LOS ANGELES — A slew of artists sit one back going into the main awards show tonight at the Staples Center, including Kanye West and Jay-Z, Gotye, former best new artist winner Esperanza Spalding, jazz man Chick Corea and Christian singer-songwriter Matt Redman.
Most of the attention has been on Frank Ocean going into the awards, but his fellow lead nominees got an early lead on the R&B singer during the pre-telecast show.
West and Jay-Z won best rap song and best rap performance for the song "... in Paris" from their "Watch the Throne" collaboration and lost a third for short form video for "No Church in The Wild," which featured Ocean. Ocean will be up for five awards later in the evening.
Other early winners included Rihanna, Beyonce, Taylor Swift and Mumford & Sons, one of six top nominees with six nods apiece. Ocean is up for the major awards best new artist, album of the year and record of the year when the show airs live on CBS at 8 p.m. EST from the Staples Center.
The Grammy pre-telecast awards show at the Nokia Theatre had 70 trophies up for grabs, including rock, pop, rap and country categories.
Skrillex won best dance recording for "Bangarang," featuring Sirah, best dance/electronica album for "Bangarang" and best remixed recording.
"Let's keep making music," he said. "... We're a big family. We're a big community. We support music and forward-thinking ideas here."
Gotye won best alternative album for "Making Mirrors" and best pop/duo performance for "Somebody That I Used To Know," featuring Kimbra.
Spalding had one of the most touching moments of the pre-telecast awards show, taking the stage with her longtime jazz teacher Thara Memory for their win in the best instrumental arrangement accompanying vocalist category. She also won for best jazz vocal album for her "Radio Music Society."
Corea, who competed against himself in two categories, won best improvised jazz solo for "Hot House" with Gary Burton and best instrumental composition for "Mozart Goes Dancing."
And Redman won best gospel/contemporary Christian music performance and best contemporary Christian music song (in a tie) for "10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)."
Other early winners included Rihanna, who won short form music video for "We Found Love" featuring Calvin Harris, and Swift won the Grammy for best song written for visual media for "Safe & Sound," her collaboration with The Civil Wars on "The Hunger Games" soundtrack. It was Swift's seventh Grammy and the third for Joy Williams and John Paul White of The Civil Wars.
"I think it's appropriate that Taylor thanks us because we've been carrying her for a while and it's getting really tiring," White joked.
Beyonce won for best traditional R&B performance, Mumford & Sons took their first Grammy, winning along with Old Crow Medicine Show and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros for their long form video documentary "Big Easy Express."
Celebrities began rolling down the red carpet in the early afternoon, but it remained to be seen if any would try to skirt CBS's mandate that stars dress appropriately with butts, breasts and other sensitive areas covered adequately.
"I think it's just, you know, we should always stay classy and dress according to the event that's being held," Ashanti said on the red carpet. "So I don't think people should be limited so much and told what you can and cannot do. But, you know, you do have to have a certain class and prestige about yourself."
Celebrities also felt an increased Los Angeles Police Department presence in light of a manhunt involving an alleged cop killer. Police were everywhere, including atop the hotel across from the Staples Center.
Ocean might be riding a wave toward some of the night's biggest honors. He is still up for five awards going into the night along with fellow top nominee fun.
"It feels cool," Ocean said on the red carpet. "It's really bright, a lot of beautiful ladies walking around being fancy. I have to perform tonight so the wheels are constantly spinning. You can't really just sit in your seat and take it all in."