Archive for November, 2008

AMA’S 2008 – A REALLY BIG SHOW

November 24, 2008

I got downtown to the Nokia Theater at 3:45. After picking up my credentials, I immediately went out to the red carpet and stood behind the beautiful Nicole Scherzinger of Pussycat Dolls and watched her interview celeb after celeb (and if you happened to watch the pre-show, I’m proud to say I wrote many of the interview questions). Saw Taylor Swift, Jamie Foxx, Terrence Howard, Annie Lennox, Chris Brown, David Cook, David Archuleta, Natasha Bedingfield and Ne-Yo while standing there from 4:15 to 4:45 but the highlight was when Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith stepped up on the platform. It was like seeing royalty.

During the actual AMA’s, I hung out with Craig, a guy working party security (for about twenty years now, I’ve helped out with security for the after-party, usually confirming that celebrities without party tickets are actually who they say they are and are important enough to let in). Craig had one goal: to get a photo of himself with the Jonas Brothers to show his two young daughters. So we hung out outside the Jonas Brothers dressing room for a while. He snapped a photo of them with his phone when they went to the rest room, but they had a big bodyguard so he didn’t ask if they’d stop to take a photo with him, at least not then. Afterward, we went outside to wait for them after they finished their performance, figuring they’d be going directly to their limo. Hilariously, my friend went back into the building to use the rest room for a moment and a minute later, out came the Jonas Brothers. Fortunately a professional photographer had gotten the brothers to stop so he could snap a few shots. Craig came out a second later and the boys were nice enough to take a photo with him.

We may have been waiting for the Jonas Brothers, but it was the perfect vantage point as we also spotted such artists as Coldplay, Leona Lewis, Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, Alicia Keys, Pink, Sarah McLachlan, Rihanna and Daughtry.

By 8:00, I was stationed at the entrance to the party to help out there. There were hardly any problems with people without tickets trying to lie their way into the party, although one guy did try to say he put his ticket down in the restroom and someone just happened to mark it with a Sharpie (obviously he had found a ticket someone had already used to get into the party). Probably a lot of the stars went through the VIP entrance as just one celeb came through to go to the party without a ticket: Carrie Ann Inaba, a judge on “Dancing With The Stars.” Jordin Sparks, who won “American Idol” two years ago also walked past us to get to her car in the parking garage.

After years of having a band play at the AMA after-party (one year Stevie Wonder even went up and did a song with them), last year they had a DJ for the first time. There was a DJ again this year and it seems like more people were dancing than ever. I saw the producer and the writers of the AMA’s at the party and they were all very happy with the show, even if it did ruyn three minutes over the allotted three hours…

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BACKSTAGE AT THE 2008 AMA’S – DAY 2

November 23, 2008

Actually got up early enough to get down to the Nokia Theater by noon, in time to watch Alicia Keys run through her hit, “Superwoman.” Although the director announced Alicia’s rehearsal would be a closed set, all the chairs up front were filled by the time she started. Alicia wowed the audience with a little help from some special guests. I’ll just say who knew opera could be so funky…

Next up were two of the hottest teen acts around. First came the Jonas Brothers performing “Tonight.” While it was the first time I’d heard the song, it was very catchy. I couldn’t get it out of my head, at least until the next singer, Miley Cyrus, started her rehearsal of “Fly On The Wall.” Miley showed off some nice dance moves and rock star poses while running through her song. Actually, it’s lucky Miley got a chance to use the stage at all, considering how many fans went up onstage at the end of the Jonas Brothers’ rehearsal to try to get an autograph from one of the boys.

Otherwise, I made sure I met some of the record company publicists escorting the acts in my constant quest to arrange interviews for next year’s new edition of “The Billboard Book of Number One Hits.” I also got to meet singer Sheila E, who was picking up her credentials for the show tomorrow night and went out of her way to be friendly to everyone she met.

Check out the American Music Awards on ABC tomorrow night. I’ll be back with coverage of the red carpet, the show and the party soon after!

BACKSTAGE AT THE 2008 AMA’S

November 22, 2008

This Sunday night is the 2008 American Music Awards and if today’s rehearsals are any indication, it promises to be a great show!

I went down to the Nokia Theater in downtown L.A. this afternoon and immediately took a seat to watch the lovely Leona Lewis run through her great ballad, “Better In Time.” This is one singer who doesn’t need the Autotune, as she belted out each and every word with emotion, all the while maintaining her balance on an elevated platform. I couldn’t do it, and I don’t even wear heels!

Next up were the Pussycat Dolls, who drove a car onto the stage for their number. Listen for lead singer Nicole Scherzinger’s long-lasting held note on Sunday night’s show.

More simple but just as impressive was Sarah McLachlan who sung one of her beautiful hits, “Angel,” sitting at the piano in a duet with a special surprise guest.

The final artist to hit the stage was Pink, who will be performing her new single, “Sober,” on the show. This week I had a chance to listen to Pink’s latest album, “Funhouse,” and was impressed by the diversity of the songs, both musically as well as lyrically. Pink is a true artist.

In between performances, I got a chance to talk to David Archuleta, who will be presenting an award on Sunday night. David may be celebrating the high debut of his new album on the charts but is even more excited about another achievement. The singer just earned four more merit badges on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout. Now back when I was a Scout, I only made it to the rank right below Eagle, Life, and let me tell you, the requirements for Eagle are not easy. Not only do you have to earn 21 merit badges, but you have to complete a time consuming service project (David’s was planting trees in a park). So congratulations on this impressive achievement.

Of course, David being David, music is the love of his life, so rather than talk, he was much more interested in going into the theater and watching the other performers rehearse (it turns out he’s a fan of the Pussycat Dolls’ lastest hit, “I Hate This Part”).

Look for another AMA update tomorrow night!