Photo gallery: Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams, Macklemore top the Grammys

By Ben Sisario

New York Times News Service

Published: Sunday, Jan. 26 2014 12:00 a.m. MST

Ryan Lewis, left, and Macklemore accept the award for best new artist at the 56th annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, in Los Angeles.

Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision

LOS ANGELES — Newcomers, establishment stars and even a pair of French “robots” shared the spotlight at the 56th annual Grammy Awards ceremony Sunday night, reflecting a changed music business in which top celebrities command constant attention yet a monster hit can come from anywhere.

Daft Punk, a French duo who hide their faces under robot-like helmets and have become elder statesmen of electronic dance music, won four prizes including album of the year for “Random Access Memories” and record of the year for “Get Lucky,” their ubiquitous hit with Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, a hip-hop duo from Seattle who quickly went from the indie fringe to the top of the charts, were the biggest winners of the night with four awards, including best new artist and most of the Grammys’ rap categories, beating giants like Jay Z and Kanye West.

And Lorde, a 17-year-old New Zealander who in less than a year went from uploading songs to the Internet in obscurity to a nine-week run at No. 1, won song of the year and best pop solo performance for “Royals,” a stark and sensuous sendup of the fantasies of conspicuous consumption in pop. (Record of the year recognizes a recording of a song; song of the year is for songwriting.)

“Thank you everyone who has let this song explode,” Lorde, whose real name is Ella Yelich-O’Connor, said when accepting the prize for song of the year. “Because it’s been mental.”

Yet the incumbent stars of the music world were also very much part of the show. It opened with Beyoncé and Jay Z performing a steamy version of “Drunk in Love” from Beyoncé’s new album. That album, “Beyoncé,” caused a sensation in the music business when it was released by surprise last month, instantly becoming a major news story around the world.

And in keeping with the Grammys’ focus on flashy live spectacle, the show included 21 performances, often in special or unusual combinations. Metallica played its classic “One” with piano virtuoso Lang Lang; Pink sang while performing acrobatics suspended above the stage; and Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard and Blake Shelton smirked their way through “Okie From Muskogee” and “Highwayman.”

In what Grammy organizers hoped would be a heartwarming showstopper, 33 gay and straight couples were officially married — by Queen Latifah, deputized by Los Angeles County — during a performance of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ marriage-equality anthem “Same Love,” which also featured Madonna.

The wedding segment led to some criticism from conservatives. On Sunday afternoon, after news of the weddings was reported by The New York Times, Bryan Fischer, the director of issue analysis of the conservative American Family Association, said on Twitter that the Grammys were featuring “sodomy-based wedding ceremonies.”

Among the other big winners of the night, Bruno Mars, whose rising pop profile will bring him to the Super Bowl halftime show next Sunday, took best pop vocal album for “Unorthodox Jukebox.”

Jay Z won his 19th Grammy for best rap/sung collaboration for “Holy Grail,” featuring Justin Timberlake. Accepting it, he said he wanted to thank God “a little bit for this award,” and, holding up the trophy, sent a message to his 2-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy: “Look, Daddy got a gold sippy cup for you!”

Vampire Weekend won best alternative music album for “Modern Vampires of the City,” and Imagine Dragons, a young alternative band that had one of the biggest hits of the year with “Radioactive,” won best rock performance for that song.

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