The robots, clad in formal white suits and masks, spent much of the night humorously deferring to collaborators as they stood on stage. The job of spokesman often fell to producer of the year Pharrell, who guessed his way through a couple of acceptance speeches. "I suppose the robots would like to thank ...," he joked before noting, "Honestly, I bet France is really proud of these guys right now."
Their "Random Access Memories" was the year's event album, capitalizing on both the growing popularity of electronic dance music and the presence of popular music figures like Rodgers and Pharrell. They beat out reigning pop queen Taylor Swift, the odds-on favorite to win the award.
The award helps to square The Recording Academy with the burgeoning dance music crowd, who've been waiting for a major win since the Bee Gees' 1977 "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack, the last dance LP to win album of the year.
"If you go to the headwaters of EDM, electronic dance music, you'll find them," Paul Williams said.
Rodgers said the duo richly deserved the win after taking years to put the album together as they sought authentic musical moments that can only be recorded live by real musicians.
"The fact that they decided to put this much effort into the music and bring in musicians, it shows that they had an incredible vision and they believed that you actually achieve something greater by doing that," Rodgers said. "I happen to believe in that philosophy, too, that as a composer I can write a composition but when people interpret that composition it gets better."
Hours earlier, it looked like the day might belong to Macklemore and Lewis, a couple of virtually unknowns from Seattle who dominated the pop world with three huge hits that were wildly different and rivaled "Get Lucky" in popularity — "Thrift Shop," ''Can't Hold Us" and the gay rights anthem "Same Love."