LOS ANGELES - French electronic music DJs Daft Punk and New Zealand teen Lorde took home the top Grammy awards on Sunday in a night that rewarded robots and newcomers, and recognized marriage equality.
In a first for the Grammys or any big US awards show, thirty-three couples, both same-sex and straight, were married by singer Queen Latifah, to the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis gay rights anthem, "Same Love." Madonna emerged in a white suit and cowboy hat to conclude the singing ceremony with "Open Your Heart."
The music industry's glamorous gathering also saw the two surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, come together for a rare joint performance coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the British group's breakthrough on American television.
The quirky robotic duo, Daft Punk, scored the double win of album of the year for "Random Access Memories," and record of the year with the summer dance hit "Get Lucky," featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers.
"When I was drinking years ago, I used to imagine things that weren't there were frightening. Then I got sober and two robots called me and asked me to make an album," quipped Paul Williams, one of the featured artists in "Random Access Memories."
Formed in the early 1990s by French DJs Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, Daft Punk were pioneers of the electronic dance music phenomenon that has recently swept the US mainstream pop industry.
Lorde, 17, won the Grammy for song of the year with her breakout hit "Royals," sharing the award for songwriters with Joel Little. They triumphed over the writers behind Katy Perry's "Roar" and Bruno Mars' "Locked Out of Heaven," among others.
The Recording Academy also anointed Seattle-based rapper-producer newcomers Macklemore & Ryan Lewis with the Grammy for best new artist. They also swept the rap awards and arguably presided over the biggest dramatic moment of the night, the marriage ceremony in a cathedral-like setting.
"Before there was any media, before there was any buzz about us, before there was a story, there was our fans and it spread organically through them," said Macklemore, whose real name is Ben Haggerty, as he accepted the best new artist award for the duo.
In keeping with the newcomer trend, Kacey Musgraves won best country album with "Same Trailer Different Park."
The 56th Grammy Awards, the music industry's top honors handed out by the Recording Academy across 82 categories, may be remembered more for its performances and unscripted moments than the awards that are bestowed.
With McCartney at the piano and Starr at his drums, the two played a new song, "Queenie Eye," a catchy tune that hearkened back to the Beatles' trademark hits. It was only the fourth time they had performed together on stage since a 2002 concert to honor the late George Harrison. John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, and son Sean Lennon were in the crowd dancing along on Sunday.
Kicking off the three-and-a-half-hour show, Beyonce and rapper husband Jay Z sang "Drunk in Love," her first public performance since her surprise self-titled album in December, a game-changer in the music industry for its stealth release.