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February 2, 2010

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Grammy records set, crowds go Gaga

BEYONCE became the most decorated female on the Grammy night as she collected six trophies, including song of the year for her anthem "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)," but it was another diva - Taylor Swift - who nabbed the top honor, album of the year, for her best-selling "Fearless."

Swift, who won a total of four awards, jumped around like the 20-year-old kid that she is when she beat out Beyonce, the Dave Matthews Band, Lady Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas for the honor.

"Oh wow - thank you so much! I just hope that you know how much this means to me ... that we get to take this back to Nashville," said Swift, whose "Fearless" was last year's best-selling album of any genre.

"Oh my God, our families are freaking out in their living rooms," she added. "My dad and my little brother are losing their minds in the living room right now."

Although Beyonce also lost out on record of the year, which went to the Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody," the entertainer still owned the most awards of the evening.

Beyonce, who in 2004 won five Grammys on the strength of her debut album "Dangerously in Love" (a mark tied by the likes of Alicia Keys, Norah Jones and Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse and Alison Krauss), reached that milestone again on Sunday en route to the new record. She is the first to reach that mark twice.

She shared the song of the year trophy with three writers for "Single Ladies" and also won best R&B contemporary album for "I Am ... Sasha Fierce."

"This has been such an amazing night for me and I'd love to thank the Grammys," Beyonce said after winning best female pop vocal for "Halo."

The Kings of Leon were a bit more entertaining when they picked up their record of the year trophy, the family quartet's third of the night.

"I'm not going to lie, we're all a little drunk. But we're happy drunks," said lead singer Caleb Followill.

Lady Gaga won two Grammys during the pre-telecast ceremony but didn't get a chance to show her multitude of outrageous dresses during the prime time show, losing out on record, song and album of the year.

But she made her presence felt when she kicked off the night with a sequined green leotard with massive shoulders as she sang her Grammy-nominated hit "Poker Face," then brought out Elton John as they melded her song "Speechless" and his classic "Your Song" together in a performance that featured dueling pianos, and glitter-painted faces.

Swift, who was second to Beyonce in Grammy nominations with eight nods, also won best country album among her other awards. The victory capped an amazing run for Swift, whose "Fearless" is only her second album. Her self-titled debut was a platinum success but "Fearless," with songs like "You Belong With Me," took her into the superstar stratosphere, as she won accolades across genres.

Another country act to take a top award was the Zac Brown Band, which won best new artist.

The Black Eyed Peas also had three trophies, as well as Jay-Z, who won for best rap solo performance and two awards for "Run This Town" with Rihanna and Kanye West.

Rihanna - who was forced to bow out of last year's awards as a performer after being assaulted by then-boyfriend Chris Brown - accepted the trophy along with Jay-Z and with Beyonce's young nephew in tow.

West - who has kept a relatively low profile since his dustup with Swift a few months back - was a notable no-show.

Maxwell, up for six awards, also won his first Grammys - best R&B male vocal for the ballad "Pretty Wings" and best R&B album for "BLACKsummers' night." The album marked the R&B crooner's return after an absence of eight years from the music business.

Many participants in the program wore red cross buttons in support of Haiti earthquake relief. Mary J. Blige joined Andrea Bocelli in a rousing rendition of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," which was not only designed to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the song's big Grammy wins, but to raise money for the people in Haiti. The performance, introduced by Haitian native Wyclef Jean, will be available via, with the funds going to earthquake relief.

The show also included a special 3D tribute to Michael Jackson featuring a video clip he made of "Earth Song" as Usher, Carrie Underwood, Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson and Smokey Robinson sang along.

Jackson's young children, Prince and Paris, accepted a lifetime achievement award for their late father.

"Through all his songs his message was simple, love. We will continue to spread his message and help the world," Prince said.

In a tribute to the late guitar legend Les Paul, British guitarist Jeff Beck and Irish singer Imelda May performed Paul's "How High the Moon."

Beck won the best rock instrumental performance award, while English rockers Judas Priest won for best metal performance. British singer-songwriter Imogen Heap won an engineering award for her album "Ellipse."

French rock band Phoenix won best alternative music album for "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix."

Award presenters included Wyclef Jean of Haiti, Colombian singer Juanes, Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin, Mexican-born rocker Carlos Santana and Spanish opera star Placido Domingo, who earlier won a President's Merit Award.

Indian composer A.R. Rahman won best soundtrack for his work on the film "Slumdog Millionaire" and best soundtrack song for "Jai Ho."

Luis Enrique won best tropical Latin album for "Ciclos."

"I came to the United States in 1978 with a bag full of dreams, running away from the war in my country, Nicaragua, and here I am," he said. "So dreams do come true. I want to dedicate this Grammy to all the people in my country still struggling to make a better life."

La Quinta Estacion, the Mexico-based group originally from Spain, collected its second best Latin pop album for "Sin Frenos," while Puerto Rican duo Calle 13 won its second best Latin rock, alternative or urban album for "Los De Atras Vienen Conmigo."

Two sons of Bob Marley earned acclaim. Stephen Marley won best reggae album for "Mind Control - Acoustic," while Ziggy Marley captured best musical album for children for "Family Time."

Best traditional world music album went to Malian kora player Mamadou Diabate for "Douga Mansa." American banjo master Bela Fleck won best contemporary world music album for "Throw Down Your Heart: Tales From The Acoustic Planet, Vol 3 - Africa Sessions."

(Agencies) Futuristic fashion and solar system dress Samantha Critchell

All eyes on the red carpet at Sunday's Grammy Awards went straight to Lady Gaga and her solar-system gown that was totally out of this world.

Lady Gaga has become fashion's favorite chameleon and she didn't disappoint with this shiny, silvery, three-dimensional number that was created in collaboration with Giorgio Armani. She then opened the show in a green fairy-wing bodysuit - with matching green sparkle booties, of course.

"I am honored to be wearing Armani this evening. The series of pieces Mr Armani created for me are truly iconic; they represent not only beautiful fashion, but my spirit and essence as an artist," she said in a statement.

Fergie, in an electric blue Emilio Pucci strapless dress with a swath of silver snaking from her shoulder to the high hemline, along with the other Black Eyed Peas, continued the galactic vibe set by Lady Gaga. Heidi Klum also had a futuristic twist to her nude-and-rose Pucci micromini with splashes of silver, and Jennifer Hudson captured that spirit with the geometric, clear plastic bracelets she wore with her short, banded black dress by Victoria Beckham that had an open neck, nipped waist and peplum.

Hudson, Beyonce - who wore a strong-shoulder, mermaid-hem gown in gray that had just the right amount of decollete - and Taylor Swift - in a Kaufmanfranco sequin-covered, off-the-shoulder gown in midnight blue - all hit a balanced note between style and the sophistication that comes not with age but so many red-carpet appearances.

Rihanna's high-neck white gown with cascading ruffles and emphasized hips by Elie Saab was sort of a modern take on old-world Victoriana.

Other outfits on parade outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles that deserved notice included Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland in a chic coral-and-black gown by Victoria Beckham that fit her like a second skin.

Katy Perry made her statement with hot pink lips but her champagne dress with gold-and-pearl floral embellishment by Zac Posen was understated and elegant - at least by Grammy standards.

Toni Braxton wore a dove-gray, one-shoulder gown by David Meister while Melanie Fiona also did the asymmetrical top, but hers was black and had a pouffy black trumpet skirt by Christian Siriano.

"It made me feel like old Hollywood," she said. "It's classic, like I think my music is."

Britney Spears wore a black lace dress with black bodysuit by Dolce & Gabbana, and Ciara wore a black lace jumpsuit and crystal-studded jacket with tails and shoulder pads by Givenchy. Nicole Kidman wore a movie star-worthy black Prada gown with a halter neckline.

Jennifer Lopez, who had one of the most famous Grammy fashion moments in a plunging-V gown back in 2000, again wore Versace, this time a silver chain-mail dress with white chiffon overlay.

There was also a strong showing of gray, which is sort of unexpected considering the crowd.

Miley Cyrus did a steely long-sleeve minidress and chunky heels, and Pink wore a gray-to-black ombre gown with a jeweled neckline and waistband. Her super-short hair highlighted her other bling: diamond bracelets, pendant-drop earrings, pave ring and hair brooch, all by Neil Lane.

Keri Hilson complemented the crystal waist on her blush-colored Dolce & Gabbana strapless with a huge Neil Lane cocktail ring.


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