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Beyonce tops with five Grammys

Vandross wins four; OutKast wins album of year

By Todd Leopold
CNN

Beyonce Knowles holds her five Grammy trophies.
Beyonce Knowles holds her five Grammy trophies.

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(CNN) -- Young R&B singer Beyonce Knowles and veteran soul crooner Luther Vandross led the 46th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday night, and OutKast won three Grammys -- including album of the year -- for "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below."

Beyonce established herself as a Grammy favorite early, picking up five trophies -- including the first one of the telecast, best R&B album for "Dangerously in Love" -- and four in preshow ceremonies.

Vandross, who suffered a debilitating stroke last year, won four awards, including song of the year -- a songwriting award -- for co-writing "Dance With My Father" with Richard Marx. He also won best male R&B vocal performance for the song and best R&B album for the album of the same name.

Moreover, Beyonce and Vandross won an award together, for their duet "The Closer I Get To You."

Musicians paid tribute to Vandross during the show with a special set of performances. The ailing singer thanked performers via videotape.

Beyonce gave two energetic performances, opening the show with Prince on a medley of his hits (as well as her own "Crazy in Love") and then, about two hours later, performing "Dangerously in Love" in front of an elaborate framed tableau. That performance closed with a dove landing on Beyonce's hand.

"Crazy in Love" earned two other awards for Beyonce: best R&B song and best rap/sung collaboration. The singer also won best female R&B performance for "Dangerously in Love," and best R&B performance by a duo or group with vocals for "The Closer I Get To You."

Her boyfriend, Jay-Z, also won two awards for collaborating on "Crazy in Love."

Beyonce's five awards tied a record set by Alicia Keys, Norah Jones and Lauryn Hill for the most Grammys won by a female artist.

OutKast's brave, varied double CD, "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below," took home album of the year. The duo also won best rap album, and it took home the best urban/alternative performance trophy for "Hey Ya!"

In accepting the album award, OutKast was thoughtful, bringing L.A. Reid -- the music exec who gave the group a recording contract -- up on the stage and thanking him profusely.

The pair's loquaciousness was an amusing change from earlier in the show, when Andre 3000 accepted the award for best rap album by taking the Grammy from presenters B.B. King, Joe Perry and Steven Tyler and saying two words: "Thank you." Then he left to sit down.

Record of the year -- the other "big three" Grammy, along with song and album of the year -- went to Coldplay for the song "Clocks." The award was a mild surprise, because two other highly touted nominees -- Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" and OutKast's hit "Hey Ya!" -- were also in the category.

Jackson controversy plays role

The Janet Jackson Super Bowl controversy loomed in the background of the show. CBS placed the program on a five-minute audio and video delay, not wanting to take any chances after the flashing of Jackson's breast last week during her halftime duet with Justin Timberlake.

Timberlake, in accepting the award for best male pop vocal performance for "Cry Me a River," addressed the brouhaha -- a condition of his appearance, according to CBS.

"It's been a rough week on everybody," he said. "What occurred was unintentional and completely regrettable, and I apologize if you guys were offended."

Vandross
Celine Dion sings "Dance With My Father" during a tribute to Luther Vandross (right), who suffered a stroke last year. The song won song of the year for Vandross and co-writer Richard Marx.

He added, "This is officially the greatest moment of my life." Later, he and trumpeter Arturo Sandoval performed a rousing duet.

Timberlake received five nominations, and in the preshow, he won the Grammy for best pop vocal album for "Justified." Jackson did not attend the show; she was originally supposed to take part in the tribute to Vandross. According to CBS, she declined the invitation to appear and apologize.

Christina Aguilera acknowledged the controversy when she accepted her award for best female pop vocal. The singer was wearing an extremely low-cut dress. "I don't want to have the same thing happen that Janet had done," she said, attempting to keep the fabric over her chest.

Evanescence won best new artist, beating out -- among others -- 50 Cent, who nevertheless came on stage to (apparently) congratulate the winners. The choice was a mild surprise, as 50 Cent had the best-selling CD of the year in 2003.

Bluegrass singer Alison Krauss won three Grammys, and Jack White of the White Stripes won two.

Timberlake
Justin Timberlake accepts his Grammy for "Cry Me a River."

A handful of honors went to three artists who died last year: Johnny Cash, who was honored with director Mark Romanek for best short-form video for "Hurt"; Cash's wife, June Carter Cash, won best traditional folk album for "Wildwood Flower" and best female country vocal performance for the song "Keep on the Sunny Side."

Warren Zevon, who passed away in September, won contemporary folk album for his swan song, "The Wind," and best rock vocal performance for "Disorder in the House," a duet with Bruce Springsteen.

Weird Al Yankovic won best comedy album for his record "Poodle Hat." Eugene Levy and Michael McKean won best song written for a motion picture for the title tune from "A Mighty Wind." Best reggae album went to Sean Paul for "Dutty Rock."

Gaining energy

The show, no doubt affected by the Jackson controversy, started rather listlessly after Prince and Beyonce's opening.

Zevon
The late Warren Zevon won two Grammys.

There were a handful of early glitches. Besides a delay in Andre 3000 getting to the stage to accept best rap album -- which left audience and presenters looking around for the winner -- a Celine Dion performance of "Dance With My Father," part of the Vandross tribute, began with audio problems.

Other parts of the show seemed rough -- including a performance of the Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There" by Sting, Pharrell Williams, Vince Gill and Dave Matthews -- or overly scripted.

But the energy picked up as the show continued. The Black Eyed Peas gave an animated performance of "Where Is the Love," concluding with the call, "Something's wrong with the world -- make sure you participate and vote."

The show also featured an all-star funk tribute, starring Earth, Wind & Fire, OutKast, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, and George Clinton and his Parliament/Funkedelic unit.

The Grammys paid tribute to the Beatles during the show, and gave the group the Presidents' Award on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of its arrival in the United States. Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono were on hand to accept (Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney sent wishes via video), with an emotional Ono's voice breaking as she offered her thanks.

Classical pianist Van Cliburn, bluegrass picker Doc Watson and educator Ella Jenkins were given lifetime achievement awards.

The show was broadcast from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.


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