LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Grammy awards were bestowed widely yesterday as Australian singer Gotye, New York indie-pop trio FUN. and British folk band Mumford & Sons took home top honors on the music’s industry’s biggest night.
On an evening that rewarded mostly young or lesser known artists over veterans and household names, British folk band Mumford & Sons picked up two Grammys, including the coveted Album of the Year for ‘Babel’.
Unlike last year, when British singer Adele swept the board with six trophies, there was no single big winner.
Ohio rockers The Black Keys, formed by Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, took home three Grammys including Best Rock Album for ‘El Camino’. Auerbach also won the prestigious Producer of the Year award, bring his tally to four.
Mumford & Sons went into the ceremony with six nominations but the Londoners had to wait until the last minutes of the 3 and 1/2 hour televised show to claim the top prize.
“We just sort of resigned ourselves that last year was Adele’s year and this year would be the Black Keys’ year,” lead singer Marcus Mumford told reporters backstage, adding that it felt “awesome” to finally win.
FUN. was named Best New Artist and won Song of the Year for its smash 2012 hit “We Are Young.”
“I don’t know what I was thinking writing the chorus of this song. This is HD (television), everyone can see our faces, and we are not very young. We have been doing this for 12 years,” lead singer Nate Ruess said while accepting the award.
Australia’s Gotye won three Grammys, including Record of the Year for his heartbreak hit “Somebody That I Used to Know”.
The singer-songwriter said he was surprised by the runaway global success of the song, which was recorded in a barn on his father’s property in Australia.
“I wouldn’t mind if I don’t have another song that has a moment like this… I have written maybe better songs and hopefully will write better songs,” Gotye told reporters backstage.
Rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West walked off with three trophies, two for their collaboration “N****s in Paris” and one for their song “Mercy,” which also featured R&B star Frank Ocean.
The 80-plus Grammy categories are voted on by members of the Recording Academy, which is made up of creative and industry professionals in the music world.
But only a handful of awards were presented on Sunday’s telecast, which included performances from Rihanna, Elton John, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Alicia Keys, and Bruno Mars.
Justin Timberlake returns
The night’s other winners included electronic music DJ Skrillex with three awards, Adele, Zac Brown Band, Miguel.
Kelly Clarkson, the first winner of TV contest “American Idol,” gave a shout out to up-and-coming Los Angeles R&B artist Miguel as she collected her Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album, saying, “I don’t know who the hell you are but we need to sing together… That was the sexiest damn thing I’ve ever seen.”
One of the night’s most anticipated performers, Justin Timberlake, returned to the spotlight with his first televised performance since he released “Suit & Tie” in January, his first new song in five years.
Timberlake sang and danced with performers dressed in suits and ties in a throwback black and white speakeasy-style set, joined by rapper Jay-Z.
The former member of boy band N’Sync also debuted a smooth R&B song called “Pusher Love Girl,” from his upcoming album ‘The 20/20 Experience’.
Country-pop darling Taylor Swift kicked off the show with a circus-themed set for her hit single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”
Bruno Mars, Rihanna and Sting joined Ziggy and Damian Marley for a lively tribute to late reggae singer Bob Marley, featuring “Locked Out of Heaven,” “Walking on the Moon” and Marley’s hit love song “Could You Be Loved.”
Rihanna chose to forego her usual dance-heavy stage performances for a stripped-down rendition of the ballad “Stay,” accompanied only by a piano.
Fusing rock and R&B, pop-rockers Maroon 5 joined Alicia Keys on stage to duet on their hits “Daylight” and “Girl on Fire.”
Britain’s Elton John led a tribute to the late US rock musician Levon Helm of “The Band,” singing “The Weight” with Mumford & Sons, Mavis Staples, Zac Brown Band and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes.
The song was also dedicated to the victims of the Sandy Hook school tragedy in December, where 20 children and six staff were shot to death.