The 54th Annual Grammy Awards were held on February 12, 2012, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles being broadcast on CBS. LL Cool J hosted the show. It was the first time in seven years that the event had an official host. Nominations were announced on November 30, 2011 on prime-time television as part of "The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live! – Countdown to Music's Biggest Night", a one-hour special broadcast live on CBS from Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live. Kanye West received the most nominations with seven. Adele, Foo Fighters, and Bruno Mars each received six nominations. Lil Wayne, Skrillex, and Radiohead all earned five nominations. The nominations were criticised by many music journalists as Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy missed out on a nomination for Album of the Year despite being highly critically acclaimed and topping many end of year charts. West's album went on to win Best Rap Album.
A total of 78 awards were presented following the Academy's decision to restructure the Grammy Award categories. Paul McCartney received the MusiCares Person of the Year award on February 10, 2012, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, two nights prior to the Grammy telecast.
On February 8, 2012, the Academy announced that the 54th Grammy Pre-Telecast Ceremony would stream live internationally. The ceremony took place at the Los Angeles Convention Center and was streamed live in its entirety internationally at Grammy's official website and CBS Television Network. The ceremony was co-hosted by Dave Koz and MC Lyte. A total of 68 awards were presented in the Pre-Telecast ceremony. The official poster was designed by Architect Frank Gehry.
The day before the ceremony, Whitney Houston died in Los Angeles, and the show's producers quickly planned a tribute in the form of Jennifer Hudson singing Houston's "I Will Always Love You". The awards show began with a Bruce Springsteen performance followed by an LL Cool J prayer for Whitney Houston. Adele won all of her six nominations, equalling the record for most wins by a female artist in one night, firstly held by Beyoncé Knowles. Foo Fighters and Kanye West followed with five and four awards, respectively.
The 54th Grammys were the second-highest rated in its history with 39.9 million viewers, second only to the 1984 Grammys with 51.67 mil. viewers. The rating was 50% higher than in 2011.
The following performed:
- Maceo Parker was scheduled to pay tribute to Clarence Clemons following the montage of those that had died in 2011 although his tribute was dropped in the 24 hours leading up to the awards show to make room for the Jennifer Hudson tribute to Whitney Houston.
Nominees and winners
The winners per category were:
- Record of the Year
- Album of the Year
- 21 – Adele
- Ryan Tedder, Jim Abbiss, Adele Adkins, Paul Epworth, Rick Rubin, Fraser T Smith & Dan Wilson, producers; Jim Abbiss, Philip Allen, Beatriz Artola, Ian Dowling, Tom Elmhirst, Greg Fidelman, Dan Parry, Steve Price, Mark Rankin, Andrew Scheps, Fraser T Smith & Ryan Tedder, engineers/mixers; Tom Coyne, mastering engineer
- Wasting Light – Foo Fighters
- Butch Vig, producer; James Brown & Alan Moulder, engineers/mixers; Joe LaPorta & Emily Lazar, mastering engineers
- Born This Way – Lady Gaga
- Paul Blair, DJ Snake, Fernando Garibay, Lady Gaga, Robert John "Mutt" Lange, Jeppe Laursen, RedOne & Clinton Sparks, producers; Fernando Garibay, Lady Gaga, Bill Malina, Trevor Muzzy, RedOne, Dave Russell, Justin Shirley Smith, Horace Ward & Tom Ware, engineers/mixers; Gene Grimaldi, mastering engineer
- Doo-Wops & Hooligans – Bruno Mars
- Loud – Rihanna
- Drake, Eminem & Nicki Minaj, featured artists; Ester Dean, Alex da Kid, Kuk Harrell, Mel & Mus, Awesome Jones, Makeba Riddick, The Runners, Sham, Soundz, Stargate, Chris "Tricky" Stewart, Sandy Vee & Willy Will, producers; Ariel Chobaz, Cary Clark, Mikkel S. Eriksen, Alex da Kid, Josh Gudwin, Kuk Harrell, Jaycen Joshua, Manny Marroquin, Dana Nielsen, Chad "C-Note" Roper, Noah "40" Shebib, Corey Shoemaker, Jay Stevenson, Mike Strange, Phil Tan, Brian "B-Luv" Thomas, Marcos Tovar, Sandy Vee, Jeff "Supa Jeff" Villanueva, Miles Walker & Andrew Wuepper, engineers/mixers; Chris Gehringer, mastering engineer
- Song of the Year
- Best New Artist
- Best Pop Solo Performance
- Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
- Best Pop Instrumental Album
- Best Pop Vocal Album
- Best Dance Recording
- Sonny Moore, producer & mixer
- Best Dance/Electronic Album
- Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
- Best Rock Performance
- Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance
- Best Rock Song
- Best Rock Album
- Best Alternative Music Album
- Best R&B Performance
- Best Traditional R&B Performance
- Best R&B Song
- Best R&B Album
- Best Rap Performance
- Best Rap/Sung Collaboration
- Best Rap Song
- Best Rap Album
- Best Country Solo Performance
- Best Country Duo/Group Performance
- Best Country Song
- Best Country Album
- Best New Age Album
- Best Improvised Jazz Solo
- Best Jazz Vocal Album
- Best Jazz Instrumental Album
- Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album
- Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance
- Best Gospel Song
- Best Contemporary Christian Music Song
- Best Gospel Album
- Best Contemporary Christian Music Album
- Best Latin Pop, Rock or Urban Album
- Best Regional Mexican or Tejano Album
- Best Banda or Norteño Album
- Best Tropical Latin Album
American Roots Music
- Best Americana Album
- Best Bluegrass Album
- Best Blues Album
- Best Folk Album
- Best Regional Roots Music Album
- Best Reggae Album
- Best World Music Album
- Best Children's Album
- All About Bullies ... Big and Small – Various Artists Producers Steve Pullara, Jim Cravero, Pat Robinson, Kevin Mackie and Gloria Domina.
- Are We There Yet? – The Papa Hugs Band
- Fitness Rock & Roll – Miss Amy
- GulfAlive – The Banana Plant
- I Love: Tom T. Hall's Songs of Fox Hollow – Various Artists
- Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Story Telling)
- Best Comedy Album
- Best Musical Theater Album
Music for Visual Media
- Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media
- Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media
- Best Song Written for Visual Media
- Best Instrumental Composition
- "Life in Eleven"
- "Falling Men"
- John Hollenbeck, composer (John Hollenbeck, Daniel Yvinec & Orchestre National de Jazz (ONJ))
- "Hunting Wabbits 3 (Get Off My Lawn)"
- "I Talk to the Trees"
- Best Instrumental Arrangement
- "Rhapsody in Blue"
- "All or Nothing at All"
- "In the Beginning"
- "Nasty Dance"
- "Song Without Words"
- Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)
- Best Recording Package
- Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package
- Best Album Notes
- Hear Me Howling!: Blues, Ballads & Beyond as Recorded by the San Francisco Bay by Chris Strachwitz in the 1960s
- Adam Machado, album notes writer (Various Artists)
- The Bang Years 1966–1968
- The Bristol Sessions, 1927–1928: The Big Bang of Country Music
- Ted Olson & Tony Russell, album notes writers (Various Artists)
- Complete Mythology
- The Music City Story: Street Corner Doo Wop, Raw R&B and Soulful Sounds from Berkeley, California 1950–75
- Alec Palao, album notes writer (Various Artists)
- Best Historical Album
- Band on the Run (Paul McCartney Archive Collection – Deluxe Edition)
- Paul McCartney, compilation producer; Sam Okell & Steve Rooke, mastering engineers (Paul McCartney & Wings)
- The Bristol Sessions, 1927–1928: The Big Bang of Country Music
- Christopher C. King & Ted Olson, compilation producers; Christopher C. King & Chris Zwarg, mastering engineers (Various Artists)
- Complete Mythology
- Tom Lunt, Rob Sevier & Ken Shipley, compilation producers; Jeff Lipton, mastering engineer (Syl Johnson)
- Hear Me Howling!: Blues, Ballads & Beyond as Recorded by the San Francisco Bay by Chris Strachwitz in the 1960s
- Chris Strachwitz, compilation producer; Mike Cogan, mastering engineer (Various Artists)
- Young Man with the Big Beat: The Complete '56 Elvis Presley Masters
- Ernst Mikael Jorgensen, compilation producer; Vic Anesini, mastering engineer (Elvis Presley)
- Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
- Producer of the Year, Non-Classical
- Best Remixed Recording
Production, Surround Sound
- Best Surround Sound Album
- Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (Super Deluxe Edition)
- Elliot Scheiner, surround mix engineer; Bob Ludwig, surround mastering engineer; Bill Levenson & Elliot Scheiner, surround producers (Derek and the Dominos)
- An Evening with Dave Grusin
- Frank Filipetti & Eric Schilling, surround mix engineers; Frank Filipetti, surround mastering engineer; Phil Ramone, surround producer (Various Artists)
- Grace for Drowning
- Steven Wilson, surround mix engineer; Paschal Byrne, surround mastering engineer; Steven Wilson, surround producer (Steven Wilson)
- Morten Lindberg, surround mix engineer; Morten Lindberg, surround mastering engineer; Morten Lindberg, surround producer (Kjetil Almenning, Ensemble 96 & Nidaros String Quartet)
- Spohr: String Sextet in C Major, Op. 140 & Nonet in F Major, Op. 31
- Andreas Spreer, surround mix engineer; Robin Schmidt & Andreas Spreer, surround mastering engineer; Andreas Spreer, surround producer (Camerata Freden)
- Best Engineered Album, Classical
Aldridge: Elmer Gantry
- Byeong-Joon Hwang & John Newton, engineers; Jesse Lewis, mastering engineer (William Boggs, Keith Phares, Patricia Risley, Vale Rideout, Frank Kelley, Heather Buck, Florentine Opera Chorus & Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra)
- Glazunov: Complete Concertos
- Mackey: Lonely Motel – Music From Slide
- Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos Nos. 3 & 4
- Weinberg: Symphony No. 3 & Suite No. 4 From 'The Golden Key'
- Producer of the Year, Classical
- Adams: Son of Chamber Symphony; String Quartet (John Adams, St. Lawrence String Quartet & International Contemporary Ensemble)
- Capricho Latino (Rachel Barton Pine)
- 85th Birthday Celebration (Claude Frank)
- Insects & Paper Airplanes – Chamber Music of Lawrence Dillon (Daedalus Quartet & Benjamin Hochman)
- Midnight Frolic – The Broadway Theater Music of Louis A. Hirsch (Rick Benjamin & Paragon Ragtime Orchestra)
- Notable Women – Trios by Today's Female Composers (Lincoln Trio)
- The Soviet Experience, Vol. 1 – String Quartets by Dmitri Shostakovich & His Contemporaries (Pacifica Quartet)
- Speak! (Anthony De Mare)
- State of the Art – The American Brass Quintet at 50 (The American Brass Quintet)
- Steve Reich: WTC 9/11; Mallet Quartet; Dance Patterns (Kronos Quartet, Steve Reich Musicians & So Percussion)
- Winging It – Piano Music of John Corigliano (Ursula Oppens)
- Blanton Alspaugh
- Aldridge: Elmer Gantry (William Boggs, Keith Phares, Patricia Risley, Vale Rideout, Frank Kelley, Heather Buck, Florentine Opera Chorus & Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra)
- Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas (Peter Takács)
- Osterfield: Rocky Streams (Paul Osterfield, Todd Waldecker & Various Artists)
- Manfred Eicher
- Bach: Concertos & Sinfonias for Oboe; Ich Hatte Viel Bekümmernis (Heinz Holliger, Eric Höbarth & Camerata Bern)
- Hymns & Prayers (Gidon Kremer & Kremerata Baltica)
- Manto & Madrigals (Thomas Zehetmair & Ruth Killius)
- Songs of Ascension (Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble, Todd Reynolds Quartet, The M6 & Montclair State University Singers)
- Tchaikovsky/Kissine: Piano Trios (Gidon Kremer, Giedre Dirvanauskaite & Khatia Buniatishvili)
- A Worcester Ladymass (Trio Mediaeval)
- David Frost
- Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass Live (Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass)
- Mackey: Lonely Motel – Music from Slide (Rinde Eckert, Steven Mackey & Eighth Blackbird)
- Prayers & Alleluias (Kenneth Dake)
- Sharon Isbin & Friends – Guitar Passions (Sharon Isbin & Various Artists)
- Peter Rutenberg
- Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45 (Patrick Dupré Quigley, James K. Bass, Seraphic Fire & Professional Choral Institute)
- The Vanishing Nordic Chorale (Philip Spray & Musik Ekklesia)
- Best Orchestral Performance
"Brahms: Symphony No. 4"
- Gustavo Dudamel, conductor (Los Angeles Philharmonic)
- "Bowen: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2"
- "Haydn: Symphonies 104, 88 & 101"
- "Henze: Symphonies Nos. 3–5"
- Martinu: The 6 Symphonies
- Best Opera Recording
"Adams: Doctor Atomic"
- Alan Gilbert, conductor; Meredith Arwady, Sasha Cooke, Richard Paul Fink, Gerald Finley, Thomas Glenn & Eric Owens; Jay David Saks, producer (Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; Metropolitan Opera Chorus)
- "Britten: Billy Budd"
- Mark Elder, conductor; John Mark Ainsley, Phillip Ens, Jacques Imbrailo, Darren Jeffery, Iain Paterson & Matthew Rose; James Whitbourn, producer (London Philharmonic Orchestra; Glyndebourne Chorus)
- "Rautavaara: Kaivos"
- Hannu Lintu, conductor; Jaakko Kortekangas, Hannu Niemelä, Johanna Rusanen-Kartano & Mati Turi; Seppo Siirala, producer (Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra; Kaivos Chorus)
- "Verdi: La Traviata"
- Antonio Pappano, conductor; Joseph Calleja, Renée Fleming & Thomas Hampson; James Whitbourn, producer (Orchestra of the Royal Opera House; Royal Opera Chorus)
- "Vivaldi: Ercole Sul Termodonte"
- Fabio Biondi, conductor; Romina Basso, Patrizia Ciofi, Diana Damrau, Joyce DiDonato, Vivica Genaux, Philippe Jaroussky, Topi Lehtipuu & Rolando Villazón; Daniel Zalay, producer (Europa Galante; Coro Da Camera Santa Cecilia Di Borgo San Lorenzo)
- Best Choral Performance
"Light & Gold"
- Eric Whitacre, conductor (Christopher Glynn & Hila Plitmann; The King's Singers, Laudibus, Pavão Quartet & The Eric Whitacre Singers)
- "Beyond All Mortal Dreams – American A Cappella"
- Stephen Layton, conductor (Choir of Trinity College Cambridge)
- "Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45"
- Patrick Dupré Quigley, conductor; James K. Bass, chorus master (Justin Blackwell, Scott Allen Jarrett, Paul Max Tipton & Teresa Wakim; Professional Choral Institute & Seraphic Fire)
- Kjetil Almenning, conductor (Nidaros String Quartet; Ensemble 96)
- "The Natural World of Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen"
- Paul Hillier, conductor (Ars Nova Copenhagen)
- Best Small Ensemble Performance
"Mackey: Lonely Motel – Music from Slide" – Rinde Eckert & Steven Mackey; Eighth Blackbird
- "Frank: Hilos" – Gabriela Lena Frank; ALIAS Chamber Ensemble
- "The Kingdoms of Castille – Richard Savino, conductor; El Mundo
- "A Seraphic Fire Christmas" – Patrick Dupré Quigley, conductor; Seraphic Fire
- "Sound the Bells!" – The Bay Brass
- Best Classical Instrumental Solo
"Schwantner: Concerto for Percussion & Orchestra"
- Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor; Christopher Lamb (Nashville Symphony)
- "Chinese Recorder Concertos – East Meets West"
- Lan Shui, conductor; Michala Petri (Copenhagen Philharmonic)
- "Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18; Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini"
- Claudio Abbado, Yuja Wang (Mahler Chamber Orchestra)
- "Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos Nos. 3 & 4"
- Leif Ove Andsnes, Antonio Pappano (London Symphony Orchestra)
- "Winging It – Piano Music of John Corigliano"
- Best Classical Vocal Solo
- Joyce DiDonato (Kazushi Ono; Orchestre De L'Opéra National De Lyon; Choeur De L'Opéra National De Lyon)
- "Grieg/Thommessen: Veslemøy Synsk"
- Marianne Beate Kielland (Nils Anders Mortensen)
- "Handel: Cleopatra"
- Natalie Dessay (Emmanuelle Haïm; Le Concert D'Astrée)
- "Purcell: O Solitude"
- "Three Baroque Tenors"
- Ian Bostridge (Bernard Labadie; Mark Bennett, Andrew Clarke, Sophie Daneman, Alberto Grazzi, Jonathan Gunthorpe, Benjamin Hulett & Madeline Shaw; The English Concert)
- Best Contemporary Classical Composition
"Aldridge, Robert: Elmer Gantry" – Robert Aldridge & Herschel Garfein
- "Crumb, George: The Ghosts of Alhambra" – George Crumb
- "Friedman, Jefferson: String Quartet No. 3" – Jefferson Friedman
- "Mackey, Steven: Lonely Motel – Music From Slide" – Steven Mackey
- "Ruders, Poul: Piano Concerto No. 2" – Poul Ruders
- Best Short Form Music Video
- Best Long Form Music Video
- Foo Fighters: Back and Forth – Foo Fighters
- James Moll, video director; James Moll & Nigel Sinclair, video producers
- I Am... World Tour – Beyoncé
- Beyoncé, Ed Burke & Frank Gatson, Jr., video directors; Beyoncé & Camille Yorrick, video producers
- Talihina Sky: The Story of Kings of Leon – Kings of Leon
- Stephen C. Mitchell, video director; Casey McGrath, video producer
- Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest – A Tribe Called Quest
- Michael Rapaport, video director; Robert Benavides, Debra Koffler, Eric Matthies, Frank Mele, Edward Parks & A Tribe Called Quest, video producers
- Nine Types of Light – TV on the Radio
Special Merit Awards
- MusiCares Person of the Year
- President's Merit Award
- Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
- Grammy Trustees Award
- Technical Grammy Award
Artists with multiple nominations and awards
The following artists received multiple nominations:
- Seven: Kanye West
- Six: Adele, Bruno Mars, Foo Fighters
- Five: Lil Wayne, Radiohead, Skrillex
- Four: Bon Iver, Drake, Jay-Z, Mumford & Sons, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna
- Three: Blake Shelton, Brandon Heath, Cee Lo Green, Chris Brown, Chris Tomlin, Coldplay, Deadmau5, Fergie, Jason Aldean, Kelly Price, Lady Gaga, Ledisi, Lupe Fiasco, Taylor Swift, Eminem
- Two: Alexandre Desplat, Beyoncé, Charlie Wilson, Christina Aguilera, Daft Punk, David Guetta, Dr. Dre, Foster the People, Gillian Welch, Katy Perry, Kenny Chesney, Kirk Franklin, Kings of Leon, Marsha Ambrosius, Mary Mary, Robyn, R. Kelly, Seth MacFarlane, Skylar Grey, Thompson Square, The Civil Wars, Tony Bennett, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Wiz Khalifa, Afrojack
The following artists received multiple awards:
Amy Winehouse, Nick Ashford, Phoebe Snow, Jerry Leiber, Steve Jobs, Heavy D, Sylvia Robinson, Nate Dogg, M-Bone, Jimmy Castor, George Shearing, Roger Williams, Ray Bryant, Gil Cates, Fred Steiner, Dobie Gray, Ferlin Husky, Larry Butler, Wilma Lee Cooper, Harley Allen, Liz Anderson, Charlie Craig, Barbara Orbison, Frank DiLeo, Steve Popovich, Tal Herzberg, Bruce Jackson, Johnny Otis, Benny Spellman, Don DeVito, Roger Nichols, Stan Ross, Joe Arroyo, Facundo Cabral, Marv Tarplin, Esther Gordy Edwards, Carl Gardner, Cornell Dupree, Jerry Ragovoy, Gene McDaniels, Joe Morello, Gil Bernal, Frank Foster, Ralph MacDonald, Leonard Dillon, Clare Fischer, Bert Jansch, Andrew Gold, Bill Morrissey, Warren Hellman, Hazel Dickens, Gary Moore, Gerard Smith, Doyle Bramhall, Pinetop Perkins, Hubert Sumlin, David "Honeyboy" Edwards, Camilla Williams, Milton Babbitt, David Mason, Andy Kazdin, Alex Steinweiss, Bill Johnson, Jessy Dixon, Don Butler, Clarence Clemons and Whitney Houston.
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