The winners of the 52nd annual Grammy Awards Sunday were a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll – but a diva was the one who put a ring on the whole night.
Beyonce led all artists on the evening with six wins, a Grammy record for a female artist in a single year. The trophy for song of the year went to Beyonce, Thaddis Harrell, Terius Nash & Christopher Stewart for “Single Ladies (Put A Ring on It).” Beyonce’s other wins included best female R&B vocal solo and best R&B song for “Single Ladies,” as well as best contemporary R&B album for “I Am…Sasha Fierce.” “This has been such an amazing night for me,” Beyonce said, tearing up as she accepted the award for best female pop vocal performance for “Halo.”
Taylor Swift’s four wins included album of the year for “Fearless.” “I hope that you know how much this means to me, and all my producers, that we can take this back to Nashville,” Swift said. “This is the story that when we’re 80 years old and we’re telling the same story over and over again – this is the story we’re going to be telling. That, in 2010, we won album of the year!”
“Country music is my home,” Swift said from the press room after her acceptance speech. “Country music is my love. But to have it organically crossover this year? It’s just been fantastic. I think the healthiest thing you can do when making music is remove stereotypes from it.”
Swift’s other wins included best country album for “Fearless,” and she thanked Big Machine for “letting her write all the songs on the album.” Earlier in the evening she won the Grammy for best country song with Liz Rose for “White Horse.” Rose recalled when “this curly-headed fourteen year old asked me, ‘will you write with me sometime? Thankfully I said yes,” said Rose.
Kings of Leon won record of the year for “Use Somebody.” “We’re a little drunk, but we’re happy drunk,” said Kings of Leon lead singer Caleb Followill upon accepting the award. KOL won three awards on the night for the song, including best rock song and best rock duo or group with vocals. Backstage, drummer Nathan Followill laughed as he offered this explanation as to how the band’s rock song broke into a pop-dominated top ten: “Payola. We’ve got a good record label. They’ve got deep pockets. I don’t know.”
Zac Brown Band won for best new artist, and went on to perform “America The Beautiful,” “Dixie Lullaby” and “Chicken Fried” with Leon Russell. “I love music, I love to play, I love that connection with the fans,” Brown said after the win. “We want to thank everyone for welcoming us.”
The Black Eyed Peas also took home three awards, including best pop vocal album for “The E.N.D.” and best pop performance by a duo or group with vocals for “I Gotta Feeling.”
Despite opening the show, Lady Gaga’s wins all occurred in the non-televised portion of the Grammys, with “Poker Face” winning for best dance recording and “The Fame” winning for best electronic/dance album.
The CBS telecast of the show featured a number of eclectic pairings for performances, including Lady Gaga and Elton John opening the show by dueting over a piano stacked with dismembered arms on a medley of “Poker Face,” “Speechless” and “Your Song.” Taylor Swift teamed with Stevie Nicks on “Today Was A Fairytale,” “Rhiannon” and “You Belong With Me.”
A 3D tribute to Michael Jackson – using video from his “This Is It” tour – featured Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson, Smokey Robinson, Carrie Underwood and Usher singing on “Earth Song,” as well as two of his children briefly taking the stage. “Our father was always concerned about the planet and humanity,” Prince Michael Jackson said. “His message was love.”
Mary J. Blige and Andrea Bocelli sang a rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” the proceeds of which will be donated to relief efforts for the Haiti earthquake.
In other televised categories, Green Day won best rock album for “21st Century Breakdown” and Stephen Colbert won for best comedy album for “A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!” from Comedy Central Records. Jay-Z, Rihanna, and Kanye West won for best rap/sung collaboration for “Run This Town.”