Grammys 2013: Skrillex, Black Keys, Gotye, Jay-Z/Kanye West Are Multiple Winners at Pre-Telecast Awards

4:42 PM PST 02/10/2013 by Erik Pedersen
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Skrillex and friends accept the award for best dance/electronica album during the pre-telecast portion on the Grammys on Sunday night at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.

UPDATED: Taylor Swift and mid-'60 rivals Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson also among winners as 70 awards are handed out at Nokia Theatre before the main event across the street at Staples Center.

If the pre-telecast portion of the 55th Grammy Awards is any indication, it might be The Black Keys’ night.

The Ohio duo won best rock song and album -- for “Lonely Boy” and El Camino, respectively, then the man behind those records, Dan Auerbach, took the last early trophy, producer of the year (non-classical).

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The Black Keys put some pressure on the other big names competing in the major categories at tonight's main event, as "Lonely Boy" and El Camino  are up for record and album of the year.

There were 70 Grammys presented during the annual nontelevised portion of the awards, for the first time held at the Nokia Theatre across the street from Staples Center, and you might have heard of some of the acts who scored early trophies: Paul McCartney, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Mumford & Sons, Brian Wilson, Carrie Underwood and Chick Corea.

EDM heavyweight Skrillex was the only three-time winner in the afternoon show, including nods for his album Bangarang and its title track. Several other acts won a pair of Grammys, including Gotye -- whose "Somebody That I Used to Know" also is up for record of the year -- Jay-Z, West, Corea, surprise 2011 best new artist winner Esperanza Spalding and contemporary Christian songwriter Matt Redmond.

Gotye had a good line while accepting the award for best alternative music album. “Thanks to everyone for making, quote, ‘non-alternative’ albums so this category can exist.” He also won for pop/duo group performance for the song, which features Kimbra.

There was an eyebrow-raising moment when Jimmy Jam announced the winner of the best rap performance: Jay-Z and West for "Niggas in Paris." The R&B impresario fairly slurred the offending word in the title but definitely spoke it. When the next category -- best rap song -- was read, the word was bleeped, and when "Niggas" won, Jam self-bleeped it. Neither Jay-Z nor West came to the stage to accept either Grammy.

As for other notable pre-tel moments, Wilson was among those who accepted the best historical album award for The Smile Sessions. “Van Dyke Parks and I knew we were ahead of our time -- 35 years before we released it!” he said before quickly ceding the podium. In the press room later, his comments were typically brief and to the point. To wit: “What’s your favorite song you’ve written? “California Girls.” But the elephant in the room finally was poked when someone asked if there will be another Beach Boys reunion. Wilson replied quickly, flatly and without emotion, “I doubt it, no.”

Without question, the biggest upset of the pre-telecast was Janis Ian’s win for best spoken word album. Let’s say he had a little competition in the category: two-time winner Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama, Ellen DeGeneres and Rachel Maddow. Ian, whose only other Grammy win was for her hit "At 17" in 1976, opened her acceptance speech with one of the best lines of the day: “To say this is an upset in an understatement,” she said. “I keep thinking there’s a punch line in here: ‘An ex-president, the first lady and three lesbians walk into a bar …’”

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Two runners-up for upset of the day: Bonnie Raitt won best Americana album over a load of mostly twentysomething upstart acts: Mumford & Sons, The Lumineers, The Avett Brothers and John Fullbright.  Raitt was there to accept. “I was not expecting this -- I have enough,” she said. It was her 10th, to be exact, and first since 1997. Later, the young band Halestorm won best hard rock/metal performance for its song "Love Bites (So Do I)"; the whippersnappers beat two- or three-decade-old acts Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Anthrax, Marilyn Manson and Lamb of God.

Mumford & Sons got their Grammy day started early, winning its first career award with a trophy for best longform video (Big Easy Express), after Rihanna had won for shortform (“We Found Love”). They were the first two of the 70 awards handed out during the pretelecast across the street at the Nokia Theatre.

As for songs created for films, TV and the stage, “Safe & Sound” by Swift featuring The  Civil Wars from The Hunger Games won best song written for visual media, best compilation soundtrack for visual media went to 2012 best picture Oscar nominee Midnight in Paris (various artists), and best score for soundtrack for visual media was won by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Jimmy Fallon won best comedy album, and Once: A New Musical -- the Broadway show based on the 2006 film -- was named best musical theater album.

Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff won his the second career Grammy -- his other was in 1985 -- for best reggae album for Rebirth.

Ravi Shankar, who died in December, was among the posthumous recipients of pre-tel Grammys. Others included Gil Evans and Clare Fischer. Shankar won best world album, beating out his daughter Anoushka, who accepted for him.

Grammys also went to compilation albums by a pair of late legends: Woody Guthrie and Ray Charles. “Holy shit!” local hero Billy Vera said in accepting the best album notes for the latter. Vera, who had his first hit in 1967 and topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1986 with “At This Moment,” called Charles “the greatest musical figure of the second half of the 20th century.” When asked backstage if he would rather have won his first Grammy after four noms for music rather than liner notes, he said, “Buddy, I’ll take it any way I can get it.” He noted that his last nom was for a Charles 50th anniversary album, and said, “How do you lose for Ray Charles?”

David Alan Grier hosted the event, with presenters including Ian, Jam, Radmilla Cody, Kaskade, Britt Nicole and Miguel Valera.

The show was produced by Greg Fera with Larry Batiste as musical director.

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