Arts & Entertainment

Beyonce Makes Grammy History; Taylor Swift Wins Album of the Year

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LOS ANGELES -- It's a tribute to the Grammys' success at becoming more amusical spectacle than an awards show that on the night she madehistory, Beyonce was just another face in the crowd.

Pop's reigning diva earned six Grammys on Sunday, more than anywoman on a single night of the 52-year-old awards show. Her anthem"Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" was song of the year. But shedidn't come onstage to accept that - her collaborators said she wasprepping for a performance - and four of her other awards cameduring the non-televised pre-show.

The Grammys' four biggest awards were split four ways:20-year-old country chanteuse Taylor Swift won album of the year;family rockers Kings of Leon won record of the year for "UseSomebody"; and the Zac Brown Band was named best new artist.

The Grammys in recent years have tried to emphasize the musicmore than the awards, particularly by pairing younger performerswith veterans. This year, producers nailed it, with a doublealbum's worth of memorable performances.

Among the best were the Black Eyed Peas, who sang "I GottaFeeling" with a stage filled with what looked like dancingtomatoes and robots. Lady Gaga was predictably over the top,singing "Poker Face" and getting tossed into a bucket of firebefore emerging singed and combining forces with an equally dirtiedand bemused Elton John.

Green Day turned its "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" into asoaring beauty by joining the cast of a new musical based on its"American Idiot" album. Opera singer Andrea Bocelli held his ownwith a powerful, and heart-breaking rendition of "Bridge OverTroubled Water," done for the benefit of Haitian earthquakevictims.

An acrobatic Pink turned her "Glitter in the Air" into aCirque de Soleil-like performance, hanging suspended over theaudience as she sang. "That was amazing," an impressed KeithUrban said after she was done.

Memorable pairings included the white-haired, white-bearded andwhite-hatted Leon Russell joining the Zac Brown Band; Maxwell andRobert Flack singing a silky-smooth "Where is the Love"; andStevie Nicks, looking like a protective mom, joining Swift on her"You Belong With Me" and Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon."

An arresting performance of "Forever" and "Drop the World"with rappers Lil' Wayne, Drake and Eminem was rendered virtuallyincomprehensible by craters of silence inserted by CBS censors. Andthe 3-D tribute to Michael Jackson proved overrated, with CelineDion, Jennifer Hudson, Usher, Smokey Robinson and Carrie Underwoodlooking like they'd joined a production number from "AmericanIdol."

Swift, who won four Grammys, was the night's most visiblewinner. She beamed during her duet with Nicks, and seemed thrilledin her two acceptance speeches - while staying poised enough tothank her record company for letting her write her own songs, andexpress pride at bringing the album of the year prize to Nashville.

"This is for my dad," she said. "Thank you for all the timesyou said I could do whatever I wanted to do."

Beyonce was low-key during her one time onstage to accept hersixth trophy of he night, for best female pop vocal on the ballad"Halo." She offered thanks to her fans for their support.

Stagecraft was smooth; Lady Antebellum singer Hillary Scott, hitin the head by a falling curtain, calmly brushed it aside withoutmissing a note.

Host Stephen Colbert followed the new model of awards showhosts: coming out in the beginning for a handful of jokes thendisappearing - except to accept a Grammy of his own, for hissurrealistic Christmas musical.

He bemoaned the absence of Susan Boyle from Grammy night.

"You may be the coolest people in the world," Colbert said, abarely amused Jay-Z looking on, "but this year your industry wassaved by a 48-year-old Scottish cat lady in sensible shoes."

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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