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February 15, 2011

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Grab-bag of grand old Grammys

The Grammy Awards is a night of shockers, upsets, wacko outfits and a new stunt by Lady Gaga who reveals that she counts whisky and weed among her muses.

Lady Gaga stole the Grammy limelight by arriving encased in a giant egg, and crawling out of it to perform her new single "Born This Way."

Gaga, 24, declared in a Twitter message Sunday night that she was "in incubation" for her live appearance. Aides said she had spent three hours crouched inside the egg with an oxygen mask ahead of her arrival.

Borne aloft by attendants dressed in scanty gold-colored garb, the egg was the latest in a series of stunts by the performance artist and singer. In September, she wore a headline-grabbing dress made entirely of raw meat that she wore to the MTV Music Video Awards.

Onstage on Sunday, she crawled out of the egg dressed in yellow and sporting what appeared to be pointed shoulder implants.

Away from the Grammy ceremony in Los Angeles, the singer made headlines by saying in a pre-recorded TV interview that she uses marijuana and whisky to help write her songs.

"(I) drink a lot of whisky and I smoke weed when I write. And I don't do it a lot because it's not good for my voice," the singer told TV news show "60 Minutes."

"I don't want to encourage kids to do drugs ... And I don't lie. I'm not a liar. I built good will with my fans. They know who I am. And I'm just like them in so many ways," she added.

Gaga won three of the six awards she had been nominated for - one for her album "The Fame Monster" and two for her song "Bad Romance."

"I had this dream when I was really young that I could be whoever I wanted to be," she said in her acceptance speech.

The singer, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, told "60 Minutes" there was always a point to her outrageous outfits.

"There's nothing that I've ever put on my body that I didn't understand where it came from, the reference of it, who inspired it. There's always some sort of a story or a concept that I'm telling," she said.

Canadian teen idol Justin Bieber was too busy arranging a Paris rendezvous with his mentor, R&B star Usher, to worry too much about leaving the Grammy Awards empty-handed on Sunday.

The 16-year-old pop phenomenon was considered a strong contender for the coveted best new artist category, and was also nominated for best pop vocal album.

But he was beaten up by a pair of glamorous women. Esperanza Spalding, a 26-year-old jazz virtuoso, was the shock winner of best new artist. And flamboyant pop singer Lady Gaga's haul of three statuettes included best pop vocal album.

Bieber's fans, accounting for a sizable percentage of excitable young girls around the planet, vented their anger on Twitter which helped turn him into a superstar in barely a year.

He came backstage to speak with reporters, an uncustomary move for losing acts, to indicate that he would survive the setback. In fact, he made a grand entrance by jumping on the back of Usher, who seemed more disappointed than Bieber.

Bieber was still buzzing after performing with both Usher and Jaden Smith, son of actor Will Smith. Asked about the best new artist race going the wrong way, he said, "I'm really happy for her, and hopefully she has a good year."

In other tidbits, he denied a media report that he would move to Los Angeles and suggested he would relocate to Canada from his current professional base in Atlanta.

Spalding said Bieber and his fans need not be too upset. At any rate, the rivals have one thing in common, she noted. "He has great hair, and I have great hair."

Equally famed for his soulful voice and the casual flick of his lustrous head of hair, Bieber was the fourth best-selling albums artist in the United States last year.

The latest in a long line of lovable balladeers to whip up a frenzy among teen and pre-teen girls, Bieber relied on Twitter and YouTube to spread the word after record labels failed to recognize his talent.

A little more than a year after playing to handfuls of bystanders at fairgrounds, he sold out Madison Square Garden in just about 20 minutes.

The weekend was not a total washout for him. His 3D concert documentary, "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never," opened at No. 2 at the North American box office with better than expected weekend sales of US$30.3 million.

Album of the Year - Arcade Fire, "The Suburbs"

Record of the Year - Lady Antebellum, "Need You Now"

Song of the Year - "Need You Now" (Lady Antebellum, performers)

Best New Artist - Esperanza Spalding

Best Female Pop Vocal Performance - Lady Gaga, "Bad Romance"

Best Male Pop Vocal Performance - Bruno Mars, "Just the Way You Are"

Best Pop Vocal Album - Lady Gaga, "The Fame Monster"

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album - Michael Buble, "Crazy Love"

Best Electronic/Dance Album - La Roux, "La Roux"

Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance - Paul McCartney, "Helter Skelter"

Best Male R&B Vocal Performance - Usher, "There Goes My Baby"

Best Contemporary R&B Album - Usher, "Raymond v Raymond"

Best Rap Solo Performance - Eminem, "Not Afraid"

Best Rap Song - "Empire State of Mind" (Jay-Z and Alicia Keys)

Best Rap Album - Eminem, "Recovery"

Best Country Song - "Need You Now" (Lady Antebellum, performers)

Best Country Album - Lady Antebellum, "Need You Now"

A complete list of winners in all 108 categories can be found at


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