LOS ANGELES -- Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' unorthodox partnership yielded rich rewards on Grammy night, as the pair nabbed five awards for their haunting "Raising Sand," including record and album of the year honors.
But their sweep was overshadowed before the show began when police announced that R&B singer Chris Brown, a double nominee and scheduled performer, was being investigated in the assault of an unidentified woman the night before.
Brown turned himself in to authorities and was briefly held before posting $50,000 bail Sunday night, jail records showed.
Back at the Staples Center, Lil Wayne entered the evening with the most nominations at eight and went home with four awards, including rap album of the year.
Jennifer Hudson provided the night's most emotional moments onstage. The Oscar winner took her first Grammy award -- for best R&B album -- for her self-titled debut.
Hudson, 27, made no direct reference to the October killings of her mother, brother and nephew, which kept her in seclusion until this month. But while fighting back tears, she made it clear that her family was foremost on her mind.
"I first would like to thank God, who has brought me through. I would like to thank my family in heaven and those who are with me today."
Hudson later performed "You Pulled Me Through," a song about overcoming deep despair, with the lyrics: "When I was drowning, when I was so confused, you, you pulled me through."
As she sang the last note, she looked into the camera and dissolved into tears.
The pairing of former Led Zeppelin rocker Plant and Krauss, a bluegrass queen, may have seemed weird on paper, but the T Bone Burnett-produced album was universally acclaimed and highlighted Krauss' unique mastery of different musical styles.
Subdued but emotionally stirring, "Raising Sand" was an artistic triumph for both artists, and it demonstrated why Krauss is the most decorated female artist in Grammy history with 26 awards.
"We ostensibly come from such different places on the musical map. There are radical differences in the ways we've gone about enjoying our lives as musicians," Plant said backstage after the show. "Alison has shown me so much of the America I've never been exposed to. There's so many songs in the air. America needs to know what its songs are all about."
Plant and Krauss won a Grammy last year for the single "Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)" from "Raising Sand," bringing the record's haul to six. The single was released in time for Grammy contention last year, while the CD was not.
The Grammy telecast Sunday was filled with eye-popping and eyebrow-raising performances, from Radiohead's collaboration with a college marching band to a televised black-and-white throwback performance from Jay-Z, T.I., Lil Wayne, Kanye West and a pregnant M.I.A. on "Swagga Like Us."
Brown and girlfriend Rihanna, also nominated, were each slated to perform but separately dropped out at the last minute. It wasn't clear whether Rihanna's absence was related to Brown's.
Police booked Brown on suspicion of making a criminal threat, a felony. Police did not explain how their initial report of an injury assault related to the charge.
Neither won a Grammy, and the Recording Academy found able replacements for their performance slots in Justin Timberlake, Al Green, Boyz II Men and Keith Urban as they all sang Green's classic "Let's Stay Together."
Lil Wayne won the first Grammys of his career for "Tha Carter III," which took the 26-year-old from rap to pop MVP. It wasn't entirely his fault for not sweeping all eight of his nominations: he was competing against himself in two categories in which he won.
Coldplay won three awards, including song of the year for "Viva La Vida."
"We've never had so many Grammys in our life," said lead singer Chris Martin, perhaps so excited he got confused (they had already won four over the years). "We feel so grateful to be here. I'm going to tear up."
British singer Adele also was teary as she beat the Jonas Brothers, Lady Antebellum, Jazmine Sullivan and fellow Brit Duffy to nab best new artist. It was her second award of the evening. She also won for best female pop vocal.
"Thank you so much. I'm going to cry. I want to thank my manager, my mom, she's in London. And Duffy, I love you. I think you're amazing. Jonas Brothers, I love you as well," she said, delivering that last bit with a devilish look, eliciting laughter.