I waited patiently for the controversy — the flaming cars outside the Staples Center, the fistfights between Eminem lovers and haters, the mail bombs going off at GLAAD headquarters, the general chaos that promised to surround the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards.
I'm still waiting, folks.
There was nothing. No fuss, no muss, just a lot of hype. I'm glad no one was hurt and there was no violence, but boy, talk about blowing smoke …
The Grammy Awards were decent. Performances by such acts as U2, Destiny's Child, Macy Gray, 'N Sync and Faith Hill were nice — a word often used to describe someone's unattractive cousin.
Elton Polka-Dotted, Eminem Bleeped
Madonna's big splash of an opening number wasn't much at all. First, she was completely dressed. She arrived onstage in a limo covered in mirror ball glass. It was a little too showy for my taste, although we'd expect nothing less from Ms. Madonna. (I would've done a feather-coated Humvee.)
Surprisingly, hearing her sing "Music" without a recording studio backup was, in a word, "ugly." The dancers/minions afforded some distraction, but her voice still shone through — the way the sun comes through that crack in the drapes and right into your eyeball when you're hung over.
I'd also like to mention that I'm even more disappointed in her shameless plug for her husband, director Guy Ritchie. The license plate on the car read "SNATCHED."
One of the outstanding performances (there were some), was the collaboration of Jill Scott, Moby and Blue Man Group. It was definitely a thrill. Eyeballs blinking, things flying around. It was a multicultural Cirque du Soleil. The performance was soulful and exciting and it's a good thing because it came halfway through the show and everyone needed a little pick-me-up to keep them from snoring through part deux of the ceremony.
And, of course, the much-ballyhooed Eminem/Elton John performance of "Stan" came toward the very end of the broadcast. From what I could tell, the engineer had a rough time bleeping the curse words, but there was no earth-shattering moment, no big crescendo, just Elton in one ugly pink polka-dotted suit and an overzealous audience who sprung to its feet for the night's only standing ovation. As my grandfather used to say, "Yep, yep, yep, yep. Thought so."
The Fashion Front
On the fashion front, the most fascinating part of the Grammys was the LACK of plastic surgery. There is, of course, one exception … that being Joan Rivers, who covered arrivals for E! Entertainment Television. If she appears embarrassing when she covers the Emmys or Oscars because of her lack of knowledge regarding actors and their work, music is even further removed from her brain center.
Most artists on the red carpet didn't even bother to talk to Rivers and those who did were distant and seemed a bit befuddled. They all appeared to look at her rather oddly, as if they were thinking, "Why are your eyes over your ears?" and "Were your cheekbones always by your forehead?"
For the most part though, the music industry lets it hang, hang out, hang over, hang down, etc. Some of the more amazing outerwear included Toni Braxton's number, which took the cake (and made me never want to eat another piece after seeing her figure). It was a white dress, if you can call it that. There were some strips of fabric in just the right places. The sides were open from top to bottom. She could've been extremely comfortable, temperature wise, wearing it in the Sahara Desert because there was nothing there.
Another little ditty worn by the lovely Sheryl Crow was a black mini dress, cut low in the front and back with a belted waist. It was a Gladiator-meets-call girl motif. I liked it as opposed to the raggy-looking garb worn by the newly shaven Erykah Badu.
On the macho front, the finest dressed man by far, was Mr. Hugh Hefner, who decked himself out in a tuxedo and, more importantly, remembered to accessorize. He came with seven — count 'em, seven — blond bombshells. I suppose he was invited to the Grammys because he and his siliconed friends make beautiful music together. (This would be a good time to barf.)Recording Academy Spreads the Wealth
The Grammy Awards themselves were not shocking. U2 picked up three trophies, including Song of the Year for "Beautiful Day."
Taking a cue from its counterparts in TV and film, the Recording Academy spread the wealth. We saw Eminem pick up Best Rap Album for his Marshall Mathers LP, along with two other awards. There was the resurgence of Steely Dan, who took home three Grammys, including Album of the Year for Two Against Nature. And Lenny Kravitz, Joni Mitchell, Sting, Destiny's Child, Faith Hill, Shelby Lynne, B.B. King and even the Baja Men were recognized in various categories.
The Grammy peeps even went a step further in their bid to branch out. They created a new category to be presented in prime time for Native American recording. As such, Tom B. and Douglas Spotted Eagle took home a prize for Gathering of a Nations Pow Wow.
Although most of the awards are presented before the show even begins, it still tended to be long. Most people who I talked to would've liked to see a few performances, the main categories, and a quick wrap-up. Truth is, as much as they say they put these shows on for the viewers, there's just not enough commercials to sell in a one- or two-hour broadcast. Thus, we end up with a final product that stretches over three hours.
Guess we can be thankful that they brought the show in on time. There's only one thing, though. Through all the hoopla and hoo-ha, I was hoping the Grammy broadcast would answer the burning age-old question:
Who IS the REAL Slim Shady?
Heidi Oringer is director of entertainment programming at ABCNEWS Radio.