There were plenty of over-the-top moments during Sunday night's (January 31) 52nd annual Grammy Awards, but none of them could outshine [artist id="1236911"]Beyoncé[/artist] and [artist id="2389485"]Taylor Swift[/artist].
Yes, the dynamic duo — who were nominated for a combined 16 Grammy Awards — took home 10 of them, with Beyoncé winning six, including Song of the Year, and Swift snagging four, including the night's biggest trophy, Album of the Year.
"I hope that you know how much this means to me ... that we get to take this back to Nashville!" Swift squealed while accepting the Album of the Year award. "Our families are freaking out in their living rooms! My dad and my little brother are losing their minds in our living room right now!"
Swift's three other Grammys came in the country category, with Fearless winning Best Country Album and her hit "White Horse" grabbing Best County Song and Best Female Country Vocal Performance. Beyoncé's haul was spread out across many categories. Her ubiquitous "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" won three Grammys, for Song of the Year, Best R&B Song and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. "Halo" won for Best Pop Female Vocal Performance, and her version of Etta James' "At Last" took home the award for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance.
"This has been such an amazing night for me," B said while accepting her Best Female Pop award. "I'd like to thank my family, including my husband [Jay-Z, just in case anyone didn't know]. I love you."
Following close behind Beyoncé and Swift were a pair of artists who won three Grammys, including [artist id="1269"]Jay-Z[/artist] (Best Rap Solo Performance, Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration) and the [artist id="1233888"]Kings of Leon[/artist], who shocked many (but not us) when their "Use Somebody" took home Record of the Year, a win they were definitely in the mood to celebrate.
"We're a little drunk, but we're happy drunk," Kings drummer Nathan Followill laughed while accepting the award, before rattling off a lengthy "thank you" list. "If there's anyone else I forgot; I'll buy you shots later."
Later in the telecast, while accepting the Grammy for Best Rock Album, [artist id="988"]Green Day's[/artist] Billie Joe Armstrong sounded like he was looking to party too, signing off with, "And now, I'm gonna have shots with Kings of Leon!"
Also in the mood to celebrate: the [artist id="30064"]Black Eyed Peas[/artist], who won three Grammys (one for Best Short Form Music Video); [artist id="502642"]Eminem[/artist], who took home two awards; and [artist id="3061469"]Lady Gaga[/artist], who won two of her own (though both were during the pre-televised ceremony).
But for all the award-accepting merriment, it was the performances that shined brightest on this Grammy night. Or at least they shined the loudest. Show producers gave out only a handful of awards during the actual telecast, deciding to focus instead on the talents they had assembled inside the Staples Center, and that talent delivered, with one massive spectacle after the next.
Lady Gaga kicked off the show with a theatrical version of "Poker Face" — which featured a steam-powered set dubbed "The Fame Factory," some flames and a pair of seriously sparkly shoulder pads — then welcomed Elton John to the stage for a dueling-piano take on Gaga's "Speechless" (and a few bars of the John/ Bernie Taupin classic "Your Song"). And, in keeping with the rather flamboyant nature of both artists, show producers made sure their conjoined piano was topped with severed mannequin arms.
It was a pretty epic opening, but Beyoncé didn't back down from the challenge. She stormed into Staples with an army of riot-gear-clad escorts, then got down to belting out a fiery version of "If I Were a Boy," complete with a shredding backing band and a brief foray into Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know." She wrapped up her performance by channeling her inner Tina Turner, dropping to her knees and singing for the rafters. By the time B had gotten to her feet, so had the audience, who showered her with applause.
Pink got aerial (and soaking wet) during her performance of "Glitter in the Air," which saw her wrapped in linen, sent soaring above the crowd at Staples, then dipped into a pool of water. The Black Eyed Peas rattled the roof with a booming medley of their hits, which featured a battalion of electric-clad dancers, Fergie donning her Robocop finest and Will.I.Am rocking an inexplicable black molding of his head on his head. Green Day offered a preview of their American Idiot musical, featuring members of the cast. And [artist id="510062"]Lil Wayne[/artist], [artist id="502642"]Eminem[/artist], [artist id="2545682"]Drake[/artist] and Travis Barker roared versions of Weezy's "Drop the World" and D's "Forever," though, judging by the frequent audio drops, it would seem the network censors got a little too anxious with the "delay" button.
There was also a 3-D tribute to the late Michael Jackson, which featured Celine Dion, Carrie Underwood, Smokey Robinson and Jennifer Hudson performing Jackson's "Earth Song," while 3-D images played around them (and featured unintentionally comical shots of stars like Rihanna, Beyoncé and Will.I.Am wearing their 3-D glasses in the audience). It will probably be remembered best for what happened next, as two of Jackson's children — son Prince and daughter Paris — accepted an honorary lifetime-achievement award in their father's memory.
"I want to thank the fans, our father loved you so much," Prince said, his voice wavering slightly. "We will continue to spread his message and help the world."
"Daddy was going to be here; he was going to perform this year, [because] he couldn't perform last year," his daughter Paris added. "Thank you. We love you, Daddy."
It was an emotional moment in a night largely bereft of them, though the [artist id="814"]Dave Matthews Band's[/artist] stirring performance of "You & Me," and Wyclef's from-the-heart speech about his native Haiti — in which he spoke in Creole and thanked the world for their support, before adding, "We will continue" — did manage to tug on the heartstrings. But this night will probably be best remembered for Beyoncé and Swift's dominance, not to mention the sheer spectacle of the performances, which proved that even in dour times, the music industry knows how to throw a party — a massive, eye-popping, over-the-top one at that.
The 2010 Grammy Awards may be over, but MTV News will have much, much more from the show, including reports on your favorite nominees, party photos, behind-the-scenes video and much more from the big show!