During the pre-show in which 97 of the night's 108 awards were presented, U2 earned two Grammys, for best rock song "City of Blinding Lights" and best rock performance by a group for "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own." Later they also won for best rock album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.
"Well, if you think this is going to go to our head," frontman Bono told the crowd inside the Los Angeles Staples Center, "It's too late." During the album of the year acceptance speech, (for "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb,") Bono gave nods to the other artists in the category. "Kanye, You're next," he said, and added, "Mariah you sing like an angel."
Still, West won three honors: best rap album for Late Registration, as well as best rap song for "Diamonds from Sierra Leone" and rap solo performance for "Gold Digger."
Carey, undisputedly on a comeback trail, won her three Grammys during the pre-show – for best contemporary R&B album for The Emancipation of Mimi, best R&B song for "We Belong Together" and best female R&B vocal performance for the same tune. In all, Carey, like West, went into Grammy night with eight nominations.
However, Carey lost to Aretha Franklin for best traditional R&B vocal performance, and to Kelly Clarkson's triumphant "Since U Been Gone" for best female pop vocal performance.
Clarkson was so choked up over her win that she could barely utter her thanks. "Oh, God," she exclaimed. "I'm sorry I'm crying again on national television." She thanked "everybody who has been supporting me this year," including her parents, her record label.
By the time she picked up her Grammy for best pop vocal album, "Breakaway," the original American Idol winner was out of tears. "I can't cry," she declared her second time onstage.
"I don't know what is going on, but thank you Jesus and God and everyone else who supported my career," she said – noticeably never thanking the FOX talent show that launched her.
As expected, John Legend was named best new artist, an honor that allowed him to acknowledge his family from Springfield, Ohio. Legend also took the best R&B album award for his platinum debut, Get Lifted, and for best male R&B performance, for "Ordinary People."
Performances rather than awards monopolized the majority of the more than three-hour televised ceremony, which opened with the cartoon band Gorillaz, created by Blur frontman Damon Albarn. The musicians delivered their hit "Feel Good Inc." with the real-life De La Soul, and were then supplanted by a very buff Madonna.
Mark J. Terrill / AP
Another presenter, a curly haired Teri Hatcher, will be remembered not for what she said, but what she wore: a sheer plum-colored dress with see-through lace panels by Jean Paul Gaultier that permitted a peek at what she was wearing underneath: boy-briefs.
Here's a rundown of the top winners of the 48th annual Grammy Awards:
Album of the Year
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, U2
Record of the Year
"Boulevard of Broken Dreams," Green Day
Song of the Year
"Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own," U2
Best New Artist
Best Pop Album
Breakaway, Kelly Clarkson
Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
"Since U Been Gone," Kelly Clarkson
Best Male Pop Vocal Performance
"From the Bottom of My Heart," Stevie Wonder
Best Pop Performance by a Duo of Group
"This Love," Maroon 5
Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals
"Feel Good Inc.," Gorillaz featuring De La Soul
Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance
"Devils & Dust," Bruce Springsteen
Best Rock Performance By a Duo or Group
"Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own," U2
Best Rock Song
"City Of Blinding Lights," U2
Best Rock Album
How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, U2
Best Alternative Music Album
Get Behind Me Satan, The White Stripes
Best Female R&B Vocal Performance
"We Belong Together," Mariah Carey
Best Male R&B Vocal Performance
"Ordinary People," John Legend
Best R&B Song
"We Belong Together," J. Austin, M. Carey, J. Dupri & M. Seal, songwriters; (D. Bristol, K. Edmonds, S. Johnson, P. Moten, S. Sully & B. Womack, songwriters) (Mariah Carey)
Best Contemporary R&B Album
"The Emancipation of Mimi," Mariah Carey
Best R&B Performance By a Duo or Group
"So Amazing," Beyonce & Stevie Wonder
Best R&B Album
Get Lifted, John Legend
Best Female Country Vocal Performance
"The Connection," Emmylou Harris
Best Male Country Vocal Performance
"You'll Think of Me," Keith Urban
Best Country Song
"Bless the Broken Road," Bobby Boyd, Jeff Hanna & Marcus Hummon, songwriters (Rascal Flatts)
Best Country Album
Lonely Runs Both Ways, Alison Krauss and Union Station
Best Rap Solo Performance
"Gold Digger," Kanye West
Best Rap Song
Diamonds from Sierra Leone, D. Harris & Kanye West
Best Rap Performance By a Duo or Group
"Don't Phunk With My Heart," The Black Eyed Peas
Best Rap Album
Late Registration, Kanye West