Grammy ceremony seeing spots

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The ceremony started with a showing of the commercial celebrating the Grammys' 50th anniversary. The spot produced by Chiat/Day is part of the Grammys' marketing campaign for this banner year. The Chiat/Day partnership, said Recording Academy president Neil Portnow, is intended to "disrupt expectations and help establish a fresh, exciting campaign for the Grammys. Indeed, the next 50 is here."

The People magazine-sponsored Grammy kickoff party is Thursday night at the Avalon Hollywood with performances by Fall Out Boy, Ne-Yo and others. The Recording Academy also is partnering with In Style magazine on a Grammy salute-to-fashion event.

Portnow said in his opening remarks that since the first Grammy ceremony in 1958, the academy has handed out 7,578 awards and will give out almost 400 more next year.

The Recording Academy received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last week, he said.

The presenters, almost all dressed in black, lined up behind Portnow as they were introduced. Akon stood out in a turquoise sweater and white collared shirt with a turquoise striped tie.

After Fergie announced Akon's nomination for best rap-sung collaboration for "I Wanna Love You" with Snoop Dogg, Akon was next up as a presenter. Smiling widely, he said, "It's starting off as a great morning."

Portnow complimented Recording Academy chair Jimmy Jam on his trademark brimmed, feathered hat. "Maybe I can get a hat like that," Portnow said. "I can make that happen," Jam said.

George Lopez, nominated in the comedy album category for "America's Mexican," began speaking Spanish when he came to the podium to present nominations for best female pop vocal and best female country vocal.

Then he stopped himself and said, "I keep forgetting, it's still English for a few more years."

Sticking with the theme, he continued: "It took me a while to get here. They tried to take away my driver's license."

When he announced Amy Winehouse's nomination for best female pop vocal, Lopez said, "Can someone wake her up around 6 in the afternoon and tell her?" and then muttered "drunk ass" to further make the point. "She makes Lindsay Lohan look cool."

Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins from Foo Fighters were anything but straight-faced during the event, goofing around at every opportunity.

Stumbling over Ledisi's name in announcing the best new artist nominations, Grohl joked, "They're so new, we just don't know."

When Taylor Swift was nominated for best new artist, a category which also included Feist, Paramore and Winehouse, the clearly overwhelmed Swift approached the podium and hugged Grohl and Hawkins.

"Don't worry, Taylor, you have it in the bag," Grohl added. Swift's hugging started a trend. From then on, anyone who got a nomination proceeded to hug the other presenters.

Grohl jokingly flashed Vince Gill the evil eye when both were standing side by side onstage after it was announced they were competing for album of the year. Lopez switched places with Gill, drawing a laugh.

A Grammy 50th birthday cake was wheeled out at the end for a photo op.
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