What was Grammy's biggest surprise?

eminemImage Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.comLast night’s Grammy ceremony was full of surprising twists that enlivened the performances and had a major impact on the awards. Esperanza Spalding won for Best New Artist, upsetting box-office superstar Justin Bieber, Drake and Mumford and Sons. Arcade Fire lost to the Black Keys for Best Alternative Music Album, but then rebounded to edge Eminem for Album of the Year. Shady, who had been nominated for 10 awards, had to settle for only two trophies, for Rap Album and Rap Solo Performance. (Maybe that’s why he dropped that F-bomb during “Love the Way You Lie.”) And then there was Lady Gaga arriving in an egg, and then sporting a set of horns; Christina Aguilera nearly tumbled; and Cee-Lo’s outfit was a feathery rainbow connection. So many twists and shockers, but what would you say was the biggest? Vote below.


Read more:
Grammys 2011: See the winners’ list
Grammys 2011: Backstage

Comments (85 total) Add your comment
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  • Josie

    Esperanza beating Florence+the Machine, not Justin.

    • Allison

      I was thinking Drake, but I’ll agree with Florence too.

    • mscisluv

      My money was on Drake or Florence + the Machine.

      • MattyWillWinSeason23

        Same, Drake and Florence are both amazing in their respective genres, the fact that the author didnt even mention Florence made me mad.

      • Krystal

        I agree. Florence + the machine is amazing. Top notch vocals and amazing music.

    • stephen

      AGREED. EW needs to get over their obsession with Justin Bieber. The majority of their readers DO NOT LIKE HIM. Don’t they realize tween girls read Teen Vogue NOT Entertainment Weekly? So frustrating!

    • Brandy

      Yeah, Esperanza beating Florence + The Machine was the surprise. Justin Bieber isn’t good and the Grammy’s aren’t voted on by teenage girls, so no one could have really thought he would have won.

  • Logistics

    Anyone who picked Arcade Fire OBVIOUSLY don’t have any sense or taste in music. They’ve been OUT OF CONTROL amazing this year, and their last album was the best thing in music in a long time. Take out your earbuds, stop listening to Katy Perry, and appreciate real music.

    • Calm down

      Even Streisand seemed to be shocked/confused as she slowly read the “The Suburbs”.

      All I know about them is they were on SNL and I fast-forwarded through their performance (like I do with mose SNL musical performances).

      • JBD

        On the news, Hoda called them “Arcadia” and basically scoffed at their win. I think that they should be on the cover of EW (they’re that amazing). All in favor of an Arcade Fire cover?

      • TorontoTom

        How can Arcade Fire LOSE Best Albm in their genre (alternative, lost to Black Keys) yet later be named Best Album?!? With 108 categories, I suspect voters don’t put a lot of thought into each pick. The results are all over the place.

    • Teresa

      I was surprised, but in a good way! Although I never expected them to win, that was more about my expectations about Grammy’s, not the quality of their work.

    • Hmm

      Dude, the reason why Arcade Fire winning is a shock is because the Grammys have no credibility and usually award these things to whatever is mainstream. Arcade Fire obviously blows everyone out of the water, and for them to get recognized by the voting academy is pretty nuts, especially given the fact that TAYLOR SWIFT won album of the year last year. Any fan of indie rock who gets worked up over the Grammys needs to worry about something else! Hooray for Arcade Fire, but they don’t need this award to boost them in any way.

    • Objective

      The point is to predict the Grammys based on their past winners; there was no evidence to suggest a non-commerical band with no hits would win the award.

  • javi

    in my opinion was eminem only winning two awards that pissed me off and arcade fire winning album of the year the justin bieber loss wasen’t a surprise for me i tough drake was going to win but i think esperanza spalding was a good choice.

    • TruthHurts

      HUH? You type like an illiterate rapper.

  • Rusty Shackelford

    Best New Artist = curse

    • Rebekah

      I was thinking the exact same thing. So it really didn’t surprise me when the other noms didn’t win because people actually know who they are, which means they will probably last longer than the winner. Though, I am hoping Esperanza Spalding can break the curse.

      For me, I was most surprised and disappointed by Eminem only taking home two Grammys. I thought he should have maybe won Album of the Year, but he definitely should have won either Record or Song of the Year–most especially whichever one is for writing. I like “Need You Now,” but it isn’t exactly groundbreaking or profound in any way.

      • mae

        I have never liked that Lady Antebellum song, in fact it grates my nerves to no end. I agree, there’s nothing original about it. It’s like vanilla and it says the Grammy voters lack courage.

    • PN

      It is like a curse because some of the Best New Artist winners don’t always have a strong second album followup after a well received debut. But Drake and Justin Bieber had music a year or so before they were nominated for Best New Artist, so the Grammys didn’t want to award them again for a new artist award like the other music awards. I think they wanted to give it to someone that’s very new and not as well known and Esperanza fit with the award.

    • Dave

      Really, Rusty? A curse? Tell that to past winners Carrie Underwood, Adele, Maroon 5, John Legend, Evanescence, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Sheryl Crow, Mariah Carey, Sade, even The Beatles. They all seemed to do just fine after winning the award, as did many others. Are you just trying to mask your anger over Bieber losing the award by making excuses for why you’re glad he didn’t win?

  • HonestyPolicy

    Best New Artist. Without a doubt.

  • The Gamer

    I’ll tell you what’s a big surprise, and EW failed to write an article about… Baba Yetu from the video game Civilization 4 winning a Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists. The first Video Game to win a Grammy. I think its time for the Grammys to create a Best Video Game Song of the Year Award. They give out the awards for just about anything music already.

    • Sally

      That’s funny you should mention that because I was shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, that they didn’t mention that either! What with Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga in an egg that was probably the most exciting thing about the Grammy’s this year!

    • loviatar9

      Amen to that. Let’s start seeing more awards for some music outside the mainstream/YouTube realm.

  • Nathan

    This is the first time in a long time that the Grammys got Album of the Year right, that was the biggest surprise of the night, that they chose a deserving winner for a change.

  • Kae

    I don’t know why people think it’s an “upset” that Beiber didn’t win. Uh, either you’re delusional and or you’re a whiny 13-14 teenage girl if you got mad that he didn’t win. For him to even be nominated in the first place was shocking. Like, really? This crap? Ooohh Kay.

    • Rusty Shackelford

      Kind of like the teeny boopers you used to read about in Tiger Beat. Sucks getting old. Pretty soon you’ll be yelling at kids to get off your lawn.

      • dee dee1

        He had a great year. Give Justin the credit he deserves. He’s a hard-worker. I agree. Young people are going to be disappointed he didn’t win and I feel for them. I felt the same way when my idols never won. He’ll continue to do great with or without an award.

  • enchanted

    He’s a little kid. Lay off him. People were shocked because whether you like it or not he sold a lot of albums and has had a successful year. But he needs years to grow to really earn that grammy. And who cares if little girls are upset? Anyone who has a favorite artist gets upset if their favorite artist looses. Grow up.

  • ben

    No one saw Spalding winning coming. I was ticked off that Jay-Z keeps winning more Grammies than Em. Because Empire State of Mind was covered by Glee? And Arcade Fire, nothing against them but after that spastic performance with all of the lights and the kid on the bike, winning the Album of the Year is total hog wash even though the entire category was a joke.

    • realeyes

      “Empire State of Mind” >>>>> “Love The Way You Lie.” And it wasn’t because it was on Glee, it’s because it’s a good song.

    • matt

      The Suburbs was far and out the album of the year if you listened to it and you obviously didn’t pay attention to Arcade Fire’s performance, the kid on the bike had a camera attached to the bike. Who cares if Jay-Z won more awards than em, everone knows that Big Boi shoud’ve won.

  • ben

    The Grammies are basically the Billboard Awards except the artists vote on it. They only give the big Grammies to country, pop, and rock as if giving one to a hip hop artist will tarnish them. And Jay-Z winning three Grammies? Come the F on!

  • bruno

    biggest surprise? gaga trying to deflect the madege theivery with a whitney shout out after winning an award that had nothing to do with the song she was talking about while just completely a performace where she ironically looked an awful lot like madonna….

    • Rio

      Yeah – why was she talking about Whitney Houston and having her in mind when she wrote “Born This Way” when the award was for “The Fame Monster.” Not to mention, I can’t envision Whitney ever singing a GaGa song. Madonna, yes — Whitney, no.

    • Huh

      That song sounded as if Cher tried to re-imagine TLC’s “Waterfalls” for Broadway. It just made me miss the late Lisa “Left Eye/SuperNova” Lopes all the more…

  • ruta

    It won’t matter to me how many awards Arcade Fire wins. After their noise-filled horrid performances last night, who cares? How the heck did that cruddy noise band win Album of the Year? I never even heard of it. Sounds like something only stoned college kids could love, so who voted for it?
    Then again, Eminem didn’t deserve Best Album, although he did deserve the awards he ended up winning in the Rap categories. Lady Antebellum were, rightly so, given five trophies, so they didn’t need the Album award. Gaga is too odd to appeal to all the voters–although she would have been my pick for Album of the Year. (However, she did win for Pop Vocal Album which is an album award in itself and it’s her vocals that shine throughout. She’s a great singer.)
    As for New Artist—Was it really a surprise, considering the age of the Academy that votes for this? Clearly they are beyond liking Justin Bieber right now, although he is a talented youth. Also they are not going to vote for yet another rap artist (do we really need more of those?) Florence and the Machine are not their cup of tea aside from the nomination nod.
    SO it was between Mumford and Sons and Spalding. Spalding edged it because she is mellow. They like mellow. So…back to my original question: Who the heck voted for that cruddy noise band Arcade Fire from within the voting pool? And does most of America really want to hear that noise? Ugh.

    • Jethro

      Agreed, Em won what he does, rap, but the academy needs to stop honoring this man with the most Grammy noms everytime he comes out with a CD. All his music sounds the same, from Slim Shady to Rehab to Recovery. Thankfully there was no Kanye to spew his racist comments!

      • Vince from NYC

        Your nuts.. Every one of Em’s albums are different.. He wasn’t nominated for Relapse because it was weak. Em deserved album of the year this year though. You get 10 nominations for an album, have the most radio play in the category, 3 number one singles so far, and most selling album of the year. That sounds like the one that should have won to me. I don’t know why they refuse to give a rapper Album of the year. (Outcast doesn’t count as it was more of an R&B album)

      • Allie

        Agree with Vince from NYC

      • matt

        kanye will take every award next year he is legend

      • matt

        ps, recovery sucked, they only nominated him cause he wasn’t rapping about raping and killing people

    • HonestyPolicy

      Obviously, nothing pleases you. So why do you care? If you’ve never actually listened to Arcade Fire till last night your question is uninformed.

    • Ld

      They’re not a “noise band”. Actually, most of their songs are pretty mellow. You obviously have never listened to them.

  • JT

    Mine had to be finding out Justin Bieber was a boy because I swear he was a girl before that point.

    • Rusty Shackelford

      Gee that was original.

    • reality

      Yes, he makes more money than you. NEXT QUESTION.

  • Jethro

    BNA always and mostly goes to a female. It is also a cancer category, so Bieber not winning was a good thing. Let’s look back and see where he is in 10 years from now? Remember what all the screaming girls did for BSB & NKOTB, they grow up and their tastes change. Spaulding deserved it and was more than humble when receiving it. She’s in it for the love of her music, not what the teeny-boppers girls think of her hair-do!!!

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