Mumford & Sons wrapped up a completely unpredictable Grammy Awards with perhaps the most surprising win of the night, taking home album of the year for Babel. Even the London folk-rockers were shocked when Adele, who won the trophy last year, presented her countrymen with the award. “We figured we weren’t going to win anything because The Black Keys have been sweeping up all day, rightfully so,” Marcus Mumford said.
Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys ended up the night’s top winner with four trophies, including producer of the year and three rock category victories with bandmate Patrick Carney. But it was hardly a clean sweep as The Recording Academy’s thousands of voters spread the love for the year’s top singles.
Fun. took home major awards for best new artist, in something of an upset over R&B singer Frank Ocean, and song of the year for the transcendent anthem We Are Young, featuring Janelle Monae.
“I didn’t think we were going to win this one,” lead singer Nate Ruess said after the best new artist win. “Frank Ocean. The Lumineers. Everybody, amazing.”
Like Mumford & Sons, Gotye busted up the predictions, taking record of the year for 2012’s top-selling single, the haunting Somebody That I Used To Know, featuring New Zealand’s Kimbra, and finished with three awards.
Prince, in hood and sunglasses and carrying a sparkly silver cane, presented him with the record of the year trophy and the Australian paid tribute to The Purple One’s influence.
“A little bit lost for words, to receive an award from the man standing behind us with the cane,” the Belgian-Australian Gotye said. “Many years listening to this man’s music growing up and a big reason I was inspired to make music. Thank you.”
Jay-Z and Kanye West had three wins — sharing one award with Ocean — along with electronica star Skrillex, and a slew of nominees had two wins apiece, including former best new artist winner Esperanza Spalding.
Ocean was shut out in the major categories, but took home two trophies, including best urban contemporary album. Only Chris Brown, with whom Ocean scuffled last month, remained seated as the 25-year-old R&B winner walked to the stage during a standing ovation. Ocean beat Brown, who attended with girlfriend Rihanna, in the category.
Ocean also won best rap/sung collaboration for No Church in the Wild with fellow top nominees Jay-Z and West, and The-Dream. The win came after victories for Jay-Z and West for best rap song and best rap performance for ... in Paris, another Watch the Throne track. Ocean also performed his love song Forrest Gump.
We Are Young helped fun. earn a starring role at these Grammys with nominations in all four major categories after the release of their first album, matched only by Christopher Cross in 1981, and six overall. The band turned in a powerful early performance of Carry On as a downpour on stage began mid-song and guitarist Jack Antonoff got a kiss from girlfriend Girls creator Lena Dunham after winning.
The Black Keys took best rock performance for Lonely Boy during the main telecast and earlier in the day won best rock song for Lonely Boy and best rock album for El Camino. He also got an assist — but no trophy — on New Orleans legend Dr John’s best blues album Locked Down, which he produced.
Other winners included Rihanna, Beyonce, Mumford & Sons and Taylor Swift, who opened the show as the Mad Hatter. Swift dressed in white top hat, tails, shorts and tall boots during the surreal version of her hummable hit We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together that included a troop of mime clowns and a guy on a tricycle with a flame-thrower attached.
The singer pretended to talk to the offending boyfriend on the phone: “I’m busy opening the Grammys and we’re never getting back together.”
Justin Timberlake debuted new tracks Suit & Tie with Jay-Z and Pusher Love in a performance that was broadcast in retro black and white. Rihanna and the extended Marley family paid tribute to Bob Marley. Sting and Bruno Mars helped each other out on their hits Locked Out of Heaven and Walking on the Moon.
Elton John and Ed Sheeran teamed on The A Team and Miguel and Wiz Khalifa joined forces on Adorn. Alicia Keys played drums during Maroon 5’s Daylight, before Adam Levine’s band backed her on Girl on Fire.
Jack White brought both his male and female bands on stage, tearing through Love Interruption and Freedom at 21 before a standing ovation from the crowd. And Elton John, Mavis Staples, Brown, Mumford & Sons and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes paid tribute to the late Levon Helm with a spirited rendition of The Weight.
Adele won the first award of the night on the main telecast, taking home best pop solo performance for Set Fire to the Rain (Live), in one of the night’s least-surprising moments — though the singer was somewhat taken aback.
“I just wanted to be part of the night, because I loved it last year, obviously,” she said of winning a record-tying six awards in 2012.
Carrie Underwood won best country solo performance for Blown Away, Zac Brown Band won best country album for Uncaged and Kelly Clarkson turned in the night’s most exuberant acceptance speech after winning best pop vocal album for Stronger. After hugging much of the front row and momentarily getting stuck to Miranda Lambert’s dress, Clarkson charged the stage with a giant smile.
Skrillex won best dance recording for Bangarang, featuring Sirah, best dance/electronica album for Bangarang and best remixed recording a year after winning those same awards in his first appearance at the Grammys.
“You know what, I thought I’d get used to it, but I tripped over every word when I was up there,” Skrillex said of his acceptance speeches. “I felt like I just wanted a pool of ice water and just couldn’t even breathe or think. It was crazy. I think it was even crazier than last year.”
Colombian pop superstar Juanes performed with just a guitar during the main telecast. Earlier, he took home the award for best Latin pop album for his MTV Unplugged album.
Canadian rapper Drake won his first Grammy, the best rap album award for Take Care.
Paul McCartney won best traditional pop vocal album for Kisses On The Bottom, while The Beach Boys earned best historical album, the group’s first Grammy, for The Smile Sessions.
Other early winners included Ravi Shankar. The sitar virtuoso, ambassador of Indian music and friend of The Beatles, who died in December at 92, won best world music album for The Living Room Sessions Part 1.
Anoushka Shankar, his daughter, accepted the award on his behalf. The sitarist was also a nominee for her album Traveller.
Quetzal, a bilingual Los Angeles rock band, won for best Latin rock, urban or alternative album for Imaginaries. Cuban-born trumpeter Arturo Sandoval won for best large jazz ensemble, his fourth Grammy.
The Latin jazz award, which was restored this year after its elimination was met with widespread protests, went to The Clare Fischer Latin Jazz Big Band for ¡Ritmo! Bandleader and keyboardist Clare Fischer passed away in 2012. Jamaica’s Jimmy Cliff won the reggae award for Rebirth.
WINNERS Pop/duo group performance
Somebody That I Used to Know, Gotye featuring KimbraTraditional pop vocal album
Kisses on the Bottom, Paul McCartneyRap performance:
N(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)s in Paris, Jay-Z, Kanye WestRap song:
N(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)s in Paris, Shawn Carter, Mike Dean, Chauncey Hollis, Kanye WestRap album
Take Care, DrakeR&B performance
limax, UsherTraditional R&B performance
Love on Top, BeyonceR&B song
Adorn, Miguel PimentelR&B album
Black Radio, Robert Glasper ExperimentRock song
Lonely Boy, The Black KeysRock album
El Camino, The Black Keys.Hard rock/metal performance
Love Bites (So Do I), HalestormAlternative music album
Making Mirrors, GotyeDance recording
Bangarang, Skrillex featuring SirahDance/electronica album
Bangarang, SkrillexLatin pop album
MTV Unplugged Deluxe Edition, Juanes.Latin rock, urban or alternative album
Imaginares, QuetzalLatin jazz album
Ritmo!, The Clare Fisher Latin Jazz Big BandTropical Latin album
Retro, Marlow Rosado Y La RiquenaCountry duo/group performance
Pontoon, Little Big TownCountry song
Blown Away, Josh Kear, Chris TompkinsGospel song
Go Get It, Mary MaryGospel album
Gravity, LeeraeBlues album
Locked Down, Dr JohnFolk album
The Goat Rodeo Sessions, Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, Chris ThileAmericana album
Slipstream, Bonnie RaittBluegrass album
Nobody Knows You, Steep Canyon RangersReggae album
Rebirth, Jimmy CliffWorld music album
The Living Room Sessions Part 1, Ravi ShankarChildren’s album
Can You Canoe?, The Okee Dokee BrothersSpoken word album
Society’s Child: My Autobiography, Janis IanComedy album:
Blow Your Pants Off, Jimmy FallonNew age album
Echoes of Love, Omar AkramJazz vocal album
Radio Music Society, Esperanza SpaldingJazz instrumental album
Unity Band, Pat Metheny Unity BandLarge jazz ensemble album
Dear Diz (Every Day I Think of You), Arturo SandovalPop instrumental album
Impressions, Chris BottiCompilation soundtrack album
Midnight in Paris, various artistsScore soundtrack album
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Trent Reznor, Atticus RossSong written for visual media
Safe & Sound (From The Hunger Games), Taylor Swift, John Paul White, Joy WilliamsMusical theatre album:
Once: A New Musical, Steve Kazee, Cristin MiliotiProducer of the year, classical
Blanton AlspaughProducer of the year, non-classical
Dan AuerbachInstrumental composition
Mozart Goes Dancing, Chick CoreaOrchestral performance:
Adams: Harmonielehre & Short Ride in a Fast Machine, Michael Tilson Thomas (San Francisco Symphony)Opera recording
Wagner, Der Ring des Nibelungen, James Levine and Fabio LuisiChoral performance
Life & Breath: Choral Works by Rene Clausen, Charles BruffyShort-form music video
We Found Love, Rihanna featuring Calvin HarrisLong-form music video
Big Easy Express, Mumford & SonsHistorical album
The Smile Sessions (Deluxe Box Set), Alan Boyd, Mark Linett, Brian Wilson, Dennis Wolfe.