Ceremony organisers chose an 11-minute showcase of Grammy nominees to kick off the 2005 show, and the hopefuls didn't disappoint.
But it was Alicia Keys' performance of Grammy-winning tune IF I AIN'T GOT YOU and her duet with Jamie Foxx on Ray Charles tribute GEORGIA ON MY MIND, and a stirring tribute to Janis Joplin by Brit Joss Stone and a newly-bald cancer fighter Melissa Etheridge which brought the house down at Los Angeles' Staples Center.
Both performances earned standing ovations at what U2 rocker Bono called "the best Grammys we've ever seen".
Other live highlights at the Grammys came from U2, celebrity couple Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, who performed from a cosy bedroom set on the Staples Center stage, and a tribute to Southern rock featuring Lynyrd Skynyrd, Gretchen Wilson, Tim Mcgraw, Keith Urban and THE ALLMAN BROTHERS' DICKIE BETTS.
Meanwhile, punk trio Green Day also earned a standing ovation for a rousing rendition of the title track of their GRAMMY-winning AMERICAN IDIOT album and ceremony host Queen Latifah donned a stylish black cocktail dress to perform a track from her jazz album THE DANA OWENS ALBUM.
Other show stoppers included Kanye West, who teamed up with Mavis Staples and THE BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA for a stirring performance of his JESUS WALKS hit, and a rousing dance-off between James Brown and Usher.
And BONO, Norah Jones, ALICIA KEYS, Brian Wilson, Billie Joe Armstrong, Stevie Wonder and TIM McGRAW joined forces to perform a version of THE Beatles' ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, which is being made available as a pay-for download with all proceeds going to tsunami relief charities.