Adele won the night’s first Grammy Sunday during the telecast of the 55th annual awards ceremony at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, but while she was the belle of the ball last year, this evening belonged to Akron, Ohio, rock duo The Black Keys, and the New York City pop-rock trio fun.
The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach garnered honors for non-classical producer of the year in a pre-telecast ceremony, and his band won three awards: Best Rock Album for “El Camino,” and Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance for “Lonely Boy.” The band also registered one of the evening’s best performances, sharing the stage with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band during a fiery rendition of “Lonely Boy.”
The trio fun., nominated for six awards, won Best New Artist and Song of the Year for “We Are Young.”
“I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote the chorus to this song,” joked lead singer Nate Ruess, 30, when accepting the award for Song of the Year. “This is in HD, everyone can see our faces, and we are not very young.”
Gotye won Record of the Year for “Somebody That I Used to Know,” an award presented by Prince.
“Many years listening to this man’s music growing up inspired me to make music,” Gotye said as he accepted the award. “I just want to thank everybody who puts great energy into the world making music.”
Mumford & Sons won Album of the Year for “Babel,” demonstrating that voters in the Recording Academy were willing to spread the love among many nominees unlike last year, when Adele won Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Mumford & Sons also won best long-form video for “Big Easy Express.” Marcus Mumford accepted the award from Adele.
“Didn’t get a look in last year because she was nominated,” he joked. “There are a few of us [British artists] out there and the Grammys have opened their arms to us.”
Best Urban Contemporary Album went to Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange.”
“So I hear the way to disarm audiences is to imagine them naked. I don’t want to do that. I want to imagine you in tuxes and looking fancy and all that,” said Ocean. He also won for Rap/Sung Collaboration for “No Church in the Wild,” with Jay-Z, Kanye West and The Dream. Jay-Z and West picked up their first two Grammys of the night when their track “N****s in Paris” won for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song.
Jay-Z and Kanye West each had three wins — sharing one award with Ocean — as did electronic dance music artist Skrillex. Many nominees won two awards, including former Best New Artist winner Esperanza Spalding.
Taylor Swift opened the televised ceremony with an Alice in Wonderland-inspired spectacle of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” followed by Ed Sheeran and Sir Elton John performing a duet on Sheeran’s “The A Team,” nominated for Song of the Year. (Interestingly, Sheeran will open this summer for Swift’s “Red” tour, but Sunday the roles were reversed.)
In an evening of generally lackluster performances, highlights included Jack White, Kelly Clarkson’s homage to Carole King and Patti Page, and an all-star tribute to the late drummer Levon Helm of The Band, featuring Zac Brown, Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes, Mumford & Sons, Mavis Staples and T-Bone Burnett.