The Genuinely Alarming Sight of the 49th Annual Grammy Awards was Smokey Robinson's face. It was taut, unwrinkled,unmoving.His eyes seemed afraid or unable to blink. What stood before us looked like an anima-
tronic version of Smokey from some hellish alternate universe where the robots at Chuck E. Cheese look like people and the customers are crazy oversized mice in tuxedos. Believe me: when Smokey sang, Take a good look at my face / You’ll see my smile looks out of place, the natural response for viewers at home was to say, “Dude, that is something you’re going to have to take up with your plastic surgeon. I mean, you keep tightening your cheeks and something’s gotta give!”
Other memorable, but not in such a scary way, moments from the Grammys:
• Taking their turn on the red carpet, the members of the Pussycat Dolls—the music industry’s answer to the challenge presented by online porn—posed before photographers and attempted to concentrate hard enough to form their faces into very sexy expressions. Alas, instead of saying “I am so sexily sexy,” their countenances tended more towards, “I am auditioning for a part in David Cronenberg’s Scanners.”
• Tears clinging precariously to her threeinch eyelashes, Mary J. Blige accepted her first of three Grammys by reciting fifty-five (55) (fifty-freaking-five!) names. I’m pretty sure I heard Jughead Jones and Francis “Ponch” Poncherello in there somewhere. Hey Mary— it’s a Grammy. They give out, like, 400 of them every year. Know who else went home with one this time around? Peter Frampton, Bon Jovi and Jimmy Carter. DJ Jazzy Jeff has a Grammy. Don’t even make me tell you about Ray Parker, Jr.
• Tony Bennett won an award for a duet with Stevie Wonder, and after Stevie tearfully dedicated the Grammy to his late mother,
Tony said, “Stay there Stevie,” and proceeded to give a little speech of his own in which he paid tribute to “...Target, the greatest sponsor I ever worked for in my life!” Touching. Word is Bennett was going to say something nice about Snausages, too, but he was overcome by emotion.
• Am I the only one who finds it preposterous that it took three people to write James Blunt’s You’re Beautiful} I mean, the song’s only got two goddamn words in it! What did the third person do—break the tie between going with “beautiful” or “moderately attractive”?
• The most depressing point of the evening came not during the show but a commercial—when the Clash’s Should I Stay or Should I Go was used to sell Benylin. The Clash: the only band that matters...to cold sufferers!
• I’m not sure what atrocity the Eagles perpetrated to deserve a “tribute” from Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts, but it was the defenceless home viewer who paid the price. My ears still aren’t on speaking terms with my brain. Let me tell you: apart from lacking vocal range, talent, stage presence, style, charisma, showmanship and the ability to go two minutes without forming his fingers into pistols and pretending to shoot things, the lead singer of Rascal Flatts has really got it all.
• I don’t really care for the music of Christina Aguilera, nor her tangerine skin tone, nor her stubborn habit of not ever making out with me. But that performance ofjames Brown’s It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World—my television almost exploded (among other things...). I also thought Justin Timberlake was pretty awesome. What’s next—not hating Josh Graban?? I don’t even know me anymore.
• At one point in the ceremony, Kanye West walked on stage to present an award. Just a question: as West opened his mouth to speak,
did Mike Myers—no matter where he was in the world—instinctively freeze up and stare ahead awkwardly?
• Tribute was paid to “jazz’s ability to cross all boundaries”—excepting the checkout counter at HMV, which hasn’t seen a jazz CD since that one guy mistakenly thought Count Basie was the creepy Muppet from Sesame Street.
• Carrie Underwood? Best New Artist? Really? At least the American Idol alumnus had the decency to inadvertently give the evening’s most hilarious speech: “Thank you, God. Thank you, mom and dad. Thank you,
Simon Fuller... I owe everything to [American Idol creator] Simon Fuller!” So, on second thought, strike the whole God and mom and dad thing.
• Shakira was on hand to perform her hit song Hips Don’t Lie. But don’t typecast Shakira’s hips—that’s not all they don’t do. They also don’t:
ever stop moving apparently.
have clothes put on them.
get too caught up in who’s dating who in the celebrity world.
take enough time to cherish the little things in life, you know?
• I can remember when the Best Rap Album category was created. The Academy feared what a band like Public Enemy might say at the microphone. There was genuine anxiety. This year, the Grammy for Best Rap Album was awarded to Ludacris. He thanked, among others, the William Morris Agency and Bill O’Reilly. Welcome to the establishment, rap music! Pick up your monocle at the concierge desk! M
The Pussycat Dolls were the music industry’s answer to the challenge posed by online porn
ON THE WEB: For Scott Feschuk’s take on the news of the day, visit his audioblog www.macleans.ca/feschuk
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