Music stars hit the red carpet Sunday for the Grammys, with veterans like Elton John and Sting joining newcomers including indie pop band fun., hoping to win big in their breakout year.
Security was tight for the industry's biggest awards show at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, as police watch out for a fugitive suspected cop killer, on the run for three days after threatening to murder more officers.
Organizers are hoping to avoid drama which the Grammys seem to attract -- last year with the death of Whitney Houston on the eve of the show; and a few years before with the infamous Chris Brown-Rihanna domestic assault.
The three-and-a-half-hour main event starting at 5:00 pm (0100 GMT Monday) was preceded by a pre-show for less mainstream categories, where winners included Beach Boy Brian Wilson, who took the prize for best historical album.
Rihanna was among the stars set to take the stage Sunday night, along with the likes of Frank Ocean, The Black Keys, Jack White, Kelly Clarkson and Gotye.
But New York band fun. topped nominations announced in December, shortlisted in six categories including the key ones of best album ("Some Nights"), song ("We are Young"), record (for producers of "We are Young") and best new artist.
R&B artist Frank Ocean also scored six nominations, including for best album (the critically acclaimed "Channel Orange"), record of the year ("Thinkin Bout You"), best new artist and best urban contemporary album.
Also vying for best album are three-time Grammy winners The Black Keys for "El Camino," British rock-folk group Mumford & Sons for "Babel" and rocker White for "Blunderbuss."
Record of the year contenders also include The Black Keys' "Lonely Boy," Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)," Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" and Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together."
Last year's Grammys were dominated by British soul songstress Adele, who collected six awards, including album of the year for "21" -- only the second woman in Grammy history to collect so many awards in a single go.
Nominated for best song this year were British balladeer Ed Sheeran's "The A Team," Miguel's "Adorn," Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" and Clarkson's "Stronger," alongside "We Are Young."
In the Grammy show's traditional In Memoriam segment, Elton John will join fellow British stars Mumford & Sons and others in paying tribute to Levon Helm, the late drummer and singer with The Band.
Indian sitar legend Ravi Shankar, who died in December, is set to receive a posthumous lifetime achievement Grammy. US singer-songwriter Carole King, known for hits like "You've Got a Friend," will also be honored for her whole career.
And Brown could not steer clear of drama, wrecking his Porsche in Beverly Hills on the eve of the Grammys, and blaming paparazzi for the crash, police said.
"Chris' vehicle was totaled due to this aggressive pursuit by the paparazzi. He is okay," a representative for Brown told TMZ while Rihanna, his on-again Barbadian pop star girlfriend, was shown hugging him after the incident.
Brown also made headlines late last month when he and Ocean had an altercation outside a recording studio in West Hollywood. No charges were filed.
LA police already were due to be out in force to protect the stars and crowds -- but they are also on the lookout for former cop Christopher Dorner, accused of killing three people and threatening to kill more officers.
Hours before the Grammys, authorities offered a $1 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Dorner, who named a list of targets in a chilling online manifesto.
On the eve of the show, a leaked letter from US television network CBS -- which broadcasts the Grammys live -- warned stars not to reveal too much skin on stage Sunday night.
"Please be sure that buttocks and female breasts are adequately covered... Thong-type costumes are problematic. Please avoid exposing bare flesh under curves of the buttocks and buttock crack," it said.