We're all marveling backstage at how an absolutely about to burst pregnant M.I.A. can do her thing on stage - and do it so well!
Meanwhile, a couple of her fellow female singers, Estelle and Carrie Underwood, find themselves very impressed with Jennifer Hudson's performance on the show, calling it "brave." There is a palpable sense of empathy here in the backstage area for Hudson and how she's coping with the tragic deaths of three of her family members. (Ed. note: Entry originally said "two." We regret the error.) When she concluded her song this sometimes sleepy press area burst out into applause.
We also trying to process the Chris Brown news, which has developed considerably since we've all been back here filing stories for our various media outlets. Will any of the winners yet to come back stage have any news or insight into the situation? I would think not, given that they've been in the show for the past couple of hours, but we'll see.
– Douglas Hyde, CNN Entertainment Producer
Our first big star of the night entered the backstage area and it was a big one: Paul McCartney.
Sir Paul, "Macca," call him what you will, strolls in sporting a jacket over a white Beatles T-shirt. It's a photo of the Fab Four - taken by his late wife Linda, he tells us - with red clown noses on their faces. The shirt was designed by his daughter Stella and will be sold to raise money for Britain's Comic Relief charity campaign, which kicks off March 13.
McCartney, who will perform himself tonight, says he's most looking forward to seeing Radiohead play on the big stage with the University of Southern California marching band. Paul's a big fan of the critically acclaimed band and they were the only group he mentioned off the top of his head when asked who his favorite musical acts were these days.
Someone asked him about the Beatles famed "White Album," which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. He says after all these years he can look at it dispassionately. And the verdict?
"I think it's fine. It's good. I'm amazed we did it. We were just kids."
Speaking of big accomplishments, he says his biggest was his children. "It's easy achieving them," he jokes.
As for professional victories, he points to his song, "Yesterday." "I was just talking to B.B. King about this and people in our line of work believe in magic and mystery." After noting how many people covered the famed tune - Ray Charles, Elvis, Frank Sinatra - he recalled how he dreamed it up in his sleep and woke up and wrote it down.
"I believe in magic," he says.
Happy Grammy Day, folks! I'll be blogging from L.A.'s Staples Center and passing along any funny and colorful quotes from the winners as they come backstage.
The Grammys are unique in the awards show world because of the staggering number of categories involved. This year, there are, count 'em, a whopping 108 - far too many to include in the prime-time broadcast. So, as they do every year, they have a 2 1/2-hour pre-telecast ceremony where they hand out everything from best polka album to best surround sound album.
There are a few less obscure trophies handed out though, including comedy album. The late George Carlin won for "It's Bad for Ya." His daughter Kelly Carlin accepted for him.
So what would he say upon winning, Kelly was asked. In a deadpan that would have done dad proud, she replies, "F- you!"
Kidding aside, she said it was a great honor, but very bittersweet. "The world really misses him," she notes sadly, and his blend of goofy and intelligent humor.
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