There was no Adele-like dominance at this year’s Grammy Awards. The Black Keys had a good night, winning Best Rock Album for El Camino, best rock performance and song for “Lonely Boy.” The group’s Dan Auerbach also won best producer.
Fun. earned best new artist and best song for “We Are Young,” a collaboration with Janelle Monáe. The song was everywhere in 2012, and is off to a good start in 2013. It features prominently in a Taco Bell Super Bowl commercial about senior citizens partying into the night. According to Fun. lead singer Nate Ruess, that’s more appropriate than we realize.
“I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote this song,” he said while accepting the award. “If you’re watching in HD, you can see our faces, and you can see that we’re not very young.”
British folk band Mumford & Sons won album of the year for Babel. They thanked American fans for supporting the current influx of British artists. That includes 2012’s winner Adele, who presented the award. She quipped that album of the year winners have huge success and world tours or, “get knocked up like last year’s winner.”
Gotye and Kimbra won record of the year for the haunting “Somebody That I Used to Know.”
Just weeks after an altercation in a Los Angeles parking lot, Chris Brown and Frank Ocean faced off again. This time Ocean was the undisputed winner, as Channel Orange won best urban contemporary album, besting Brown’s Fortune. Ocean chose “Forrest Gump” for his first-ever Grammy performance, and walked off the stage in time to the video screen display of him walking away. That made for a cool visual.
Other performances that have people talking today include Taylor Swift’s circus-themed rendition of her megahit “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” She went into what sounded like a fake British accent as she said: “So he calls me up and he’s like, ‘I still love you,’ and I’m like, ‘I’m sorry, I’m busy opening up the Grammys.’ This appeared to be a dig at former beau Harry Styles, a member of boy band One Direction.
Justin Timberlake returned to music after a four-year absence. During his “Pusher Love Girl,” Jay-Z, another artist legendary for his “hiatuses” from the industry joined him on stage.
No performer may have provided more entertainment, both intentional and unintentional, than Kelly Clarkson. She accepted her best pop vocal performance award for “Stronger” just after new R&B sensation Miguel performed. She was quite impressed.
“Miguel, I don’t know who the hell you are, but we need to sing together. I mean, good God. That was the sexiest damn thing I’ve ever seen.”
Miguel’s Kaleidoscope Dream debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard charts in September 2012. He won best R&B song for “Adorn.” Clarkson and Miguel posed for a picture afterwards that she posted to her Twitter feed. Anybody want to bet against these two performing together at next year’s show?
Clarkson performed a tribute to two of the lifetime achievement award winners who have inspired her: Patti Page and Carole King. She did Page’s “Tennessee Waltz” and King’s “Natural Woman.”
Speaking of tributes, the Grammy are always filled with them. Chick Corea, Kenny Garrett and Stanley Clarke honored jazz legend Dave Brubeck with a tribute.
Rihanna, Sting and Bruno Mars joined Bob Marley’s sons Ziggy and Damian to honor the reggae genius. The show ended with a rap montage from show host LL Cool J, joined by Chuck D, DJ Z-Trip, Travis Barker and Tom Morello. They honored Beastie Boy MCA with a little of “No Sleep Till Brooklyn.” By this point, ads and end credits were cutting into the lengthy Grammy broadcasts, an unfortunate time for a “wrap it up” sign.
The evening’s best tribute honored The Band’s Levon Helm. Zac Brown, T-Bone Burnett, Mavis Staples and the Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard joined on “The Weight.”