Other winners included Rihanna, Beyonce, Mumford & Sons and Taylor Swift, who opened the show as the Mad Hatter. Swift dressed in white top hat, tails, shorts and tall boots during the surreal version of her hummable hit "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" that included a troop of mime clowns and a guy on a tricycle with a flame-thrower attached.
The singer pretended to talk to the offending boyfriend on the phone: "I'm busy opening the Grammys and we're never getting back together."
Justin Timberlake debuted new tracks "Suit & Tie" with Jay-Z and "Pusher Love" in a performance that was broadcast in retro black and white. Rihanna and the extended Marley family paid tribute to Bob Marley. Sting and Bruno Mars helped each other out on their hits "Locked Out of Heaven" and "Walking on the Moon." Elton John and Ed Sheeran teamed on "The A Team" and Miguel and Wiz Khalifa joined forces on "Adorn." Alicia Keys played drums during Maroon 5's "Daylight," before Adam Levine's band backed her on "Girl on Fire."
Jack White brought both his male and female bands on stage, tearing through "Love Interruption" and "Freedom at 21" before a standing ovation from the crowd. And Elton John, Mavis Staples, Brown, Mumford & Sons and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes paid tribute to the late Levon Helm with a spirited rendition of "The Weight."
Adele won the first award of the night on the main telecast, taking home best pop solo performance for "Set Fire to the Rain (Live)," in one of the night's least-surprising moments - though the singer was somewhat taken aback.
"I just wanted to be part of the night, because I loved it last year, obviously," she said of winning a record-tying six awards in 2012.
Carrie Underwood won best country solo performance for "Blown Away," Zac Brown Band won best country album for "Uncaged" and Kelly Clarkson turned in the night's most exuberant acceptance speech after winning best pop vocal album for "Stronger." After hugging much of the front row and momentarily getting stuck to Miranda Lambert's dress, Clarkson charged the stage with a giant smile.
"Miguel, I don't know who the hell you are, but we need to sing together," she said. "I mean, good God. That was the sexiest dancing I've ever seen."
Skrillex won best dance recording for "Bangarang," featuring Sirah, best dance/electronica album for "Bangarang" and best remixed recording a year after winning those same awards in his first appearance at the Grammys.
"You know what, I thought I'd get used to it, but I tripped over every word when I was up there," Skrillex said of his acceptance speeches. "I felt like I just wanted a pool of ice water and just couldn't even breathe or think. It was crazy. I think it was even crazier than last year."
Celebrities rolled down the red carpet in the early afternoon under heavy police guard during a continued manhunt for an alleged cop killer. Many stars showed a fair amount of skin - check out the Twitter pic of Ellen DeGeneres ogling Katy Perry's revealing dress - despite CBS's mandate that stars dress appropriately with butts, breasts and other sensitive areas covered adequately.
Nevertheless, Jennifer Lopez showed up on stage in a dress slit all the way to her hip.
"As you can see, I read the memo," Lopez joked.