LOS ANGELES (AP) — You can cross one major trophy off the list for fun. at the Grammy Awards.
The pop-rockers won song of the year for their transcendent anthem, "We Are Young," featuring Janelle Monae, during Sunday night's telecast, taking the first of four major awards the group's been nominated.
"I don't know what I was thinking when I wrote the chorus to this song," lead singer Nate Ruess joked. "This is in HD, everyone can see our faces, and we are not very young."
Most of the attention has been on Frank Ocean going into the awards — he won a trophy for urban contemporary album and is up for four more trophies during the telecast. But his fellow lead nominees got an early lead on the R&B singer.
"We Are Young" helped fun. earn a starring role at these Grammys with nominations in all four major categories after the release of their first album, matched only by Christopher Cross in 1981, and six overall. The band turned in a powerful early performance of "Carry On" early in the show as a downpour on stage began mid-song and guitarist Jack Antonoff got a kiss from girlfriend Lena Dunham of "Girls" fame after winning.
Fun. may have picked up a major win, but it was The Black Keys and Skrillex who had the early lead thanks to strong runs in the pre-telecast awards show.
The Black Keys singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach took the early lead during the pre-telecast show, picking up three trophies and assisting with a fourth. Auerbach won producer of the year alone and best rock song for "Lonely Boy" and rock album for "El Camino" with his bandmate Patrick Carney, joining electronic dance music innovator Skrillex atop the early leaderboard. He was also producer for another winner, Dr. John.
A slew of artists sit one back going into the main awards show at the Staples Center, including fellow top nominees Kanye West and Jay-Z, Gotye, former best new artist winner Esperanza Spalding, jazz man Chick Corea and Christian singer-songwriter Matt Redman.
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, Mumford & Sons and Taylor Swift, who opened the show as the Mad Hatter. Swift dressed in white top hat, tails, shorts and tall boots during the surreal version of her hummable hit "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" that included a troop of mime clowns and a guy on a tricycle with a flame-thrower attached.
The singer pretended to talk to the offending boyfriend on the phone: "I'm busy opening the Grammys and we're never getting back together."
Justin Timberlake debuted new tracks "Suit & Tie" with Jay-Z and "Pusher Love" in a performance that was broadcast in retro black and white. Elton John and Ed Sheeran teamed on "The A Team" and Miguel and Wiz Kalifa teamed up on "Adorn."
Adele won the first award of the night on the main telecast, taking home best pop solo performance for "Set Fire to the Rain (Live)," in one of the night's least-surprising moments — though the singer was somewhat taken aback.
"I just wanted to be part of the night, because I loved it last year, obviously," she said of winning a record-tying six awards in 2012.
Carrie Underwood won best country solo performance for "Blown Away."
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 a year after winning those same awards in his first appearance at the Grammys.
"You know what, I thought I'd get used to it, but I tripped over every word when I was up there," Skrillex said of his acceptance speeches. "I felt like I just wanted a pool of ice water and just couldn't even breathe or think. It was crazy. I think it was even crazier than last year."
Gotye won best alternative album for "Making Mirrors" and best pop/duo performance for "Somebody That I Used To Know," featuring Kimbra.
Celebrities rolled down the red carpet in the early afternoon, showing a fair amount of skin despite CBS's mandate that stars dress appropriately with butts, breasts and other sensitive areas covered adequately.
Nevertheless, Jennifer Lopez showed up on stage in a dress slit all the way to her hip.
"As you can see, I read the memo," Lopez joked.
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.
Frank Ocean remains in contention for five awards and will perform.
"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."
Three of the night's major awards are still to come. Jack White's "Blunderbuss" competes with fun.'s "Some Nights," Ocean's "channel ORANGE," Mumford's "Babel" and The Keys' "El Camino" for the night's top award, album of the year.
Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know," featuring Kimbra, Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" and Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" join the fun., Ocean and Black Keys entries in record of the year.
And rounding out the major categories, fun., Ocean, Alabama Shakes, Hunter Hayes and The Lumineers are up for best new artist.
There was no shortage of mashups the Grammys have become famous for, either. Elton John, Mavis Staples, Mumford, Brittany Howard, T Bone Burnett and Zac Brown are saluting the late Levon Helm, who won the Americana Grammy last year a few months before his death. The Keys will join Dr. John and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on stage. Sting, Rihanna and Bruno Mars will perform together. Other team-ups include Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley, and Alicia Keys and Maroon 5.
AP writers Nekesa Mumbi Moody, Mesfin Fekadu, Sandy Cohen, Anthony McCartney and Beth Harris in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
Follow AP Music Writer Chris Talbott: http://twitter.com/Chris_Talbott.