It’s always tough to predict the winners of music’s biggest night, but this year’s Grammy Awards featured especially jaw-dropping outcomes in the major categories. With more obscure artists like Arcade Fire and Esperanza Spalding besting mainstream juggernauts like Eminem and Justin Bieber, few people came out of the Feb. 13 ceremony with their original predictions intact. Take a look at the winners in the four major categories, and how fans and critics alike were way off-base on some of their picks.
Record Of The Year
WHO WON: “Need You Now,” Lady Antebellum
WHO WE PICKED: Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys, “Empire State of Mind”
THE BILLBOARD ANALYSIS: In the rap-heavy category, experts thought that Jay-Z’s ode to New York would connect with voters more than Hot 100 chart-toppers like B.o.B’s “Nothin’ On You” and Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie” with Rihanna. However, the populist “Empire State of Mind” lost out to country trio Lady Antebellum’s ode to lonely love cries, “Need You Now.” The fans also also got it wrong on this one: 39% thought “Love the Way You Lie” would give Eminem the win, while only 11% predicted a victory for Lady A.
Song Of The Year
WHO WE PICKED: Lady Antebellum, “Need You Now”
THE BILLBOARD ANALYSIS: The insiders got one right when they predicted that Lady Antebellum would snag the songwriting award for “Need You Now,” beating Cee Lo Green, Ray LaMontagne, Eminem and Miranda Lambert. However, the voters in the Billboard.com poll were pretty far off on this category as well: “Love the Way You Lie” was the clear favorite with 56% of the vote, while “Need You Now” received 21% of the votes.
Best New Artist
WHO WON: Esperanza Spalding
WHO WE PICKED: Justin Bieber
THE BILLBOARD ANALYSIS: In an absolute stunner, eccentric jazz artist Esperanza Spalding bested pop star Justin Bieber, rising rap artist Drake, U.K. folk act Mumford & Sons and indie rockers Florence & the Machine to become the 13th female solo artist to win the Best New Artist award in the last 18 years. The experts believed that Bieber fever was too powerful to be denied, while 39% of fans thought that Drake would accept the trophy — only a tiny 1.7% of voters foresaw a Spalding win.