Beyonce won her sixth trophy with best female pop vocal for her soaring ballad "Halo." Perhaps she was not aware of her record-setting feat; her acceptance speech was decidedly low key.
"Thank you so much. This has been such an amazing night for me and I'd love to thank the Grammys," Beyonce said in her brief remarks. "I'd like to thank all of the fans for their support over the years."
Beyonce won the songwriting trophy along with three writers for her omnipresent anthem "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)." She also won best R&B contemporary album for "I Am ... sasha fierce" among her other awards, and still had the opportunity to win the evening's remaining top award - album of the year.
Lady Gaga, who won two Grammys during the pre-telecast ceremony, kicked off the night with a sequined green leotard with massive shoulders as she sang her Grammy-nominated hit "Poker Face" amid an elaborate stage that included dramatic choreography and pyrotechnics.
Moments later, she scaled things down a bit - as much as Lady Gaga can - and brought out Elton John as they melded her song "Speechless" and his classic "Your Song" together in a performance that featured dueling pianos, and glitter-painted faces.
Taylor Swift, who was second to Beyonce in Grammy nominations with eight nods, won three early awards, including best country album. Though Taylor has won just about every award imaginable over the past year for her best-selling CD "Fearless," she was wide-eyed when she accepted her trophy for country album.
"I just keep thinking back to when you're in second grade and you sing in the talent show for the first time and people joke around and say, 'Maybe we'll see you at the Grammys some day.' But that just seems like an impossible dream," she said. "I just feel like I'm standing here accepting an impossible dream."
Later, she also collaborated with a rock legend: Stevie Nicks joined her on stage as they both sang Nicks' "Rhiannon' and Swift's "You Belong With Me."