— Jenn McBride
Managing Editor, CBSLA.com
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards picked up where last year’s show left off, as Adele claimed the first prize of the evening, Best Pop Solo Performance, for her live version of “Set Fire To The Rain”. The singer, who gave birth to her first child after winning six awards in 2012, quipped that all of the other nominees, who happen to be women, make their craft “look easy.”
The night’s top honor went to Mumford & Sons, but the group — which had been nominated for an impressive six awards — was seemingly snubbed until Adele announced the fellow Brits would be her Album of the Year successor at the end of the broadcast.
Gotye and Kimbra took home coveted golden gramophones for Record of the Year and Pop Duo Group Performance. With the Australian singer also picking up the trophy for Alternative Album of the Year, Gotye proved he isn’t about to become an artist we “used to know” anytime soon.
Fun. won Song Of The Year for “We Are Young”, but noted that after working together for 12 years and seeing themselves in HD, they are, in fact, anything but that. The group later scooped up the award for Best New Artist and lead singer Nate Ruess joked again, “We’re so old!” Backstage, the trio admitted that when they heard the words “We are…” being announced, they thought Taylor Swift might have won for “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”.
It was also a big night for The Black Keys, who won Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song for “Lonely Boy” and Best Rock Album for multi-platinum album “El Camino”.
Carrie Underwood, who snagged the award for Best Country Solo Performance for her chart-topping hit “Blown Away”, told the crowd she felt honored to be a part of the “country family” and gave all praise to God. Backstage, she gushed about the silver gown she wore during her performance, which transformed into a projector.
“I’m so glad everybody keeps asking me about that! We had the dress specially made,” she said.
The top honors for Best Country Album of the Year, however, went to Zac Brown Band For “Uncaged”.
“We took a lot risks on this album because there’s a straight up R&B song on there,” Zac Brown said backstage, later adding, “My Rolodex got strong this weekend; it got deep.”
Jay-Z, Frank Ocean, The-Dream, and no-show Kanye West, took home the prize for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “No Church in the Wild”. After some quick thank-yous, Jay-Z wisecracked that he would like to “thank the swap meet” for The-Dream’s parental advisory-emblazoned beanie.
“B had just said she wanted both of these hats, so I think he was playing with both of us,” The-Dream said backstage. He also conceded that he’s writing for Beyonce’s new record, but when asked if his material will actually make the cut he said, “I don’t know, I’ve been told to zip it.”
With the award-winning CBS show feeling more like a concert every year, the night featured show-stopping performances by Rihanna; Ziggy Marley; Bruno Mars and Sting; Best Pop Vocal Album winner Kelly Clarkson; Justin Timberlake; and Adam Levine and Alicia Keys, just to name a few. A star-studded rendition of “The Weight” by Elton John, Mavis Staples, Brittany Howard, Zac Brown, Mumford & Sons and T-Bone Burnett also paid tribute to the late Levon Helm.
But perhaps the biggest disappointment of the evening came for (me and) Florence + the Machine. The band received neither of the two awards for which it was nominated: Best Pop Album of the Year and Best Group/Duo Performance for “Shake It Out”. The group’s sophomore album, “Ceremonials”, received tremendous accolades, and throughout 2012, it seemed the band would not only garner more nominations, but also at least one win. Unlike some of her pop-rock counterparts, lead singer Florence Welch is neither manufactured or disingenuous, and often bares the depths of her soul through song. And that siren of a voice; it’s deep, sorrowful — at times euphoric — and as piercing as an arrow. But at just 26 years old, Welch, who was nominated for Best New Artist in 2011, still has plenty of time to join the ranks of tonight’s big winners.