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At the Grammys, the Usual Mix of the Ridiculous and the Sublime

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At the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles last night, Album of the Year winner and sugary country pop sensation Taylor Swift wore a very grown-up and quite pretty Kaufman Franco dress, the kind that says "I'm a winner and I know it," despite humble acceptance speeches—for multiple wins—to the contrary. Ciara nabbed a Givenchy Haute Couture look fresh off the runway. Mrs. Keith Urban (a.k.a. Nicole Kidman) chose a subtle black Prada, while Rihanna opted for a made-to-measure Elie Saab that was decidedly less so. And both Fergie and Heidi Klum sparkled in super-fitted Emilio Pucci. Former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham had a big night—as a designer. She dressed both Jennifer Hudson and Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles in her sophisticated yet sexy frocks. And just back from India—where her boyfriend, Russell Brand, proposed— Katy Perry, in Zac Posen, told us, "I'm rocking a nudie maharaja vibe tonight."

But the red carpet was only part of the story at this awards show, where it was publicized beforehand that Lady Gaga would wear no less than five different Armani Privé outfits. Referencing her newfound appreciation of Giorgio Armani, the singer called it her "Lady GagaGA look: Gaga meets GA." After her show-opening mash-up with Elton John, however, Gaga was Lady Nada when it came to the night's biggest awards, so the viewers at home unfortunately didn't get to see all that much Armani couture.

The other part of the story, of course, is what all those performers wore on stage, and what they wore was either notably brief (Beyoncé's black leather Versace, Céline Dion's spangled Aquilano.Rimondi) or tight, tight, tight. Fergie's performance getup was Fritz Lang meets Avatar, and Swift paired her "I'm still a teenager" peasant blouse with liquid black leggings. But nobody's outfit was as barely-there or quite as perplexing as the masking-tape look Pink wore for her Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics routine. Others thought she was copying Gaga. Us? We thought she was giving an unconscious nod to Kanye West's other half, Amber Rose.

See a list of the Grammy award winners >

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