1. Daft Punk has shattered the glass ceiling for dance/electronic music at the Grammys by winning four trophies including Album of the Year (“Random Access Memories“) and Record of the Year (“Get Lucky“). They weren’t distant longshots — our odds ranked them a close third behind “The Heist” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and “Red” by Taylor Swift — but many considered their genre a major hurdle to overcome.
2. Though Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were the overwhelming frontrunners for Best New Artist, it was still quite uncharacteristic for Grammy voters. The only other time a rap act has taken that prize was Arrested Development in 1992, and it’s only the third time rap has won a prize in the general field, following OutKast‘s Album of the Year win in 2003 for “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.”
3. In terms of rankings in our predictions center, no category had a bigger upset than Best R&B Performance. “Something,” by Snarky Puppy with Lalah Hathaway came out of nowhere to take the prize. We had ranked them dead last behind heavy favorites Miguel and Kendrick Lamar for “How Many Drinks?” as well as Tamar Braxton for “Love and War,” Anthony Hamilton for “Best of Me” and Hiatus Kaiyote for “Nakamarra.”
4. The award for Best Rock Album also went to an unexpected honoree. Led Zeppelin‘s live album “Celebration Day,” which was released in November of 2012, triumphed over the heavily favored “The Next Day” from David Bowie, which was the iconic singer’s first album of new material in a decade. Zeppelin was all the way in fourth place, also behind “Like Clockwork” from Queens of the Stone Age and “Mechanical Bull” by Kings of Leon.
5. The Civil Wars also provided their own surprise in this year’s festivities. In the Best Country Duo/Group Performance they were ranked in third position behind “Highway Don’t Care” by Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban, and “Don’t Rush” by Kelly Clarkson featuring Vince Gill. But the recently split duo managed to claim Grammy gold for their recording, “From This Valley.”
6. Bruno Mars was ranked second for Pop Vocal Album, so his win in that category was not a huge shock, but Justin Timberlake was the strong favorite, especially after being snubbed in the general field categories; this had seemed like a good place to honor the singer’s work from the past year.
7. Kacey Musgraves may not have claimed the Best New Artist trophy, but she still had a very good night. Part of that windfall was expected when she won Best Country Song for “Merry Go Round,” but her trophy for Best Country Album (“Same Trailer Different Park“) came as a surprise, especially up against Album of the Year nominee Taylor Swift.
8. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis may have been at the top of our predictions center for Best Rap Album but I still consider their win there kind of an upset. Before you scoff, let me explain. Like two years ago, Kanye West had one of the top reviewed albums of the year with “Yeezus.” Our own Grammy expert, David Schnelwar, predicted it would win the honor, and with two Album of the Year contenders in the category, it seemed to me like fertile ground for vote-splitting that would allow Kanye to pull through.