Lady Antebellumwon five awards at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards, including Record and Song ofthe Year for their poignant ballad "Need You Now." They also took Best CountryAlbum for their album of the same name. Only three other groups have ever wonso many Grammys in one night. Santanatook eight awards a decade ago. U2won five Grammys in 2006. Dixie Chicks(the only other country group to score this big) won five in 2007.
"Need You Now" is the third Record of the Year winner in thepast five years with strong country appeal. It follows Dixie Chicks' "Not ReadyTo Make Nice" (which also won for Song of the Year) and the Robert Plant/Alison Krauss collabo, "Please Read The Letter."
Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, John Legend and Jeff Beckeach took three awards. Eminem, whowas widely expected to sweep the night, won just two awards, the same numberthat he won last year for his so-so album, Relapse.
Just about everybody expected Eminem to take Album of theYear. Recovery was the year'sbest-selling album and one of its most critically acclaimed. And since Eminemhad lost in that marquee category twice before (to Steely Dan and Norah Jones),he was overdue. But he lost again, to Arcade Fire'sThe Suburbs.
The Suburbs wasalso a #1 album and was also critically admired. But when it lost for BestAlternative Music Album early in the evening to the Black Keys' Brothers,its chances of upsetting Eminem for Album of the Year appeared to be next tonil. But then Arcade Fire came back and won the big one.
This marks the first time that an album has lost the albumaward in its genre and come back to win Album of the Year since the genre albumawards were introduced in the mid 1990s.
The first sign that Eminem's sweep might not pan out camewhen the Jay-Z/Alicia Keys smash "Empire State Of Mind" beat Eminem's collabo withRihanna, "Love The Way You Lie," forBest Rap/Sung Performance and Best Rap Song.
Eminem has won 13 Grammys, including a category-leading fiveawards for Best Rap Album. But after 12 years of stardom, he has yet to win inany of the "Big Four" categories-Album, Record or Song of the Year or Best NewArtist. I'm starting to wonder: What's it going to take?
Arcade Fire's win for Album of the Year wasn't the night'sonly shocker. Esperanza Spalding wonfor Best New Artist. Few had even heard of the talented jazz musician beforethe nominations were announced on Dec. 1. I figured that Drake would take the award, but Mumford & Sons, Florence + the Machine and Justin Bieber also had theirsupporters. In the end, the tightness of the race, and the lack of a clear-cutfront-runner, may have enabled Spalding to win. This may have been one of thoseyears when all five candidates drew roughly 20% of the vote.
Another big surprise came when Herbie Hancock's all-star remake of John Lennon's "Imagine" beatthree megahits ("California Gurls," "Airplanes" and "Telephone") for Best PopCollaboration With Vocals. I figured the combined diva power of Lady Gaga and Beyonce on "Telephone" would take the award, but the voters optedfor Hancock's remake, which featured P!nk,India.Arie, Seal, Konono No. 1, Jeff Beck and Oumou Sangare.
Lady Gaga tookBest Pop Vocal Album for her hit EP, TheFame Monster. Gaga also won twoGrammys for her smash hit "Bad Romance." Gaga won Best Electronic/Dance Album ayear ago for The Fame, but was movedover to this category for the EP, a sign of how she's now perceived as beingthoroughly in the pop mainstream.
Michael Buble tookBest Traditional Pop Vocal Album for the third time for Crazy Love. Usher took Best Contemporary R&BAlbum for the second time with Raymond VRaymond. John Legend took Best R&B Album for the second time for Wake Up!, a collaboration with the Roots.
Other key genre album winners included Muse's The Resistance forBest Rock Album and La Roux's La Rouxfor Best Electronic/Dance Album.
Bruno Mars wonfor Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for his #1 smash "Just The Way You Are." Butin so doing, he becomes ineligible to compete for Best New Artist next year.(Grammy rules hold that once an artist has won a Grammy, they can't compete forBest New Artist).
By contrast, when NickiMinaj lost for Best Rap Performance by a Group or Duo for "My Chick Bad,"her collabo with Ludacris, she preservedher eligibility for Best New Artist at next year's Grammys. (She becomes theinstant front-runner to win that award a year from now.)
Cee Lo Green wonBest Urban/Alternative Performance for his smash "F*** You (Forget You)." Greenwon in the same category four years ago with Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy."
Danger Mouse,Green's partner in Gnarls Barkley,took Producer of the Year on his fourth nomination. Danger Mouse's productionclients this year included the BlackKeys, Broken Bells and his owncollabo with Sparklehorse.
Paul McCartneywon his first Grammy in 31 years. The ex-Beatle won for Best Solo RockPerformance for "Helter Skelter," a track from his live album Good Evening New York City. It was McCartney's first Grammy since his band Wings won for Best Rock InstrumentalPerformance in 1979.
Mavis Staples wonher first Grammy ever in a career dating back to the 1950s (in gospel) and the1970s (in pop/R&B). Staples, the lead singer of the Staple Singers, won for Best Americana Album, beating out suchhigh-profile artists as Rosanne Cashand Robert Plant. The Staple Singersreceived a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005, but they never won aGrammy in competition. "That was the shock of my life," Staples said when sheaccepted the award, which was presented in the pre-telecast part of the show."It's been a long time coming...It was worth the wait."
Neil Young tookBest Rock Song for "Angry World," beating such powerhouse rivals as Mumford & Sons' "Little Lion Man"and the Black Keys' "Tighten Up."Young had never won a Grammy for music before, despite a highly successfulcareer which dates back to the 1960s. He won last year for Best Boxed orSpecial Limited Edition Package, but even he seemed to not count that as ameaningful recognition of his work. "This is my first Grammy for music," hesaid in picking up the award, which was also presented in the pre-telecastportion of the show. He then alluded to MavisStaples' even longer wait for Grammy recognition. "I'm not Mavis, but I'mclose."
"The Weary Kind" from the 2009 movie Crazy Heart continued its winning streak. The song, which won anOscar and a Golden Globe a year ago, won a Grammy for Best Song Written forMotion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media. Crazy Heart won a second award for Best Compilation Soundtrack ForMotion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media. (It beat out Glee: The Music, Volume 1, which meansthat Glee, one of the most lucrative music franchises in years, wentGrammy-less.)
Julie Andrews wonher first Grammy in 46 years. She took Best Spoken Word Album for Children for Julie Andrews' Collection Of Poems, SongsAnd Lullabies, which she recorded with her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton. It was the star's first Grammy since 1964's Mary Poppins, which was voted BestRecording For Children. The night before this year's Grammys, Andrews accepteda Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Fantasia won forBest Female R&B Vocal Performance for "Bittersweet." Fantasia is the third American Idol winner to win a Grammy,following Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. (Jennifer Hudson, who placed seventh in Season 3, has also won aGrammy.)
Jon Stewart wonfor Best Spoken Word Album for The DailyShow With Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Audiobook). Lewis Black, a former regular on The Daily Show, took Best Comedy Album for the second time with Stark Raving Black.
Jazz saxophonist and flute player James Moody, who died in December, won his first Grammy. He tookBest Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group, for Moody 4B. Moody is best known for the jazz classic "Moody's MoodFor Love."