Country music artists ruled music's biggest night as Lady Antebellum scored Grammy awards for best record, song and country song of the year and Lady Gaga literally broke out of her shell to take home three awards Sunday.
The Lady Antebellum trio's song "Need You Now," became a crossover hit. The group won a total of five Grammys.
Lady A singer Hillary Scott said their victories represented a proud moment for the country music industry.
"We really wanted to make Nashville and the country music community proud tonight and I hope that they feel that way and I think it shows that country music is relevant and it's relatable," Scott said backstage.
But the night's top award -- album of the year -- went to virtually unknown Canadian indie rock band Arcade Fire for "The Suburbs."
In a night of surprises and upsets, the 53rd annual Grammy Awards in held Los Angeles, offered array of more memorable performances than previous shows.
Backstage, Arcade Fire band members told reporters they were just as surprised by the win as presenter Barbra Streisand said their name.
"The idea never entered my mind, even in the slightest bit at any point of my life until they said the name of the album," one band member said.
Another surprise winner included jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding for best new artist - beating out more popular singers like Justin Bieber and Drake.
"I take this honor to heart so sincerely and I'll do my damnedest to make great music for all of you. It's such an honor and God bless," said Spalding.
Rapper Eminem had 10 nominations but won only two - best rap album and rap solo performance.
Lady Gaga took home awards for best female pop vocal performance best short form music for "Bad Romance" and best pop vocal album for "The Fame Monster."
And country singer Miranda Lambert scored her first Grammy for best female country vocal performance for "The House That Built Me."
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Tribute to Aretha Franklin
The show opened with a tribute to the original Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, from today's soul, country and gospel divas.
Christina Aguilera, who took heat last week for botching the national anthem at the Super Bowl, went first with "Ain't No Way."
Country singer Martina McBride was up next with "Until You Come Back to Me," followed by British singer Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine with "Think." Jennifer Hudson tackled the iconic "Respect", and gospel great Yolanda Adams rounded things out with "Spirit in the Dark." The ladies closed with the empowering "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves."
Franklin, who is reportedly battling pancreatic cancer, wasn't able to attend the show but sent in a pre-taped message thanking fans for their well-wishes and prayers and promised to make it out next year.
While Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Cee Lo Green and Katy Perry were among the current crop of musical talent who took the stage Sunday night, the 2011 Grammys also felt like a flashback to Grammys past.
In a tightly choreographed, high-energy performance of her newest single, "Born This Way," Lady Gaga emerged from an egg-shaped capsule that was rolled out onto the center of the stage.
She arrived at the award show concealed in the capsule egg that was carried onto the red carpet by several scantily clad men.
Lady Gaga, who was up for six awards, continued her homage to Pop Queen Madonna - her latest single sounded similar to Madonna's "Express Yourself."
Gaga thanked all her fans and "all the monsters" from the bottom of her heart.
She also thanked Whitney Houston, for being the inspiration for "Born This Way."
She said she imagined Houston singing it because she "wasn't secure enough to imagine" herself as a superstar.
Teen sensation Justin Bieber's journey to stardom was revisited by a video showing his meeting with Usher.
Nicely timed with the release of the documentary about his rise to fame, Bieber performed "Never Say Never" with a group of dancers dressed in ninja-style attire.
Mid-point during his performance, "J-Smith" or Jaden Smith the son of actor Will Smith and actress Jada Pinkett Smith appeared on stage to sing along with Bieber.
Usher later returned to stage to perform with Bieber and showed off their smooth dance skills.
The show-stopping performance received a standing ovation from the audience.
But perhaps the most colorful performance that topped the night came from Gwyneth Paltrow and Gnarls Barkley frontman Cee Lo Green.
On stage, they sang his Grammy-nominated hit record "F--- You." They were joined by Jim Henson Company Puppets.
Green was decked out in a costume made of peacock feathers while Paltrow was dressed in a black jumpsuit.
Paltrow first sang a toned-down version of the song on the show "Glee."
First Time Grammy Award Show Performers
They may be topping the charts right now, but they weren't too big to salute their elders. Mick Jagger appeared on the Grammy stage for the first time in his 50-year career.
Streisand conquered her stage fright to perform "Evergreen," after being introduced by another music legend, her "A Star Is Born" co-star Kris Kristofferson.
Meanwhile, music icon Bob Dylan, a 10-time Grammy and lifetime achievement winner, joined Mumford & Sons and The Avett Brothers for a salute to acoustic music.
Rap legend Dr. Dre gave his first performance on live television in a decade.
He was joined by his protege Eminem, who was up for album of the year for "Recovery," which earned the rapper a leading 10 nominations. Maroon 5's Adam Levine also performed with Eminem.
Rihanna dressed in a flowing black and gold dress, opened the set with Eminem appearing moments later to sing "Love the Way You Lie."
Other 2011 Grammy Highlights
"Power trio" Bruno Mars, B.o.B. and Janelle Morae shared the stage to perform some of their most popular songs.
B.o.B. opened the set with "Nothin' on You."
Bruno Mars sang "Grenade" in a throwback to James Brown and Monae serenaded the audience with "Cold War."
Rihanna returned to the stage later in the show to perform her song "What's My Name?" with Drake.
The cast of "Glee" was up for two awards.
Their first album, "Glee: The Music, Volume 1," was up for best compilation soundtrack album for motion picture, television or other visual media. But the real surprise was being nominated for best pop performance by a duo or group with vocals for their rendition of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin.'"
They were competing against Maroon 5, Paramore, Sade and Train.
However, Train took home the award for best pop performance by a duo or group.
"Thanks, Justin Bieber, for not being a duo or group," joked Patrick Monahan, Train's lead singer as he accepted the first award of the night.
ABC News Radio's Christopher Watson, Shane Lou and the Associated Press contributed to this story.