We all know who the clear-cut winners were at last week’s 35th annual Grammy Awards — Eric Clapton, Arrested Development, and Michael Jackson’s publicist. But in the long run, who really came out ahead — and behind?
*RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS: Never mind winning the hard-rock Grammy — they pulled off coups both musical (a careening funk jam with George Clinton) and fashion-conscious (diapers and wedding dresses as onstage garb).
*TONY BENNETT: No one else could, or would, offer such a wonderfully perverse pronunciation of U2’s album — ”Ach-TUNG, BAY-bee!”
*GAY-RIGHTS ACTIVISTS: An award for k.d. lang proves that coming out of the closet will no longer kill a career.
*VIEWERS AT HOME: The show was a brisk, efficient three hours — it seems not even rockers want to stay up late anymore.
*MTV UNPLUGGED: Clapton’s sweep gives this show even more credibility among the comeback set, paving the inevitable way for the likes of Prince Unplugged.
*LITTLE RICHARD: You got your award, okay? Now put it on the mantelpiece and stop griping.
*BILLY RAY CYRUS: Not only do music critics hate him, so do Grammy voters (translation: the music industry). So how does that achy heart feel right about now?
*JIMMY STURR: Winner of the polka award for the last six of seven years — until last week. Talk about a squeeze play.
*THE LONG-STANDING ”PERFORM AND WIN” THEORY: At one time, viewers could tell who would collect a statuette by glancing at the list of performers. But this year, Peter Gabriel, En Vogue, and Vanessa Williams all sang and then lost any of the awards worth winning. Personal to Gabriel: Maybe it was those ersatz Solid Gold dancers.
*EN VOGUE: If they’re such great singers, how come they lip-synched ”My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)”?