LOS ANGELES — Lady Antebellum won big at the Grammys with five awards, including record and song of the year for the band's yearning crossover ballad "Need You Now," but Canadian rockers Arcade Fire won Sunday's biggest prize, album of the year, for their highly acclaimed "The Suburbs."
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Arcade Fire's Win Butler was visibly stunned as the group accepted their trophy and then quickly rushed to perform the last song of the night.
Rapper Eminem perhaps had reason to be stunned as well. Though nominated
for a leading 10 awards, including record, song, and album of the year,
he took home just two — both in the rap categories, for best album and
solo performance. It was the third time Eminem lost in the category,
despite a critically-acclaimed work that marked his resurgence after
time out of the spotlight, a few sub-par projects and successful
recovery from a prescription drug addiction.
While Arcade Fire's win was a surprise, it wasn't totally unexpected, as
"The Suburbs" dominated many critic's best-of lists of 2010. The true
upset came as Esperanza Spalding — a jazz bassist and singer who sold a
fraction of Canadian Justin Bieber's music and is perhaps best
identified by her voluminous Afro hairstyle — beat the perfectly coifed
16-year-old pop phenomenon for best new artist. She also bested Drake
and British groups Florence & the Machine and Mumford & Sons.
She is the first jazz artist to ever win the category.
"I take this honor to heart so sincerely and I'll do my damnedest to
make great music for all of you. It's such an honor and God bless," said
a shocked Spalding, who released her third album, "The Chamber Music
Society," last year.
While Bieber-nation was in an uproar, the teen sensation himself was
cheerful backstage after the loss — perhaps assuaged by the fact that
he's sold millions and owns America's No. 2 movie with his documentary
"Never Say Never."
The evening's other top winners included rapper Jay-Z and singers John
Legend and Lady Gaga, who each had three trophies; and Train, whose
"Hey, Soul Sister (Live)," one of the year's top songs, captured best
pop performance by a duo or group with vocals.
British rock band Muse made its Grammy debut performance and won best
rock album for "The Resistance," beating out Pearl Jam, Neil Young, Tom
Petty and British guitarist Jeff Beck, who won twice for instrumental
Other British winners included duo La Roux for best electronic album,
Iron Maiden for best metal performance and Sade for an R&B category.
Lady Antebellum's wins mark the second straight year a country crossover
act was the night's top story; Last year, Taylor Swift captured best
album among her wins.
The Grammys give out 109 awards — but most of those are doled out before
the live telecast in a ceremony before the CBS show. Instead of
focusing on the awards, the Grammy show emphasized performances for the
year's most celebrated artists, along with emerging acts and true
Lady Gaga entered the Staples Center, where the Grammys were held, in
dramatic fashion, encased in an egg as dancers carried her to the stage.
When she "hatched," she seemed to have turned into Madonna, circa 1987,
as she sashayed across the stage to her new song "Born This Way."
But the singer, normally the most outrageous performer on any bill, was
out-Gaga'd by Cee Lo Green, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jim Henson Co.'s
puppets, who gave a hilarious performance of "Forget You" that would
have done Elton John proud.
Decked out in feathers of seemingly every hue, Green — who was nominated
for record and song of the year for the dirty version of the song,
"(Expletive) You," crooned alongside a sassy gaggle of puppets and
Paltrow, who performed "Forget You" on the Fox TV show "Glee." The
actress, who recently played a singer in the movie "Country Song" and is
slated to sing on the Oscars telecast, perhaps should seriously
consider joining hubby Chris Martin of Coldplay as a regular recording
It was easily the show stopper in a night of performances that included a
tribute to Aretha Franklin, a retro performance from Bruno Mars, a
dazzling number by newcomer Janelle Monae that was James Brown-esque, a
collaboration with Mumford & Sons, the Avett Brothers and a very
raspy Bob Dylan.
Buju Banton of Jamaica won best reggae album for "Before The Dawn."
Banton faces life in prison with a trial scheduled to begin Monday, five
months after a previous jury hung on federal drug trafficking charges.
French DJ David Guetta and Dutch DJ Afrojack won for best remixed recording, nonclassical, Guetta's second win in that category.
The Beatles' complete remastered studio recordings won for best
historical album. The Beatles last won for the remixed "Love" album, in
the compilation soundtrack and surround-sound categories. Paul
McCartney, meanwhile, won best solo rock vocal performance for "Helter
Skelter" on "Good Evening New York City."