Beyonce owned this year’s Grammys – until Taylor Swift put a ring on the show's top prize.
Beyonce made history for most wins by a woman at Sunday’s diva dominated Grammys, netting a record six trophies including song of the year for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” and best female performance.
But the R&B star lost out to country sensation Taylor Swift for the show’s coveted album of the year category, with the 20-year-old making history herself as the youngest star to take best album, topping then-21-year-old Alanis Morissette, who won for “Jagged Little Pill” 14-years ago. In all, Swift took home awards in four of the eight categories where she was nominated.
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"Oh my God, our families are freaking out in their living rooms," Swift said in accepting the award for her bestselling album “Fearless.” “When we’re 80 years old, this is the story we’re going to be telling over and over again.”
Swift and Beyonce both sang on the 3-hour CBS telecast, which also featured electric performances by Lady GaGa, Bon Jovi and Pink.
Despite Swift’s all-around achievements, her onstage performance with ex-Fleetwood Mac front woman Stevie Nicks was largely viewed as a dud, judging by reaction on Twitter.
One highlight from the show was when two of Michael Jackson’s children accepted a lifetime achievement award on their late father's behalf.
"We'd like to thank God for watching over us for these past seven months and our grandma and grandpa for their love and support,” 12-year-old Prince Michael said. “We would also like to thank the fans; our father loved you so much because you were always there for him. Through all his songs his message was simple: love. We will continue to spread his message and help the world.”
Afterward, Paris, 11, added: "Daddy was supposed to be here. Daddy was going to perform last year. Thank you. We love you Daddy."
The Jackson kids’ emotional moment followed a 3-D tribute to the King of Pop that featured Usher, Carrie Underwood, Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson and Smokey Robinson singing along to “Earth Song,” a track Jackson had planned to debut at the comeback shows in London that never happened.
The singers performed in front of a screen that featured “Avatar”-esque nature imagery, as Jackson’s recorded voice soared in the background.
For Beyonce, this year represented a return to the Grammy dominance of her 2004 debut hit album “Dangerously in Love,” which snagged five wins – a milestone shared by Alicia Keys, Norah Jones, Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse and Alison Kraus.
"I'd love to thank my family for all of their support, including my husband," Beyonce said in accepting an award for best female vocal performance. It was a rare public acknowledgment of her marriage to rapper Jay-Z, Usmagazine.com noted.
"I love you," Beyonce added.
Alt rockers Kings of Leon were among the other big winners of the night, taking home a record of the year Grammy for their hit “Use Somebody.”
"I'm not going to lie, we're all a little drunk. But we're happy drunks," lead singer Caleb Followill said in one of the more colorful acceptance speeches of the night.
Later, Green Day front man Billy Joe Armstrong joked in accepting his own award that he planned to "take shots" with the Kings of Leon bunch.
Among the other Grammy winners were: The Black Eyed Peas (3 wins); Jay-Z for best rap solo performance and two wins for “Run This Town” (also shared by Rihanna and Kanye West); Maxwell (2 R&B-related awards); and Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert for best comedy album.
“Am I cool now?” Colbert said in accepting his award, with CBS then cutting to Colbert's smiling daughter as she nodded her head.
One of the big losers of the night was Lady GaGa, who won two Grammys in a pre-telecast ceremony but lost out in each of the other three categories – best record, song and album -- she was nominated in.
But GaGa made up for lost accolades with star power, kicking off the show by donning a sequined green leotard with giant shoulders to perform her hit “Poker Face.” She later changed costumes for a piano duet with Elton John.