Showbiz Commentary: Heidi Oringer

Every time I watch an awards show like the Grammys, I always think, "Gee, if only sex could last that long."

At a lengthy 3 hours and 28 minutes, the 44th Annual Grammy Awards proved to be … ah, how shall I say this? Lengthy. (Redundant? No, lengthy!) Somthing for Everyone … and 'Var-y Enta-taining'

The performances were enjoyable. There was something for everyone, regardless of musical tastes. I was inspired by the youthful divas that, as expected, did a bang-up job performing "Lady Marmalade." They were joined by, sort-of surprise guest, Patti LaBelle. I say "sort-of" because most people knew Patti Labelle was performing at this year's Grammys for the very first time.

Since LaBelle originated "Lady Marmalade" it only stood to reason she would join Christina Aguilera, Pink, Lil' Kim, Mya and Missy Elliott. What viewers didn't know was that Patti would only come out to sing for about 40 seconds. This was a bit of a bummer for me, but it was probably a relief for Patti as the fabulous giant crinoline attachment that was strategically placed on the back of her red dress fell off when she arrived on stage.

U2 rocked us with "Walk On." Train soothed with "Drops of Jupiter" and Alicia Keyes mesmerized with "Fallin," followed by a remixed flamenco/rap version of "A Woman's Worth."

Billy Joel and Tony Bennett affirmed good feelings with a duet of "New York State of Mind." Ralph Stanley and the Soggy Bottom Boys hum-dinged with "I'm A Man of Constant Sorrow" from the much-lauded soundtrack of O Brother Where Art Thou?, which garnered Album of the Year honors. The Dave Matthews Band pleased with "The Space Between," and Mary J. Blige kindly obliged with a soulful version of "No More Drama."

Overall it was a fantastic opportunity to see today's greatest musical acts show their stuff at the most prestigious music event of the year. It was, as my grandmother used to say after a Walter Matthau/Jack Lemmon movie, "vary, vary enta-taining." What Was Missing?

The problem wasn't the musical performances. Some were clearly outstanding. Still, the show lacked a certain something that we sometimes refer to in polite conversation as "memorable moments."

Unfortunately, the times that truly stick in the old noggin are usually those associated with bad behavior. Of course, I'm not advocating this, but those incidents are what we talk about the next day at work.

Case in point: At the 2000 Grammys, Jennifer Lopez's dress, or lack thereof, fueled two year's worth of fashion discussion.

Then there was Bob Dylan's performance in 1998, when a dancing weirdo jumped on stage, tore off his shirt, and revealed the puzzling message "Soy Bomb," which was scrawled on his chest.

I'll remember Dylan's performance this year. It'll take me the rest of my life to figure out what the hell Dylan was saying.

Celebrity Fashion and the Lopez Factor

With no distasteful behavior on stage, we are forced to focus on the unusual fashion for those keepsake memories. The Grammys might be the biggest annual event for the music industry, but it doesn't require — nor does it attract — sophisticated dress.

A few attendees decided to go fancy, as in tuxedos for the men and long gowns for the women. Those who chose fashion decorum were mostly of the elder music crowd, like Billy Joel and Tony Bennett who went the formal route, including pocket squares. Gloria Estefan and Natalie Cole were shimmering examples of women who selected floor-length evening gowns in classic black.

This left plenty of guests who were dressed otherwise, like Sheryl Crow who revealed a fair amount of skin in a front-laced hot pants jumpsuit. The thing had more cut out shapes than a toddler's learning toy.

Blige appeared fearless in a pinstripe pantsuit with a gold satin bustier underneath. Kid Rock opted for his uniform — a T-shirt and a black fedora, while girlfriend Pamela Anderson did the very tight, very plunging dress.

There were artists who looked "out there" like Alicia Keys, Ryan Adams and the fellas of Outkast, who donned the Spring Pimp look in powder blue and pale yellow suits with white fur hats. There were also those who looked like it was just another night out — N'Sync, The Backstreet Boys and Indie.Arie among them.

The thing is, Lopez really set an all new outrageous fashion standard a few years back and it's been hard to top. Li'l Kim came closest last year when she showed up with one breast completely bared, only a pastie between it and fresh air. But even that only garnered minor "hoo ha's."

And so at the end of 210 minutes, I was left exhausted, but only remotely satisfied. And as I will probably not recall details of the 44th Annual Grammy Awards in the days to come, I can assure you had it been 3 plus hours of unbridled passion, this column would be have been a much more exciting read!

Heidi Oringer is director of entertainment programming at ABCNEWS Radio.