Big night for Beyonce
It's ladies night and the music's right at the Grammys
We all knew the 2010 Grammy Awards ceremony was going to be a girls' night out. The only question was which one of last year's top female hit-makers was going to leave the Staples Center on Sunday night feeling a bit more golden than the others.
Between top nominees Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and the Fergie-led Black Eyed Peas, all parties left floating on air even as they were weighted down with Grammy gold.
Houston-born soul diva Beyonce was the night's top winner, amassing six awards out of her leading 10 nominations, including the prestigious song of the year award as well as best R&B song and best R&B female vocal for "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It"). Beyonce also took home best female pop vocal performance for "Halo," best R&B contemporary album for "I Am... Sasha Fierce," and best traditional R&B performance for her rendition of Etta James' famed "At Last" featured in the movie, Cadillac Records.
With the six awards, Beyonce set a new record for the most Grammy Awards won by a female artist in a single night. In the past decade, most top female artists have topped out at five. Since Alicia Keys earned her five in 2002, Norah Jones (2003), the Dixie Chicks (2007), Amy Winehouse (2008) and Allison Krauss (2009) have all equaled that number. Even Beyonce, on her last big Grammy night in 2004, maxed out at five.
Beyonce's singular riches were a bit of an anomaly in one of the most democratic and predictable Grammy Award ceremonies in recent years. For the most part, the top nominees were dominant in their respective genres.
Twenty-year-old country darling Taylor Swift, who came into the night with eight nominations (second only to Beyonce) was a close runner-up for having the best Grammy night of any artist after winning album of the year for Fearless. After a two-and-a-half hour show that seemed to be tilting Beyonce's way, it was a bit of a surprise that Swift took home the most coveted award of the night to run her grand total to four.
Swift also won best country album honors for Fearless and then picked her way through the rest of the country category, winning best female country vocal and best country song for "White Horse."
The Black Eyed Peas showed up big in the pop categories, taking the best pop performance by a duo or group with vocals for last year's big hit, "I Gotta Feeling," and best pop vocal album for The E.N.D and best short-form music video for "Boom Boom Pow.
Lady Gaga beat out both the Black Eyed Peas and Madonna for best dance recording honors for her club favorite, "Poker Face." She also took the best electronic/dance album Grammy for her top-selling album The Fame.
Gaga's biggest win of the night, however, was in public relations. She won the crowd over to open the Grammy ceremonies with a dance medley of her hit "Poker Face" and "Speechless" wearing a sequined, shoulder-padded nightmare. She then sat facing her fashion mentor Elton John on a dueling piano and performed a reworked version of his classic, "Your Song."
"You never know who they're going to put together," said presenter (and Grammy winner for best comedy album) Stephen Colbert.
If there is any celebrated tradition at the Grammy Awards it is the unexpected performance pairings and the sometimes unconventional and surprising songs artists work into their precious prime-time performance minutes. Beyonce could've made a medley out of her many hit songs but instead chose to mix her hit "If I Were A Boy," with a surprise cover of Alannis Morrisette's "You Oughta Know."
Soulful Mary J. Blige and classically trained Andrea Bocelli made for a powerful and emotional match on a cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in support of the Haitian people as they recover from the earthquake that recently rocked the island nation.
The Michael Jackson tribute, featuring Smokey Robinson, Usher, Celine Dion, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson singing the King of Pop's "Earth Song" in a collective duet with a tape of his original recording, fell a little flat by comparison. (And the accompanying 3-D video was headache-inducing if you didn't have a pair of 3-D glasses handy. I didn't.)
The short-n-sweet acceptance speeches by Jackson's two children, Paris and Prince, on behalf of their father was all that was needed to get tear-ducts swelling in remembrance of an icon lost.
Not surprisingly, it was a powerful female hitmaker who stole all focus from the rest of the live performances. Wearing a white Princess Leia hooded cape that gave way to a super-sheer body suit, Pink put her little-known song, "Glitter in the Air," on the map by performing it while spinning on a swath of drapery Cirque de Soleil style. The entire arena of artists and celebrities seemed captivated not only by her vocal prowess but her willingness to perform such a physically challenging stunt in the name of entertainment.
The biggest surprise of the night was rock band Kings of Leon beating out all the ladies to win record of the year honors for the song "Use Somebody." Coupled with wins for best rock song and best rock performance by a duo or group with vocal for the same song, they were the big winners among the male artists on a night that belonged to the women.