The big question at the 54th edition of the Grammys was if Bon Iver would be able to repeat Arcade Fire's success of last year. Vernon and friends got four nominations: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best New Artist and Best Alternative Music Album. Last night, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, they took home the latter two. Quite something, given that they were competing against best-sellers like Radiohead, Death Cab For Cutie and My Morning Jacket in the Best Alternative Music Album category and with popular artists like J. Cole, Skrillex, Nicki Minaj and The Band Perry for Best New Artist. That said, we were quite surprised to see Bon Iver nominated (and winning) as a “new artist”. The other two awards went to the big winner of the night, Adele, for her enduring “Rolling In The Deep”.
We were also eager to see if Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon - the Eau Claire singer-songwriter - would appear at all, after a dispute between him and the organisation (he didn't want to perform at the gala, because they wanted him to share the stage with other musicians). He did, appearing very modest on stage, as was to be expected: he dedicated the prize to his parents, thanked a lot of people and admitted he felt a bit uncomfortable. While Bon Iver was the big winner in the “Alternative” category, Skrillex was boss of “Electronica”: he took home the awards for Best Dance Recording, Best Dance/Electronic Album (Cut Copy and Robyn were left on the threshold of glory) and Best Remixed Recording, Non Classical.
Adele became the absolute winner with six awards, equalling Beyoncé's record as most lauded female artist at one edition of the Grammys. She was followed closely by Foo Fighters (five awards) and Kanye West (four), whose “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” didn't compete last year because of a date issue. Regarding last night's performances, the big one was from Nicki Minaj, who - in spite of going home empty-handed - shook the Staples Center with her show inspired on “The Exorcist” and horror films in general. There were tributes to Whitney Houston, too: Jennifer Hudson sang “I Will Always Love You” and many of the attendees and winners remembered her in their speeches.