Dissecting the Drama of the 2010 Grammy Performances

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The 52nd annual Grammy Awards came and went last night and, as usual, music’s “biggest night” was pretty tame. Unlike the MTV Video Music Awards, the Grammys are when we’re supposed to take music seriously. Madonna can’t kiss Britney on stage or writhe around seductively in a wedding dress. Diana Ross can’t grab ‘Lil Kim’s boob. Kanye West definitely can’t interrupt Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech.

So while the Grammys are sort of like the nerdy older sister of music awards shows, we did notice a theme running through many of the evening’s theatrical performances: Blame it on Glee if you want, but musicals are suddenly cool again — and it’s clear most of the artists who performed last night were inspired by some of the Great White Way’s best. Here, we list our fave five performances from the Grammys and the big, brash musical numbers that may have inspired them.

Lady Gaga = Evillene From The Wiz

From her factory theme to her no-nonsense sculptural bodysuit, Lady Gaga was clearly channeling The Wiz‘s queen of mean Evillene and her show-stopping number “Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News.” Gaga’s hapless masked background dancers are soooooo the Winkies (the enslaved citizens of Oz forced to work for mighty ‘Lene).

Green Day and friends = The Cast of Rent This was an easy one since Green Day’s 2004 album American Idiot is headed to Broadway in March. But when the band joined the cast of their Broadway show on stage, it gave us “La Vie Boheme” flashbacks. The only thing that was missing: A drag queen street percussionist dressed in a Santa outfit.

Pink = Mary Magdalene From Jesus Christ Superstar

Before she took things into Cirque du Soliel territory with her flying acrobatics, Pink reminded us of reformed ‘ho Mary Magdalene from the smash rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. Maybe it was the hooded costume or the melancholy song, but visions of Yvonne Elliman were dancing through or heads through the whole performance.

The Black Eyed Peas = The Cast of Starlight Express

Wacky, futuristic costumes? Check. Rapping? Check. The Black Eyed Peas Grammy performance or a musical number from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express? The BEP’s “Imma Be” could have been written for a revival of the show, which tells the story of a child’s train set that comes to life. No, we’re not kidding.

Jamie Foxx and friends = Monsier Thernadier and urchins from Les Miserables

It was mostly the jacket Jamie Foxx was wearing that led us to this comparison, but the motley crew the joined him on stage made the whole thing very reminiscent of “Master Of The House” from the popular musical melodrama, Les Miserables. Who knew Jean Valjean was such a ballah?