Of all the awards shows, the Grammys roll perhaps the most eye balls. Its nominees and winners are often at odds with the wishes of music fans and critics. The show's penchant for odd-ball pairings for its many live performances – the 10 awards handed out during the televised broadcast were only a brief respite from its 20 musical acts – are also known to produce some weird moments. This year's ceremony for the 56th Annual Grammy Awards was no different. Here's the night's biggest takeaways, at least according to Grammy voters and performers.
1. Marriage is sexy
Lotharios and womanizers are the rock stars of music's past. Wedded bliss ruled the performances of the night, starting with Beyoncé and Jay Z's much-anticipated opener "Drunk in Love." Beyoncé appeared on the stage with wet hair, a chair and a black, see-through bodice. But this is a show for her husband, also the subject of her song, who joined her on stage for his verse. Their duet made an argument for marriage as convincing as any conservative family values opinion place, particularly as Beyoncé's album as a whole was an assertion that her stable marriage with Mr. Carter has yielded her a successful professional life and a loving family as well as the sexy antics described in "Drunk in Love." Jay Z echoed her appraisal when accepting his Grammy for "Holy Grail," offering it up to her and joking it would make for a good sippy cup for their baby Blue Ivy.
The theme continued in John Legend's romantic rendition of "All of Me," a song written for his new wife, supermodel Chrissy Teigen, who the camera trained on in the background as he crooned along with his piano.
Sunday's pro-marriage manifesto culminated in its closing act. The Grammy stage was turned into a wedding chapel as 33 couples – straight and same-sex, of a variety of races – exchanged vows to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' "Same Love." Madonna and Queen Latifah joined on stage, Latifah serving as the officiating minister and Madonna leading a rendition of "Open Your Heart."
2. The best rockers are old
You wouldn't know that rock music was once the anthem of the rebellious youth by watching Sunday's ceremony. Three out of the five songs nominated for best rock song – the only rock award included in the broadcast – were by acts that have been around for decades including Paul McCartney, Black Sabbath and the Rolling Stones (only Gary Clark Jr., nominated for his song "Ain't Messin' Around," snuck in below the age of 30). Furthermore, the only rock newcomer to leave much of a mark was Imagine Dragons, who were awarded best rock performance in the pre-telecast, were the only rockers nominated in one of the three biggest categories (record of the year for "Radioactive), and shared the stage with rapper Kendrick Lamar in an electrifying collaboration. The rest of the night's rock performances were otherwise ruled by well established acts like the surviving Beatles, Metallica, Nine Inch Nails and Queens of the Stone Age.
Of course, all this gray hair in the rock categories is likely just a sign of an off-year for rock. Last year's Grammys showing featured plenty of young rockers like the Black Keys and Mumford and Sons.
3. The best rapper is white
That Macklemore would rule the rap categories is something music critics both expected and feared. After all, Grammy voters have a tendency to go for the white guy (see: Eminem winning five out of the 18 best rap album awards ever given), and Macklemore was particularly appealing given his liberal politics and his narrative as an upstart independent artist.
But his sweep of all three rap categories crowded out a number of talented black rappers who had banner years, from Kanye West's monumental "Yeezus" to Kendrick Lamar's outstanding "good kid, m.A.A.d city." Lamar at least got some time in the spotlight with the surprising success of his performance with Imagine Dragons, and Jay Z made it to the stage twice: for "Drunk in Love" and to accept best rap/sung collaboration. But West and Drake were no-shows and went more or less unmentioned the entire night.