LOS ANGELES — “Babel” by British folk band Mumford & Sons won Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards on Sunday, one of the top awards.
“Babel,” the band’s second release, was both a critical and commercial success in the United States in 2012.
“We figured we weren’t going to win anything because The Black Keys have been sweeping up all day, and deservedly so,” lead singer Marcus Mumford said in his acceptance speech.
Another big winner Sunday was FUN., named Best New Artist. The indie-pop band beat out stiff competition from indie-folk band The Lumineers, blues-rock group Alabama Shakes, R&B singer Frank Ocean and country singer Hunter Hayes.
New York trio FUN., formed by Andrew Dost, Nate Ruess and Jack Antonoff, stormed onto the pop charts in 2012 with their single “We Are Young” and debut album “Some Nights.”
The band also won the Grammy for Song of the Year for “We are Young.”
“Somebody That I Used to Know” by Australian artist Gotye won Record of the Year. The melodic heartbreak song, which featured New Zealand singer Kimbra, was one of 2012′s biggest hits.
Gotye accepted the award from Prince, who said, “I love this song,” just before he announced the winner.
“Thank you for everybody who puts out great energy into the world with music,” Gotye said in his acceptance speech.
Country-pop singer Taylor Swift brought the circus to the Grammy stage on Sunday, kicking off the annual awards with a lively performance and British singer Adele picked up the show’s first award.
The Black Keys, Skrillex and Gotye started the night strong, each picking up multiple awards before the televised ceremony.
The 55th Grammy Awards handed out their gramophone-shaped trophies in more than 80 categories, but only a handful of winners are announced during the three-hour live telecast on CBS. More than 60 categories were announced prior to the televised show.
The top categories were dominated this year by male artists, with Mumford & Sons, FUN. and Frank Ocean going into the show with six nominations each, including Album of the Year.
Swift kicked off the live telecast dressed as a ringmaster with a circus-themed performance of her infectious chart-topping hit “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” backed by dancers in jester and acrobat costumes.
The 23-year-old singer picked up an early Grammy for her collaboration with T-Bone Burnett and The Civil Wars on the song “Safe and Sound” from “The Hunger Games” movie soundtrack.
Britain’s Adele, 24, who swept the Grammys with six major awards last year, landed another this year for Best Pop Solo Performance for her live rendition of “Set Fire to The Rain.”
The singer recognized the other female nominees in the audience, saying, “We work so hard, we make it look so easy.”
Presenting the award, rapper Pitbull joked that Jennifer Lopez, who joined him onstage in an asymmetric dress with a daring slit up to the top of her thigh, “inspired the memo,” referring to an advisory issued by CBS asking all performers and presenters to keep their breasts, buttocks and genitals covered.
The Grammys have a reputation for pairing up old-timers and newcomers, and this year had several collaborations.
Veteran Elton John took the stage with rising British star Ed Sheeran, 21, to sing a stripped down duet of “The A Team,” Sheeran’s song for which he’s nominated in the Song of the Year category.
FUN. lived up to their name with a performance of “Carry On,” while rain fell on stage, soaking the band as they played.
The band, which received six nominations, was the only act to be nominated in the top four categories of Album, Song and Record of the Year and Best New Artist.
Rockers The Black Keys, formed by Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, started the night strong, picking up two Grammys — Best Rock Album for “El Camino” and Best Rock Song for “Lonely Boy.” Auerbach was also named the Producer of the Year in the non-classical category.
The band went into the night with five nominations, including top categories Album of the Year and Record of the Year.
Mumford & Sons went into Sunday’s awards with a leading six nominations. They picked up a win for Best Long Form Music Video for “Big Easy Express,” a collaboration with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Old Crow Medicine Show.
Gotye, 32, picked up two other Grammys for Best Alternative Album for “Making Mirrors” and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Somebody That I Used To Know” featuring Kimbra.
DJ Skrillex, 25, who won three Grammy awards last year, took home three more, including Best Dance/Electronica Album for “Bangarang.”
Jay-Z and Kanye West won two awards, Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song for their collaboration “N****s in Paris.” Jay-Z’s wife, Beyonce, won Best Traditional R&B Performance for “Love on Top.”
R&B singer Chris Brown showed up smiling at the Grammy Awards show on Sunday, saying he was just a little banged up after crashing his car into a wall on the eve of the annual music industry awards.
“Little bit of bumps, I’m good though,” Brown, 23, dressed in a white Lanvin suit, told E! News on the red carpet.
Brown crashed his Porsche into a wall in Beverly Hills on Saturday and told police he was trying to elude aggressive paparazzi.
“I’ll get another one,” Brown, laughing, told E! News on Sunday. “Insurance is good.”
“Paparazzi tend to get out of hand. It’s all good, though. No injuries,” he added.
Brown’s “Fortune” was nominated for best urban contemporary album at Sunday’s Grammys, but Frank Ocean walked off with the award.
The crash came almost exactly four years after Brown assaulted his girlfriend, singer Rihanna, the night before the awards show in 2009.
Rihanna and Brown have recently rekindled their relationship, but the pair walked the red carpet separately on Sunday. Rihanna won a Grammy for Best Short Form Video for her hit “We Found Love” and performed during the awards show.
Brown pleaded guilty in 2009 to beating and punching Rihanna and is still on probation. Last week, a Los Angeles judge ordered a new report on the community service that Brown was told to carry out as part of his sentence after prosecutors alleged that he had cut corners.