The red carpet at the 51st annual Grammy Awards on Sunday was just the right mix of sparkle, glamour and sophistication. That was the problem.
There was Jennifer Hudson in a fashion-savvy white, silver and black cocktail dress; Sheryl Crow in a slinky one-shoulder electric blue gown; and Taylor Swift embracing her sexier side in a plunging V-neck black number.
Fantasia conveyed a sultry vibe in a silver halter dress, and Jordin Sparks' custom-made black dress by Arizona designer Debra Davenport had a subtle silver floral pattern and a curlique at the bust.
"There really wasn't any question of what dress I wanted to wear," she told E!'s Ryan Seacrest. The awards were presented at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Katy Perry wore a skintight, blush-pink dress with ruffles down the front, and Duffy went with a last-minute choice of an Alberta Ferretti black cocktail dress with a jeweled neckline and a sheer asymmetrical pattern at the bust.
They were picture perfect, but the fashions generally lacked the free spirit that typically sets the Grammys apart during the crammed season of award shows.
Paula Abdul might get people talking with her sunshine yellow gown with overdone gold trim and her beauty-queen hairdo, but certainly there was no moment like J.Lo in her down-to-there V-neck Versace from years back.
A handful of trends popped up: one-shoulder dresses on Miley Cyrus and Zooey Deschanel and fedora hats on Jason Mraz and Ne-Yo.
There must have been a memo to the men to wear a combination of black, white and gray. Flo Rida and LL Cool J both had on black-and-white polka dot ties.
Barry Manilow said his black velvet Dolce & Gabbana jacket was an easy choice. "I'm on the road, and when you're on the road, you wear all black."
AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen contributed to this report.