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Grammy Awards: Bruno Mars, B.o.B. outgunned by Janelle Monae

February 13, 2011 |  6:10 pm

Janellemonae "One of those moments that only happens right here at the Grammys," Ryan Seacrest said to introduce a trio of B.o.B., Bruno Mars and R&B weirdo Janelle Monáe. Bruno and B.o.B. are like pop chameleons, and "Nothin' On You" showcased how easily they can move between hip-hop and R&B.

All that being said, a black-and-white -- at least for TV audiences -- old-school take on Mars' "Grenade" worked better than the overly maudlin single. The latter puts the emphasis on the exaggerated heartbreak of the lyrics, and the more groovy Grammy brought a sense of humor to the number.

Yet it was, unpredictably, Monáe who outshined both of the hitmakers. Her "Cold War" took on R&B as if it was a rock anthem, and Monae is a ball of eclectic energy on stage. Somehow, it's only her trademark pompadour that manages not to move. "Cold War" is fast and a little spastic, and lacks the finesse of the works by Mars and B.o.B., but the impression it makes is built to last. 

-- Todd Martens

Photo: Singer Janelle Monae performs at 2011 Clive Davis pre-Grammy gala honoring David Geffen at the Beverly Hilton. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

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