Meeska, mooska, mousekasurprise!
Santana Since the boring part of tonight's 42d Annual Grammy Awards was waiting around to see how many paperweights sentimental baby-boomer favorite Carlos Santana would be presented with by sentimental baby-boomer voters (eight -- the most since Michael Jackson's "Thriller" party in 1983), the fun part of the night was watching which ex-Mouseketeer would be crowned best new artist. And the funnest (well, most fun) was watching an upset -- with 19-year-old Christina Aguilera leaving 18-year-old Britney Spears in the dust.
So, what does a girl want? To vanquish the one female teenybopper solo artist who's sold more records than she has.
"Oh my God, you guys," a "shaking" Aguilera told the audience at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. "I seriously do not have a speech prepared whatsoever."
Due to her admitted lack of notes, the "Genie in a Bottle" was left to rattle off a bunch of industry names and thank her "fabulous dancers who support me on the road -- who I would not be able to make it without."
Unfortunately, the CBS telecast offered no reaction shot of loser Spears backstage (she'd just wrapped a performance with the "Bicentennial Man" robot dancers before the category was announced), but we're sure she made a face that indicated she wished Miss Aguilera only the best. Also no comment on Aguilera's surprise win from Britney's younger self (aka, the actress who portrayed Little Britney in the set-up to Big Britney's aforementioned elaborate production number), but we're sure it was something like, "Some day I'm gonna be there [at the Grammys]. Just wait and see! ... And I'll win an award, too, unless some nasty older lady denies me my rightful honor!"
As for that Santana guy? Nearly as old as three Britney Spearses put together, the 52-year-old Woodstock alum pretty much won everything there was to win except stuff that just would have looked silly -- like, most outstanding classical crossover album. (Won instead by the Chestnut Brass Co., if you must know.)
Santana came into the night with a field-best 10 nominations -- and he went home with a field-best eight awards. His wins included record of the year (for the hit "Smooth") and album of the year (for "Supernatural"). "Smooth," featuring Matchbox 20's Rob Thomas on vocals, also was named song of the year -- a songwriting honor bestowed upon Thomas and collaborator Itaal Shur, but in a twist, not Santana. (He just played; he didn't write it.)
"I'd love to thank Mr. Carlos Santana for giving an opportunity to be like this," Thomas said, again proving it's sometimes better to write your acceptance speech before your mouth starts saying it (and leaving out adjectives and stuff).
Of course, proving that sometimes even a prepared statement doesn't help, Santana accepted the show-capping best album Grammy with the following prepared profundity: "Music is the vehicle for the magic of healing and the music of 'Supernatural' was ... designed to bring unity and harmony."
Backstreet Boys Apparently so Santana wouldn't feel really, really old in the company of fellow nominees the Backstreet Boys and Ricky Martin, Grammy voters made sure to laud other aged types, including the 48-year-old Sting (a double winner for male pop vocal and pop album), the 53-year-old Cher (a Grammy-winning first-timer for best dance recording) and the 73-year-old Tony Bennett (picking up his ninth career gold gramophone for best traditional pop vocal performance). Additionally, the 52-year-old Elton John was presented with the Grammy Legend Award, because it's not nice to hold funny hair against a guy who wrote some pretty nice songs a few decades ago.
With all the AARP candidates taking home trophies, there was little room for unwrinkled musicians on the podium. Despite their collective haul of nominations, Grammy snubbed the likes of Martin, the boys Backstreet and the egregiously overlooked Spears.
TLC Multiple winners (under the age of 65) included: the hip-hopsters of TLC, rapper Eminem, country trio the Dixie Chicks and no-show diva Shania Twain, who all won two Grammys a piece.
Rosie O'Donnell hosted the CBS telecast, phoning in the perfunctory Puff Daddy and David Crosby jibes. Among the live performers, Martin worked hard to replicate last year's magic, the Backstreeters worked hard to prove they are, too, legit (to quit), and TLC worked hard to overcome costumes apparently festooned with Hostess Snowballs. In other news, presenter Jennifer Lopez was nearly naked.
Here's a rundown of the winners in the top Grammy categories:
Album of the Year: "Supernatural," Santana
Record of the Year: "Smooth," Santana
Song of the Year: "Smooth," Itaal Shur and Rob Thomas
New Artist: Christina Aguilera
Male Pop Vocal Performance: "Brand New Day," Sting
Female Pop Vocal Performance: "I Will Remember You, Sarah McLachlan"
Pop Album: "Brand New Day," Sting
Male Rock Vocal Performance: "American Woman," Lenny Kravitz
Female Rock Vocal Performance: "Sweet Child o' Mine," Sheryl Crow
Rock Album: "Supernatural," Santana
Male R&B Vocal Performance: "Staying Power," Barry White
Female R&B Vocal Performance: "It's Not Right But It's Okay," Whitney Houston
R&B Album: "Fanmail," TLC
Rap Solo Performance: "My Name Is," Eminem
Rap Album: "The Slim Shady LP," Eminem
Female Country Vocal Performance: "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" Shania Twain
Male Country Vocal Performance: "Choices," George Jones
Country Album: "Fly," Dixie Chicks
Dance Recording: "Believe," Cher
Alternative Music Performance: "Mutations," Beck