U2 dominate Grammys

This is the first time I’ve ever played the Grammys. I finally passed the audition.” — Paul McCartney

Los Angeles:

Mariah Carey ended her 16-year Grammy drought, but rock gods U2 smashed her comeback queen dreams by snatching five trophies on February 8, including song and album of the year.

Carey hadn’t won a Grammy since her first two as a fresh-faced ingenue in 1990. This year, she was nominated for a leading eight and won three in the pre-telecast ceremony. No woman had ever won more than five in one night.

But Carey was shut out through the entire televised portion, losing twice to U2, once to Green Day for record of the year and once to former American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson for best female pop vocal performance.

“If you think this is going to go to our head, it’s too late,” U2 frontman Bono said after the group won song of the year. After winning the night’s big award, album of the year, Bono told Carey, “You sing like an angel.”

John Legend won three awards: best new artist, best R&B album for his debut, Get Lifted, and best male R&B vocal for the piano ballad Ordinary People. His mentor, Kanye West, also won three. Clarkson won two, including best pop album.

Aside from winning the most awards, U2 provided one of the more rousing performances in the jam-packed show as they sung their hit Vertigo, then collaborated with R&B queen Mary J Blige’s gospel-inflected fervor for their classic One. West’s three Grammys matched his total for last year. The brash rapper/producer played up (or lived up to) his egotistical reputation as he won best rap album for Late Registration.

Alison Krauss and Union Station also had three awards, including for best country album, while Stevie Wonder, who released his first album in 10 years last year, had two.

The show started off on a two-dimensional note as the cartoon-fronted rock group Gorillaz performed their record of the year contender, Feel Good Inc with the help of animation, a blue screen and guest rappers De La Soul. The performance then segued into a Madonna moment, as the pop queen shimmied through the Gorillaz’ virtual space while singing her latest hit, Hung Up.

A brief, impromptu performance by Keys and Wonder was the first to energise the crowd. Wonder pulled out his harmonica and the two soulfully sang his classic Higher Ground as a tribute to the late Coretta Scott King.

“Let’s keep trying to reach that higher ground,” Keys said. “I forever want to reach that higher ground.”