02/08/2015 05:33 EST | Updated 04/10/2015 05:59 EDT

Grammys 2015: Sam Smith wins coveted best new artist award

Sam Smith took the first trophy of the 57th Annual Grammy Awards tonight, winning the highly-coveted award for best new artist. The British soul singer, who had a breakout hit with his one-night-stand ballad Stay With Me, received the golden gramophone from pop princess Taylor Swift. He added to his medal count shortly after, picking a Grammy for best pop vocal album for The Lonely Hour.

Earlier, Australian classic rock band AC/DC kicked off the annual evening recognizing artistic achievement and technical excellence with a thunderous medley, including Rock or Bust and Highway to Hell, bringing the well-heeled crowd to their feet.

Rapper and actor LL Cool J is performing MC duties for the fourth consecutive year.

​Beyoncé was also an an early winner at the Grammys — not for singing, but for producing. Her self-titled album won best surround sound album, an award for an album's surround mastering and mix engineers as well as surround producer. She also took best R&B song for Drunk in Love, the steamy single she recorded with her husband, rapper and music producer Jay Z.

Beyoncé, who is the most nominated female in Grammy history, is still up for four other awards including album of the year.

Pop music and producing phenom Pharrell Williams picked up two early trophies, winning the Grammy for best solo performance for Happy. He also received the award for best urban contemporary album for Girl before the televised portion of the evening.

Some of the tonight's other winners include:

- Country solo performance: Something in the Water, Carrie Underwood

- Country duo/group performance: Gentle on My Mind, The Band Perry

- Country song: I'm Not Gonna Miss You, Glen Campbell

- Pop duo/group performance: Say Something, A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera

- Traditional pop vocal album: Cheek to Cheek, Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett

- Rock performance: Lazaretto, Jack White

- Rock song: Ain't It Fun, Hayley Williams and Taylor York

- Rap performance: i, Kendrick Lamar

- Rap/sung collaboration: The Monster, Eminem and Rihanna

- Rap song: i, Kendrick Lamar

Eminem beats Iggy Azalea 

Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP2 ​took home top honours for best rap album, beating out Common, Wiz Khalifa, Childish Gambino, Schoolboy Q and Iggy Azalea.

Azalea, the Australian rapper who had a breakthrough hit with Fancy, is still nominated for record of the year and best pop duo/group performance.

Taylor Swift's Shake It Off, Meghan Trainor's All About That Bass and Sia's Chandelier are nominated for both record and song of the year. Hozier's haunting Take Me to Church rounds out the list of song of the year nominees.

Premium performances, and unlikely pairings

For fans, the show is about a whole lot more than a few golden gramophones.

More than two dozen performers are still slated to take the stage during tonight's broadcast, including:

- Madonna, performing a single from her Rebel Heart album

- Pharrell Williams

- Roar singer Katy Perry, fresh from her Super Bowl show

- Adam Levine

- Sia


- Beyoncé

- Tom Jones

In Grammy tradition, the night will also future collaborative performances and unlikely pairings. Kanye West and Paul McCartney will team up with Rihanna to debut her new single FourFiveSeconds​; Beck will take the stage with Coldplay's Chris Martin; Mary J. Blige will throw down with Sam Smith; and the dynamic duo of Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett are also slated to jazz up the evening.

Canadian contenders

Toronto rap superstar Drake is leading the Canadian contingent with three nominations — even though this was a year in which the 28-year-old didn't release an album.

He's up for best rap song and best rap performance (both for his rousing anthem 0 to 100/The Catch-Up), as well as best rap/sung collaboration for his light-hearted verses on I Love Makonnen's hypnotic Tuesday.

Arcade Fire is still in the running for best music video for their LGBT acceptance anthem We Exist. The Montreal band lost to American singer/songwriter St. Vincent in the best alternative music album category early in the evening.

Deadmau5, the Ontario-born electronic music producer and DJ, is up for best dance/electronic album for While(1<2).