Category: Grammys

Grammys 2012: Chris Brown wins R&B album

ChrisChris Brown’s “F.A.M.E.” won for R&B album at the 54th Grammy Awards on Sunday, capping off a rocky comeback year for one of pop/R&B’s most talked-about bad boys.

Brown’s personal narrative following his 2009 felony assault on ex-girlfriend Rihanna has been a mixed bag, at best. He spent much of 2010 seeking redemption and the greater part of last year making numerous missteps in the media, including Twitter rants, garnering criticism from GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation; a violent meltdown backstage at “Good Morning America”; and the leak of a nude photo.

His fourth album, 2011’s “F.A.M.E.” -- an acronym for both “Fans Are My Everything” and “Forgiving All My Enemies” –- helped bolster his comeback after the critical disappointment of 2009’s “Graffiti,” his first release following the assault.

FULL COVERAGE: Grammy Awards

The disc was his first to debut at No. 1, and with Grammy-nominated singles “Deuces” and “Look at Me Now” (the latter up for two rap nods this year) and a slate of sexually explicit grooves and supercharged backbeats, "F.A.M.E." returned Brown to radio prominence.

Brown competed against another pair of comeback kings, El DeBarge and R. Kelly, with soulful songstresses Ledisi and Kelly Price also in the field. Last year the award went to John Legend and the Roots’ collaborative album of brawny R&B/soul classics, “Wake Up!”

Despite nominations in five of the last six years, Brown hadn’t taken home a trophy until tonight.

After the Recording Academy eliminated 31 award categories, much of the grousing came from R&B purists. R&B categories were cut from eight to four by the new rules and there were complaints that there was now little or no distinction between contemporary and traditional R&B.

PHOTOS: Memorable Grammy red carpet moments

The Grammys are determined by about 13,000 voting members. The eligibility period for nominated recordings was Oct. 1, 2010, to Sept. 30, 2011. The 2011 awards are being held at the Staples Center and telecast on CBS. They are broadcast live except for viewers on the West Coast. The latest headlines and any breaking news will be posted here on Pop & Hiss.

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Live coverage of the Grammy pre-show

Foo Fighters, Coldplay keep things predictable

Jennifer Hudson to sing Whitney Huston tribute

Show starts with Bruce Springsteen and a prayer

Foo Fighters' 'Wasting Light' wins for rock album

Kanye's MIA and Chris Brown is a turn for the worse

'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy' wins for rap album

Critic's Notebook: The junking of commercial rock music

Commentary: Where's the love for the supreme Diana Ross?

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy

Photo: Chris Brown overage of the 54th Annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 12, 2012. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Grammys 2012: Foo Fighters, Coldplay keep things predictable

Foo Fighters
Jack Black introduced Foo Fighters, talking up the band's cred, but apparently Black was in comedian mode tonight, as the CBS show "The Mentalist" could devote an entire season to looking for Foo Fighters' street cred and never find it. The band performed its hearty rocker "Walk" on an outdoor stage, just in case you forgot what every other song the band has ever written sounds like. For those who are curious, they sound exactly like this one. 

This, however, was what Grammy voters awarded the rock song trophy. As leader Dave Grohl shouted that he never wants to die and he's dancing on his grave, his backing band gave a completely capable, completely forgettable arena rock effort. It's simple, straightforward, moderately catchy and not really about anything.

Next up was the award for ... never mind, the Grammy Awards telecast isn't really about awards, as 68 of them were given out in the pre-show broadcast. Instead, Rihanna performed her tepid raver "We Found Love," an uneven mix of her heartache-y vocals and glittery-swift techno-pop. No wonder Coldplay covered it, as it's more hammy than it is dancey. 

FULL COVERAGE: Grammy Awards

Coldplay, the band that sounds great when heard in the background of your local grocery store but somewhat boring at every other instance in life, then performed its Rihanna collaboration "Princess of China." Martin was all puppy-dog yearning when he was solo, and his band mates, adept at rocking sympathetically, then joined him for "Paradise." That being said, Coldplay's universe, what with its neon-lit graffiti, seems like a lovely place to take a nap.

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Grammy Awards 2012: Five races to watch -- besides Adele's

Commentary: Where's the love for the supreme Diana Ross?

— Todd Martens

Photo: Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters on stage at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 12, 2012. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Grammys 2012: Kanye's MIA and Chris Brown is a turn for the worse

Chris Brown

If the first 25 minutes of the 54th Grammy Awards were relatively restrained, that all went by the wayside when Chris Brown performed two songs. Brown has had success in the last year, but he's still in the midst of serving five years probation for assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna. Considering the incident happened hours before the Grammy Awards three years ago, this all seemed too much too soon.  

Additionally, in light of what happened yesterday, it felt frivolous — nay, offensive — to keep Brown on the bill for a nearly four-minute segment. Sure, he's s fine dancer, but "Turn Up the Music" and "Beautiful People" were feather-light compared to Bruce Springsteen's "We Take Care of Our Own" and the Alicia Keys/Bonnie Raitt duet, "A Sunday Kind of Love."

FULL COVERAGE: Grammy Awards

Running around the stage, one outfitted with light-boxes, Brown and his dancers seemed ridiculous in their high turtlenecks that look like gas masks. For anyone who thought this would be a more elegant Grammys, Brown made it clear they won't be. Worse, he'll be back later in the show, but who wouldn't have rather have heard an extended tribute to Whitney Houston, or even Amy Winehouse, rather than this?

Far more fascinating, however, was the fact that Kanye West was not in the building. His co-winner Jay-Z is a new father and has a more than valid excuse to stay home, but West has made it clear that the Grammys are a big deal to him. He had the most nominations this year, with seven, although his nods were all confined to the rap categories. The gripping drama of "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" deservedly won for rap album, but it should have been nominated for album of the year. 

Grammys 2012: Red carpet photos

Yet West was nowhere to be found when he won for rap performance for "Otis" with Jay-Z. A shame, as even when West is talking rather than performing, he's an artist you can't take your eyes off of. Of course, with his album shunned out of the top categories, and without West giving a performance, who can blame the guy for staying home? 

Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson then performed their borderline rock ballad "Don't You Wanna Stay." Singing in front of a stage outfitted with giant clock innards, the duo looked like they were on the set of "Hugo." It was tempting to watch the background to see if it gave any clue as to how long this melodramatic rocker would go on for. 

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Foo Fighters, Coldplay keep things predictable

Jennifer Hudson to sing Whitney Huston tribute

Show starts with Bruce Springsteen and a prayer

Foo Fighters' 'Wasting Light' wins for rock album

'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy' wins for rap album

Critic's Notebook: The junking of commercial rock music

Commentary: Where's the love for the supreme Diana Ross?

 — Todd Martens

Photo: Singer Chris Brown performs onstage at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Grammys 2012: Show starts with Bruce Springsteen and a prayer

Click for live coverage

This post has been corrected. See note at the bottom for details.

The 54th Grammy Awards began in a relatively no-frills manner, this time courtesy of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, who performed Springsteen's newest single, "We Take Care of Our Own." With soul traditionalist Adele already on pace for a big night and a tribute to Whitney Houston on the horizon, the straight-ahead approach put an emphasis on music over artifice. Considering Grammy host LL Cool J would soon walk on stage and lead the Staples Center audience in a prayer for Houston, an understandable but odd sight, it signaled that this may be the most heartfelt Grammys in recent memory. 

"As always, Bruce Springsteen is speaking to our times," LL Cool J said after Springsteen & the E Street Band finished the song. Perhaps, as it's easy to mistake the standing-on-the-drum-set guitar strikes and hair-raising keyboards for something far more anthemic than the message in Springsteen's lyrics. "The cavalry stayed home," Springsteen sung of these recessionary times through gritted teeth, yet "We Take Care of Our Own" is built more for hands-in-the-air singalongs than it is reflection.   

It wasn't long before LL Cool J made reference to the unexpected passing of Houston on Saturday. "There is no way around this," he said. "We've had a death in our family. So at least for me, for me, the only that feels right is to begin with a prayer." 

Grammys 2012: Whitney Houston reaction quotes

Cameras scanned the crowd as the music industry, one with a reputation for progressive values and outrageous outfits, lowered their heads in prayer. It may not have been the rousing opener Grammy producers may have initially hoped for, yet nicely illustrated that these pat-on-the-back love fests are far from the most important things happening today. 

LL Cool J then teased the performances for the night, focusing on Adele and her return to the stage. If the soul star wasn't feeling the pressure before, she likely was after LL Cool J noted how happy the world was to hear her voice again. There were no jokes or roasting of his peers, but LL Cool J did refer to Paul McCartney as "my homey." 

Bruno Mars then closed the opening segment of the Grammy Awards with his vintage rocker "Runaway Baby." If it wasn't exactly a James Brown-like scorcher, Mars is adept at lightly touching on various styles and not embarrassing himself at any of them. 

Grammys 2012: Red Carpet photos

Far more inspired, however, was the pared-down take on "A Sunday Kind of Love," a standard made famous by Etta James, between Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt. Keys is a knock-out vocalist when not attempting to match the production flourishes on her albums, and Raitt tapped into a bluesy solemness.

As for the first award of the night, get used to this. The trophy for best pop solo performance went to Adele's "Someone Like You." At the podium, Adele said, "I need to thank my doctors, I suppose, who brought my voice back." She'll sing later tonight.  

[For the Record, 8:25 a.m.: An earlier version of this post identified Steven Van Zandt as Stevie Ray Vaughn in the photo caption below. This post has been updated to reflect the change.]

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Jennifer Hudson to sing Whitney Huston tribute

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Critic's Notebook: The junking of commercial rock music

Grammy Awards 2012: Five races to watch -- besides Adele's

Commentary: Where's the love for the supreme Diana Ross?

 Photo: Bruce Springsteen, left, Max Weinberg and Steven Van Zandt perform during coverage of the 54th Annual Grammy Awards Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Grammys 2012: Foo Fighters' 'Wasting Light' wins for rock album

Grammys 2012: Foo Fighters' 'Wasting Light' wins for rock album

The Foo Fighters' "Wasting Light" collected the rock album Grammy Award on Sunday, as many had predicted.

The band was considered the favorite coming into this year’s Grammy ceremony, having taken the rock album award three times in the previous dozen years. “Wasting Light” garnered the veteran group that Dave Grohl assembled after the demise of Nirvana some of the best reviews of its career, in part for songs that wrestle honestly with life’s ghosts and unanswered — and perhaps unanswerable — questions.

"I think this is by far the most rock record that we’ve ever done,” Grohl said last year. “That was our intention, and that’s why we did it with [‘Nevermind’ producer] Butch [Vig]. It has to sound huge. It has to feel big. I want to hear 80,000 [people] singing the chorus of ‘These Days’ because, to me, that’s what it’s all about."

FULL COVERAGE: Grammy Awards

The contraction this year in the rock field that brought seven categories down to three probably didn’t have a significant effect on the rock album (or rock song) nominees. The reduction was accomplished by rolling together previously separate categories for hard rock and metal performance, as also was done by boiling solo vocal, duo or group vocal and instrumental categories down to a single rock performance category.

The award has gone in recent years to mainstream arena-rock acts including U2, Bruce Springsteen, the Foo Fighters, the Chili Peppers and Coldplay, although twice in the last decade it was claimed by pop-punk band Green Day. Last year it went to British electronica-prog rock group Muse’s “The Resistance.”

The Grammys are determined by about 13,000 voting members. The eligibility period for nominated recordings was Oct. 1, 2010, to Sept. 30, 2011.

The awards are being held at the Staples Center and will be telecast on CBS. They are broadcast live except for viewers on the West Coast. The latest headlines and any breaking news will be posted here on Pop & Hiss

RELATED:

Full coverage

And the winner is...

'Bon Iver' wins for alternative album

Live coverage of the Grammy pre-show

Foo Fighters, Coldplay keep things predictable

Jennifer Hudson to sing Whitney Huston tribute

Show starts with Bruce Springsteen and a prayer

Kanye's MIA and Chris Brown is a turn for the worse

'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy' wins for rap album

Critic's Notebook: The junking of commercial rock music

Commentary: Where's the love for the supreme Diana Ross?

--Randy Lewis

Photo: James Moll and the Foo Fighters accept the award for best music video long form at the 54th annual Grammy Awards pre-show on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012 in Los Angeles. Credit: Robyn Beck

Grammys 2012: 'Bon Iver' wins for alternative album

Boniverstory
The experimental folk act Bon Iver has won for alternative album at the 54th Grammy Awards for its second and self-titled album, beating several major-label peers for the honor.

The project, led by Wisconsin-based singer-songwriter Justin Vernon, rose from a beloved underground sensation on the independent Jagjaguwar label to mainstream crossover with “Bon Iver” in 2011. This is the first year Bon Iver has been nominated for a Grammy, and the project is also up for best new artist, record of the year and song of the year for the single “Holocene.”

Vernon, known for his pristine falsetto and increasingly ambitious arrangements, has performed on “Saturday Night Live” and collaborated extensively with rapper Kanye West on West’s album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” Bon Iver reportedly declined an invitation to perform at this year’s Grammys, citing Vernon's discomfort at performing alongside other artists not of his choosing.

FULL COVERAGE: Grammy Awards

Bon Iver beat out several other established bands for the award, including “Codes and Keys” from the Seattle-based quartet Death Cab for Cutie; “Torches,” the debut full-length from the L.A. electro-pop trio Foster the People; the latest album from longtime Grammy favorite Radiohead, “The King of Limbs”; and the Kentucky quintet My Morning Jacket’s latest record of jam-friendly rock, “Circuital.”

The Grammys are determined by about 13,000 voting members. The eligibility period for nominated recordings was Oct. 1, 2010 to Sept. 30, 2011.

The latest headlines and any breaking news will be posted here on Pop & Hiss

RELATED:

Full coverage

And the winner is...

Live coverage of the Grammy pre-show

Foo Fighters, Coldplay keep things predictable

Jennifer Hudson to sing Whitney Huston tribute

Show starts with Bruce Springsteen and a prayer

Foo Fighters' 'Wasting Light' wins for rock album

Kanye's MIA and Chris Brown is a turn for the worse

'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy' wins for rap album

Critic's Notebook: The junking of commercial rock music

Commentary: Where's the love for the supreme Diana Ross?

-- August Brown

Photo: Justin Vernon, known as Bon Iver, at the 2011 SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas. Credit: Los Angeles Times.

Grammy Awards 2012: Follow them live on Twitter

DJ Skrillex wins at the Grammys pre-telecast

Heading into the Grammy Awards earlier this weekend, Adele was expected to be Sunday night's big story, with six nominations, including for album of the year for "21," and record of the year and song of the year for "Rolling in the Deep."

But that likely changed with the death of Whitney Houston before a pre-Grammy party at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Saturday night.

Though the awards show must go on, in the hours after her passing, Grammys Executive Producer Ken Ehrlich and his team were scrambling to find a proper way to mark Houston's passing. Their plan was to have Jennifer Hudson perform a "respectful musical tribute" on the CBS broadcast on Sunday.

FULL COVERAGE: Grammy Awards 2012

Houston is certain to be mentioned during the telecast in speeches as well, as the awards are handed out.

You can follow the action Sunday night as Times reporters tweet from the scene and about the Grammy Awards show below.

The Grammys are determined by about 13,000 voting members. The eligibility period for nominated recordings was Oct. 1, 2010, to Sept. 30, 2011. The awards are being held at Staples Center and telecast on CBS. They are broadcast live except for viewers on the West Coast. The latest headlines and any breaking news will be posted here on Pop & Hiss.

Grammy Awards: Twitter Coverage

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Grammys 2012: Live pre-telecast coverage

Jennifer Hudson to sing Whitney Huston tribute

Grammy Awards 2012: Five races to watch -- besides Adele's

-- Scott Sandell

Photo: DJ Skrillex accepts a Grammy during the pre-telecast ceremony for the 54th Grammy Awards. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Grammys 2012: 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy' wins for rap album

KanyeKanye West’s opus “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” took home the prize for rap album at the 54th Grammy Awards on Sunday.

West nabbed a leading seven nominations this year; however, the notoriously outspoken rapper missed the prestegious album of the year field for the career-defining record that was last year’s most critically acclaimed.

With epic beats that traversed the classic soul samples, orchestrations and heavy synths of West’s previous works, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” showed the rapper in his element: at war with himself over his turmoil with celebrity and excess.

FULL COVERAGE: Grammy Awards

Known for his ego and grand opinion about his talent, the rapper is no stranger to venting over a slight disdain for award shows, including the Grammys, which he finds “illogical.”

His history with the Grammys has proved spotty. The rapper was bested in the best new artist race in 2005 by pop-rockers Maroon 5, and his first three efforts all received album of the year nominations and have lost each time. When his sophomore disc, “Late Registration,” was up for album of the year in 2006, he told MTV News, “If I don't win album of the year, I'm gonna really have a problem with that.” He lost out to U2. He hasn’t been nominated in the field since 2007’s “Graduation.”

But if it's any consolation, the rapper has won 14 Grammys and been nominated 44 times.

West placed himself in direct competition with himself as his joint effort with Jay-Z, “Watch the Throne,” was also up for rap album. Also vying for the trophy were hit albums from Lil Wayne, Lupe Fiasco and Nicki Minaj.

After the Grammys eliminated 31 award categories, the categories for best rap soloist and best rap duo or group were merged into one category.

The Grammys are determined by about 13,000 voting members. The eligibility period for nominated recordings was Oct. 1, 2010 to Sept. 30, 2011. The latest headlines and any breaking news will be posted here on Pop & Hiss.  

RELATED:

Full coverage

And the winner is...

'Bon Iver' wins for alternative album

Live coverage of the Grammy pre-show

Foo Fighters, Coldplay keep things predictable

Jennifer Hudson to sing Whitney Huston tribute

Show starts with Bruce Springsteen and a prayer

Foo Fighters' 'Wasting Light' wins for rock album

Kanye's MIA and Chris Brown is a turn for the worse

Critic's Notebook: The junking of commercial rock music

Commentary: Where's the love for the supreme Diana Ross?

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy

Photo: Kanye West performs on stage at Big Day Out 2012 at the Sydney Showground on January 26, 2012 in Sydney, Australia. Credit: Mark Metcalfe / Getty Images

Whitney Houston remembered -- Sean 'Diddy' Combs

Sean “Diddy” Combs

Hip-hop artist and Bad Boy Records label founder Sean “Diddy” Combs said he “literally [was] in a state of shock” Saturday afternoon when he learned of Whitney Houston’s death.

He was preparing for his role in that evening's festivities and, like many others who took the stage at the Beverly Hilton Hotel for Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy Awards party, wrestled over whether to attend or stay home.

For Combs, the deciding factor was his overriding memory of Houston’s “natural, positive spirit,” which he said “made me kind of get dressed and hopefully made you guys get dressed” and proceed with the event.

PHOTOS: Celebrities react to Whitney Houston's death

Here is the text of Combs’ remarks to the audience:

"We see each other a lot but don’t get a chance to really connect and tell each other how much we appreciate, how much we love and respect each other. I want to give all my love and respect to all my peers that are here. I want to say it tonight, because tomorrow night as you see is not promised.

Continue reading »

Grammys 2012: Live coverage!

Complete Grammy coverage

Although the sudden passing of Whitney Houston has cast a pall over the mainstream music industry's annual pat on the back that is the Grammy Awards, it's all systems go at this point, with the Grammy eve parties lasting into the early morning hours. Jennifer Hudson will sing a tribute to the fallen pop icon, and that will be just one of many moments to watch this evening. Adele will return to the stage for the first time in nearly five months, and the likes of Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and a reunited Beach Boys will perform. 

The televised festivities start at 5 p.m. and will be broadcast live, except for those of us on the West Coast, on CBS. Only 10 awards are slated to be given out on the air, with the bulk of the Grammys' 78 trophies -- down from last year's 109 -- handed out in pre-show ceremonies broadcast online.  

This post will be updated live once the festivities start at 1 p.m. The pre-broadcast is scheduled to run till about 3:30 p.m., so keep your browsers tuned here, and we'll try to keep the typos to a minimum. But go easy on us, as this is written live. 

1:18 p.m.: If it's around 1 p.m. on a Sunday and we're watching smooth jazz with Dave Koz being live-streamed, it can mean only one thing: It's time for the Grammy Awards! In addition to playing, Koz is hosting the pre-show with MC Lyte. The latter just performed her "Cold Rock a Party," and in true Grammy fashion, it was given an odd live mash-up. Let's just say that hip-hop and saxophones don't always mix well. After the song, Koz made a brief statement about Houston, saying: "She is in our hearts and our minds -- every music maker tonight."

Roadblocks (after every 3 paragraphs):

FULL COVERAGE: Grammy Awards

And the first awards: "Boardwalk Empire" won best compilation soundtrack and composer Alexandre Desplat whop best score soundtrack for his work on "The King's Speech." Desplat wasn't on hand to receive the trophy, but "The King's Speech" bested the likes of "Tron Legacy" and "Black Swan," and was notable for the way in which it small orchestra to illustrate the film's many moments of silence. Using just a few notes, the score has a suspended-animation feel, as sounds just kind of hover.

The third award given out in the film/TV category was for best song written for visual media, which went to "I See the Light" from Disney's "Tangled."  It bested songs from "Winnie the Pooh," "Footloose," "Family Guy" and "Never Say Never." 

1:20 p.m.: Last year's album of the year winner, the Arcade Fire, is recognized again. The band's expanded edition of "The Suburbs," dubbed "Scenes From the Suburbs," wins for its recording package. The award goes to Caroline Robert, art director. 

1:25 p.m.: Grammy Rule No. 234: Don't bet against a Beatle. Paul McCartney's "Band on the Run" wins best historical album. The legend wasn't on hand to snare the award in the pre-show, but, as noted above, will be performing later. Also, Grammy Rule No. 172: Don't bet against Alison Krauss, who has more than 20 Grammy wins to her name -- her "Paper Airplane" won best engineered, non-classical. 

Skrillex

1:32 p.m.: BIG NEWS HERE. LOOK HERE! Best new artist nominee Skrillex won for best remixed recording, non-classical for his take on Benny Benassi's "Cinema." While many were caught by surprise that an electronic artist was up for one of the big four categories, this writer considers Skrillex the favorite for the award, as his sound and attitude is more rock 'n' roll than dance. His best new artist nom certainly helped him here, as he instantly was one of the more recognizable names in the remix field.

Skrillex (real name: Sonny Moore) gave a lengthy acceptance speech. "This is really crazy for me, man. Just a year and a half ago, I was making that song in my bedroom," Skrillex said, adding that he was living in an illegal space in downtown L.A. when he cut the remix. "I made that song with a blown speaker."

Skrillex acknowledged that others have come before him, but said he hoped his recognition this year would help other electronic artists score mainstream success. He said he believed Justice and Daft Punk should have garnered more Grammy acceptance than he has. "Everyone in the [electronic dance music] community, this means a lot to us ... There's a lot of people who have been here before us."

PHOTOS: Grammy Awards red carpet

1:42 p.m: Statement from the Houston family has just arrived: "We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Whitney. This is an unimaginable tragedy and we will miss her terribly.  We appreciate the outpouring of love and support from her fans and friends."

1:53 p.m.: Last year's best new artist, Esperanza Spalding, is on hand as a presenter now for the classical and opera categories. Odd, however, is that she's allowed to read only the winners’ names. The nominee names are all pre-recorded. Gustavo Dudamel just won the orchestral performance award for his "Brahms: Symphony No. 4." Mr. Dudamel was not on hand to give a speech.

2:06 p.m.: "There's a war on in our country against the arts right now ... We need more Whitney Houstons," said Joyce DiDonato, who won a classical vocal solo Grammy for her "Diva Divo." She was one of the few artists to use her moment on the podium to do more than just give a list of thank-yous, and instead preached for more arts education in schools. 

2:11 p.m.: Power-pop band OK Go, best known for its videos, is the next presenter, handling the New Age, comedy and dance fields. The fact that most Grammy voters know the group more for its YouTube clips than its songs wasn't lost on singer Damian Kulash.

"We're here mostly because we've done all this crazy stuff on the Internet," he said.

Discussing the changes in the music biz over the last 10 to 15 years, Kulash said that everyone in the Grammy room was once "the whole music universe.”

“Everybody who got a chance got a chance because of somebody in this room,” he added. “Now, the whole universe is the music industry."

2:15 p.m. Local label Anti- picks up a Grammy, as African act Tinariwen wins the world music album award for "Tassili." It's a work that has broad appeal, featuring TV on the Radio's Kyp Malone and Wilco's Nels Cline.

2:18 p.m.: The never-ending coronation of Betty White sadly continues, as she wins a Grammy for spoken word album for "If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won't." More bad news: Louis CK, who won the comedy album award, was not on hand to give a speech, which would have livened up this pre-telecast.

PHOTOS: Celebrities react to Whitney Houston's death

2:21 p.m. The musical theater album Grammy went rightly to "The Book of Mormon." Trey Parker, alluding to some Mormon presidential hopeful, said: "Mormons are having a great year, huh?" He also gave a shout-out to Steve Martin, who is at the Grammys for his banjo work.

2:25 p.m.: This is shaping up to be Skrillex's night. The new artist trophy is now his to lose, as far as this Pop & Hiss writer is concerned. His "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" won the dance/electonica album prize, besting the likes of David Guetta, Cut Copy and Deadmau5. He now has a total of three awards.

"STOP! I can't take this any more!" Skrillex screamed when picking up his electronic/dance album trophy. "I don't know what else to say more. This is the most surreal day of my life." He offered to do a juggling routine, and asked the host jazz band to do a jazz version of the album's title track, which also won for dance recording.  

2:30 p.m. Tony Bennett wins the  traditional pop vocal album trophy for his "Duets II," which sees the veteran crooner collaborating with a number of younger artists, including Norah Jones, Lady Gaga and the late Amy Winehouse. "This is my 16th Grammy. Isn't that wonderful?" Bennett said from the podium.

 He added, "It's an amazing album. It's the first album I've ever had that went to No. 1 on Billboard. It's selling all over the world, in every single country. It's an amazing, wonderful experience. My son came up with the premise of 'Duets I' and 'Duets II.’"

2:32 p.m.: Adele is off and running! The video for "Rolling in the Deep," directed by Sam Brown, takes home the  trophy for short form music video. In the long-form video category, the prize goes to the Foo Fighters, the alt-rock survivors who have turned one song into an entire career. Since the band’s members don’t miss any Grammy activity ever, they were on hand, with leader Dave Grohl goofily holding the Grammy for the Internet cameras while director James Moll gave his speech.

2:46 p.m.: American album, which was somewhat of a controversial category this year, was awarded to Levon Helm's "Ramble at the Ryman." The category drew attention when unknown Linda Chorney suddenly appeared with her "Emotional Jukebox." The borderline-novelty singer/songwriter used Grammys' social networking tools to reach out directly to voters. Next up was the bluegrass album prize, which went to "Paper Airplane" from Alison Krauss & Union Station. 

FULL COVERAGE: Grammy Awards

2:52 p.m. The last award before the major categories -- the prize for regional roots music album, which goes to the Rebirth Brass Band for "Rebirth of New Orleans." The band compared its Grammy win to the New Orleans Saints winning the Super Bowl. 

2:53 p.m.: Time for Recording Academy chief Neil Portnow. He said the MusiCares charity event, which honored Paul McCartney, raised $6.5 million. "It's the biggest night we've ever had."

2:57 p.m.: Kanye West, who led all nominees with seven, won the prize for rap/sung collaboration for his "All of the Lights." West's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" was a major slight in this year's album of the year field, but Grammy voters were still happy to honor the superstar in the genre fields. His "All of the Lights" also won the rap song trophy.

While the album didn't get its deserved album of the year nod, it did win the rap album Grammy. West was competing against himself in the field, as his "Watch the Throne" collaboration with Jay-Z was also nominated. The right West album won, as "Watch the Throne" is largely an ode to being rich and wasting money.

3:01 p.m.  Melanie Fiona jogged to the stage to pick up her traditional R&B performance Grammy for "Fool for You," a collaboration with Cee Lo Green. "It took me a while to run in a gown," she said. "I attended these Grammys three years ago as just an observer. To be standing up here winning an award is the highest honor." Fiona shed a few tears before finishing her speech.

The R&B song prize also went to "Fool for You." Fiona had less ground to cover this time. "Hey guys, thank you so much again," she said, while giving a shout-out to nieces.

3:06 p.m.: Bennett and the late Winehouse win the trophy for pop duo/group performance for "Body and Soul.” Bennett walked onstage and said, "This is a wonderful moment." He then brought up Winehouse's parents. "We shouldn't be here," said her father, Mitch. "Our darling daughter should be here. But these are the cards we're dealt."

PHOTOS: Grammy Awards red carpet

3:11 p.m.: Adele's "21" wins the trophy for pop vocal album, her first major win of the night. The album is the favorite to win album of the year. 

3:16 p.m.: Country-flavored pop star Taylor Swift doesn't need to be on national TV to act shocked – SHOCKED! -- to win an award. She won the country solo performance Grammy for her "Mean."

Said Swift, "This one really means a lot to me ... There's really no feeling quite like writing a song about someone who's really mean to you and makes your life miserable and then winning a Grammy for it." 

3:21 p.m. Swift again. "This is another Grammy!" Her "Mean" wins the country song prize, a songwriter's award. She added, "When we put this out as a single, a few people were like, 'Really? You're gonna do that?’ ”  Expect Swift to perform the song tonight. Excited? Neither am I. 

3:22 p.m.: The Civil Wars win again, besting the likes of Eddie Vedder and the Fleet Foxes for the folk album prize.

3:24 p.m.: The Grammys won't stay unpredictable for long, folks.

The Foo Fighters win the Grammy for hard rock/metal performance for "White Limo." Said leader Dave Grohl: "This album was probably the most fun we ever had making a record. Rather than doing it in a nice studio with a bunch of gear, I asked my wife if it was OK to use my garage." Despite the stripped-down setting, however, the album sounds nearly identical to the last few Foo Fighters records. 

FULL COVERAGE: Grammy Awards

As the rock fields continue, the Foo Fighters continue to win. The band's “Walk" took the rock song prize. Far superior was the folksy-rocker "Down by the Water" from the Decemberists.

And proving Grammy voters have the most boring rock album collection of all time, the Foo Fighters win the rock album prize for "Wasting Light." The award should have gone to Wilco's "The Whole Love," a far more adventurous collection.

3:31 p.m. The alternative music album prize goes to Bon Iver for its folk-inspired soft rock on "Bon Iver, Bon Iver." The Midwestern group bested locals Foster the People, which was in the running for its debut, "Torches," as well as past alternative album winners Radiohead (the group's "In Rainbows" won in 2009). It was a big win for the Bloomington, Ind., label Jagjaguwar, which released "Bon Iver, Bon Iver." The group's mastermind, Justin Vernon, said: "Thanks to all the nominees, non-nominees for this category. This feels pretty special." Bon Iver is up for new artist, but competing against multiple pre-telecast winner Skrillex. 

3:37 p.m.: And that's a wrap for the pre-show. Paul Epworth won producer of the year, non-classical, beating out Danger Mouse, the Smeezingtons, Ryan Tedder and Butch Vig. Among Epworth's credits were Foster the People's "Call It What You Want," Cee Lo Green's "No One's Gonna Love You" and, most important, "Rolling in the Deep" from Adele.

Look for a newsy summary of the wins so far here (What you need to know: multiple awards for Skrillex, the Foo Fighters and Adele) as well as live updates on Pop & Hiss of tonight's performances.

RELATED:

Full coverage

And the winner is...

'Bon Iver' wins for alternative album

Foo Fighters, Coldplay keep things predictable

Jennifer Hudson to sing Whitney Huston tribute

Show starts with Bruce Springsteen and a prayer

Foo Fighters' 'Wasting Light' wins for rock album

Kanye's MIA and Chris Brown is a turn for the worse

'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy' wins for rap album

Critic's Notebook: The junking of commercial rock music

Commentary: Where's the love for the supreme Diana Ross?

-- Todd Martens

Images: Poster boards with photos designate the seating assignments for Grammy celebs at Staples Center. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times; Skrillex. Credit: Getty Images

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