America: Meet your robot overlords. Your French robot overlords. The French electronic duo Daft Punk — the guys who dress like robots, don’t speak and are never seen without their helmets — were among the big winners at the 56th annual Grammy Awards, held Sunday night in Los Angeles.
The duo — comprised of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter — took home four Grammys in all; their disc Random Access Memories won the evening’s most prestigious award — Album of the Year — while their smash single “Get Lucky” was named Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. Random Access Memories also won for Dance/Electronic Album. Despite their trips to the podium, though, the duo never removed their helmets, and never spoke. Instead, they relied on some of the artists who were featured on the song and the album along with them — Pharrell Williams, Chic founder Nile Rodgers and songwriting legend Paul Williams — to do the talking for them.
“On the behalf of the robots, I’d just like to say, man, thank you,” Pharrell at one point, and later, he added, “Honestly, I bet France is really proud of these guys right now.” Paul Williams noted that when he used to drink, he would imagine things that weren’t there. He joked, “Then, I got sober and two robots called me and asked me to make an album.”
But French robots weren’t the only winners: Seattle rappers also took home Grammy gold. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were named Best New Artist, and also took home three Grammys in the rap category for their album The Heist and their smash hit “Thrift Shop.” The duo were also responsible for one of the most show-stopping moments of the night. During their performance of the gay marriage anthem “Same Love,” Queen Latifah “married” 33 couples in the audience, some gay and some straight, and then Madonna came out and sang a bit of her hit “Open Your Heart.” She then joined Mary Lambert, the female singer on “Same Love,” for a duet on the end of the track.
Accepting Best New Artist, Macklemore, whose birth name is Ben Haggerty, said, “Before there was any media, before there was any buzz, before there was a story, there was our fans. Without them, there would be no us.”
Also among the winners: 17-year-old New Zealand singer/songwriter Lorde, who won Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance for her #1 smash “Royals.” She’s the youngest artist ever to win Song of the Year. After her first win, for Best Pop Solo Performance, the singer told the audience, “This is the one thing that I did not expect the most about tonight.” After her Song of the Year win, which she shared with her co-writer Joel Little, she said, “Thank you to everyone who has let the song explode, ’cause it’s been mental!”
Lorde also performed a haunting, semi-a cappella version of “Royals,” and her dark fingernail art, which looked as though she dipped her fingers in ink, quickly became a topic of conversation, and inspired a Twitter feed, “Lorde’s Fingernails.” A similar thing happened with Pharrell Williams, who sported a series of comically-oversized hats during the ceremony: a Twitter feed called “Pharrell’s hat” followed.
It was also a good night for Beatles fans. Not only did Paul McCartney share the Best Rock Song Honors for “Cut Me Some Slack,” a track which he released last year with the remaining members of Nirvana, but he also took the stage to perform one of his new songs, “Queenie Eye,” while his old Beatles mate Ringo Starr played drums. Ringo himself also performed separately, playing his classic hit “Photograph” backed up by an enormous band that included Peter Frampton on guitar.
Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison – — the widows of John Lennon and George Harrison — respectively — were also in the audience; Yoko danced up a storm, in fact. Yoko and Olivia also helped announce the Album of the Year category. Why the Beatles love? The group received a Lifetime Achievement Award, and it was also a way of promoting the upcoming CBS special marking the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Other winners included Bruno Mars, who won Best Pop Vocal Album for Unorthodox Jukebox, Rihanna, who won Best Urban Contemporary Album for Unapologetic, Alicia Keys, who won Best R&B Album for Girl on Fire, rising country star Kacey Musgraves, who beat out Taylor Swift to win Best Song and Best Country Album, and rock legends Led Zeppelin, who won their first-ever Grammy for a live album that documented their reunion concert a few years ago. Adele, meanwhile, won her tenth — that’s right, tenth — Grammy for “Skyfall,” and tweeted her thanks; she wasn’t there.
The man who entered the Grammys with the most nominations — Jay Z — only went home with one, for “Holy Grail,” his collaboration with Justin Timberlake. However, he won the night by opening the show with his wife Beyonce, performing a super-sexy duet of her song “Drunk in Love.” And when he won his Grammy, he addressed his and Beyonce’s one-year-old daughter Blue Ivy from the podium by saying, “Daddy got a gold sippy cup for you!”
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