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Mary J. Blige ... two minutes, 55 names later

Mary J. Blige may have set an awards-show record to go with the armful of Grammys she won Sunday: most people thanked in a single acceptance speech.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Mary J. Blige may have set an awards-show record to go with the armful of Grammys she won Sunday: most people thanked in a single acceptance speech.

Accepting her R&B album of the year award for “The Breakthrough,” Blige dropped 55 names — including God, Jesus, her three children, countless record-company executives and the tape delivery guy.

Blige talked for nearly two minutes — an eternity on a televised awards show — including going on for a good 30 seconds after the music started playing to signal her to wind down, spitting out names faster and faster as the music swelled.

Accepting her second televised award for best female R&B vocal, she held it to a lean, TV-friendly 35 seconds.

‘Train wreck’ fashionFashion critic Steven Cojocaru loves the Grammy Awards for its fashion missteps.

“This is train wreck city,” he said Sunday night. “It allows for very bad fashion. It’s all over the map.”

People don’t know whether to dress up or down and it leaves them confused, he said.

Cojocaru’s pick for worst dressed? Best new-artist nominee Imogen Heap, who was wearing a one-of-a-kind creation by a designer she met on the social-networking site MySpace.com.

“There’s an origami thing going on, a little Polynesia. There’s a plant on her head,” Cojocaru said. “She’s desperate, desperate, desperate for attention and she will be in every magazine tomorrow.”

On the red carpet, chic and sleek play better than ornate and overdone.

“Less is more,” he said. “Even though I used to wear a live panda on my head.”

A rap against Oprah, O’Reilly
Ludacris gave a “special shout-out” to Oprah Winfrey and Bill O’Reilly as he picked up the Grammy for best rap album Sunday night.

“I love ya,” said the rapper-actor, tongue firmly in cheek.

Ludacris has been critical of Winfrey, who he has said edited out many of his comments when he was a guest on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Other rappers 50 Cent and Ice Cube have suggested Winfrey has “a problem with hip-hop.”

Winfrey has insisted she does listen to hip-hop. A message left with her show wasn’t immediately returned late Sunday.

O’Reilly criticized Ludacris on his Fox News show “The O’Reilly Factor,” which led to Pepsi dropping Ludacris in an ad campaign.

Randy Jackson defends ‘Idol’“American Idol” judge Randy Jackson was wearing his record producer hat at Sunday’s Grammys, but he took a moment to defend the TV talent show, which has come under fire this season for seemingly amping up the personal level of criticism.

Flanking singer Van Hunt, who won an R&B Grammy, Jackson said the success of show alums such as Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson shows the program opens doors for undiscovered talents.

“These kids definitely help to validate what we do,” Jackson said. “... People talking about how mean and crazy we are — Simon (Cowell) calling people names and all that kind of stuff — the truth of the matter is that at the end of the season, someone great that wouldn’t have had a chance otherwise, wins it and gets a shot at a career and I’m really happy about that.”

Underwood took home a country Grammy. Hudson’s performance in “Dreamgirls” has earned a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award and an Academy Award nomination.

Just listen upTony Bennett, a double winner at Sunday’s Grammys, loves traditional pop.

“It means the music is going to last forever,” said the 80-year-old crooner, adding that he always wanted to make timeless music “like Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.”

But even with decades of performing behind him, Bennett said he’s still learning.

“The best way to learn is to listen to the audience,” he said. “When you listen to the audience, they will tell you what they like. I wish these big corporations, instead of telling the audience what they should have, would listen.”

Couch potatoes
Rock band OK Go knows how to make a red-carpet statement: Take inspiration from upholstery.

The foursome wore matching burgundy-and-gold paisley suits topped with burqa-like face-covering headpieces as they arrived at the Grammys on Sunday.

“It was inspired by our couch,” said lead singer Damian Kulash. “It’s upholstery material. It’s inside-out, though. It’s slightly less gaudy on the other side.”

The band will wear the suits in their new video, Kulash said. On Sunday, they won a Grammy for their short-form video, “Here It Goes Again,” which they made for less than $5,000 and posted on YouTube.

“The fact that we could make a video for one-one-thousandth of the budget of a major label video and now to win a Grammy ... it kind of makes you feel good about the world.”

Translation necessaryFor John Mayer, the language of love might be Japanese.

The Grammy-winning singer-guitarist was asked by E! commentator Ryan Seacrest on the Grammy red carpet about Jessica Simpson, to whom Mayer has recently been romantically linked. Mayer answered in Japanese and then suggested Seacrest get someone to “decode” what he said and “subtitle it.”

The translation came back that Mayer had said Simpson is “very beautiful” and that “you are the last to know.”

Though Mayer and Simpson have been photographed together of late — prompting tabloid speculation — they have both declined to describe their relationship. In a recent article in Elle magazine, Simpson said: “I want to tell you everything, but I have to sew my lips together.”

The Elle reporter, however, spotted e-mails from Mayer on her computer.

That's Black comedyComedian Lewis Black won the Grammy for best comedy album on Sunday, but he thought the musical winners were more deserving.

“All I do is yak,” he said.

Black lamented that his desire to become a musician didn’t pan out.

“I wanted to play the piano,” he said, “but my piano teacher had arthritis, and that really sets you back.”

Missing in actionWhen veteran Christian rockers Third Day won the Grammy for best pop-contemporary gospel album, they rushed to the stage at the Staples Center minus one member — guitarist Mark Lee.

One of his bandmates speculated Lee might be otherwise occupied in the lavatory, drawing laughs from the audience Sunday.

Backstage, though, Lee said later he was just running late.

“I wasn’t literally in the bathroom,” he said. “It happens every year. There’s just somebody that gets caught. This year it happened to me.”

Red carpet rockerTeenage rocker Antonio Pontarelli brought an interesting companion to the Grammys: his seven-string electric violin.

Pontarelli played impromptu solos as he strolled the red carpet Sunday, his amp-toting publicist following close behind.

“Everyone asks me, ‘What is that?”’ he said. “I tell them it’s a violin I can put through an amp and play like a guitar.”

The 15-year-old has worked with David Benoit, Steve Vai and System of a Down. It was his fourth time at the Grammys, his second on the red carpet.

Please, help yourselfLionel Richie summed up the appeal of the swag suite at the Grammy Awards pretty succinctly as he strode through: “Free! Free, free, free!”

Richie was among the stars who were “gifted” before the awards show, at a tent outside the Staples Center, where the awards are held. John Legend, Rihanna, Smokey Robinson and James Blunt were among the celebrities who strode through and picked up a wide array of free stuff, including pricey skin-care products, video games, $400 pendants, $300 espresso makers, free passes to Disneyland and stereo systems for iPods.

Rihanna tried on a pair of Chinese Laundry shoes, while Richie picked out a $260 pair of Gucci sunglasses.

Presenters and performers at the Grammys are given $30,000 worth of gifts from Distinctive Assets, while those who pop into the gifting suites can pick up an additional $15,000 in swag.