It’s likely that this year’s Grammy Awards will be best remembered for the triumph of underdogs in key categories. Indie artists Arcade Fire took home the Album of the Year prize for The Suburbs, beating out best-selling discs by Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Lady Antebellum and Eminem, while jazz vocalist Esperanza Spalding unexpectedly beat out Justin Bieber, Mumford & Sons, Drake and Florence and the Machine for Best New Artist.
Not all of the big winners came as a surprise, though. Lady Antebellum’s hit “Need You Now” won Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Country Performance by a Duo or Group, and the album of the same name won for Country Album. Lady Gaga won for Pop Vocal Album for The Fame Monster and Female Pop Vocal Performance for “Bad Romance.” Bruno Mars won Male Pop Vocal Performance for his smash “Just the Way You Are.”
Top nominee Eminem won Rap Album for Recovery and Rap Solo Performance for “Not Afraid,” though he was shut out in every other category. Jay-Z won two awards — Rap Song for “Empire State of Mind” with Alicia Keys, and Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for “On to the Next One” with Swizz Beatz.
In the rock categories, Paul McCartney won Solo Rock Vocal Performance for the live recording of “Helter Skelter” on his Good Evening New York City album, while Neil Young‘s “Angry World” won for Rock Song and Muse‘s The Resistance won for Rock Album. The Black Keys took home two Grammys – Rock Performance by a Duo or Group for their song “Tighten Up” and Alternative Music Album for Brothers.
The ceremony was packed with memorable performances this year. Here’s a look at some of the highlights.
It should come as no surprise that Lady Gaga’s performance of her new single “Born This Way” was the evening’s most visually stunning and bizarre spectacle:
Bob Dylan joined Mumford and Sons and the Avett Brothers for a medley of acoustic numbers including his classic “Maggie’s Farm”:
Whereas most everyone else on the Grammy stage went big and bold, Lady Antebellum opted for a stripped-down, understated medley of Teddy Pendergrass’ “If Don’t Know Me By Now” and their hits “American Honey” and “Need You Now”:
Cee Lo Green put on what could be the night’s silliest and most colorful performance with a rendition of his song “Fuck You” — err, “Forget You,” sorry — decked out in a peacock suit and backed up by Gwyneth Paltrow and a stage full of puppets from the Jim Henson Company:
Arcade Fire performed two songs at the ceremony — a blistering version of “Month of May” with a bunch of guys riding around on bikes, and “Ready to Start” after they won for Album of the Year:
Grammy Awards: Complete Coverage