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Pharrell Williams
Pharell Williams with Daft Punk

Daft Punk, Lorde, Macklemore Big Grammy Winners



The Grammy Awards celebrated outcasts and outsiders, lionizing a couple of French robots, white rappers and a country gal espousing gay rights, and a Goth teenager who's clearly uncomfortable with the current themes in pop music.

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The Recording Academy's voters mined some of pop music's biggest hits to send an open-hearted message, awarding French electronic music pioneers Daft Punk for teaming with R&B legends to make a hybrid album that celebrated both genres, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Kacey Musgraves for espousing gay rights and Lorde for her anti-swag message to the masses.

Daft Punk, a French electronic duo, won record of the year at the awards show, beating hits like "Blurred Lines" and "Royals." The song features Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers. Daft Punk, who wear helmets in public, also picked up honors for best dance/electronica album for "Random Access Memories" and pop duo/group performance.  Daft Punk's `Random Access Memories' wins the Grammy for album of the year.

"Well, I suppose the robots would like to thank...." joked Williams, who won non-classical producer of the year. "You know honestly, I bet, France is really proud of these guys right now."

Lorde's popular hit won record of the year and best pop solo performance.

"Thank you everyone who has let this song explode because it's been mental," she said.

 

Wedding Fever at the Grammys

Couples exchanged rings in the aisle at the Grammy Awards as Macklemore & Ryan Lewis performed their gay rights anthem "Same Love."

AP PhotoWith Queen Latifah presiding from the stage and the music playing, 33 straight and gay couples lined the aisle dressed in wedding finery. Under Latifah's command, they exchanged rings near the end of Sunday night's show televised on CBS.

Joining Macklemore on the song were Mary Lambert, Trombone Shorty and Madonna, who wore an all-white cowboy suit and carried a cane.

Katy Perry caught a bouquet as the song ended and country star Keith Urban had tears in his eyes.

"Wow, we're here on the stage right now," said Macklemore, thanking fans first, then his fiancee and team. "I want to say we made this album without a record label, we made it independently and we appreciate all the support."

Beyonce kicked off the Grammy Awards with a steamy and smoky performance of "Drunk In Love:" She started on a chair and then grinded in a revealing black outfit. Jay Z emerged in a fitted suit to rap his verse, and the couple - parents of little Blue Ivy - held hands and danced together.

Imagine Dragons and Kendrick Lamar collaborated onstage to create an electrifying performance, as the acts sported all-white and went from rap song to rock song. Robin Thicke performed with Chicago, singing the group's songs before going into "Blurred Lines," which energized the crowd. Thicke finished the performance singing on the floor.

Katy Perry sang "Dark Horse" in an eerie forest with fire that mirrored the song's vibe, and John Legend and Taylor Swift - who whipped her head, and hair, back and forth - played pianos during their slow songs. Pink twirled in the air in her signature Cirque du Soleil-form.

Swift, who is nominated for album of the year, lost best country album in a surprise upset to rising singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves.

"Oh my goodness. Oh my god. I can't even. I can't even," said a teary-eyed, but happy Musgraves, whose "Same Trailer Different Park" won the honor. "I got to make a record that I poured myself into and I'm so proud of."

The singer also beat Swift for best country song and was nominated for new artist.

 If nothing else, the  Grammys performances Sunday showed the growth of country and  alternative music in the mainstream music scene.

  "There is no true pop sound anymore," says Sue O'Neil of Star 102.5."It's so mainstream and it's so sexy, and the artists are so pretty and the award shows are so cute, there's little to dislike about country music,"

Alternative has certainly  crossed over. "I think there's new and creative sounds coming out of there," says O'Neil. "I think there's also an open-mindedness out there, from people who weren't alternative listeners and, I don't know if they're softening or it's more palatable, but they're liking it." O'Neil mentions Lorde, who had a hit with "Royals."

Nik Rivers of Alternative Buffalo 107.7 agrees.

"For a while, stuff was aggressive, very angry sound, and not that that has gone by the wayside, but a lot of the new music just has a more positive tone to it," says Rivers.

He says Mumford & Sons, fun., and Of Monsters and Men have been popping up on different types of stations.

"It started a couple of years ago with Mumford & Sons with 'Little Lion Man' and it was something different, and refreshing, and not so much in your face."
 

Macklemore & Lewis' wins, which include best rap song and rap performance for "Thrift Shop," come after the Grammy rap committee almost ousted the group from its categories.

A source told The Associated Press that the rap committee rejected the duo, but that was later overruled by the general Grammy committee. The rap committee felt Macklemore & Lewis should qualify for the pop awards instead because of their massive success on Top 40 radio. The source, who attended the general Grammy meeting, spoke on the condition of anonymity because the meeting was private.

Justin Timberlake, who wasn't  up for any of the major awards, won three trophies, including best R&B song for "Pusher Love Girl" and music video for "Suit & Tie," which also earned Jay Z a Grammy. Jay Z and Timberlake also won best rap/sung collaboration for "Holy Grail."

"I want to thank God - I mean a little bit for this award - but mostly for all the universe for conspiring and putting that beautiful light of a young lady in my life," Jay Z said, looking at Beyonce. "I want to tell Blue that, look, `Daddy got a gold sippy cup for you.'"

Like Macklemore & Lewis, Lamar was nominated for album of the year, marking a high note for hip-hop. Outkast and Lauryn Hill are the only two rap performers to win the coveted album of the year; Hill and Arrested Development are the only rap-based stars to take home best new artist.

A rapper has never won song or record of the year.

Jay Z, keeping up the decade-long Grammy tradition of rappers leading in nominations, was the night's front-runner with nine.

For top album, Macklemore & Lewis and Lamar's platinum-selling debuts, "The Heist" and "good kid, m.A.A.d city," will battle Swift's earth-shattering sales force "Red," Daft Punk's electronic adventure "Random Access Memories" and the surprise nominee - "The Blessed Unrest" from the piano-playing Bareilles.

Mars won best pop vocal album with his sophomore release, "Unorthodox Jukebox."
 

"Ma, I know you're watching. I hope you're smiling. I love you very much," said Mars, remembering his mother, who passed away last year. Mars' father attended the awards show.

McCartney, engineer Bob Ludwig and gospel singer Tye Tribett are double winners. Imagine Dragons and Rihanna also picked up trophies.


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