Sam Smith dominated the 57th Grammy Awards with his personal, often unassuming Brit-soul debut and breakthrough single "Stay With Me," which won Song of the Year at Sunday night's ceremony.
Smith also won best new artist and his confessional album "In the Lonely Hour" won best pop vocal album. His poignant duet performing "Stay With Me" with Mary J. Blige may have won him even more fans.
Fans and recording academy members alike were charmed by Smith's openness in his lyrics, giving him nominations in the top four categories.
"Before I made this record, I was doing everything to get my music heard," Smith said in one of his many acceptance speeches. "It was only after I started to be myself that the music started to flow and people started to listen."
His success -- and the success of Beck's quiet "Morning Phase" album, which surprisingly took album of the year -- was at the opposite end of the spectrum from Beyoncé's self-assured, swaggering "Beyoncé" album, which landed her three Grammys.
The contrast was also at work in the two most anticipated performances of the night. Kanye West delivered his single "Only One" alone, dancing around a single light in the floor. Madonna, on the other hand, brought out a huge troupe of dancers and a gospel choir for her uplifting dance performance of "Living for Love" that ended with her hanging over the entire scene.
The performances both worked for different reasons, setting up what could be next year's Grammy battle, continuing what Smith and Beyoncé started.
PHARRELL GETS 'HAPPY': The widespread Pharrell love was evident, as the singer-songwriter-producer-hat-model-formal-shorts-wearer upset both Smith and Beyoncé as he took home three Grammys. His "Happy" won best video and beat out Smith's "Stay With Me" for best pop vocal solo performance, while he also beat out Beyoncé for best urban contemporary album.
ODD COUPLINGS: Only Grammy producers know why they thought Jessie J and Tom Jones would be a good pairing, but the duo of Hozier and Annie Lennox was truly inspired on "Take Me to Church." And the supergroup of Ed Sheeran, John Mayer, Questlove and Herbie Hancock for "Thinking Out Loud" totally deserved the standing ovation it received. But nothing could compare to the sweet simplicity of Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney leading a sing-along of "Four Five Seconds."
CASH IS QUEEN: Rosanne Cash picked up three wins in the American roots category -- best performance and best song for "A Feather's Not a Bird," as well as best album for "The River & The Thread." The veteran singer-songwriter was thrilled by the wins. "The last time I won a Grammy, Reagan was president!" she said in her acceptance speech.