The show did open with a nod to a few oldtimers. First came a rousing tribute to Aretha Franklin, featuring some great vocals by Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Yolanda Adams, Martina McBride and Florence Welch.
Bob Dylan, at age 69, sashayed out to sing "Maggie's Farm." He was completely upstaged by the two young bands backing him up: Mumford Sons, and The Avett Brothers. Mick Jagger, 67, and Barbra Streisand, 68, croaked their way through a couple of songs. I hate to say it, but they also looked old and out of place.
So the night belonged to fresh, young acts, like these two people I'd never even heard of -- Bruno Mars, age 25, and B.o.B., age 22. Check 'em out:
One of my favorite performers, Gwyneth Paltrow (who at age 39 still seems young to me), did a hilarious number with a fellow named Cee Lo Green. I never heard of him either; but I do know the Muppets. (Fast forward through the first minute of the clip unless you want to hear the overlong intro. by Jamie Foxx).
And one more -- a performance by Rihanna, Eminem, Dr. Dre and Skyler Gray. (Skip the first minute unless you like Seth Rogen.) To put your mind at rest, I checked out the lyrics for this song, "Need a Doctor." They do not in any way involve violence against women or anyone else. See what I mean? Our economy may be falling apart; our politics more strident than ever. But these days the world of music is in very capable and creative hands!