Idol Chatter

amywinehousepicforidochatte.jpgAmy Winehouse was not only the big winner at The Grammys last night, she was kind of a mascot for a broadcast that, as The New York Times pointed out today, were oddly haunted by loss. Video-ported in from London (she was denied a U.S. visa because of a pot bust in Norway), her performance of two numbers lacked nothing. But her reaction to winning Record of the Year, for “Rehab,” was vacant, almost ghostly.

She wasn’t alone. Also there-but-not were the two departed Beatles in the form of a Fab Four medley and Frank Sinatra (who sang a duet, courtesy file footage, with Alicia Keys). Even the album of the year, Herbie Hancock’s “River: the Joni Letters,” owed much of its genius, as Hancock fulsomely admitted, to the writer of the songs he won for, Joni Mitchell, who was also treated like she was looking down from heaven.
Winehouse’s spectral presence didn’t stop CBS’s camera from combing Winehouse’s physical reality as she twitched during her two numbers, even zooming in on her crotch as she clutched the hem of her very brief dress. Winehouse fans have defended her music as a clear-eyed reflection of her life and urged the media to stop treating her as a rehab patient more than a singer. But CBS took the “Amy’s O.K.” rap a little far, however, by treating her like an NFL cheerleader.

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