In an 11th-hour twist, the 55th annual Grammy Awards became a victory lap for Mumford & Sons, who first broke out there two years ago as a little-known London ensemble with a stadium-sized take on American folk-rock.
After that 2011 performance at the Grammys, Mumford shot up the charts. On Sunday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the band seized just one award, but it was the big one, Album of the Year, for its souped-up second album, "Babel."
"We figured we weren't going to win anything because the Black Keys have been sweeping up all day, and deservedly so," said frontman Marcus Mumford.
The Black Keys did have a decent night for a bluesy garage-rock duo from Akron, Ohio. It won Rock Album for seventh record, "El Camino," and Rock Song and Rock Performance for "Lonely Boy." Singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach also won Producer of the Year, Non-Classical, for production credits that also included Dr. John's Best Blues Album-winning "Locked Down."
In two major categories, the Grammys just wanted to have fun. The pop-rock band from New York City with the little f and the puzzling "." grabbed the Best New Artist and Song of the Year for the anthemic ballad "We Are Young."
"I don't know what I was thinking writing the chorus for this song," said frontman Nate Ruess, who was previously in the Arizona band The Format. "If this is in HD everybody can see our faces and we are not very young."
If you want to feel old, do know that the man who said that is a mere 30.
The Grammys went Down Under in three categories, with Aussie indie-rocker Gotye winning Best Alternative Album for his third album, "Making Mirrors," and Record of the Year and Pop Duo/Group Performance Grammy for "Somebody That I Used to Know," the breakout song that positively dared you not to sing along.
Starstruck to be receiving an award from presenter Prince, Gotye (nee Wouter De Backer) noted, "I feel unworthy to be up here accepting this."
Frank Ocean's breakout debut, "Channel Orange," was the overwhelming choice of critics in 2012. The sprawling record, loaded with diary-style narratives steeped in R&B, soul and hip-hop, won Urban Contemporary Album, beating out Chris Brown, with whom he had a recent parking lot conflagration.
Mr. Ocean also got up for Rap/Sung Collaboration for "No Church in the Wild," the Kanye West/Jay-Z song on which he had a sung part.
Add in Rap Performance and Rap Song for "N----s in Paris" and Kanye and Jay-Z have now won four Grammys for "Watch the Throne," a project that was snubbed in the Album of the Year category last year. (Rap Album, by the way, went to Drake for "Take Care.")
It was a good night for "American Idol's" most successful alums.
Kelly Clarkson toppled fun. for Pop Vocal Album, and offered one of the evening's more spontaneous speeches, joking about the alcohol that would be consumed later. And then apologizing for it. Carrie Underwood made the most of her night -- despite country not cracking the top categories -- picking up two for "Blown Away": Country Solo Performance and Country Song, which went to the songwriters.
"Country music has always been good to me," said the former "American Idol" winner, who obviously made a good genre choice.
The winners could all breathe a sigh of relief that they weren't up against Adele. The British soul siren, who won a six-pack of awards last year, was nominated for one award, Best Pop Solo Performance, and of course, won it for "Set Fire to the Rain (Live)."
This was the second straight year that Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa was shut out on two nominations. Once again, he found himself up against the monster Jay-Z/Kanye West project "Watch the Throne." Rap Song went to "N----s in Paris" over Khalifa/Snoop Dogg's "Young, Wild & Free," the single from their DVD movie release "Mac and Devin Go to High School." The Pop/Duo Group Performance went to Gotye over his duet with Maroon 5 on "Payphone."
The Pittsburgh-based MCG Jazz label, which has six prior Grammys, received two nominations for the locally produced Bob Mintzer album "For the Moment," but went home empty-handed this time. The late Gil Evans won for Best Instrumental Arrangement and Arturo Sandoval for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.
However, Pat Metheny won Best Contemporary Instrumental Record for "Unity Band," an album that utilizes the orchestrion, a robotic instrument developed by Pittsburgher Eric Singer.
Mercer native Trent Reznor, formerly of industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, along with Atticus Ross, took Best Score Soundtrack for "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." The duo won an Oscar together in 2010 for "The Social Network." It is Mr. Reznor's second Grammy, having won with NIN in 1993 for Best Heavy Metal Performance.
Halestorm, a young band from Red Lion, York County, seemed thoroughly shocked to win Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance for "Love Bites (So Do I)" over Anthrax and Iron Maiden.
Renee Fleming, a native of Indiana, Pa., and three-time Grammy winner, won Best Classical Vocal Solo for "Poemes."
Off the beaten path
Noisy electronic dance artist Skrillex, nominated last year for Best New Artist, is now a six-time Grammy winner having won for Best Remixed Recording ("Promises," with Nero), and Best Dance Recording and Best Dance/Electronica ("Bangarang"). In the pre-telecast, he brought up his whole entourage, saying, "Yo, none of the rappers showed up. We had to roll deep."
In the more sedate world of Christian music, LeCrae and TobyMac, two artists who have performed in Pittsburgh recently, won for Best Gospel Album and Best Contemporary Christian Album, respectively.
Legends and veterans
The great Brian Wilson was his typically mercurial self picking up Best Historical Album for "The Smile Sessions (Deluxe Box Set)" a project completed nearly four decades later. "Van Dyke [Parks] and I knew we were ahead of our time in 1965, and in 2004 we released it. Good!" he mumbled and abruptly stepped away. The "Smile Sessions" had previously won the Beach Boy his first solo Grammy, for Best Rock Instrumental Performance, in 2005.
Beloved sitar master Ravi Shankar, who died in December at 92, won Best World Music Album for "The Living Room Sessions Part 1." The award was accepted by his also-nominated daughter Anoushka, who said, "It's OK to lose when you lose to your father."
The duel for Best Americana Album between the Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons -- who jammed on stage together in 2011 -- went to neither. Bonnie Raitt, a longtime Grammy academy favorite, took it for "Slipstream." "I was not expecting this," she said. "I have enough. Thank you though."
Janis Ian, nominated for Best Spoken Word Album against Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama, Ellen DeGeneres and Rachel Maddow, had one of the better lines of the night, saying, "I keep thinking there's a punchline here. An ex-president, a first lady and three lesbians walk into a bar ..." Some comedian can finish that thought. In the meantime, the white-haired singer who wrote "At Seventeen" at 22 won the Grammy for "Society's Child: My Autobiography."
A partial list of winners at the 2013 Grammy Awards:
Record of the Year: "Somebody That I Used To Know," Gotye Featuring Kimbra
Album of the Year: "Babel," Mumford & Sons
Song of the Year: "We Are Young," Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost & Nate Ruess, songwriters (fun. Featuring Janelle Monae)
Best New Artist: fun.
Best Pop Solo Performance: "Set Fire to the Rain [Live]," Adele.
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: "Somebody That I Used To Know," Gotye featuring Kimbra.
Best Pop Instrumental Album: "Impressions," Chris Botti.
Best Pop Vocal Album: "Stronger," Kelly Clarkson.
Best Dance Recording: "Bangarang," Skrillex Featuring Sirah.
Best Dance/Electronica Album: "Bangarang," Skrillex.
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: "Kisses on the Bottom," Paul McCartney.
Best Rock Performance: "Lonely Boy," The Black Keys.
Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance: "Love Bites (So Do I)," Halestorm.
Best Rock Song: "Lonely Boy," The Black Keys.
Best Rock Album: "El Camino," The Black Keys.
Best Alternative Music Album: "Making Mirrors," Gotye.
Best R&B Performance: "Climax," Usher.
Best Traditional R&B Performance: "Love on Top," Beyonce.
Best R&B Song: "Adorn," Miguel Pimentel.
Best Urban Contemporary Album: "Channel Orange," Frank Ocean.
Best R&B Album: "Black Radio," Robert Glasper Experiment.
Best Rap Performance: "N• • • • s in Paris," Jay-Z & Kanye West.
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: "No Church in the Wild," Jay-Z & Kanye West featuring Frank Ocean & The-Dream.
Best Rap Song: "N• • • • s in Paris," Shawn Carter, Mike Dean, Chauncey Hollis & Kanye West, songwriters (W.A. Donaldson, songwriter) (Jay-Z & Kanye West)
Best Rap Album: "Take Care," Drake.
Best Country Solo Performance: "Blown Away," Carrie Underwood.
Best Country Duo/Group Performance: "Pontoon," Little Big Town.
Best Country Song: "Blown Away," Carrie Underwood.
Best Country Album: "Uncaged," Zac Brown Band.
Best New Age Album: "Echoes of Love," Omar Akram.
Best Improvised Jazz Solo: "Hot House, Gary Burton & Chick Corea, soloists.
Best Jazz Vocal Album: "Radio Music Society," Esperanza Spalding.
Best Jazz Instrumental Album: "Unity Band," Pat Metheny Unity Band.
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album: "Dear Diz (Every Day I Think of You)," Arturo Sandoval.
Best Latin Jazz Album: "¡Ritmo!," The Clare Fischer Latin Jazz Big Band
Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance: "10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)," Matt Redman.
Best Gospel Song: "Go Get It," Mary Mary
Best Gospel Album: "Gravity," Lecrae.
Best Americana Album: "Slipstream," Bonnie Raitt.
Best Bluegrass Album: "Nobody Knows You, " Steep Canyon Rangers.
Best Blues Album: "Locked Down, " Dr. John.
Best Folk Album: "The Goat Rodeo Sessions," Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile.
Best Reggae Album: "Rebirth," Jimmy Cliff.
Best Children's Album: "Can You Canoe?" The Okee Dokee Brothers.
Best Spoken Word Album: "Society's Child: My Autobiography," Janis Ian.
Best Comedy Album: "Blow Your Pants Off," Jimmy Fallon.
Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media: "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo," Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, composers.
Best Song Written For Visual Media: "Safe & Sound" (From "The Hunger Games"), Taylor Swift Featuring The Civil Wars.
Best Instrumental Composition: "Mozart Goes Dancing," Chick Corea & Gary Burton.
Best Instrumental Arrangement: "How About You," Gil Evans Project.
Best Orchestral Performance: "Adams: Harmonielehre & Short Ride in a Fast Machine," Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor, San Francisco Symphony.
Best Short Form Music Video: "We Found Love," Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris.
Best Long Form Music Video: "Big Easy Express," Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros & Old Crow Medicine Show.
For a complete list of the 2013 Grammy Award winners, go to grammys.com.