LOS ANGELES — The Grammys spread the love.
Fun., whose anthemic and semi-dark jam “We Are Young” dominated the charts in 2012, won song of the year. Gotye’s massive and oddball pop hit, “Somebody I Used to Know,” picked up record of the year. And folk-rockers Mumford & Sons won album of the year for their platinum-selling “Babel.”
Fun. also won best new artist, besting Frank Ocean in an upset.
The recording academy had a clear message at its 55th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday night: There are a lot of top acts today with both mainstream appeal and an edge to their music, and the academy was happy to reward them all.
“One after the other, it was like, ‘And the Black Keys...,’ so I think we just sort of resigned ourselves to like, last year was Adele’s year and this year would be the Black Keys,” said lead singer Marcus Mumford, who thought his band would lose album of the year to the Black Keys.
Then Mumford added in a loud scream once he learned they won: “It’s (expletive) awesome!”
Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, the night’s big winner with four trophies, was one of six acts with the most nominations — six each. He won non-classical producer of the year, while the Black Keys earned the best rock album, song and performance honors.
“Thank you to our families and everybody in Akron, Ohio, and everybody in Nashville,” the band’s drummer, Patrick Carney, said.
The Black Keys dominated the rock category, while Jay-Z and Kanye West did the same in the rap area. But the pop, country and R&B categories were a reflection of the top four honors, with no single act dominating. Winners in those categories ranged from Adele to Paul McCartney, Carrie Underwood to the Zac Brown Band, and Usher to Miguel.
Ocean, Mumford & Sons, Jay-Z, Kanye West and fun. were also the top nominees of the night, and they won multiple Grammys.
But Ocean — who was anticipated to win best new artist — won two trophies and was restricted to the urban categories. It was another year the Grammys dissed a rap or R&B artist from the top awards. Last year, West lost in an upset and in 2011 it was Eminem.
Ocean’s official studio debut, “channel ORANGE,” did win best urban contemporary album. He also won best rap/sung collaboration for “No Church In the Wild” with West, Jay-Z and The-Dream.
But the R&B singer released one of the year’s most critically revered albums last year, which made several best-of-the-year lists. He also made headlines when he revealed his first love was a man shortly before the album’s release.
Ocean’s loss to fun. for best new artist was a shock, but the band’s win was understood. The pop-rock trio had two of the year’s biggest hits with “We Are Young” and “Some Nights.” Their sophomore album, “Some Nights,” is also near-platinum.
“Making music for 12 years — you don’t think you’ll get Grammy-nominated,” lead singer Nate Ruess said backstage. “Radio and mainstream just kind of picked up on (us) and it feels good for us after 12 years of people kind of just ignoring you and always feeling like you’re kind of the bridesmaid.”
Like fun., Gotye had a monstrous hit with the Kimbra-assisted “Somebody that I Used to Know,” and it won record of the year and best pop duo/group collaboration. His album, “Making Mirrors,” won best alternative music album.
Gotye’s three wins were joined by Black Keys, West, Jay-Z and Skrillex, who picked up the same trophies he won last year.
“You know what, I thought I’d get used to it, but I tripped over every word when I was up there. I felt like I just wanted a pool of ice water and just couldn’t even breathe or think,” said the electronic-DJ, who won best dance recording, dance/electronica album and remixed recording. “It was crazy. I think it was even crazier than last year.”
Double winners included Ocean, fun., Mumford & Sons, Chick Corea, Esperanza Spalding and Matt Redman.
The various winners of the night were hard to predict. Mumford & Sons won album of the year, though the band lost best Americana album to Bonnie Raitt. And fun. won song of the year and best new artist, but lost best pop vocal album to Kelly Clarkson.
The performances — like usual — was also a reflection of diversity in music: Taylor Swift opened with her pop smash “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and Miguel sang his R&B hit “Adorn” onstage and off of it.
“Miguel, I don’t know who the hell you are, but we need to sing together,” Clarkson said when accepting an award. “I mean, good god. That was the sexiest dancing I’ve ever seen.”
The night’s most memorable performance was the tribute to Levon Helm, which featured Elton John, Mumford & Sons, T Bone Burnett and the raspy vocals of Mavis Staples and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes.
They earned a standing ovation. Jack White, who was nominated for the album of the year, was also well-received Sunday night.
Justin Timberlake made a return to the Grammy stage, performing his new hit “Suit & Tie” and a new song, the falsetto-heavy “Push Your Love Girl.” Jay-Z joined the pop star onstage, and there were more collaborations like it throughout the night.
Alicia Keys joined Maroon 5, Miranda Lambert sang with Dierks Bentley, and Rihanna, Bruno Mars and Sting paid tribute to Bob Marley. They were joined by Damian and Ziggy Marley. The crowd sang along during “Could You Be Loved.”
Adele, who was last year’s big winner with six trophies, won best pop performance for “Set Fire to the Rain (Live).” She said backstage that she’s enjoying motherhood and is at the beginning stages of recording her next album.
“I’ve been up since 6 a.m. so I’m quite tired. But it’s nice, I haven’t been as stressed out,” she said. “You kind of have to prioritize what you stress about and worry about when you have a child.”
EARLIER REPORT: LOS ANGELES — Mumford & Sons wrapped up a completely unpredictable Grammy Awards on Sunday with perhaps the most surprising win of the night, taking home album of the year for “Babel.”
It was an event that even shocked the London folk-rockers.
“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 best new artist, in something of an upset over 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 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,” 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 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 won 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 song ``Forrest Gump,'' the love song written about a man that first started the buzz that led to his announcement that his first love was a man.
``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 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.
``Miguel, I don't know who the hell you are, but we need to sing together,'' she said. ``I mean, good God. That was the sexiest dancing I've ever seen.''
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.''
Celebrities rolled down the red carpet in the early afternoon under heavy police guard during a continued manhunt for an alleged cop killer. Many stars showed a fair amount of skin — check out the Twitter pic of Ellen DeGeneres ogling Katy Perry's revealing dress — despite CBS's mandate that stars dress appropriately with butts, breasts and other sensitive areas covered adequately.
Nevertheless, Jennifer Lopez showed up on stage in a dress slit all the way to her hip.
``As you can see, I read the memo,'' Lopez joked.