Grammys 2011: Lady Antebellum and Arcade Fire Win Big; Bieber Nation Is Outraged

Slate's Culture Blog
Feb. 14 2011 2:16 AM

Grammys 2011: Lady Antebellum and Arcade Fire Win Big; Bieber Nation Is Outraged

The 53 rd Annual Grammy Awards were presented tonight at Los Angeles's Staples Center.

It wassupposed to be Eminem's night: The rapper, fresh off his triumphant Super Bowl ad , had 10nominations for his album Recovery morethan any other artist. But he only took home two awards, for rap soloperformance and rap album.

Advertisement

Instead,country trio Lady Antebellum whom JodyRosen called "a group thatstrives to be as anonymous as possible" swept the night, winning everycategory they were nominated in except for album of the year. The band tookhome song of the year and record of the year for its gently yearning booty call,"Need You Now."

In anotherof the big four categories, gloriouslyhaired jazz singer and bassist Esperanza Spalding won for best new artist.The little-known Portlander beat favored stars Justin Bieber and Drake.(Mumford and Sons and Florence and the Machine were also nominated.)

Bieber fans werenot amused :

"@ESPESPALDING @THEGRAMMYSCongrats u ppl! U just crushed a 16yr old boys dreams...hope ur proud of urselves!-_- #JustinDeservedIt"

Personally, I think it'ssafe to say that if the Biebs can survive the ravagesof puberty , he'll survive this slight.

Finally,Arcade Fire shocked everyone by winning album of the year for its ambitious,sweeping The Suburbs . Over at the Los Angeles Times music blog, Todd Martens notes that The Suburbs has only sold484,000 copies less than half of each of the other nominees. (Carl Wilson, whonamed it one of his top albums of the year in Slate 's Music Club, said , "Its best songsroil with young-persons'-nostalgia, and an ensuing mix of ego andself-skepticism and restlessness they share with Taylor Swift.")

Only ahandful of the 108 Grammys were actually handed out during the three-and-a-halfhour telecast: Most of the overstuffed, pleasantly soporific show was taken upby performances.

Lady Gaga,who made a splash lastyear , didn't quite manage to top her own red carpet entrance this time she wasborne in on a litter, encased inan egg but the night did have a few stand-outs.

The showopened with a diverse, five diva wail-off in honor of Aretha Franklin,featuring Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Yolanda Adams, Martina McBride,and Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine. Aguilera made up for her Super Bowl lyrics gaffe with her throaty, passionate rendition of "Ain't No Way," but Yolanda Adams definitely madethe best faces:

 

Several old handsmade appearances tonight: Bob Dylan shambled his way through "Maggie's Farm," accompaniedby Mumford and Sons and the Avett Brothers, and Barbra Streisand, who was named MusiCares Person of the Year,sang her classic "Evergreen." But Mick Jagger really brought it in his tributeto late blues legend Solomon Burke. Extra costume points for the gold-linedcape and the quilted aqua jacket, both of which were awesome, and totally notridiculous:

 

Even morecostume points went to Cee Lo Green, who performed "The Song Otherwise Known asForget You" in psychedelic turkey plumage and a bejeweled headdress. GwynethPaltrow and her flop sweat joined him, along with a bunch of puppets, in atribute to Elton John's classic Muppet Show performance of"Crocodile Rock."

 

Eminem maynot have taken home as many awards as he would have liked, but he still turnedin a blistering rendition of "Love the Way You Lie," featuring Dr. Dre,Rihanna, Skylar Grey, and a thankfully unobtrusive Adam Levine:

 

Other greatperformances included Bruno Mars' black-and-white "Grenade"; Rihanna's sexytribal gyrations on "What's My Name?"; John Mayer, Norah Jones, and Keith Urban'slow-key cover of Dolly Parton's "Jolene," and Arcade Fire's epilepsy-inducing,BMX-bike fest "Month of May."

You can seea list of all the night's winners here .

Nina Shen Rastogi is a writer and editor, and is also the vice president for content at Figment.