Fun. won two major awards midway through the Sunday night's telecast, winning song of the year for the transcendent anthem "We Are Young," featuring Janelle Monae, and best new artist in something of an upset over Frank Ocean.
"I don't know what I was thinking when I wrote the chorus to this song," lead singer Nate Ruess, 30, joked. "This is in HD, everyone can see our faces, and we are not very young."
Fun.'s run — and a surprising victory by Gotye for record of the year — took some of the luster off Ocean's evening, but there's no question all eyes were on him as he won two awards and blew up Twitter. Only Chris Brown, with whom Ocean scuffled last month, remained seated as the 25-year-old R&B winner walked to the stage during a standing ovation. Ocean beat Brown, who attended with girlfriend Rihanna, for the urban contemporary album award that both were nominated for.
Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys appeared headed to an overall win on music's biggest night with four wins, including producer of the year.
Gotye, Jay-Z and Kanye West had three wins — sharing one award with Ocean — along with Skrillex, and a slew of nominees had two wins apiece, including former best new artist winner Esperanza Spalding.
"We Are Young" helped fun. earn a starring role at these Grammys with nominations in all four major categories after the release of their first album, matched only by Christopher Cross in 1981, and six overall. The band turned in a powerful early performance of "Carry On" as a downpour on stage began mid-song and guitarist Jack Antonoff got a kiss from girlfriend "Girls" creator Lena Dunham after winning.
But Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know," featuring Kimbra, was 2012's top-selling song and just as omnipresent. He also won best alternative album for "Making Mirrors" and best pop/duo performance for "Somebody." Prince presented him with the record of the year trophy and the Australian paid tribute to The Purple One's influence.
Auerbach took the early lead thanks to a strong run in the pre-telecast awards show and had only lost once midway through the night.
His Black Keys took best rock performance for "Lonely Boy" during the main telecast and earlier in the day won best rock song for "Lonely Boy" and best rock album for "El Camino" with bandmate Patrick Carney, and Auerbach was named producer of the year. He also got an assist — but no trophy — on Dr. John's best blues album "Locked Down," which he produced.
Ocean won best urban contemporary album for "channel ORANGE" and best rap/sung collaboration for "No Church in the Wild" with fellow top nominees Jay-Z and West, and The-Dream. The win came after victories for Jay-Z and West for best rap song and best rap performance for "... in Paris," another "Watch the Throne" track.
Other winners included Rihanna, Beyonce, Mumford & Sons and Taylor Swift, who opened the show as the Mad Hatter. Swift dressed in white top hat, tails, shorts and tall boots during the surreal version of her hummable hit "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" that included a troop of mime clowns and a guy on a tricycle with a flame-thrower attached.
The singer pretended to talk to the offending boyfriend on the phone: "I'm busy opening the Grammys and we're never getting back together."
Justin Timberlake debuted new tracks "Suit & Tie" with Jay-Z and "Pusher Love" in a performance that was broadcast in retro black and white. Rihanna and the extended Marley family paid tribute to Bob Marley. Sting and Bruno Mars helped each other out on their hits "Locked Out of Heaven" and "Walking on the Moon." Elton John and Ed Sheeran teamed on "The A Team" and Miguel and Wiz Khalifa joined forces teamed up on "Adorn." Alicia Keys played drums during Maroon 5's "Daylight," before Adam Levine's band backed her on "Girl on Fire."
Adele won the first award of the night on the main telecast, taking home best pop solo performance for "Set Fire to the Rain (Live)," in one of the night's least-surprising moments — though the singer was somewhat taken aback.
"I just wanted to be part of the night, because I loved it last year, obviously," she said of winning a record-tying six awards in 2012.
Carrie Underwood won best country solo performance for "Blown Away," Zac Brown Band won best country album for "Uncaged" and Kelly Clarkson turned in the night's most exuberant acceptance speech after winning best pop vocal album for "Stronger." After hugging much of the front row and momentarily getting stuck to Miranda Lambert's dress, Clarkson charged the stage with a giant smile.
"Miguel, I don't know who the hell you are, but we need to sing together," she said. "I mean, good God. That was the sexiest dancing I've ever seen."
Skrillex won best dance recording for "Bangarang," featuring Sirah, best dance/electronica album for "Bangarang" and best remixed recording a year after winning those same awards in his first appearance at the Grammys.
"You know what, I thought I'd get used to it, but I tripped over every word when I was up there," Skrillex said of his acceptance speeches. "I felt like I just wanted a pool of ice water and just couldn't even breathe or think. It was crazy. I think it was even crazier than last year."
Celebrities rolled down the red carpet in the early afternoon under heavy police guard during a continued manhunt for an alleged cop killer. Many stars showed a fair amount of skin despite CBS's mandate that stars dress appropriately with butts, breasts and other sensitive areas covered adequately.
Nevertheless, Jennifer Lopez showed up on stage in a dress slit all the way to her hip.
"As you can see, I read the memo," Lopez joked.
AP writers Mesfin Fekadu, Sandy Cohen and Anthony McCartney in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
Follow AP Music Writer Chris Talbott: http://twitter.com/Chris_Talbott.
Selected winners at the 55th annual Grammy Awards
The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Winners in selected major categories at the 55th annual Grammy Awards announced Sunday during ceremonies at the Nokia Theatre and Staples Center:
— Record of the year: "Somebody That I Used to Know," Gotye featuring Kimbra.
— Album of the year: "Babel," Mumford & Sons.
— Song of the year: "We Are Young," fun.
— New artist: fun.
— Pop solo performance: "Set Fire to the Rain (Live)," Adele.
— Pop vocal album: "Stronger," Kelly Clarkson.
— Pop/duo group performance: "Somebody That I Used to Know," Gotye featuring Kimbra.
— Traditional pop vocal album: "Kisses on the Bottom," Paul McCartney.
— Rap performance: "N(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)s in Paris," Jay-Z, Kanye West.
— Rap song: "N(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)s in Paris," Shawn Carter, Mike Dean, Chauncey Hollis, Kanye West.
— Rap/sung collaboration: "No Church in the Wild," Jay-Z, Kanye West featuring Frank Ocean, The-Dream.
— Rap album: "Take Care," Drake.
— R&B performance: "Climax," Usher.
— Traditional R&B performance: "Love on Top," Beyonce.
— R&B song: "Adorn," Miguel Pimentel.
— R&B album: "Black Radio," Robert Glasper Experiment.
— Urban contemporary album: "Channel Orange," Frank Ocean.
— Rock performance: "Lonely Boy," The Black Keys.
— Rock song: "Lonely Boy," The Black Keys.
— Rock album: "El Camino," The Black Keys.
— Hard rock/metal performance: "Love Bites (So Do I)," Halestorm.
— Alternative music album: "Making Mirrors," Gotye.
— Dance recording: "Bangarang," Skrillex featuring Sirah.
— Dance/electronica album: "Bangarang," Skrillex.
— Latin pop album: "MTV Unplugged Deluxe Edition," Juanes.
— Latin rock, urban or alternative album: "Imaginares," Quetzal.
— Latin jazz album: "Ritmo!," The Clare Fisher Latin Jazz Big Band.
— Tropical Latin album: "Retro," Marlow Rosado Y La Riquena.
— Country solo performance: "Blown Away," Carrie Underwood
— Country duo/group performance: "Pontoon," Little Big Town.
— Country song: "Blown Away," Josh Kear, Chris Tompkins.
— Country album: "Uncaged," Zac Brown Band.
— Gospel song: "Go Get It," Mary Mary.
— Gospel album: "Gravity," Leerae.
— Blues album: "Locked Down," Dr. John.
— Folk album: "The Goat Rodeo Sessions," Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile.
— Americana album: "Slipstream," Bonnie Raitt.
— Bluegrass album: "Nobody Knows You," Steep Canyon Rangers.
— Reggae album: "Rebirth," Jimmy Cliff.
— World music album: "The Living Room Sessions Part 1," Ravi Shankar.
— Children's album: "Can You Canoe?," The Okee Dokee Brothers.
— Spoken word album: "Society's Child: My Autobiography," Janis Ian.
— Comedy album: "Blow Your Pants Off," Jimmy Fallon.
— New age album: "Echoes of Love," Omar Akram.
— Jazz vocal album: "Radio Music Society," Esperanza Spalding.
— Jazz instrumental album: "Unity Band," Pat Metheny Unity Band.
— Large jazz ensemble album: "Dear Diz (Every Day I Think of You)," Arturo Sandoval.
— Pop instrumental album: "Impressions," Chris Botti.
— Compilation soundtrack album: "Midnight in Paris," various artists.
— Score soundtrack album: "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross.
— Song written for visual media: "Safe & Sound" (From "The Hunger Games"), Taylor Swift, John Paul White, Joy Williams.
— Musical theater album: "Once: A New Musical," Steve Kazee, Cristin Milioti.
— Producer of the year, classical: Blanton Alspaugh.
— Producer of the year, non-classical: Dan Auerbach.
— Instrumental composition: "Mozart Goes Dancing," Chick Corea.
— Orchestral performance: "Adams: Harmonielehre & Short Ride in a Fast Machine," Michael Tilson Thomas (San Francisco Symphony).
— Opera recording: "Wagner, Der Ring des Nibelungen," James Levine and Fabio Luisi.
— Choral performance: "Life & Breath: Choral Works by Rene Clausen," Charles Bruffy.
— Short-form music video: "We Found Love," Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris.
— Long-form music video: "Big Easy Express," Mumford & Sons.
— Historical album: "The Smile Sessions" (Deluxe Box Set), Alan Boyd, Mark Linett, Brian Wilson, Dennis Wolfe.