Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry. Admit it: as much as you have heard enough about these three, you’d expect them to win big at the 53rd Grammy Awards, right? Wrong! Although Gaga left with three awards for “Best Pop Vocal Album,” “Best Short Film Music Video” and “Best Female Pop Vocal Performance,” while Bieber and Perry went home empty-handed, the major victories of the night went to the fairly unknown artists.
Country band Lady Antebellum were the ones that topped with the most wins, scoring five awards from their hit single and album, “Need You Now.” While the awards ended with many astonished faces, the night held several tributes to familiar and beloved performers.
The awards opened up on Sunday evening with a tribute to the recovering legend Aretha Franklin, who underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer in early December. Female powerhouses Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Yolanda Adams, Florence Welch and Martina McBride performed Franklin’s hit singles: “Ain’t No Way,” “Until You Come Back to Me,” “Think,” “Respect,” “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”
The victors of the night Lady Antebellum paid their respects to the late Teddy Pendergrass by performing “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” blended with their own singles, “American Honey” and award-winning “Need You Now.”
Also paying tribute, Norah Jones, John Mayer and Keith Urban played an acoustic version of Dolly Parton’s 1974-hit, “Jolene.” Cee-Lo Green performed his hit single “Forget You” with actress-turned-country-star Gwyneth Paltrow, wearing a rather funky outfit with giant rainbow feathers. But this was none other than to honor Elton John in The Muppets Show circa-1970s, where Elton John sported a more tropical version of the costume.
Bruno Mars and B.o.B. known for their duet on “Nothin’ On You,” teamed up with Janelle Monae, all dressed in suits, and performed each of their singles. The 25-year-old Mars rocked an old-school hair-do and even got on his knees to pay homage to James Brown.
The last honor of the night came from the The Rolling Stones’ own Mick Jagger, who paid tribute to those who have gone and to his hero, Solomon Burke (who passed away in October) by performing Burke’s “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love” for the first time on the Grammy stage.
The Grammy Award winners this year were unexpected to many. Viewers expected rapper Drake or teen sensation Justin Bieber to win the award for “Best New Artist” but the award went to jazz singer Esperanza Spalding, who made history as the first jazz artist to win the prestigious awards.
A lot of high hopes for Eminem, who was nominated for 10 different categories, were blown away when he took home only two awards for “Best Rap Album” and “Best Solo Performance.”
Another shocking outcome was Lady Gaga winning only three categories for which she received nods for. One of the most-talked about points about Gaga’s performance of her new single, “Born This Way,” was the way she vividly illustrated her song by making an entrance on the red carpet inside of an egg.
Former Beatles member Paul McCartney won his first Grammy Award in 31 years for “Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance” for “Helter Skelter,” beating out John Mayer, Neil Young, Robert Plant and the Band of Joy and Eric Clapton. The last time he won a Grammy Award was with his band Wings at the 22nd Grammy Awards in 1980. The night was certainly not one to forget.
Feelings of anxiety, astonishment and joy were shared among the nominees and the viewers, hoping their favorite artists would win the award they were nominated for. There is some debate from angry fans over who should have taken the gold, but there were certainly no losers. No matter who emerged the winner, hard work was acknowledged.