Grammys: What you didn't see on TV
Backstage notes from the nominations concertBehind the scenes at Wednesday's Grammy nominations concert in Los Angeles:
Overheard in the bathroom: "Green tea drop to Christina Aguilera has been done" (security guard). "We're missing Dad!" (a Jonas Brother outside the loo).
Kathy Griffin revealed that, like the Jonas Brothers, "I am not ready to lose my virginity. I am looking for the right girl, just like them." Griffin, who was wearing Dave Grohl's sweatband around her wrist, got a Grammy nomination for best comedy album with "For Your Consideration" -- a set she specifically recorded and released to get a nomination.
Does anyone care about the Grammys anymore? Not surprisingly, five-time winner John Mayer does. "I'd be worried without the Grammys because without the Grammys, there's no other true way to gauge merit."
"Wayne's World" actress/babe Tia Carrere got a Grammy nomination for best Hawaiian music album.
Foo Fighters got a standing ovation for their performance of Carly Simon's "You're So Vain," but the night's best-received performance at Nokia Theatre was by Mayer and B.B. King. An emotional King said backstage of Barack Obama's election: "I never thought I'd live long enough to see a black president-elect in my lifetime. But I believed all my life that someday, like Dr. King once said, that people would be thought of and loved for what they did and not their color. ... America has grown up -- not enough yet, but America has grown up." King said he'd been invited to the White House by every president since Gerald Ford. What about Obama? "Should I be invited, I'd take a plane in a hurry."
Ne-Yo seconded that emotion. His favorite thing that happened this year, besides being nominated for six Grammys? "I think Barack Obama becoming president."
The beans were spilled on several nominations hours before the show. TV monitors in the print press room, which allow reporters to watch the nominations ceremony, showed a run-through of nominees' album covers being flashed up on a screen inside the hall -- albeit not in the proper categories.
Lindsey Buckingham on the latest Fleetwood Mac tour, which kicks off March 1 in Pittsburgh: "If I knew what to expect, I would tell you. It's been a little convoluted emotionally. We have some work to do." Only 16 dates have been announced so far -- none in the West -- but Buckingham said there would be about 40 in the U.S. As to which label might put out a Fleetwood Mac album after the tour, Buckingham said nothing was set in stone but that "we have a strong relationship with Warner Bros."
The iTunes Store will release a compilation of songs by independent artists Dec. 15 that will be free to the first 150,000 customers, according to former OneRepublic member Tim Myers, who says he has a song on the comp. The singer-songwriter is working on a solo album for release in April. "I would love to do it indie. I love being in control of my own music," said Myers, who has already had songs licensed for Target, Saturn and Google Chrome ads and the DreamWorks/Nickelodeon movie "Hotel for Dogs."
On announcing the Grammy nominations in a televised concert, Recording Academy chairman Neil Portnow called the untested idea "the Wild Wild West" but one that could give the music business a badly needed boost in the fourth quarter. "I think it's very important to always try to raise the bar of what you're doing." And unlike the Oscar or the Emmy nominations, "we have the unique ability to make a concert out of it." Is he looking for a certain ratings share to judge the night's success, given the disappointing ratings of the Grammys' 50th anniversary awards last year? "I don't view this as an evaluation that could be simply codified by ratings numbers," said Portnow, attributing poor ratings last year to lowered TV viewership overall because of the WGA strike.
Compiled by Billboard's Ayala Ben-Yehuda, Gail Mitchell, Ann Donahue and Keith Caulfield