LOS ANGELES -- R&B singer
Beyonce Knowles and the hip-hop duo OutKast were among the big winners at
the Staples Center here on Sunday night during the 46th Annual Grammy
Awards, which were easily the funkiest in recent memory.
Beyonce claimed an impressive five Grammys, including best R&B song and
best R&B album. The leader of Destiny's Child turned solo artist shared two
of the prizes with her boyfriend, rapper Jay-Z, and she performed twice
during the show, singing "Dangerously in Love 2" and joining Prince for a
fiery opening medley.
"Wow, this is unbelievable--performing was enough for me," Beyonce said
as she claimed the best R&B album prize.
Beyonce's good luck rubbed off on a Chicagoan, DJ Maurice Joshua, who
claimed his first Grammy during the pre-telecast portion of the show. The
best remix prize honors his reworking of "Crazy in Love."
"It's wonderful," a beaming Joshua told the assembled press backstage.
"This was my third nomination, and it was a great win."
OutKast claimed three of the six Grammys it was nominated for, but the
gonzo duo was a major presence nonetheless, also performing twice. Big Boi
and Andre 3000 gave us their rollicking hit "Hey Ya!" and joined a booty-shakin'
funk jam that also brought together Earth Wind & Fire, Parliament-Funkadelic
and Robert Randolph and the Family Band.
English popsters Coldplay upset the Beyonce/OutKast lovefest when they
claimed the prize for Record of the Year for "Clocks." But perhaps the
biggest surprise of the night was the alternative-goth-metal band
Evanescence, which won two Grammys, including the prestigious Best New
Evanescence beat out multi-platinum gangsta rapper 50 Cent, who casually
strolled past the stage as the group claimed its prize. "I expected for him
to win, as well as, I guess, he did," Evanescence singer Amy Lee later said
backstage. "I think that was his statement that he should have won."
Grammy sponsors the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences honored
one star who is ailing and another who recently died. Luther Vandross, who
suffered a stroke last year, won four Grammys, including one for his remake
of "The Closer I Get to You" with Beyonce. The late Warren Zevon won two
prizes and received an all-star tribute from Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris,
Dwight Yoakam and others.
As fallout from Janet Jackson's performance at the Super Bowl
lingered--CBS apparently discouraged her from attending, and for the first
time, the show was broadcast on a five-minute delay--several artists tried
to seem more "family-friendly," including Christina Aguilera, who traded in
the trashy look she's sported of late in favor of a dignified suit while
singing the orchestrated ballad, "Beautiful."
Talking to the assembled media backstage, however, Aguilera bristled at
the suggestion that pop music has become too raunchy.
"What is too raunchy?" she asked. "Everybody has a different opinion of
what is too much or too little. Music itself is an expression, so who are we
to say what is too raunchy and what is not? Who are we to be the judge of
that? It's a state of mind, and it's whatever you think it should be."
Later, reporters asked Yoko Ono (who appeared when a special award was
presented to the Beatles on the 40th anniversary of their Ed Sullivan
appearance) what she thought of the Jackson controversy, since she and John
Lennon had famously appeared naked on their "Two Virgins" album cover.
"We were attacked, too," Ono said. "I think it's just an interesting
dialogue that is going to upset some people. I'm sure that [Jackson] is
ready for it."
Meanwhile, Jackson's partner in the Super Bowl stunt offered an apology.
"I know it's been a rough week on everybody," Justin Timberlake said as he
picked up the award for best male pop vocal, one of two Grammys he claimed.
"What occurred was unintentional, completely regrettable, and I apologize
if anyone was offended."
Timberlake showed his versatility as a performer during two songs,
joining Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval for a version of "Senorita" and then
making a cameo with the Black Eyed Peas during "Where is the Love."
The show's other performance highlights included Detroit's bluesy
garage-rockers the White Stripes, who tore through their hit "Seven Nation
Army" and "Dead Letter Blues" by Son House.
Hands-down, the evening's worst performance was a tribute to the Beatles
that brought together the horribly mismatched Dave Matthews, Vince Gill and
Sting for a laughably bad cover of "I Saw Her Standing There." (The only
member of this Flab Four who acquitted himself was Pharrell Williams of the
Neptunes, who did his best Ringo imitation on drums.)