It's a tribute to the Grammys' success at becoming more a musical spectacle than an awards show that on the night she made
history, Beyonce was just another face in the crowd.
Pop's reigning diva earned six Grammys on Sunday, more than any woman on a single night of the 52-year-old awards show. Her anthem
"Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" was song of the year. But she didn't come onstage to accept that - her collaborators said she was
prepping for a performance - and four of her other awards came during the non-televised pre-show.
The Grammys' four biggest awards were split four ways: 20-year-old country chanteuse Taylor Swift won album of the year;
family rockers Kings of Leon won record of the year for "use Somebody"; and the Zac Brown Band was named best new artist.
The Grammys in recent years have tried to emphasize the music more than the awards, particularly by pairing younger performers
with veterans. This year, producers nailed it, with a double album's worth of memorable performances.
Among the best were the Black Eyed Peas, who sang "I Gotta Feeling" with a stage filled with what looked like dancing
tomatoes and robots. Lady Gaga was predictably over the top, singing "Poker Face" and getting tossed into a bucket of fire
before emerging singed and combining forces with an equally dirtied and bemused Elton John.
Green Day turned its "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" into a soaring beauty by joining the cast of a new musical based on its
"American Idiot" album. Opera singer Andrea Bocelli held his own with a powerful, and heart-breaking rendition of "Bridge Over
Troubled Water," done for the benefit of Haitian earthquake victims.
An acrobatic Pink turned her "Glitter in the Air" into a Cirque de Soleil-like performance, hanging suspended over the
audience as she sang. "That was amazing," an impressed Keith Urban said after she was done.
Memorable pairings included the white-haired, white-bearded and white-hatted Leon Russell joining the Zac Brown Band; Maxwell and
Robert Flack singing a silky-smooth "Where is the Love"; and Stevie Nicks, looking like a protective mom, joining Swift on her
"You Belong With Me" and Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon."
An arresting performance of "Forever" and "Drop the World" with rappers Lil' Wayne, Drake and Eminem was rendered virtually
incomprehensible by craters of silence inserted by CBS censors. And the 3-D tribute to Michael Jackson proved overrated, with Celine
Dion, Jennifer Hudson, Usher, Smokey Robinson and Carrie Underwood looking like they'd joined a production number from "American
Swift, who won four Grammys, was the night's most visible winner. She beamed during her duet with Nicks, and seemed thrilled
in her two acceptance speeches - while staying poised enough to thank her record company for letting her write her own songs, and
express pride at bringing the album of the year prize to Nashville.
"This is for my dad," she said. "Thank you for all the times you said I could do whatever I wanted to do."
Beyonce was low-key during her one time onstage to accept her sixth trophy of he night, for best female pop vocal on the ballad
"Halo." She offered thanks to her fans for their support.
Stagecraft was smooth; Lady Antebellum singer Hillary Scott, hit in the head by a falling curtain, calmly brushed it aside without
missing a note.
Host Stephen Colbert followed the new model of awards show hosts: coming out in the beginning for a handful of jokes then
disappearing - except to accept a Grammy of his own, for his surrealistic Christmas musical.
He bemoaned the absence of Susan Boyle from Grammy night.
"You may be the coolest people in the world," Colbert said, a barely amused Jay-Z looking on, "but this year your industry was
saved by a 48-year-old Scottish cat lady in sensible shoes."
Winners in selected major categories at Sunday's 52nd Annual Grammy Awards:
Record of the Year: "Use Somebody," Kings of Leon
Album of the Year: "Fearless," Taylor Swift
Song of the Year: "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On it)," Beyonce Knowles
New Artist: Zac Brown Band
Pop Vocal Album: "The E.N.D.", The Black Eyed Peas
Female Pop Vocal Performance: "Halo," Beyonce Knowles
Male Pop Vocal Performance: "Make It Mine," Jason Mraz
Rock Album: "21st Century Breakdown," Green Day
Rock Song: "Use Somebody," Kings of Leon
R&B Album: "BLACKsummers'night, "Maxwell
R&B Song: "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)," Beyonce Knowles
Rap Album: "Relapse," Eminem
Rap Song: "Run This Town," Jay-Z, Rihanna and Kanye West
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: "Run This Town," Jay-Z, Rihanna and Kanye West
Country Album: "Fearless," Taylor Swift
Female Country Vocal Performance: "White Horse," Taylor Swift
Male Country Vocal Performance: "Sweet Thing," Keith Urban,
Latin Pop Album: "Sin Frenos," La Quinta Estacion
Contemporary Jazz Album: "75," Joe Zawinul & The Zawinul Syndicate
Classical Album: "Mahler: Symphony No. 8; Adagio from Symphony No. 10"
Traditional Gospel Album: "Oh Happy Day," various artists
Dance Recording: "Poker Face," Lady Gaga
Electronic Dance Album: "The Fame," Lady Gaga
Alternative Music Album: "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix," Phoenix
Spoken Word Album: "Always Looking Up," Michael J. Fox
Comedy Album: "A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!" Stephen Colbert
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