Kelly Clarkson beat a Beatle. In the Best Pop Vocal Album category at the Grammy awards, the spunky season one winner of “American Idol” went up against rock icon Paul McCartney, known for crafting some of the greatest songs of all time … and won.
If that doesn’t positively scream volumes about the success of FOX’s TV talent show (or, conversely, the idiocy of the Grammys), I’m not sure what does.
Oh, and Clarkson also beat Bonnie Raitt and Mariah Carey. And Sheryl Crow — twice.
(It was a bad week to be Crow. First she splits up with fiancé Lance Armstrong, then she’s handed a Grammy-whoopin’ from a pre-packaged pop star half her age. That’s a brutal one-two punch.)
Speaking of “Idol,” did anyone notice judge Randy Jackson thumping out a bass line during the Sly Stone tribute? The former session guitarist evidently wasn’t about to let Clarkson and Fantasia — another “AI” winner and Grammy nominee — get all the Grammy glory. Wonder if Jackson had any idea Sly would walk out on the performance halfway through. Weird.
While the biggest male winners were U2 and Kanye West, I think the night belonged to Keith Urban. His onstage woman was Faith Hill (the two sang a duet), his offstage woman was girlfriend Nicole Kidman and he walked off with Best Male Country Vocal Performance. No doubt country star Urban racked up many urban fans.
Oh, and for one of those Grammy “we don’t think it’s mainstream enough so we taped it earlier” awards, jazz singer Diane Reeves won a for her soundtrack to “Good Night, and Good Luck.” It’s terrific — buy it if you don’t have it.
In other music news, I bumped into Kelly Rowland of Destiny’s Child at the New York premiere of “The Pink Panther.” She was there to fellow Child Beyonce, who co-stars in the film.
Destiny’s Child seems to be one of those groups who keep announcing that they’ve split, but then haven’t really split. I can’t figure it out, so I asked Kelly to clarify.
“Destiny’s Child is on hiatus,” she said. “We’re all just branching off and doing other things. Destiny’s Child will always exist. We’re friends above everything. We love each other.”
Rowland’s working on her second solo album. Her first single is due out later this month and was written by none other than Solange Knowles — Beyonce’s baby sister. “Solange is an amazing writer,” said Rowland, but she wouldn’t leak the title of the song.
Back to Beyonce … she plays a pop singer named Xania in “The Pink Panther.” No doubt distributor Sony is hoping she’ll bring in an audience unfamiliar with the franchise — and original star Peter Sellers. Early in the evening, “Panther” director Shawn Sachs tipped me off that Beyonce is among that audience, which she later confirmed.
“I represent the new generation that hasn’t seen the original,” she said. “We’ve obviously seen the cartoons, but I’m excited cause it’s such a classic and now my generation can see a contemporary modern version.”
But I wouldn’t say this “Pink Panther” is exactly a “modern” version. It’s Steve Martin basically fumbling through the same bad French accent and pratfalls — but not as funny. I asked Martin what Sellers would think.
“Well … I think he’d like it,” he replied, not surprisingly. “I’ve thought about that. I met him, he was very generous and sweet to me, and I’ve thought about that for myself, if somebody remade ‘The Jerk.’ I wouldn’t care. I really wouldn’t.”
Maybe not, but if it didn’t live up to the original, millions of fans might care. Unfortunately, the same may also be said for this version of “Panther.”