Robots and newbie win top honours
TWO unconventional acts, French electronic-music DJ duo Daft Punk and New Zealand teen Lorde, took home the top Grammy awards on Sunday in a night that rewarded robots and newcomers, and recognised marriage equality.
Kicking off the 31/2-hour show, Beyonce sang Drunk In Love with her rapper husband Jay Z. And in a first for the Grammys, or any big United States awards show, 33 couples - both same-sex and straight - were married by singer Queen Latifah, to the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis gay-rights anthem, Same Love.
Madonna emerged in a white suit and a cowboy hat to conclude the singing ceremony with Open Your Heart.
The music industry's glamorous gathering also saw the two surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, come together for a rare joint performance coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the British group's breakthrough on US television.
The quirky robotic duo, Daft Punk, scored the double win of album of the year for Random Access Memories, and record of the year with the summer dance hit Get Lucky, featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers.
Rodgers praised the French DJ duo for creating their electronic-music album using live music recorded onto analogue tape, calling it a "labour of love".
"The fact that they decided to put this much effort into the music and bring in musicians, they had this incredible vision and they believed they achieved something greater by doing that," Rodgers said backstage.
Formed in the early 1990s by Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, Daft Punk were pioneers of the electronic-dance music phenomenon that has recently swept the US mainstream pop industry.
It was impossible to know what the two masked musicians thought about their big win, because they choose not to speak as part of their act.
Lorde, 17, won the Grammys for song of the year and best pop solo performance with her breakout hit Royals, sharing the award for songwriting with New Zealand songwriter Joel Little. They triumphed over the writers behind Katy Perry's Roar and Bruno Mars' Locked Out Of Heaven, among others.
Lorde, known for her gothic aesthetic that goes against the sexy, scantily clad norm of young pop artists, said: "Thank you to everyone who has let this song explode, because it has been mental."
The Recording Academy also anointed Seattle-based rapper-producer newcomers Macklemore & Ryan Lewis with the Grammy for best new artist and three other awards in rap categories.
With their homage to marriage equality, the duo presided over the most dramatic moment of the night - the mass-marriage ceremony in a cathedral-like setting, an initiative that Queen Latifah hoped would be emulated across the rap genre.
The 56th Grammy Awards, the music industry's top honours handed out by the Recording Academy across 82 categories, also rewarded a crop of newcomers in several genres.
Kacey Musgraves, 25, won best country album with Same Trailer Different Park, while alternative rockers Imagine Dragons won best rock performance for Radioactive.
Kendrick Lamar, a rap protege of Dr. Dre, was nominated for seven awards, but did not win any. The night's other big losers included Taylor Swift, who had been up for four awards, and Drake, who had been nominated for five.
There was also 71-year-old McCartney, who teamed up with former members of grunge-rock band Nirvana, including Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, to win best rock song for Cut Me Some Slack.
McCartney said: "It was magic for me playing with these guys.
"I found myself in the middle of a Nirvana reunion and I was very happy."
John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, and son Sean Lennon were in the crowd dancing along on Sunday.