More than a simple awards show to honor the talents and achievements in music, The Grammys also serve as the perfect venue for performers young and old to dazzle fellow artists and fans alike with live performances. In efforts to make these moments more memorable, the Grammys help to team up artists who might not otherwise work or perform together for a unique onstage collaboration. These 13 unlikely mashups are sometimes successful or sometimes a bit strained, but they are always at least interesting.
Eminem's third album "The Marshall Mathers LP" was experiencing some huge commercial success, but it also attracted its fair share of critics who slammed the rapper for homophobic lyrics. In a grand gesture that proved he is quite the opposite, Eminem performed his song "Stan" with one of the most prolific gay artists in the industry, Sir Elton John himself.
Dubstep was just starting to become a mainstream style, so the Grammys felt they had to include one of the biggest DJs for a performance after Skrillex turned them down (albeit the fact that they held it in a tent outside the actual venue). Since Deadmau5 already remixed one of the Foo Fighters' songs that year, the rock meets techno fusion performed together, thus helping to start a trend towards more electronic music across all genres.
The mashup between music legend Stevie Wonder with teeny-bop boy band Jonas Brothers may have been an attempt for the Grammys to bridge the old with the new, but not many people seemed happy about it. Performing "Burnin' Up" and "Superstition," perhaps nerves got to the Jonas Brothers during the show, as many remarked on their clumsy playing and flubbing some lyrics (though the boy band reflected that the weird duet was perfect).
While their original version of "Numb" was one of the greatest singles for Linkin Park, Jay-Z coming in for the unlikely but hugely successful remix "Numb/Encore" quickly made the song one of the best of the decade. Ever in their quest for unique performances, the legendary Paul McCartney joined along for the Grammy fun, as Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington busted out into The Beatles classic "Yesterday," only to be joined by the original singer himself. Hearing Jay-Z add his little "uh huhs" and "that's right" in that unholy duet was beyond strange but also awesome.
"Forget You" was THE song in 2010, and Cee Lo Green wanted to make a Grammys performance that no one would soon forget. In an outfit that even Lady Gaga would be envious of, Cee Lo employed the help of the actual Muppets to be his backup band, probably as a shameless plug for their upcoming movie. In an even stranger twist, actress Gwyneth Paltrow joined them all in her attempts to remind people she can sing, having performed the song in a guest appearance on "Glee."
Sounding more like a Super Bowl Halftime Show than a Grammy performance, it's hard to imagine the indie rock band Radiohead collaborating with just about anyone too traditional or famous, which is why a pairing with a marching band oddly worked. Performing "15 Step," the already drum heavy track off their critically-acclaimed "In Rainbows," the performance lent itself well to the extra drums provided by the marching band, and it allowed Radiohead to simply focus on a song that helped to put the band back on the map.
Both rising in fame, radio rockers Imagine Dragons and lyrically-gifted Kendrick Lamar took the stage together to perform "m.A.A.d. City" and "Radioactive" in one of the most surprisingly good mashups ever on the Grammy stage. Their energy-packed and electrifying performance proved why they were both up for awards, and proved that sometimes opposites do attract.
Musically, Gorillaz and De La Soul are more complementary, as the virtual rock band and old school hip hop group both lean towards more eclectic and quirky sounds and lyrics, which is why their collaboration on "Feel Good Inc." was perfect, even earning De La Soul a Grammy. Yet when it came time to perform the hit at the show, none other than the Pop Queen Madonna showed up on stage, fading the song into her own "Hung Up," which while a bit disjointing, isn't surprising from the woman who is known for continually reinventing her artistry and image.
Both known for some catchy pop hits, when "It's Not Unusual" singer Tom Jones took the stage with "Bang Bang" artist Jessie J, the mashup may have been a little strange in some respects, but perfectly normal in Grammy land. Unfortunately, their duet of the The Righteous Brothers' 1964 hit "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" was unusual, had no bang and definitely lost that lovin' feelin' among viewers.
The punk-rock frontman from Green Day teamed up with the country music sweetheart Miranda Lambert in a never-thought-we'd-see-this collaboration as the pair honored the late Phil Everly. Performing the Everly Brothers hit "When Will I Be Loved," Armstrong added the '50s bands simple use of an acoustic guitar to accompany the surprisingly beautiful duet.
Just beginning her fairytale career, the young T-Swift told fans during a Grammys performance that it's a fairytale and honor to share the stage with the music legend Stevie Nicks, though she sort of dominated in a not good way. Blaming her off-key vocals on a faulty earpiece, it is alleged that Swift wrote the song "Mean" based on all the negative backlash she received from the performance, which ironically went on to win two Grammys.
After meeting at a gala in New York City back in 2011, the eccentric pop star fell hard for the legendary performer, which led into an unusual but beautiful collaboration over and over again, most notably their album "Cheek to Cheek." Performing the title track at the Grammys and watching them get cheeky during their live performance reminded us all why this mashup works so well.
The electronic duo Daft Punk hardly ever show their faces in public, and as a whole prefer to let their music speak much louder than their public appearance. Rapper Kanye West is quite the opposite, so when the two came together to perform "Stronger," which West sampled parts of Daft Punk's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger," it was a music union of two contrasting forces. West stole the show, as he loves to do, and Daft Punk was happy to let him.