Returning Beyonce's 'Love'


February 9, 2004


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 Artist prize.

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.)