soak the crowd during her high-flying rendition of “Glitter in the Air.” Elegantly shedding her cover-up to reveal a barely-there leotard, the singer dipped into a pool of water, twirled and demonstrated a graceful command of her own voice and acrobatic skills.
Lady Gaga & Elton John
She opened the show with a conceptual performance set in a decaying factory. But before she could finish singing her hit “Poker Face,” Lady Gaga was dropped into a fiery pit, only to emerge pounding a creepy piano alongside Elton John. The two traded verses on her ballad “Speechless” and his classic “Your Song” as the crowd went wild.
Michael Jackson Tribute
Originally intended to be performed during his summer comeback concerts in London, Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song” united a fleet of famous faces – everyone from Carrie Underwood to Usher to Jennifer Hudson – on stage for a touching tribute to the late King of Pop. Backed by gorgeous imagery of nature, which was available in 3-D, and Jackson’s own vocals, they delivered a musical message of environmentalism while acknowledging Jackson’s contributions to pop music.
The Black Eyed Peas
They had a feeling that it was “going to be a good, good night,” and the Black Eyed Peas were right: Not only did they nab three awards, but the band served up two of their feel-good tunes on the show, “Imma Be” and “I Gotta Feeling,” backed by clips sent in by their fans.
See all the Grammy winners and nominees here.