Canadian rockers Arcade Fire take top Grammy

In a major Grammys upset, Canadian rock band Arcade Fire won the coveted album of the year on Sunday, helping reduce favoured contender Eminem to also-ran status.

In a ceremony dominated by pop, R&B and hip-hop acts, few pundits had given the defiantly independent Montreal band any chance of taking the top prize.

They were so shocked to hear their name called by presenter Barbra Streisand that they delivered an unscheduled performance to close the show. The band was honoured for its album The Suburbs, which topped the United States and Canadian charts last year.

Country trio Lady Antebellum ended up with the most awards, winning five out of its six categories, including the key song and record of the year races.

Eminem, who led the field with 10 nominations, ended up with just two awards in the rap field. Riding a natural high after a successful comeback album recounted his near-fatal struggle with addiction, he had been expected to dominate the event.

Flamboyant pop singer Lady Gaga and rapper Jay-Z won three awards each, both of them beating Eminem along the way.

The winner of the best new artist prize was also a shock, as American bassist Esperanza Spalding took the honor over a pair of red-hot Canadian idols, Justin Bieber and Drake. – Reuters

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