The election returns are in and, pausing for a pun, the new "Mayer" of Jessica Simpson's world is curly-mopped blues maven John Mayer.
At Sony BMG's lavish and elegant Grammys after-party at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Sunday night, Mayer occupied a cabana-style settee where he entertained Jessica, her sister Ashlee and her father/manager Joe Simpson.
The biggest surprise was not the intimacy between Mayer and Jessica, but the fact that the blond chanteuse is now a chocolate-brown brunette. Her hair was also long and tied up in kind of a bun. You might say that, under new management, Jessica has gone folkie. What's next? A modern documentary about the two of them called "Don't Look Forward"? Yikes.
What's clear, though, is that Mayer has embraced the Simpson family or been embraced by them, fully replacing Nick Lachey. The gang was cozy as clams in their cabana, entertaining well-wishers for the Grammy Mayer received for imitating the late (and apparently unremembered by Grammy voters) Curtis Mayfield.
The Simpson crowd was not alone in the little cabana village, which was behind a velvet rope set up by Sony (not BMG) publicists.
At the first "booth," the Dixie Chicks were busy accepting kudos also for their five much-deserved prizes. Lead singer Natalie Maines also dyed her hair dark brown over the weekend — it's either a trend or mandated by Sony brass. At the Don Henley tribute on Friday night, Natalie was a blonde with short-looking tresses.
"She dyed it last night," someone said of the change.
I guess you can't be "ready to make nice" if you are blonde.
The Chicks looked a little wrung out by the time I saw them around midnight, but they were happy to chat about their triumph.
"Everyone's saying it's a vindication," Natalie said. "But it's really just an endorsement of our work."
Hanging out in their area: Cecilia Peck, who co-produced and co-directed the Chicks' Barbara Kopple documentary, "Shut Up and Sing." The DVD is coming soon.
The Chicks have no touring or recording plans, by the way. They're going to take a little time off to regroup, but I would not be surprised if we saw them also at the 07-07-07 concerts this July.
Meanwhile, Henley and his wife Sharon, who stopped by to congratulate the Chicks as well, took up a position down along cabana row with Sony's Andy Lack and wife Betsy.
That's were we alighted too, and met up with Mariah Carey's manager Benny Medina, Epic Records' Charlie Walk and their new 18-year-old superstar-in-waiting, Nikki Flores. Can she sing? You betcha.
The sign of real singers is that they can't stop themselves from showing off a little bit. When this girl's album drops in June, we will be paying close attention.
You know it's got to be important if we are going to attend a press conference at 11 a.m. after an all-night awards show. But the press conference at the Whisky on Sunset for the Police was pretty cool.
The group played a few hits, leading off with "Message in a Bottle," and then "Voices in My Head," "When the World Keeps Going 'Round," "Can't Stand Losing You" and "Roxanne."
Stewart Copeland professed from the stage that they had no set list, and that he now refers to Sting as "our dear leader."
Before the set, and right after a very hot instrumental sound check, Sting surveyed the tiny club from the balcony.
"It's a lot smaller than I remember it from 30 years ago," he told me.
Present to watch the announcement was his eldest daughter, Kate, and wife Trudie Styler, who hung over the balcony like a teenage fan during the show.
"It's really amazing," she said, flashing a wide smile, when the group finished. "Now I'm convinced it's going to be a big hit."
Indeed, the Police reunion tour is what everyone in the music biz needed. The group raised the Nielsen ratings for the Grammys substantially.
And if the crowd in the Whisky and the line outside were any indication, all the tickets to the shows should sell out quickly. The tour begins May 28 in Vancouver, hits Los Angeles the third week of June, and I hear Aug. 1 and 3 are booked for Madison Square Garden.
So what is it about the Police? Listening to them in the Whisky, I realized I had kind of forgotten how spectacular the interaction between Sting, Copeland and Andy Summers really is. While Sting has had an enormous solo career, with these two guys, he creates a completely original, unvarnished and deeply complex sound.
For older fans, it's probably got the ring of deep familiarity. But for a younger audience, the Police's syncopated rhythms will cross race, gender and language. The Police are pop, international, catchy and mysterious all at the same time.
For a generation that grew up on boy bands and sampling, the live music of this trio is going to be absolutely mind-blowing.
Awards weekends are like long weddings; you start to see the same people over and over. So it was on Sunday night when I ran into the aforementioned Henleys.
Don Henley tells me the new Eagles album is coming. And he and Glenn Frey are talking. Joe Walsh is contributing material. And Henley is starting to think about ways to raise more money for Walden Woods.
This is a thoughtful rocker who doesn't get much press for his good deeds, and he certainly isn't credited enough for his songs. I haven't been able to get "The Heart of the Matter" out of my head all weekend.
Imogen Heap is an artist who doesn't get much attention. But she's an original and deserves more of an audience. Check out her music on her Web site. She's another bright original voice, kind of like a 2007 Lene Lovich.
Macy Gray was at the Universal Music party, chatting about her new album, due in the spring. Macy's three kids are now 12, 11 and 10, she says. Time flies. Infamous for personal struggles, Macy looks like she's got it together. She can certainly write hit songs.
Finally, here's what we could call "Deal, No Deal": According to sources, Warner Music Group's Edgar Bronfman Jr. was racing to the finish line, trying to buy Irving Azoff's Front Line Management before last Friday's disastrous announcement that WMG had dropped 74 percent in quarterly profits.
Azoff reformed Front Line exactly two years ago by merging it with Howard Kaufman's HK Management. Their client list is substantial: Christina Aguilera, the Eagles, Seal, Lenny Kravitz, Alan Jackson, Velvet Revolver, Van Halen, Aerosmith, Chris Isaak, Stevie Nicks and Jimmy Buffett, to name a few.
The connection between WMG and Front Line is Thomas Lee Partners, the mega-giant Boston financier. But how could WMG have been a record label and a management company? I suppose we will never get to know that answer now, but what fun we have missed by this deal not going through. In the meantime, Azoff was everywhere this weekend. He remains the once-and-forever king of music management.