- Associated Press - Sunday, February 10, 2013

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A guy riding a tricycle with a flame-thrower attached and a company of mime clowns helped Taylor Swift open the Grammy Awards on Sunday night.

Swift dressed as the Mad Hatter in white top hat, tails, shorts and tall boots during the surreal version of her hummable hit “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”

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.”

It was the first of a number of blockbuster performances expected during the live telecast from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Her performance was quickly followed by Ed Sheeran and Elton John teaming up to sing Sheeran’s nominated hit “The A Team.”


The Black Keys singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach took the early lead during the pre-telecast show, picking up three trophies and assisting with a fourth. Auerbach won producer of the year alone and best rock song for “Lonely Boy” and rock album for “El Camino” with his bandmate Patrick Carney, joining electronic dance music innovator Skrillex atop the early leaderboard. He was also producer for another winner, Dr. John.

A slew of artists sit one back going into the main awards show at the Staples Center, including Kanye West and Jay-Z, Gotye, former best new artist winner Esperanza Spalding, jazz man Chick Corea and Christian singer-songwriter Matt Redman.

Most of the attention has been on Frank Ocean going into the awards, but his fellow lead nominees got an early lead on the R&B singer during the pre-telecast show.

West and Jay-Z won best rap song and best rap performance for the song “… in Paris” from their “Watch the Throne” collaboration and lost a third for short form video for “No Church in The Wild,” which featured Ocean. Ocean will be up for five awards later in the evening.

Other early winners included Rihanna, Beyonce, Taylor Swift and Mumford & Sons, one of six top nominees with six nods apiece. Ocean is up for the major awards best new artist, album of the year and record of the year.

The Grammy pre-telecast awards show at the Nokia Theatre had 70 trophies up for grabs, including rock, pop, rap and country categories.

Skrillex won best dance recording for “Bangarang,” featuring Sirah, best dance/electronica album for “Bangarang” and best remixed recording.

“Let’s keep making music,” he said. “… We’re a big family. We’re a big community. We support music and forward-thinking ideas here.”

Gotye won best alternative album for “Making Mirrors” and best pop/duo performance for “Somebody That I Used To Know,” featuring Kimbra.

Spalding had one of the most touching moments of the pre-telecast awards show, taking the stage with her longtime jazz teacher Thara Memory for their win in the best instrumental arrangement accompanying vocalist category. She also won for best jazz vocal album for her “Radio Music Society.”

Corea, who competed against himself in two categories, won best improvised jazz solo for “Hot House” with Gary Burton and best instrumental composition for “Mozart Goes Dancing.”

Story Continues →