Review: Adele dominates the 2012 Grammys, as others pick up awards: Work of Skidmore alumna helps Foo Fighters garner awards

Posted by Will Eldredge

What a night for Adele. The soulful British singer swept the 2012 Grammys with her second major effort, "21," capturing Best Album and its smash single, "Rolling in the Deep," earning both Best Song and Best Record. By the time the evening ended, the songstress held six tiny golden phonographs, and had tied Beyonce for most awards won by a female performer in a single ceremony.

But Adele did more than just deliver acceptance speeches. She performed for the first time since undergoing vocal chord surgery last November, electrifying a packed Staples Center with a spirited rendition of "Rolling in the Deep."

Skidmore College even had its share of representation at the ceremony. Emily Lazar graduated from the College in 1993 and worked with the Foo Fighters as the mastering engineer for the group's album "Wasting Light." The alumna's work helped the Foos garner a field-leading seven nominations, and the band managed to turn five of them into wins, including Best Rock Album, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance.

Lazar was also the first female mastering engineer to be nominated for Best Album, a feat that Foo Fighters' frontman Dave Grohl took notice of.

"Not only was it an honor to work with Emily on "Wasting Light," but an incredible (and historic) privilege... We're very, very excited for her," Grohl said.

Other winners of the night included Kanye West, who took home four awards, three on behalf of his 2010 masterpiece "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy." whose single "All of the Lights" received both Best Rap Song and Best Rap Collaboration. The record itself won Best Rap Album. Yeezy, a popular nickname for West, shared his final award with Jay-Z, as the duo captured Best Rap Performance for "Otis" from their "Watch the Throne" album.

Sonny Moore, better known these days by his stage name Skrillex, managed three awards of his own, including Best Dance Recording and Best Dance Album. The dubstep producer's victories displayed the attempts of the Awards to adapt to the modern musical landscape, as past Dance categories had been dominated by more mainstream pop artists such as Rihanna and Lady Gaga. One award that Moore did not capture, however, was the prestigious Best New Artist, which went to Wisconsin's Bon Iver, the atmospheric indie-folk act that revolves around singer-songwriter Justin Vernon.

The ceremony itself had its share of memorable moments, which included a surprisingly dynamic '60s rock-n-roll performance from Bruno Mars, who showed that he is more than just a hook man for radio-ready hits. On a more somber note, the industry paid tribute to its fallen, including a tear jerking performance of the late Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" by Jennifer Hudson and a collaboration between Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt in memory of Etta James. Sir Paul McCartney closed out the show with a medley of classic Beatles tunes, sharing the stage with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Joe Walsh and the aforementioned Grohl.

The night was not without its share of controversy. Bon Iver's nod for Best New Artist raised eyebrows for a variety of reasons, with some criticizing Vernon as too obscure in the face of Nicki Minaj's commercial dominance to deserve the award. Others noted that the act had already generated a significant following as well as critical acclaim for its 2007 recording "For Emma, Forever Ago."

Perhaps the biggest snub of the night went to Kanye West, given that "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" did not even garner a nomination for Album of the Year. Its forceful range of emotions and masterful production transcended the rap genre, and critics cited its omission as another example of the Grammy's marginalization of hip-hop in favor of more traditional acts.

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