The biggest winners at the Grammy Awards didn’t open their mouths or show their faces all night, but they still took home all the top prizes.
Originally formed in 1993, the French dance-electronic duo Daft Punk stole the spotlight at Sunday evening’s 56th annual Grammy Awards, taking home five awards including the coveted dual honour of album and record of the year.
And all they had to do was nod and collect their Grammy trophies.
The helmet-clad duo – in reality Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel De Homem-Christo – stayed true to their manner of not speaking in public or showing their faces during their multiple trips to the podium to accept their Grammys.
In addition to record of the year, Daft Punk’s Get Lucky collected best pop duo/group performance and their album Random Access Memories was named album of the year, best electronic/dance album and best-engineered album.
The French electro-pop duo also won over the Staples Centre crowd in Los Angeles with a groove-sharing performance of Get Lucky, sharing the stage with Stevie Wonder and collaborator Pharrell Williams.
Other notable winners included rap newcomers Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and the teen pop sensation Lorde.
Macklemore & Lewis won four Grammys early in the broadcast including a trio of trophies: best rap album for The Heist along with best rap performance and rap song for the infectious Thrift Shop.
The 17-year-old Lorde performed her huge radio hit Royals and was handed the Grammy award for best pop solo performance and song of the year (which she shared with Royals co-writer Joel Little).
“Thank you everyone who has let this song explode, because it’s been mental,” said Lorde while accepting her first Grammy.
Running slightly more than 45 minutes late, last night’s Grammys broadcast was a rambling and eclectic affair that included a same-sex wedding, a semi-reunion of the two living Beatles, Madonna in a cowboy outfit and some awkward rap-dancing by Taylor Swift. The highlights:
BOW DOWN, JAY Z
The veteran rapper Jay Z won only two of his nine nominations, and played second fiddle to his wife Beyoncé, whose sultry, booty-centric rendition of her Drunk in Love opened the proceedings. The R&B singer, whose smash self-titled album from 2013 was released too late in the year for consideration this time around, was bleeped out by censors occasionally and did sexier things in a chair than we’ve seen since Sharon Stone was totally inappropriate in 1992’s Basic Instinct. It’s also possible that she started a whole new wet-curls fashion trend. Jay Z joined her for his verses, but he needn’t have bothered.
After Beyoncé's knockout opener, the collective groan heard was the TV-land reaction to the reality that for the third consecutive year, the bland former rapper LL Cool J would be the evening’s host. The NCIS: Los Angeles actor wore a cap, obeyed the teleprompter, wore a velvet-y suit and licked his lips a lot, but, as usual, failed to distinguish himself. He was a bit player on a broadcast that featured 20 performances.
Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O'Connor, better known by her stage name Lorde, won major honours – song of the year and pop solo performance – for her single Royals. Interestingly, the 17-year-old New Zealander was the next performer after Beyoncé and Jay Z. On a stripped down version of the hit, a goth-inspired Lorde sang about a queen bee, luxurious love affairs, fantasy life styles and craving a different kind of buzz than the kind enjoyed by the hip hop elite: “And we'll never be royals, it don't run in our blood.”
To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Grammy for best rock song went to Cut Me Some Slack, penned and performed by Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Kris Novolosec and Pat Smear. In accepting the award, Grohl said, “We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Paul and for Ringo… “ At which point Kris Novolosec cut in with “and if it weren’t for Black Sabbath and the Rolling Stones.” Which was a pretty valid point considering who was on the stage.
LONE STARR – AT FIRST
Former Beatle Ringo Starr had his moment in the Grammy spotlight with a game version of his 1973 hit Photograph. Ringo was joined onstage by a makeshift band that included Pete Frampton on guitar and other veteran musicians. Ringo got a standing ovation and applause from John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono and son Sean Lennon in the crowd, but why didn’t Paul join him on stage? Well apparently that's because Ringo, in a surprising turn, joined Paul McCartney onstage in a later performance (more below).
Julia Roberts wore a low-cut Erin Brockovich type cleavage to introduce the Beatles tribute. The Oscar-winning actress read the teleprompter with all the excitement of a school announcement, then introduced Sir Paul McCartney to play a “fabulous new song.” The so-called Beatles reunion amounted to Ringo Starr sitting in with McCartney and his band for a rendition of Queenie Eye, a Magical Mystery Tour-style tune off McCartney’s New album from a year ago. Starr was the more passive of the two drummers on stage, and he appeared to be off beat in the audience when he attempted to clap to Get Lucky later. This will only heighten the buzz leading up to their next joint performance at a taping of The Night That Changed America: A Grammys Salute to The Beatles, which takes place Jan. 27, to air on CBS on Feb. 9 – exactly 50 years after the band twisted and shouted its way into history on The Ed Sullivan Show.