February 9th, 2009
12:56 AM ET
Multiple winners Robert Plant and Alison Krauss were the last musical act to come backstage and they told us how this remarkable partnership came together.
"Well, I got lost in Nashville on my way to London," Plant began.
Now, seriously: "Bill Flanagan from VH1, he's a buccaneer, suggested we might consider some sort of adventure together ... and we were lucky to have a little window of opportunity to have one or two."
They decided to give it three days - three days to see if there was any magic there. "Commandeered" and "steered" by producer T Bone Burnett, who "conjured up a whole world," the duo gave it a shot and by day two knew they had something special. Then three days was extended to ten days, and so on and so forth, and the rest is history.
Later, Recording Academy head Neil Portnow came out and told us about the quick planning they had to do to compensate for the absence of Chris Brown and Rihanna. They were notified by their respective management teams in the afternoon, which forced the show's producers to be "nimble" and work around it.
Portnow thought the solution for Brown's absence worked well: "Years from now, this will be one of those great Grammy moments, Justin, Al Green and Keith Urban doing a great song [Green's 'Let's Stay Together'] that is relevant to the moment culturally." He also said it was his hope that tonight won't be overshadowed by the Brown story. That remains to be seen.
I'll leave you with one last Grammy snapshot. Several hours ago I was eating lunch in our one-on-one interview room, which is a converted corporate suite overlooking the floor of the Staples Center. And I hear this beautiful voice ringing out through the arena. It was one of those transcendent moments that stops you cold. It was Adele (who would later win the best new artist and best female pop vocal performance) and the song was "Chasing Pavements." I put down the sandwich I was eating and just had to stick my nose through a crack in the curtain and listen to her perform.
A stolen moment among the chaos. Pure bliss.
– Douglas Hyde, CNN Entertainment Producer
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