Esperanza Spalding, Bon Iver, Herbie Hancock and more artists who shocked the world with GRAMMY wins in the past decade.
One of the more enjoyable reasons to watch the GRAMMY Awards each year is because of the shocking upset victories -- the artists, songs and albums in the running that provoke gasps with their wins, after previously being given a slim chance to actually compete. Sure, the safe bets are fun to applaud, but the upsets in the history of the GRAMMY Awards are arguably more memorable. Who can forget Jethro Tull's shocking win over Metallica for best hard rock/metal performance in 1989, or the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack somehow trumping Outkast, U2 and Bob Dylan for album of the year in 2002?
Of course, the past decade of GRAMMY ceremonies has included a fair share of surprises (do the words "Esperanza" and "Spalding" ring a bell?). Check out our list of the 10 biggest GRAMMY upsets of the past 10 years:
46th GRAMMY Awards (2004)
SONG OF THE YEAR WINNER: Luther Vandross, "Dance with My Father"
WHAT IT BEAT: Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful," Eminem's "Lose Yourself"
After Christina Aguilera's soaring ballad "Beautiful" won Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and "Lose Yourself" snagged the best rap song trophy for Eminem, 53-year-old R&B maestro Luther Vandross' touching "Dance with My Father" topped both hits for song of the year. Vandross accepted the award via videotaped message due to health reasons; tragically, the singer-songwriter passed away less than two years later, in July 2005.
47th GRAMMY Awards (2005)
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Ray Charles & Various Artists, "Genius Loves Company"
WHAT IT BEAT: Kanye West's "The College Dropout," Green Day's "American Idiot"
In 2005, Kanye West's brilliant first album, Green Day's comeback smash "American Idiot," Alicia Keys' sumptuous "The Diary of Alicia Keys" and Usher's inescapable "Confessions" couldn't topple "Genius Loves Company," a posthumous collection of collaborations released two months after Ray Charles' death in 2004. "Genius Loves Company" was a hit tribute to a musical genius, but few expected the collection to snag the top prize of the evening.
48th GRAMMY Awards (2006)
BEST RAP/SUNG COLLABORATION: Jay-Z & Linkin Park, "Numb/Encore"
WHAT IT BEAT: Ciara & Missy Elliott, "1, 2 Step"; Destiny's Child, T.I. & Lil Wayne, "Soldier"
Jay Z is no stranger to GRAMMY acclaim -- he's nominated for nine awards at the upcoming ceremony, after all -- but the fact that his rap-rock single with Linkin Park earned him an award is pretty mind-blowing in retrospect. The single from the collaborative album "Collision Course" actually won more GRAMMYS than Jay Z's "Encore," from "The Black Album," and Linkin Park's "Numb," from "Meteora"; the song also trumped hits by Destiny's Child, Ciara and Gwen Stefani & Eve ("Rich Girl") in the process.
50th GRAMMY Awards (2008)
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Herbie Hancock, "River: The Joni Letters"
WHAT IT BEAT: Kanye West's "Graduation," Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black"
In 2008, the album of the year category seemed to be a two-horse race between "Graduation" and "Back to Black"; Kanye West even told Winehouse's producer, Mark Ronson, that "You deserve it just as much as me" while accepting another award earlier in the evening. While Winehouse won in the best new artist category and earned both record of the year and song of the year, the final prize of the night went to jazz legend Herbie Hancock's full-length tribute to Joni Mitchell -- even Hancock seemed surprised by the outcome.
52nd GRAMMY Awards (2010)
RECORD OF THE YEAR: Kings of Leon, "Use Somebody"
WHAT IT BEAT: Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me," Beyonce's "Halo"
Kings of Leon's breakout smash was a lock for best rock song and best rock performance by a duo/group with vocals in 2010, but the record of the year category was a different beast entirely; after all, "Use Somebody" was going against "You Belong With Me," "Halo," the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" and Lady Gaga's "Poker Face," all populist pop hits. The sole rock competitor in the category emerged victorious -- although Swift and Beyonce earned wins in the album of the year and song of the year categories, respectively.
Next: Bon Iver, Esperanza Spalding, and... An Upset For Adele?