The Szish Dish: Sizzling Hot Red Carpet Stars

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For many journalists, the red carpet has become a forum for slamming unsuspecting celebrities with questions about scandalous current events, their personal lives, or other potential incendiary topics, simply to get a scoop or even just a reaction.

For that reason, more and more celebrities blaze through the lineup of reporters on the carpet -- or even enter through a backdoor in order to skip the carpet altogether -- and are no longer willing to do interviews.

And really, who can blame them, especially when the focus of the evening is celebration?

But something about the mood at the 2006 American Music Awards was different -- although, of course, not everyone stopped to chat.

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Perhaps it was the forthcoming holiday or just the perfect Los Angeles weather, but the stars seemed relaxed and their comments candid.

Most remained unfazed even after several overzealous reporters bombarded them with uncomfortable questions about the TomKat nuptials or Michael Richards' stand-up scandal.

Although others may disagree, I see the red carpet as an opportunity to interact with celebrities as you would a new acquaintance, perhaps even a friend.

I know I'm doing a good job when amidst all the flashbulbs and commotion, I realize I'm having a real conversation as opposed to just a question-and-answer session. There's a moment when you both make eye contact and suddenly you relax and just talk.

We're so used to seeing celebrities answer serious questions or talk about projects, but we don't often get to see them act like "real" people. That is, until the "Szish Dish" shows up.

On the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday, here are some down-to-earth celebrity comments that I am thankful for:

Red Carpet Reflections

Isaiah Washington and his lovely wife (both decked out in Yves Saint Laurent -- he gave props to his wife for choosing his ensemble) chatted with me about their kids and holiday plans -- namely, to chow down at "Grey's Anatomy" co-star Justin Chambers' home over the holidays. Washington was particularly looking forward to letting his kids run wild at someone else's house.

Ashlee Simpson gushed about the new house she just bought and also shared that she and sister Jessica were planning to head home together for a family-style Thanksgiving.

Sharon Stone told me that she planned to cook for Thanksgiving and that her specialty was pies, particularly pumpkin pie. Also, on the topic of her duty to introduce the Dixie Chicks, she said she liked controversy because it made everyone "stand up a little straighter."

Brian McKnight swore that his purple pinstriped suit had been hanging in his closet for a while and said he chose to wear it to the AMAs because it would stand out.

Rising star Katherine McPhee admitted she occasionally wished she could be a bit more anonymous, especially when it came to personal issues in the media.

Taylor Hicks, looking spiffy in Dolce & Gabbana, admitted that the whole red-carpet scene was pretty exhausting, and that he was looking forward to heading home for the holidays.

Pat Boone told me he had a little peacock in him -- which accounted for his shiny, gold tuxedo and white, eyelet shirt.

Chamillionaire, who was wearing more diamonds than any human being I've ever seen, told me he was nervous about the big night.

Carmen Electra filled me in on her annual Thanksgiving ritual -- cooking and hanging at her house with friends from Orange County.

Mary J. Blige, one of the night's biggest winners, told me that she had actually purchased the Carlos Miele dress she was wearing.

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