Friday Review » Music

Updated: February 14, 2011 09:38 IST

Lady Gaga leaps out with Grammy wins

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Lady Gaga accepts the award for best pop vocal album at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles.
Lady Gaga accepts the award for best pop vocal album at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles.

Lady Gaga came into the Grammys hidden in an egg but she hatched a winner — she captured three trophies by mid-evening, including best pop vocal album for “The Fame Monster.”

But while she emerged as one of the evening’s early leaders, the singer — normally the most flamboyant performer on any bill — found herself out-Gaga’d by Cee Lo Green, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jim Henson Co.’s puppets, who gave a hilarious performance of “Forget You” that would have done Elton John proud.

Decked out in feathers of seemingly every hue, Green — who is nominated for record and song of the year for the dirty version of the song, “(Expletive) You,” crooned alongside a sassy gaggle of puppets and Paltrow, who performed “Forget You” on the Fox TV show “Glee” and perhaps should seriously consider joining hubby Chris Martin of Coldplay as a regular recording artist.

It was easily the show stopper in a night of performances that included Gaga, a tribute to Aretha Franklin, a retro performance from Bruno Mars, a raspy Bob Dylan and Justin Bieber getting upstaged by 12-year-old Jaden Smith.

British rock band Muse performed in its Grammy debut and won best rock album for “The Resistance.” It beat out Pearl Jam, Neil Young and British guitarist Jeff Beck, who won twice for instrumental performances.

The performances overshadowed the evening’s early winners. Jay-Z, John Legend and Lady Antebellum joined Gaga with three trophies, making them early winners.

Train, who had one of the year’s top songs with “Soul Sister” but found themselves shut out of contention for song or album of the year, got a major consolation prize Sunday as they took home a trophy for best pop performance by a duo or group with vocals for the live version of their ubiquitous song.

“Thanks, Justin Bieber, for not being a duo or group,” said joked frontman Pat Monahan (“Soul Sister” was ineligible for contention in other categories because it had been released in advance of the eligibility requirements.)

Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Martina McBride, best new artist nominee Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, and gospel singer Yolanda Adams gave their soulful, riffing best in an ear-popping tribute to a recovering Aretha Franklin that kicked off the show.

The Queen of Soul, who had surgery for an undisclosed ailment late last year, made her first televised appearance before a national audience and thanking well-wishers- “I wish that I could have been with you all tonight, but since I couldn’t, next year.”

That performance was followed shortly afterward by a typically over-the-top one by Gaga, who debuted her new anthem “Born This Way” by being “born“- She appeared out of an “Alien“-looking cocoon and seemed to transform into Madonna, circa 1987, as she pranced through the uptempo song, the first off her upcoming album.

Eminem was the leading nominee with 10, but his chance of a huge Grammy sweep was diminished as he lost five of the awards in the pre-telecast ceremony. He still picked up one — best rap solo performance, for “Not Afraid.”

Eminem still had a chance to win the top awards of the evening, including the elusive (for him) album of the year category. But the gifted and twisted rapper might get tripped up by some fierce competition, including a song that rivals him for coarseness {hbox}” Green’s “(Expletive) You,” which is in competition with Eminem’s “Love The Way You Lie,” featuring Rihanna, in the record and song of the year categories.

Eminem’s “Recovery” was 2010’s best-selling album and a favorite to win in the album category. It marked a major comeback for the rapper, considered one of the greatest but who had been addled by a prescription drug addiction and critical malaise in recent years. It is the third time he’s been nominated for album of the year; he’s lost twice before.

But he also faces tough competition in the category, from the likes of Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs” and Lady Gaga’s “The Fame Monster.” Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” and Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” are also nominated.

Gospel legend Mavis Staples was a tearful winner as she picked up the first Grammy of her career, for best Americana album, for “You Are Not Alone.”

“That was the shock of my life. My goodness. It’s been a long time, a long time coming,” she said, breaking into tears.

Young also won his first musical Grammy (he had won for best boxed box set in 2009). “I’m not Mavis, but I’m close,” he joked, as he held his trophy for best rock song for “Angry World.”

In the pre-televised ceremony, Toumani Diabate and the late Ali Farka Toure of Mali won best traditional world music album for “Ali And Toumani.” Their 2005 collaboration “In the Heart of the Moon”

Banjo maestro Bela Fleck won again for best contemporary world music album for “Throw Down Your Heart, Africa Sessions Part 2,” his 15th Grammy. The first volume of his Africa Sessions series, which explores the banjo’s African roots, won two Grammys.

In the Latin awards, Grupo Fantasma, a funky Latin orchestra from Austin, Texas, won best Latin rock, alternative or urban album for “El Existential,” taking home its first Grammy on its second trip to the awards show. It won over ChocQuibTown, the Afro-Colombian hip-hop trio nominated for best Latin rock, alternative or urban album, which performed “De Donde Vengo Yo” (Where I Come From), winner for best alternative song at the Latin Grammys in November.

“It’s a great thing,” said Jose Galeano, a singer and timbale player. “It’s time people start listening to this type of music ... It’s not reggaeton, it’s not rap. It’s a little bit of everything.”

The Spanish Harlem Orchestra won best tropical Latin album for “Viva La Tradicion,” its second win.

For best Latin jazz album, Cuban pianist Chucho Valdes and The Afro-Cuban Messengers won for “Chucho’s Steps.” Valdes has now won five Grammys, his last in 2009 for “Juntos Para Siempre,” which he made with his father, Bebo Valdes.

“VIVA LA MUSICA!” Chucho Valdes wrote on Twitter. “Happy for this new Grammy!”

Alejandro Sanz of Spain won best Latin pop album for “Paraiso Express,” his third Grammy win.

“Thanks very much. I’m happy,” Sanz wrote on Twitter.

Other Latin winners included Little Joe & La Familia for best Tejano album; Intocable for best Norteno album; El Guero Y Su Banda Centenario for best Banda album.

Buju Banton of Jamaica won best reggae album for “Before The Dawn.” Banton faces life in prison with a trial scheduled to begin Monday, five months after a previous jury hung on federal drug trafficking charges.

British duo La Roux won for best electronic album.

French DJ David Guetta and Afrojack won for best remixed recording, nonclassical, Guetta’s second win in that category.

Ray LaMontagne won best contemporary folk album for “God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise,” an unexpected hit that the singer-songerwriter produced himself after facing resistence from his label, RCA.

Dee Dee Bridgewater won for best jazz vocal album for her tribute to Billie Holiday. In the best jazz instrumental album category, the late James Moody bested the Vijay Iyer Trio.

In other traditional American categories, the black string band Carolina Chocolate Drops won for best traditional folk album, for “Genuine Negro Jig“; Buddy Guy won for best contemporary blues album for “Living Proof“; Pinetop Perkins and Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith won for best traditional blues album for “Joined At The Hip“; Patty Loveless won best bluegrass album for “Mountain Soul II“; Chubby Carrier and The Bayou Swamp Band won for best zydeco or Cajun album for “Zydeco Junkie“; Tia Carrere, who starred in the film “Wayne’s World,” won for best Hawaiian album; Gathering Of Nations Records’ won best Native American album for “2010 Gathering Of Nations Pow Wow- A Spirit’s Dance.”

Japanese guitarist Tak Matsumoto won for best pop instrumental album.

The Beatles’ complete remastered studio recordings won for best historical album. The Beatles last won for the remixed “Love” album, in the compilation soundtrack and surround-sound categories. Paul McCartney, meanwhile, won best solo rock vocal performance for “Helter Skelter” on “Good Evening New York City.”

Keywords: Grammy awards


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