Female artists dominated the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards, with Beyoncé and Taylor Swift leading the charge at last night’s ceremony at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. The I Am … Sasha Fierce singer tallied the most awards, scooping up six trophies — the most ever for a female artist on a single Grammy night — most notably Song of the Year and Best R&B Song for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “Halo.” Swift took home the show’s biggest honor, however, nabbing Album of the Year for 2009’s best-selling LP, Fearless. At 20, Swift is now the youngest musician to win Album of the Year; she won four awards overall, including Best Country Album (also Fearless), Best Country Song and Best Female Country Vocal Performance (both “White Horse”).
Lady Gaga, who opened the show with a powerhouse duet with Elton John, won a pair of awards — Best Dance Album for The Fame and Best Electronica/Dance Song for “Poker Face” — but both were announced during a pre-telecast ceremony. Kings of Leon grabbed three awards, all revolving around their hit “Use Somebody,” Jay-Z scored three trophies for singles (his Blueprint 3 wasn’t eligible this year) and the Black Eyed Peas also won three Grammys, including Best Pop Vocal Album for The E.N.D.
Green Day followed up a memorable performance of “21 Guns” with the American Idiot musical cast by winning Best Rock Album for 21st Century Breakdown. In awards handed out before the broadcast, Bruce Springsteen’s “Working on a Dream” was named Best Solo Rock Performance, Jeff Beck took Best Rock Instrumental Performance for “A Day in the Life,” the Beatles scored Best Long Form Video and French electronic pop group Phoenix pulled out a surprise victory in the Best Alternative Album category with Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. Check out the winners list here.
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The Grammys are known for its high-wattage performances as much as their hardware, and last night’s show was packed with big-name team-ups. Lady Gaga got the party started with “Poker Face” before taking a seat at her piano (adorned with mannequin limbs frozen into Gaga’s monster claw) and facing off against Elton John on her “Speechless” and his “Your Song.” Beyoncé and a SWAT team of dancers mashed up the I Amâ€¦ Sasha Fierce hit “If I Were a Boy” with Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know.” Pink spun from the ceiling, soaking wet, during an acrobatic performance of “Glitter in the Air.” And Lil Wayne, Eminem, Drake and Travis Barker kept the censors on their toes with a profanity-laced medley of Rebirth‘s “Drop the World” and the hit “Forever.”
The ceremony also included a 3-D tribute to Michael Jackson featuring Celine Dion, Smokey Robinson, Jennifer Hudson, Usher and Carrie Underwood singing along with the King of Pop’s “Earth Song.” Jackson’s two eldest children, Prince and Paris, accepted their father’s posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award in one of the night’s most touching moments. Jeff Beck led a special Les Paul tribute while Jamie Foxx’s “Blame It” merged T-Pain, opera, Doug E Fresh and Slash performing the “November Rain” solo into one strange performance. Stevie Nicks joined Taylor Swift to duet on “Rihannon” and “You Belong With Me” in one of the few performances that felt out-of-sync. And even though the Dave Matthews Band were shut out of any Grammy wins, the group broke out a full choir, horns and string section for a strong rendition of “You & Me.”