Blige Delivers and Picks Up Trophy

mary j. blige was named winner of the favorite female artist award in soul/rhythm & blues. the singer seemed near tears as she thanks “my lord” and the usual list of fans, managers and labels. we like blige because she can actually sing.
at the same time, backstage, rock band nickelback, which earlier took the trophy for favorite pop/rock album, babbled on about their new album while fielding tough questions along the lines of “are you guys having fun?”

Meeting Jesse McCartney

I’m not completely out of it. I know who Paul McCartney. But Jessie MaCartney? Never. He just walked into the press tent and looks, at the most, maybe 12. Wearing a black suit, purple tie and white tennis shoes, the frist question he was asked was about…Britney Spears! “She looked great!” he said of the soon-to-be divorced mother of two. “She got back on the horse in my opinion.” Personally, I think she’s an ongoing episode of the Jerry Springer Show.
Anyway, back to Jessie. He sez he’s gonna make another film (he made a first one?) and is looking forward to his next record which hye promises “is a fun record. It’s got a little more edge to it. I’m very excited about it.”
I just don’t know how he finds the time to make records, movies AND do his 8th-grade Algebra homework!

Camen Electrifies Manilow

carmen electra should’ve been in everyone’s gift bag. she didn’t do much on stage, but a little electra goes a long way. what she did was bring on stage our pal barry manilow. that old show biz style never goes out of sync with music trends. the crowd loved him. barry’s my pal because he gives some very good musicians a paycheck by using them in his big, big band. manilow won’t use the familiar computer samples and backing tapes his competitors rely on. he’s a one-man employment center for jazz players. yay barry!

Taylor Hicks backstage…

On a night that 2005 “American Idol” winner Carrie Underwood won the AMA Award for breakthrough artist, current “Idol” champ Taylor Hicks was on hand as a presenter and told us backstage how impressed he is by her: “It’s a tough act to follw. She has some great songs, two really great albums, smash hits and she sings them really well..”

The silver-haired Hicks says his life has changed enormously since his “Idol” win: “I’m working more now than I ever did. As a struggling musician, you don’t work a lot.” His new album of Southern soul music is out Dec. 12 and okf the songs he says: “I’m emotionally attatched to every one of them. I watched them grow like flowers.”

Hicks was asked what he will be doing on Thanksgiving. The answer was an obvious one: “Stuffing my face with southern turkey and gravy.”

Rapper Akon is a busy guy!

Akon just came back here and talked our ears off. Where have I been? What am I doing backstage at the American Music Awards? I have never heard of Akon. But I kept listening to him talk hoping that the more he talked, something would click. But, nope. No idea.
But, as a working journalist with a press badge around his neck, I took some notes and this is what I know: He has the number one and two top selling CDs on the Billboard charts, he has produced for Gwen Stefani and scores of others. He started talking about Michael Jackson and I think he’s gonna work with the former King of Pop on something.
Anyway, Akon told us about the inspiration for his songs: “I was incarcerated and I write a lot, a lot of records. All the experiences I went through in my life, I wrote about them so when I got out, I’d start with a clean slate. Part of that slate includes a movie ab about his life he’d like to produce and direct and call “Illegal Alien.”

Black Eyed Peas Cook

Caught on camera on tour in costa rica, black eyed peas accepted the award for favorite band, duo or group in the soul/rhythm & blues category. sat squished together on a couch back at the hotel, the peas said little. and then the next act began to play – fall out boy, a standard-issue pop-rock combo with a lot of tattoos.

nicole richie needs feeding

with every bone in her body glistening, almost-heiress richie trotted on stage to introduce her dad, lionel richie. currently in the midst of what’s trumpeted as a comeback, lionel has actually never been away. he’s never stopped touring, recording and playing anywhere they’ll pay him. but thanks to “the simple life” and a media feeding-frenzy, the daughter is more famous than he is.