Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez were nowhere in sight, but the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards still had its share of sparkle and skin, thanks to Christina Aguilera, Beyonce Knowles and Gwen Stefani.
Taking up where Lopez left off in last year’s plunging Versace, Toni Braxton donned a Richard Tyler that left not one curve to the imagination.
“Since I’m going as Cinderella in Vera Wang for my wedding, I wanted to pull out all the stops,” explained Braxton, who’d decorated her buzz cut with long blonde extensions for the occasion.
“Now I feel like the black Kim Basinger,” she laughed.
Mya was wary of getting lost in a sea of Italian glamour gowns.
“Everyone shows up in the same thing and goes, ‘OK, what are you wearing? Versace, Dolce, yadda yadda yadda.’ I just wanted to be me,” she sighed.
On the other side of the spectrum, Madonna and Faith Hill performed in understated black tops and mannish trousers. Sheryl Crow also wore pants, though hers were red leather.
“When I got up to sing,” Crow recounted, “Madonna looked up at me from her chair and said ‘I have those pants!’ Whoops.”
Perhaps the most dramatic metamorphosis came from Erykah Badu, whose nakedness came in the form of a shiny bald head minus the trademark wrap.
“My sister left it in the car,” she joked.
Inside the Staples Center, Eminem’s and Elton John’s controversial duet went off with relatively few censor-worthy moments. In the end, the lion’s share of awards went to veterans rather than teenage talents, but U2 insisted that they weren’t old-timers just yet. “We see ourselves as another Irish boy band,” said Bono, whose three Grammys weren’t quite enough to keep him happy as he left the auditorium: “I was rather hoping to see Britney Spears.”