The French electro pop duo left the ceremony with four awards, as did newcomer rap duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. German Conductor Christoph Eschenbach won a prize in the classical division.
With nine nominations, Rapper Jay Z had been a leading candidate for the 2014 Grammy Awards, but his actual yield at the show in Los Angeles on January 26 was comparatively meager. He shared a prize with Justin Timberlake in the category Rap/Sung Collaboration for the song "Holy Grail." Jay Z also shared the stage with his wife Beyoncé in a rare joint appearance.
The big winners at the awards ceremony were Daft Punk. "Get Lucky" was declared Record of the Year, outflanking stiff competition by Bruno Mars, Robin Thicke, Imagine Dragons and Lorde. "Random Access Memories" took top honors in the prized category Album of the Year, and a further Grammy for Pop/Duo Group Performance was icing on the cake.
The two musicians also placed first for Dance/Electronica Album, and their production team nabbed a trophy for the best album production. Daft Punk are Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, who wear robot helmets during their performances. Their appearance Sunday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles was not exceptionl: Faces concealed, they accepted their trophies in silence.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis a step ahead
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis had a wildly successful night as well. Their four Grammys included the highly coveted New Artist distinction. The two rappers also topped the categories Rap Song and Rap Performance for "Thrift Shop" and won Rap Album for "Heist."
At age 17, Lorde from New Zealand skyrocketed into Grammy stardom, her song "Royals" taking the categories Song of the Year and Pop Solo Performance. During rehearsals for the gala, the singer revealed that a year ago she wouldn't have dreamed of ever being at the Grammys.
German nominees disappointed
From a German perspective, the yield on Sunday evening was somewhat disappointing. The announcement that German electro pioneers Kraftwerk would be recognized for their Lifetime Achievement, along with the Beatles and five other artists, had been made far in advance.
Hopes were high in the classical sector, but only conductor Christoph Eschenbach took home a trophy for Best Classical Compendium on the strength of the recording "Hindemith: Violin Concerto - Symphonic Metamorphosis - Concert Music" with the NDR (North German Radio) Symphony Orchestra. The label Deutsche Grammophon won a Grammy for Opera Recording.
Beatles revival and group wedding
Populating the extravagant stage show were stars of the caliber of Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Pink, who dangled from a rope like a circus acrobat. Classical star pianist Lang Lang performed a number with heavy metal band Metallica, observing afterward that their music is reminiscent of compositions by Franz Liszt. Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, the two surviving members of the Beatles, performed together onstage while Yoko Ono danced in the audience.
All the glamour notwithstanding, the emotional highlight of the evening was a group wedding onstage: 33 couples, both hetero- and same sex, said "I do." Queen Latifah presided while Macklemore & Ryan sang the song "Same Love:" a strong statement on behalf of the rights of same sex couples.