Beyoncé was crowned the record-setting "Queen of the Night" by Grammy voters Sunday night, taking home six awards, the most ever by a female artist in one year, including song of the year for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)."
"This has been such an amazing night for me," she said, accepting the award for best female pop vocal performance for "Halo," after also making her mark by combining her hit "If I Were a Boy" with Alanis Morissette's classic "You Oughta Know."
But Beyoncé was chased throughout the night by country music princess Taylor Swift, who landed four awards, including album of the year for her multiplatinum smash "Fearless," which also won best country album. "This is my first Grammy, you guys!" she said, picking up best female country vocal performance award at the pre-telecast ceremony where A-listers rarely show up. "I live in awe of the people in this category that I was nominated against."
Swift also fared well in performance, not only getting to promote her new single "Today Was a Fairytale," but she got to sing "Rhiannon" and a reworked banjo-riffic version of "You Belong With Me" with Stevie Nicks.
Though the other two ladies may have won the evening's battles, Lady Gaga may have ended up winning the publicity war, as her elaborate red-carpet dress and massive performance with Elton John - where he declared, "How wonderful life is with Gaga in the world" in a reworked "Your Song" - made her the night's most-talked-about performer.
FOR MICHAEL. Though the "Earth Song" tribute to Michael Jackson was star-studded, with Celine Dion, Usher, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson and Smokey Robinson, and heavy on the 3-D special effects, the most poignant part was the appearance of his children, Prince and Paris, who accepted the Grammy Lifetime Achievement award on his behalf. "Our father was always concerned about the planet and humanity," said Prince Jackson, in what may be his first public speaking appearance. "Through all his songs, his message was simple: love. We will continue to spread his message and help the world. We love you, Daddy."
Paris Jackson revealed, "Daddy was supposed to be here, he was going to perform this year," before adding, "We love you, Daddy."
FOR HAITI. The night's other tribute, to the victims of the Haiti earthquake, was just as powerful. Mary J. Blige and Andrea Bocelli, along with David Foster, teamed up on "Bridge Over Troubled Water" with a special emphasis on "I will ease your mind." The single goes on sale Monday on iTunes to benefit Haiti's victims.
LEON GETS CROWNED. It was definitely Ladies Night at the Grammys, but Kings of Leon scored some points for the fellas. The Tennessee rockers picked up three awards, including record of the year for their hit "Use Somebody." "I'm not gonna lie, we're all a little drunk," said Kings of Leon's Caleb Followill, accepting the award. "But we're happy drunk."
MR. BEYONCÉ. Jay-Z also picked up three awards, best rap solo performance for "D.O.A.," and best rap song and best rap/sung collaboration for "Run This Town."
IN THE AIR. Pink's acrobatic performance of "Glitter in the Air" - where she was suspended high over the Staples Center audience as she sang and was then dunked in a tub of water - may have been the night's best performance, gorgeously understated and moving.