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Vignettes From the Grammy Awards

Despite concerns that the Grammy Awards would become a forum for anti-war sentiment, most political messages were muted.

“NO WAR” was written in silver letters on Sheryl Crow’s guitar strap as she performed, although her hair usually covered up most of the “NO.” Bonnie Raitt slipped in a four-word message, “let’s build some peace,” before handing out an award. And No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani wore a halter top emblazoned with the word, “love,” and combat fatigue hot pants.

“I hope we all are in agreeance that this war should go away as soon as possible,” said Limp Bizkit lead singer Fred Durst, before he gave out an award.

Wayne Coyne from the rock band Flaming Lips wore a blue bandage below his right eye that he said was a statement against a possible war with Iraq, but he never made it on television to show it off.

“This is my silent way of talking about peace. No black eye,” he said.

After being shut out despite seven nominations last year, singer India.Arie won two this year, but you didn’t get to see her on TV. And that bothered her.

“It’s a shame that none of the R&B categories are televised,” the 27-year-old said while picking up one of her two trophies. Her song “Little Things” was chosen best urban/alternative performance and “Voyage to India” won best rhythm ‘n’ blues album.

The Grammys are increasingly becoming less an awards show and more of a TV performance. Only 11 awards were scheduled for the three-hour portion of the show on CBS. Ninety-three others were given in a ceremony before cameras rolled.

As a result, Grammy organizers rushed through pre-show awards to make sure they were all finished in time. The contrarian India.Arie didn’t like that, either.

“I came for the opportunity to have a platform,” she said. “Now that I’m here, I just want to share my opinions with you.”

She encouraged fellow artists to get more inspirational – and less lewd – in their lyrics.

Nelly was a Grammy winner Sunday night, but it’s what he didn’t have that caught reporters’ attention: the trademark bandage he’d been wearing on his left cheek.

The rapper had worn the bandage to show support for a friend imprisoned for robbery. But he said the news media made such a big deal about the facial accessory that it lost meaning, so he recently stopped wearing it.

“I just wanted to let it go,” he said.

Nelly was up for five Grammys, two of which he won in pre-show awards: male rap solo performance for his ubiquitous summer party anthem, “Hot in Herre,” and rap/sung collaboration for “Dilemma,” featuring Kelly Rowland of Destiny’s Child.

“Hairspray” was the season’s biggest musical hit on Broadway, and it’s considered a favorite this year at the Tonys – but no matter what happens, the show already has a Grammy.

Marc Shaiman, the musical’s producer, provided the biggest laughs of the pre-telecast ceremony as he and lyricist Scott Wittman accepted the trophy for best musical show album.

“For everyone who thinks that Broadway is full of nothing but Jews and gays, Oy!… me and my lover just won a Grammy!” shouted Shaiman.

“Hairspray” is based on John Waters’ campy 1988 movie about a plump teenage girl obsessed with a ’60s TV dance show.

Frenchie Davis got booted from “American Idol,” but she ended up at the Grammys anyway – as a correspondent for “Entertainment Tonight.”

The full-figured, big-voiced singer got kicked off the Fox TV music competition earlier this month after it was discovered that she’d once worked for an adult Web site. But she was working the red carpet anyway, interviewing stars and chatting with reporters, and said she has no regrets about the way her “Idol” experience turned out.

“I wouldn’t be here if I was still on the show,” said the 23-year-old Davis, who added that she’s mulling several recording offers. “I’ve gotten a lot more support.”

Celia Cruz gave thanks in broken English and effusive Spanish after winning a Grammy for best salsa album.

“Hello, beautiful people,” the veteran Cuban singer said as she addressed reporters backstage. “My English is not good, I only speak Spanish.”

Then she went on to do exactly that, thanking everyone for the award and saying she was very happy and appreciative.

Cruz won the same award at the Latin Grammys in September for the album “La Negra Tiene Tumbao.”

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