01/27/2014 01:58 EST | Updated 03/28/2014 05:59 EDT

Grammys 2014: 5 Memorable Performances

FREDERIC J. BROWN via Getty Images
Beyonce Knowles and Jay-Z perform on stage for the 56th Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, January 26, 2014. AFP PHOTO FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

Whether it was over-the-top turns from current chart-toppers or one of the U.S. Recording Academy's many risk-taking match-ups, the 56th annual Grammy Awards was a performance-packed extravaganza.

Here are five onstage performances that stood out at the Los Angeles ceremony.

1. Strappy leotard-clad Beyoncé kicked off the show with a steamy rendition of her tune Drunk in Love, featuring enough chair-gyrating to make people wonder: Rihanna who? The undeniably sexy performance (she was eventually joined by her husband Jay Z) was perhaps a questionable choice to open the show (8 p.m. ET, still family hour!), but it definitely got juices flowing and people talking.

2. It might have been one of the evening's head-scratchers on paper, but who would have thought that rising rap star Kendrick Lamar (unfortunately left without any Grammy hardware Sunday night) and best rock performance-winner Imagine Dragons would deliver such a blistering duet performance? The two acts melded their hits m.A.A.d. City and Radioactive in an unexpected, energetic and thoroughly enjoyable way.

3. Let's call this two very different sides of today's pop music coin. Katy Perry offered up a dark and witchy, pyrotechnics-ladden, heavily choreographed rendition of Dark Horse that was apparently inspired by Stevie Nicks (but actually felt closer to a bizarro version of a Weird Sisters scene from Macbeth).

Meanwhile, Lorde was sparse, haunting and effective singing an understated version of her double-Grammy winner Royals.

4. It was a slightly awkward but ultimately well-meaning, sweet and celebratory moment as Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and Mary Lambert performed their equality-championing hit Same Love (with contributions from Madonna, Queen Latifah and Trombone Shorty) as 33 same-sex couples marked their marriages at the Staples Center.

5. "We're all about to get lucky," actor Neil Patrick Harris declared as he welcomed Daft Punk, Nile Rodgers, Pharrell and Stevie Wonder to the stage and indeed we did.

It was a fantastic celebration of the year's catchiest song, the night's biggest winners and definitely the performance that won over viewers at home and online, and the star-studded crowd 100 per cent (plus, cameras had a field day filming everyone from Yoko Ono to Steven Tyler to Taylor Swift to Jay Z and Beyoncé seriously grooving to the track).

Honorable mentions: Taylor Swift's stagey headbanging (to herself, playing piano), Pink showing the Grammy-viewing audience the high-flying aerial dance you'd see at her concerts, Metallica rocking out with Lang Lang, Pharrell Williams's Mountie-inspired hat, and both the partial Highwaymen reunion and partial Beatles reunion.

Photo gallery Best of The Grammy Awards 2014 See Gallery