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COMPLETE COVERAGE: 55th annual Grammy awards
(CNN) — Sunday night’s 55th annual Grammy Awards kicked off swiftly: Taylor Swift that is.
The popular singer took to the stage dressed as a ringmaster and surrounded by circus/canival types as she sang her hit “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”
“I’m sorry. I’m busy opening up the Grammys, and we are never getting back together,” Swift said, changing her lyrics to fit the evening.
The night was as much about those who took to the stage to entertain as it was about who won trophies.
There were plenty of duets: British artist Ed Sheeran was joined by fellow countryman Sir Elton John for a duet of the former’s hit song “The A Team,” nominated for song of the year. R&B crooner Miguel who was joined by rapper Wiz Khalifa for a rendition of “Adorn.” Miranda Lambert was joined by fellow country artist Dierks Bentley for a performance of their hits “Over You” and “Home.” Maroon 5 was joined by Alicia Keys for performances of “Daylight” and “Girl on Fire” respectively.
Fun. performed “Carry On” and won a big one for the night: song of the year for their hit “We Are Young.” Mumford & Sons offered a rousing rendition of their song “I Will Wait.”
Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres made singer Beyonce laugh during their introduction of Justin Timberlake, who returned to the stage after a four-year absence from the music scene.
The Grammys went sepia-toned for Timberlake’s performance of his new single “Suit and Tie,” which offered plenty of homage to the Rat Pack era with Timberlake in a tux with a bow-tie and a big band and similarly suited backup singers billed as “JT and the Tennessee Kids.”
The first award of the night, best pop solo performance, went to Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain.”
“We work so hard; we make it look so easy,” Adele said in sending “big love” to the other nominees.
Jennifer Lopez presented the first award to Adele, with co-presenter rapper Pit Bull, and joked about the Grammys’ reported memo asking stars to cover up.
“As you can see I read the memo,” Lopez joked, wearing a black dress cut extremely high and fully exposing one leg.
Frank Ocean beat out Miguel and Chris Brown for best urban contemporary album for his “Channel Orange,” and Kelly Clarkson stopped to hug — and got stuck to via their dress beading — Lambert after winning for best pop album.
“Miguel, I don’t know who the hell you are, but we need to sing together,” Clarkson said, complimenting that singer on his Grammy performance.
Host LL Cool J referenced last year’s tragedy of the death of singer Whitney Houston the night before the Grammys before launching into some remarks about the importance of the award to the various performers. While they came from different parts of the world and different genres, the artists shared the same desire to make it in the industry, LL Cool J reflected.
“Cause when you get right down to it a Grammy isn’t just a shiny trophy to hold on to,” he said. “A Grammy is a dream come true.”
It was expected to be a bit of a boys’ club on CBS Sunday with a six-way tie among Mumford & Sons, Frank Ocean, Fun., Kanye West, Jay-Z and the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach for lead nominee, as each received six nods apiece.
In keeping with the “guys night” theme, much of the Grammys occurs pre-show and some of those who won before the ceremony even aired included Skrillex, who snagged awards for dance recording, dance/electronica album and remixed recording non-classical; the Black Keys, who won rock song and rock album. The group’s Dan Auerbach was named producer of the year, non-classical.
This year’s Grammy awards ceremony had plenty of news leading up to it, with much of it involving singer Chris Brown.
The days leading up to Sunday’s ceremony found Brown being investigated for an alleged brawl that resulted in Grammy nominee Ocean later saying he was declining to press charges or file a civil suit.
On Feb. 6 Brown was in court as a prosecutor asked a judge to order the singer to restart the community labor portion of his service tied to his probation for assaulting Rihanna. Friday marked the fourth anniversary of that assault, which occurred before that year’s Grammy ceremony. Rihanna was in court with Brown this time around as the pair further fueled chatter surrounding their renewed “friendship.”
The pair have been a huge focus of this year’s Grammys as fans waited to see if they would arrive at the ceremony together and how much “togethernes” they would exhibit.
On Saturday Brown totaled his Porshe after his representative said he was “ruthlessly pursued by paparazzi” on his way to a Symphonic Love Foundation event in Los Angeles.
CNN’s David Daniel contributed to this story.