Monday, February 11, 2008

My Friend Amy

My friend, Amy, cleaned up (so to speak) at the Grammys last night. Ok, so she didn't win album of the year (and, ok, she really isn't my friend), but she won a bunch of awards and she performed without collapsing or noticeably forgetting lyrics and, unlike a certain other troubled diva, she was actually singing, like, live. Fine as the album was, Amy's troubles probably helped her win. We love a comeback almost as much as we love a trainwreck.

They placed Amy's performance near the end of the show, of course, and relentlessly advertised it throughout to build in as much will-she-fall-apart-or-keep-it-together suspense as possible. I thought this was cruel to her (what time was it in London?! surely waiting up all those hours can't be good for an addict?) and to me, her worried friend. 

There were other nervous-making live-show moments along the way: What if Carrie Underwood falls down the stairs in that microscopic skirt? What if the Cirque du Soleil woman in the flowing red dress drops with a hideous thud? What if Tina (still rocking in an aluminum foil pantsuit at nearly 70) has a heart attack because she's trying to keep up with that chipper young Beyonce? What if Aretha's straps don't hold? (Was Fergie's dress made from Aretha's belt?) What if Kanye has weapons? What if Tony Bennett and Andy Williams are too old to read the teleprompters (remember poor Lauren Bacall, how the sweat broke out on your forehead?)? But it was all leading up to Amy . . . 

And she triumphed, in the moment. She played sly and loose with the songs, without letting them get away from her, then seemed poignantly bewildered when the music stopped. She looked genuinely moved by the victorious night, which must have been quite the contrast to much of her recent life, yet she didn't repent or give the sort of sentimental speech the Grammys were probably hoping she would. Maybe she cried, but she didn't cry for us.

Next up, the Oscars. When the awards will be the lead-up to Heath's moment in the annual In Memoriam slideshow. 

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