Grammy rundown: From Madonna and Sly Stone to Bono's speechifying


Salon Staff
February 9, 2006 8:00PM (UTC)

Preshow: The 48th Grammy Awards ceremony is about to begin and the sense of anticipation is palpable. Will Kanye West's bold predictions of numerous awards come true? What will Kanye say if he wins? What will he do if he doesn't? What about Mariah Carey? "Entertainment Tonight's" preshow has some questions of its own: What do celebrities think of the naked photos of Scarlett Johansson et al. in the new Vanity Fair? "Beautiful" is the consensus. Except for Jon Voight, who simply turns a vivid shade of puce -- unsurprisingly -- when shown an image of his estranged daughter, Angelina Jolie, naked in a bath.

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8 p.m.: First up, it's the Gorillaz vs. Madonna. Damon Albarn's cartoon band has been rendered in futuristic 3-D graphics for the occasion. De La Soul bound onto the stage, rap a little, laugh manically and race off again, but it can't compare with Madonna's entrance. Perhaps in a nod to this year's Winter Olympics, she is wearing an ice-dancer-style outfit and showing an eye-popping amount of impressively muscular leg. She certainly looks good for her age.

8:10 p.m.: Alicia Keys and Stevie Wonder welcome us to the show. "This is music's biggest night," intones Alicia. "The biggest night of the world!" exclaims Stevie.

8:12 p.m.: And the first award goes to Kelly Clarkson! The "American Idol" alum deservedly wins best female pop vocal performance for the rocking "Since U Been Gone." Kelly overdoes it a bit in trying to hold back the tears.

8:46 p.m.: Kanye West takes the stage to receive his best rap album award from Matt Dillon and Ludacris. He is wearing a white tuxedo, an unbuttoned red silk shirt, a pair of black leather gloves and some sort of "Miami Vice" sunglasses. Kanye stutters through a cute joke about his thank-you list, but it's hardly in the caliber of "George Bush doesn't like black people." Maybe he's saving the big guns for the other awards he's sure to win.

9:02 p.m.: U2 wins best rock album. Bono tells a little parable; the gist of it is that showbiz is like a circus and you dream of being the ringmaster but sometimes you end up being the clown, or even the guy who shovels the elephant dirt. It meets with confused silence from the audience. Onstage, Paul McCartney performs a distinctly unmemorable ditty called "Fine Line," then threatens to rock out -- and he does, after a fashion, with "Helter Skelter."

9:56 p.m.: At last, things get properly bizarre with the Sly and the Family Stone tribute medley. It all starts straightforwardly enough, with John Legend and Joss Stone doing their neo-soul shtick, followed, in decreasing order of logic, by "American Idol" winner Fantasia, Maroon 5, pop singer Ciara, Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas and Aerosmith's Steven Tyler. But then the man himself appears: Dressed in a silver suit and sporting a giant bleached-blond Mohawk, Stone shuffles behind his keyboard, inaudibly sings along to a verse or two, eyes fixed on the ground, then wanders offstage, leaving the assorted B-listers to stumble to the end of the performance.

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10:13 p.m.: Jay-Z and Linkin Park reprise their "Numb"/"Encore" mash-up before switching into a version of "Yesterday," only to be joined onstage by Paul McCartney. Jay-Z doesn't really have anything to do at this point so can only "Uh-huh" and "Yeah," while -- let me make this clear -- McCartney duets with Linkin Park. Macca, to his credit, looks a little confused by the whole thing.

10:25 p.m.: To save time, Tom Hanks introduces lifetime-achievement recipients Fred Hellerman and Ronnie Gilbert as "Fred Hellerbert."

10:39 p.m.: Performance of the night. Jamie Foxx and Kanye West blast through a wild version of "Gold Digger," complete with drum-line costumes and a dance-off between girls in tiny gold bikinis and guys in jeans and T-shirts. For the finale, Kanye changes into a lavender suit.

10:45 p.m.: Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day announces he is "nervous" after winning record of the year for "Boulevard of Broken Dreams." He should be. The camera has just panned by a very angry-looking runner-up in a lavender suit.

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11:17 p.m.: Bonnie Raitt and James Taylor announce the album of the year. It's U2! Kanye won't be happy, nor will Mariah Carey -- although, unlike fellow multiple nominee Gwen Stefani, they both avoided the ignominy of a shutout. Bono continues his string of obtuse acceptance speeches by suggesting that Paul McCartney discovered America.

11:30 p.m.: Finally, and appropriately, a host of rock and jazz veterans, including Dr. John, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt and Bruce Springsteen, pay tribute to New Orleans through the medium of song. An emotional climax to a long, strange night.

-- Matt Glazebrook

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