Many students at colleges and universities tend to discredit nationally-televised music award shows such as the Grammys because they recognize the most mainstream and commercially successful artists instead of what they believe to be the most talented acts. However, Sunday’s show offered a stunner as independent rock band Arcade Fire captured the Grammy for Album of the Year.

Arcade Fire shocked the music world on Sunday night by taking home the top prize for its album “The Suburbs.” The Canadian band, led by signer Win Butler, is probably better known by students who are attending college classes rather than the majority of the Grammy audience. Typically, the bands that are popular choices among the college education crowd win the alternative rock awards or dominate other genre-specific categories.

However, Arcade Fire took down household names such as Eminem, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry to win Best Album. The surprise winners – all seven of them – also played a musical selection to close out the show.

According to the New York Daily News, Barbara Streisand, who presented the Best Album trophy, was likely unfamiliar with Arcade Fire. When she announced the band’s win, she stumbled over the band’s name, calling them “The Suburbs.”

The unfamiliarity of the top award winner – and other surprises – is what gives the Grammy Awards their spark, says Vanity Fair columnist John Lopez.

“Although the arbitrary nature of its prize-giving provokes some well-constructed criticism, the indoor music festival and erstwhile awards show that are the Grammys offered a highly watchable sonic interlude to awards season,” Lopez wrote.

Other major victories on Sunday night included: Lady Antelbellum’s “Need You Now” for Record of the Year, Esperanza Spalding for New Artist, Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” for Female Pop Vocal Performance and Bruno Mars’ “Just The Way You Are” for Male Pop Vocal Performance. The Black Keys’ “Brothers” was named best Alternative Album, while Muse’s “The Resistance” notched top Rock Album.

Many critics ‚Äì such as music journalists and students who are accruing college credits in musical fields ‚Äì likely dismissed the show for its attention to pop stars and celebrity cameos. Tim Goodman, a columnist for The Hollywood Reporter, was quite critical of the Grammys, claiming that the show was too long and most of the music wasn’t very good.

However, Goodman approved of Arcade Fire’s victory.

“Arcade Fire won album of the year, which was astonishing to most people but ultimately seemed deserved because it was, in fact, an album ‚Äì a collection of songs, not just something some super-producers mixed in the studio and stuck on iTunes as a single,” Goodman wrote.

Guy is a Connecticut-based writer who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in new media from Fairfield University. Following graduation, he was a freelance reporter for several web-based music and news organizations. Guy is particularly interested in the advancement of <a rel=”nofollow” onclick=”javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackPageview', '/outgoing/article_exit_link']);” href=”"”">online education</a>. He is currently taking <a rel=”nofollow” onclick=”javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackPageview', '/outgoing/article_exit_link']);” href=”"”">college courses</a> at New York University (NYU) and pursuing a second degree in education.

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