Grammys: Live Report

0443 GMT: That concludes the 55th annual Grammy Awards. The distribution of little gold gramophones favored no one artist in particular with very few sweeps save Gotye's surprise Record of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best Alternative Music Album awards.

Mumford & Sons took Album of the Year, fun. took Song of the Year and the Black Keys took Record of the Year. A little love for everyone.

It was a night of few disasters, as presenters and performers stayed largely on script and in tune. Fresh faces lit the stage, or screen as it was for those watching from home, as all Best New Artist nominees or a member of their respective band were able to perform.

In Los Angeles the party -- and music -- will last well into the night, but as for the AFP's live report, the evening has come to an end.

0424 GMT: LL Cool J closes the show with a serious rap performance. He's joined on stage by Public Enemy's Chuck D, Tom Morello, formerly of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave, Travis Barker the drummer of Blink 182 and DJ Z-Trip.

The performance began with the song "Refuse To Lose" and wrapped up with a Beastie Boys tribute with "No Sleep Till Brooklyn."

Sadly, the end was cut off by the broadcaster giving time to the corporate sponsors of the evening.

0415 GMT: Adele comes on stage to present the Grammy for Album of the Year.

The biggest award of the night goes to "Babel" by Mumford & Sons. This is their third year to be nominated, but their first to win.

They came into the night with six nominations, but the only other Grammy they won tonight was for Best Long Form Music Video for the"Big Easy Express."

The Grammy also goes to first time winners engineers/mixers Robin Baynton and Ruadhri Cushnan and the mastering engineer on the album Bob Ludwig who was already a double Grammy winner in the category Best Surround Sound Album in 2005 and 2011.

0410 GMT: Juanes throws the stage to six time nominee Frank Ocean to perform his song "Forrest Gump."

He dons a yellow suit jacked and striped sweatband and stands at an electric keyboard.

He seems small on the stage in front of a wall of projections making it look like he's running cross-country.

He finishes the set by whistling the melody and walking off stage.

0408 GMT: Grammy winner for Latin Pop Album Juanes performs Elton John's Grammy Hall of Fame song "Your Song" in English and Spanish with an acoustic guitar.

0358 GMT: And for the evening's biggest mash-up performance, Sir Elton John, Mumford & Sons, Zac Brown, Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes, Mavis Staples and T Bone Burnett take to the stage to pay tribute to Levon Helm, who died in April. The ensemble plays "The Weight (Take a Load off Annie)" with each group or performer taking a turn at the lyrics.

0347 GMT: It's Dave Brubeck tribute time -- just when you thought "Take Five" might be out of your head following the renowned artist's death on December 5, 2012.

Tribute is given to the many musicians who passed away this year including Dave Brubeck, Andy Williams, Donna Summer, Chuck Brown, Robin Gibb, Patti Page, Earl Scruggs, Doug Dillard, Davy Jones of the Monkeys, Dick Clark, Fontella Bass, Marva Whitney, Hal David, Andy Griffith, Marvin Hamlisch, Richard Adler, Patty Andrews, Dorothy McGuire, Jenni Rivera, Kitty Wells, Joe South, Ravi Shankar, Mickey Baker, and Adam Yauch of Beastie Boys, just to name a small handful.

0340 GMT: Prince swaggers on to the stage to present the award for Record of the Year. This award goes to the performing artist, the producer, recording engineer, and/or mixer for the song. None of the artists nominated in this category have ever won this Grammy before.

The Grammy goes to "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gotye featuring Kimbra.

Gotye, the stage name of Wally De Backer, was also the producer of the song and engineer/mixer on the song. He takes the Grammy along with first time winners engineer/mixer Francois Tetaz and mastering engineer William Bowden.

It's a big night for Gotye and Kimbra as the song was already awarded the Grammy for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and they won Best Alternative Music Album for "Making Mirrors."

0332 GMT: Hunter Hayes sings a brief part of his song "Wanted" then introduces Carrie Underwood, the evening's next performer with "Blown Away," for which she won Best Country Solo Performance earlier in the evening.

Sparkles and patterns are projected onto the bouffant skirt of her evening grown as she sings.

0326 GMT: Katy Perry comes out to present Best New Artist.

The Grammy goes to fun. - the second big win tonight for the New York City-based band.

According to Billboard.com, fun. made history with the first and only song that has ever gained 300,000+ downloads for seven weeks straight.

0320 GMT: The Lumineers pass the stage to Jack White. White is nominated for Album of the Year for his critically-acclaimed solo debut "Blunderbuss."

White entered the night with nine previous Grammy wins for everything from art direction on the box set "Under Great White Northern Lights" to producing Loretta Lynn's album "Van Lear Rose" in 2004 to performances with his sister Meg in their band "The White Stripes."

White rocks out to "Love Interruption" while sporting a bedazzled caballero-like suit.

0318 GMT: The Lumineers take the floor to sing their hit "Ho, Hey."

The folk rock band is based in Denver, Colorado. The core of the band is singer/guitarist Wesley Schultz, drummer Jeremiah Fraites and Neyla Pekarek on cello and vocals. Schultz and Fraites found Pekarek through an ad they placed on Craigslist.

0305 GMT: Now it is time for an all-star tribute to Bob Marley. Bruno Mars begins with a rendition of "Locked out of Heaven." Sting joins him - bass in hand. The song morphs into "Walking on the Moon."

Most of the celebrities they cut to in the audience are singing along, including Adele and Neil Patrick Harris.

Rihanna, in her third dress of the evening - a midriff bearing, sequinned number, takes the stage with Ziggy Marley for the anthem "Could You Be Love."

0256 GMT: Clarkson presents the award for Best Country Album. Zac Brown Band wins for "Uncaged." The group has won two previous Grammys before tonight.

Although Zac Brown traditionally wears beanies, he donned a black fedora for the night's ceremony.

0253 GMT: Kelly Clarkson is introduced to pay tribute in song Lifetime Achievement Winners Patti Page and Carole King.

She busts into "(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman." The crowd is on their feet again.

0249 GMT: The Black Keys are joined by jazz Grammy winner Dr. John and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to preform their Grammy winning rock song "Lonely Boy."

The Black Keys consists of guitarist and singer Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney on drums. They formed their band in 2001 in Akron, Ohio.

0242 GMT: The Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration goes to "No Church in the Wild" by Kanye West and Jay-Z, featuring Frank Ocean and The-Dream.

0236 GMT: Rihanna takes the stage in a black gown to belt the ballad, "Stay."

She is joined part way through by beanie-sporting, singer-songwriter Mikky Ekko.

She seems visibly moved by the performance.

They cut to Chris Brown in the audience as he gives her a standing ovation.

Rihanna already has four Grammy awards - her most recent from 2011 for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for the hit "All of the Lights" with Fergie, Kanye West and Kid Cudi.

0228 GMT: Best Pop Vocal Album goes to Kelly Clarkson for "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)."

The first, and one of the most successful "American Idol" alums, Clarkson continues to impress with three nominations tonight to add to her six previous Grammy nods. "Stronger" is her most commercially successful single to date.

Clarkson is a bit flustered and overexcited as she accepts the award, proclaiming twice, "I did not think I was going to win."

In what she will likely later reflect on as a poor choice of words, she adds, "Miguel, I don't know who the hell you are, but we need to sing together. I mean, good god. That was the sexiest damn thing I've ever seen."

0225 GMT: Maroon 5 with lead singer Adam Levine plus Alicia Keys take the stage for the next mash-up performance. Keys plays the drums instead of the usual piano as she sings "On Fire." Maroon 5 sings "Daylight."

0220 GMT Kaley Cuoco and Dave Ghrol announce the Grammy for Best Rock performance.

The Black Keys nab the award for "Lonely Boy." The group has taken home a Grammy three times before tonight and the performance award is just one of the five categories the Keys were nominated for this year.

The Keys are having quite a night; they've already taken home Best Rock Song and Best Rock Album, and performer Dan Auerbach won Producer of the Year - Non-Classical.

0213 GMT: The Grammys move into uncharted territory. For the first time the award for Best Urban Contemporary Album is presented. Frank Ocean wins for his album "Channel Orange." Ocean is nominated for six awards this year, but before tonight has never won a Grammy.

"I want to say thank you to my mother for being the best," he says.

Ocean, who hails from New Orleans, has had a particularly poignant year after coming out on a Tumblr blog, making him one of the first African-American music stars to announce his love for someone of the same sex.

0208 GMT: Ellen Degeneres and Beyonce introduce the evening's next performance by none other than six-time Grammy winner, previous *NSync boybander and former Mouseketeer Justin Timberlake.

Justin Timberlake performs his new "Suit & Tie" single. The telecast goes into black and white. Jay-Z walks onto the stage from the audience. For the record Timberlake and Jay-Z are both wearing very large bow ties.

Suddenly, the color comes back. The telecast pans to the orchestra, and the singing continues. Falsetto is of course de rigueur for a Timberlake performance, and Justin rocks it.

Timberlake, who took a six-year break from the music world to focus on acting (think: "The Social Network" and "Friends With Benefits") is back.

0154 GMT: London-based folk rock quartet "Mumford & Sons," who are six-time nominees this year, perform "I Will Wait." This is their first lone performance on the Grammy stage, having made their debut on the 2011 Grammy telecast with Bob Dylan and the Avett Brothers.

0149 GMT: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw are on stage to present Song of The Year. This award is given to the songwriter who wrote the lyrics and/or melodies.

"We Are Young" gives fun. a big win. fun. consists of Jack Antonoff, Andrew Dost and Nate Ruess. They get a big cheer and hug from "Girls" star Lena Dunham, dressed in yellow, who is dating Antonoff.

Their co-writer Jeff Bhasker previously won the Best Rap Song Grammy in both 2009 and 2011.

0147 GMT: BACKSTAGE SCOOP - Our reporter Mick Thurston reports that Adele was asked how she was feeling about the Oscars -- she is nominated for best song at the Academy Awards on February 24. "I'm s(expletive) myself!" the straight-talking singer told journalists in the Interview Room, where Grammy winners come immediately after receiving their award, to answer a few questions.

PR handlers were visibly unhappy - they had promised journalists only two questions with the British singer, which she had already answered, when a hopeful hack shouted the Oscar query.

0143 GMT: The award for Best Country Solo Performance is presented. The Grammy goes to Carry Underwood for "Blown Away." Underwood first came to fame on the fourth season of "American Idol."

"I thank you good Lord I am a part of such a wonderful, talented, amazing family," she says. Underwood has five Grammys from previous years, having won Best New Artist in 2006.

0138 GMT: Miguel and Wiz Khalifa perform the next mash up. Miguel is up for three Grammys tonight and has already won best song for "Adorn," which is what they are performing. The two wear matching zig-zag stripe jackets.

Rihanna is grooving in the front row as they walk by.

0130 GMT: Bonnie Raitt, who won earlier tonight for Best Americana Album, and John Mayer introduce the evening first mash-up performance. Country favorites Dierks Bentley, who is nominated for Best Country Solo Performance, and Miranda Lambert, who is nominated for Best Country Album, take the stage.

Lambert is wearing a black and white sequin mini-dress and singing into a pink microphone. They perform Bentley's "Home" and Lambert's "Over You." Bently has donned a classic country look, wearing jeans, a brown leather jacket and of course, an acoustic guitar.

0121 GMT: fun. takes the stage to perform "Carry On."

fun. has six nominations tonight, including one in all four of the biggest general categories. The last artist to accomplish that was Amy Winehouse in 2008.

After Swift's "cirqueberzerk" performance, this seems very tame. The stage is largely dark with a big spotlight on lead singer Nate Ruess. However, half way through the song rain starts pouring down on stage. The poor piano - the audience must be hoping no one will get electrocuted.

0118 GMT: Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull arrive to present Best Pop Solo Performance. Lopez jokes that she read the memo about wardrobe despite her major leg slit.

And the Grammy goes to Adele. She runs to the stage with a shocked face and calls JLo her "good luck charm."

After winning Best New Artist in 2008, Adele put to rest any worries that the curse sometimes associated with the award would trouble her. She swept the Grammys in 2011, winning Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year and this category for the song "Someone Like You."

Adele is also getting awards love from Hollywood this year, winning the Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination for her James Bond theme song "Skyfall."

0110 GMT: Sir Elton John, in his signature blue glasses, and Ed Sheeran take the stage to perform Sheeran's nominated song "A Team." John, who was an early fan and supporter of Sheeran's, lobbied Grammy organizers to get Sheeran this performance slot at the ceremony, but was told that Sheeran alone was not high-profile enough. This is why they are performing together.

The harmonys John adds to the song are beautiful.

0104 GMT: LL Cool J takes the stage and thanks Taylor Swift, whom he calls "T Swizzle." He waxes poetic about the importance of the Grammys.

When he mentions Rihanna, she is spotted in the audience next to Chris Brown.

LL Cool J has himself won two Grammys.

0100 GMT: And the official 55th annual Grammy awards are off!

The ceremony begins immediately with a mad hatter-inspired performance by Taylor Swift who is herself a six-time Grammy winner before tonight. She sings "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," for which she is nominated for record of the year.

There are stilt walkers, fire-eaters and puppeteers in a performance that is Alice in Wonderland-meets-Cirque du Soleil. Swift is wearing a ring master's costume, with white shorts and white, knee-length boots.

0051 GMT: Rihanna arrives is a custom Azzedine Alaia red dress, with matching red nails and red lips. She strategically strolls the carpet separate from Chris Brown. He chose an all white suit, including white shoes.

Never far from controversy, Brown showed up in the wake of a February 9 car crash of his Porsche. He shrugged it off with claims it was a paparazzi chase.

0040 GMT: First glimpse of Beyonce. She's gone with a black and white pants get-up and hair back in a simple ponytail. In case Beyonce's lip-synching inaugural performance, stadium-rocking Superbowl halftime show, or January 2012 baby debut haven't kept the megastar in a big enough spotlight, Beyonce now takes home her 17th little gold gramophone.

She wins for best traditional R&B performance for her song "Love on Top." Too bad prime-time viewers won't get to watch her accept the award.

Katy Perry is in a long-sleeve, mint green, skin-tight, cleavage-bearing gown. She says it was inspired by Priscilla Presley of the 1970s.

0034 GMT: Tonight's show will be hosted by LL Cool J. Unlike a hosting gig at the Oscars or Golden Globes, the Grammy host is not expected to tell jokes or roast the audience. For seven years, Grammy producers didn't even bother having a host. However, CBS probably wanted to tie in tonight's broadcast with one of their popular shows, and LL currently stars as Sam Hanna on the crime drama television series NCIS: Los Angeles.

0026 GMT: Nicole Kidman and hubby Keith Urban saunter up to talk with Seacrest. Kidman is wearing a skin-toned, lace Vera Wang.

Just spotted Adele, who has changed it up from her typical awards show uniform of black, with a red, lace, long-sleeved, T-length Valentino number. It unfortunately looks like "Mad Men" inspired dress gone wrong.

0017 GMT: AFP's Mick Thurston reports that the pre-telecast show, which was happening at the Nokia Theatre, is now over.

He says South African trumpet legend Hugh Masakela, clad in a purple robe and green trousers, had the audience dancing in the aisles, where he performed shortly before the Best World Music Album winner was announced. Masakela was nominated for "Jabulani," but lost out to late Indian sitar legend Ravi Shankar, who died in December.

Shankar's daughter Anoushka accepted a Grammy on behalf of her late father -- in a category she was also nominated in. In her acceptance speech on his behalf she said, "It's OK to lose your father."

0009 GMT: The Grammys are all smiles and glitzy wardrobes, but in the city of Los Angeles, police are on serious duty tonight.

As the industry's biggest awards show unfolds, LA police are watching out for a fugitive alleged cop killer, on the run for three days after threatening to murder more officers. He is suspected of killing a couple on February 3, then ambushing two policemen early Thursday, killing one.

No doubt, security is extra tight at the Staples Center.

0006 GMT: Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine arrives in a custom-made emerald Givenchy gown. She also has a matching emerald green clutch and shoes by the designer. She says she has worn designs by Givenchy to every Grammys she's attended - calling the designer incredibly "generous."

She tells E!'s Giuliana Rancic that she chose the color to match her eyes and compliment her red hair.

2353 GMT: Carrie Underwood arrived on the red carpet and spoke with E!'s Ryan Seacrest, sporting a necklace with 381 carats. She joked that it made her nervous for her personal safety.

Taylor Swift is wearing a J. Mendel, pleated, off-white goddess gown. She asks for people to "think good thoughts for her" on her performance, and claims she did her own nails for the evening.

Jennifer Lopez is sporting a full leg out the slit of her Anthony Vaccarello black dress. She says her wardrobe choice is "a little shoulder, a little leg." She tried blocking some of the skin with her purse when Seacrest called her out on breaking CBS's wardrobe rules.

2347 GMT: Stars are on a tight leash wardrobe-wise tonight. A leaked email from US television network CBS warned stars that "thong type costumes are problematic. Please avoid exposing bare fleshy under curves of the buttocks and buttock crack."

Also on the no-no list are "bare sides or under curvature of the breasts" as well as "clothing that could possibly expose female breast nipples." No word yet on male breast nipples.

Grammy fashion always runs the gamut from traditional gowns to the fanfare wardrobes of Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga.

2344 GMT: Our man on the ground Mick Thurston (@mickyt) has been at the pre-telecast show watching Grammy winners stride to the podium. He reports that Beach Boy Brian Wilson looked extremely frail, being helped on stage to receive an award for Best Historical Album, for the 2011 album "The Smile Sessions."

The 70-year-old, who has long struggled with health problems, had to sit down during a backstage interview just after receiving the award, and did so again in a corridor between media appearances. A Grammys source told reporters that he had recently had back surgery.

Wilson said it was unlikely that the Beach Boys, who reunited last year for a 50th anniversary album and tour, would get together again.

"I doubt it, no, I don't think so," the star told reporters backstage.

Asked what the inspiration was for the Beach Boys' original sound, he said: "California girls," prompting laughter in the press room.

One reporter said, unusually, "We love you Brian," and there was applause as he left the stage.

WELCOME TO AFP'S LIVE REPORT on the 55th annual Grammys. The red carpet is rolled out and ready for treading by a who's who of the music industry's hottest new names and old favorites as they arrive at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Only a handful of winners from the Grammys' 81 different award categories will receive their little golden gramophone on stage tonight. Record, album and song of the year as well as best new artist are nearly guaranteed to be presented, but the winners are anyone's guess.

R&B songster Frank Ocean, indie-pop group fun. and folk-rock favorite Mumford & Sons are leading the pack with six nominees each, as are old standards Jay-Z and Kanye West, who also got six nods. Blues-rock duo The Black Keys and R&B singer Miguel are up for five.

Noticibly missing from the top four award categories is Kanye, as well as hip-hop in general. Teen heartthrob Justin Bieber will be a no-show on stage, having garnered no nominations. And last year's Grammy victor Adele, who swept the ceremony with six wins, is up for only one Grammy this year.

An eclectic mix of star mash-ups -- always a Grammy staple -- will be performed between award presentations, combining the varying talents of artists from divergent genres. Bruno Mars, Sting and Rihanna rocking it out one moment, Alicia Keys and Maroon 5 the next.

Taylor Swift will be the first performance of the evening. But first, the red carpet -- a veritable fashion gauntlet awaits.

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