British folk-rock band Mumford & Sons, blues-rock duo the Black Keys, and the pop band fun. won big at the Grammy Awards on Sunday, where no single act emerged as a dominant force.
Mumford & Sons won album of the year for its strummy sophomore release, “Babel.” Fun. took home best new artist and song for “We Are Young,” its collaboration with Janelle MonŠe.
The Belgian-Australian singer Gotye and R&B singer Frank Ocean were also significant winners at the 55th annual Grammys in Los Angeles.
“I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote this song,” fun.’s Nate Ruess, 30, said in accepting the golden gramophone for best song. “If you’re watching in HD, you can see our faces, and you can see that we’re not very young.”
Gotye, born Wouter De Backer, won record of the year for his hit “Somebody That I Used to Know” and accepted with the singer Kimbra, who is featured on the song. Better still for Gotye, the award was presented by Prince, who said: “Ooh, I love this song.”
Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney of the Black Keys won three awards, best rock album for “El Camino” and rock performance and song for “Lonely Boy.” Auerbach also won as best producer.
Like a shuffling iPod, the telecast jumped among genres and styles. A country performance by Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley gave way to a tribute to late “American Bandstand” host Dick Clark by Grammy host LL Cool J, who introduced R&B singer Miguel and rapper Wiz Khalifa, who gave the award for country song to Carrie Underwood.
Ocean’s “Channel Orange” captured urban contemporary album. He picked up another award for his role in writing Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” but was shut out in the three major categories for which he was nominated.
In the urban contemporary category, Ocean went up against Chris Brown, weeks after the two had a dustup in a Los Angeles parking lot. To cap off a bad weekend for Brown, who crashed his Porsche into a wall Saturday while he said he was fleeing from paparazzi, Ocean won the face-off, with “Channel Orange” topping “Fortune.”
Other multiple winners, unsurprisingly, included West and Jay-Z, who won three awards, including best rap song and performance for “N****s in Paris.”
More surprising among the multiple-award-winners was jazz pianist Chick Corea, who won best improvised solo for “Hot House,” with Garry Burton, and best instrumental composition. Carrie Underwood also won two, for country solo performance and country song, for “Blown Away.”
The most anticipated performance of the night came from Justin Timberlake, the ‘N Sync-er-turned-actor, who in March will release his first album in seven years, “The 20/20 Experience.”
Timberlake wore evening dress for the single “Suit & Tie” and showed off a fine falsetto as Jay-Z joined him and as the TV screen went black-and-white, to ensure that everyone understood how retro-classy it was.
More smoking than that was the Black Keys performance, in which the Akron, Ohio, duo were joined by members of New Orleans’ Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Dr. John, in full Night Tripper regalia.
Better still was a tribute to late Band singer and drummer Levon Helm that featured Elton John, Mavis Staples, Zack Brown, Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes and Mumford & Sons, all taking turns singing spirited verses of “The Weight.”
“American Idol” alum Kelly Clarkson was another big winner, garnering best pop vocal album for “Stronger.” Clarkson was charmingly excited in her acceptance speech, shouting out to R&B singer Miguel: “I don’t know who you are, but we need to sing together. That was the sexiest thing I ever heard.”
Taylor Swift, who opened the show with an Alice in Steampunk take on her revenge song “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” won a trophy for best song for visual media for “Safe & Sound,” performed with the Civil Wars in “The Hunger Games.”
Lifetime Achievement Grammys were given to Ravi Shankar, the Temptations, Carole King, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Patti Page, Glenn Gould, and Charlie Haden.