So much for the Grammys embracing edginess. Despite the hype over whether Eminem's "The Marshall Mathers LP" would take home album-of-the-year honors, the rapper's angry disc lost out to a pair of aging rockers - Steely Dan, who up until Wednesday night had never won a Grammy.
The duo snagged the album of the year win for "Two Against Nature," their first album in nearly two decades. They also won best pop album and best pop performance by a duo or group.
Also taking home three trophies apiece were Irish rockers U2 and crossover country singer Faith Hill. Eminem also won three awards, all in the rap categories.
Recording Academy president Michael Greene had trumpeted the rapper's nominations as a sign the academy was more in tune to today's youth, and not the "Grannies," as the awards have derisively been called.
Eminem took the stage with Elton John for the awards show's final performance. Afterward, the two musicians embraced onstage.
Outside the ceremony, about 100 people from women's and gay-rights groups demonstrated against Eminem.
Much of the focus before Wednesday's three-hour telecast had centered on Eminem's lyrics, which refer to gays in derogatory terms and depict the murder of his wife and rape of his mother.
The musician, who has said his lyrics should not be taken literally, alluded to the controversy when he collected his award for best rap album:
"I want to thank everybody who could look past the controversy and see the album for what it was - and for what it isn't."
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