Pop Culture

Winehouse to perform via satellite at Grammys

Amy Winehouse will not attend this year’s Grammy Awards because her request for a visa was denied, but she will perform by satellite at Sunday’s ceremony in Los Angeles.

Winehouse and her acclaimed “Back to Black” album are nominated for Grammys in six categories. She will perform material from the album, an executive close to the Grammys told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity Thursday.

The Outside Organization, which counts the troubled retro-soul sensation among its clients, said in an e-mail that Winehouse — who shot to fame with the autobiographical single “Rehab” — was disappointed that her request for a visa had been turned down by the U.S. Embassy.

“Amy has been progressing well since entering a rehabilitation clinic two weeks ago and although disappointed with the decision has accepted the ruling and will be concentrating on her recovery,” the Outside Organization said.

The statement didn’t say why her application was rejected. The U.S. Embassy in London and the State Department in Washington declined to comment late Thursday. Shane O’Neill, Winehouse’s spokesman, said he had nothing to add.

Los Angeles immigration lawyer Bernie Wolfsdorf called it surprising that Winehouse wasn’t able to obtain a visa. Although she has a marijuana arrest on her record that could be used for exclusion from the United States, Wolfsdorf said it is commonplace for entertainers to be granted a waiver for such an offense, particularly if they are just making a quick visit to appear at an awards show.

“I am going to say it appears to be an aberration at this time compared to the situation of many others. The list of British rock stars with pot convictions is longer than my arm,” said Wolfsdorf, vice president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

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He said it is possible, however, that Winehouse’s drug transgressions were so recent that authorities are reluctant to grant her a visa until she demonstrates more fully that “she has moved toward the path of rehabilitation.”

Winehouse’s potent blend of blues, jazz, pop and soul has won praise from critics and fans, but her chaotic personal life has increasingly upstaged her music. Concerned family members regularly beg Winehouse to seek help in letters splashed across the pages of British tabloid newspapers and magazines.

Since the album’s U.S. release last year, she has canceled a slew of appearances amid reports of drug use. Her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, is accused of attacking a pub landlord and later conspiring with the landlord to have him withdraw as a witness at the trial.

Last month, The Sun newspaper ran still images from a video that it claimed showed Winehouse inhaling fumes from a small pipe. The images were said to have been filmed during a party at her London home.

Shortly thereafter, Winehouse entered a London rehabilitation center, and has been questioned by police.

In October, Winehouse and Fielder-Civil, were arrested in Norway on charges of marijuana possession, for which they were fined. In November, Winehouse’s Norwegian attorney, Ole Kvelstad, said her payment of the fine amounted to a guilty plea, which he said could have serious consequences if she sought to enter the U.S.

Winehouse canceled an appearance at the 2007 mtvU Woodie Awards in November “due to visa issues.”

Other British music acts have had difficulty securing visas. Lily Allen was scheduled to perform at the MTV Video Music Awards in September, but the pop star’s immigration visa was revoked. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services hasn’t commented, but her manager has said he suspected it was because Allen was arrested in London in June after an altercation with photographers.

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