SMOKEY, WHAT GOT IN YOUR EYES? I was so sad, man. I love Smokey Robinson. LOVE LOVE LOVE him. But he looks like the black Tom Jones. He didn’t blink at all. I feel bad for even pointing it out. But plastic surgery in this country is like a disease. How great would it have been to see Smokey age? Let every wrinkle tell a story. Still, he sounded damn good, but every time he sang, “Take a good look at my face, you’ll see my smile looks out of place,” I cringed.

IS DON HENLEY DEAD? We were trying to think of a reason why Rascal Flatts were doing a medley of Eagles tunes. Turns out Henley won an award, Person of the Year. But even more troubling was Rascal Flatts themselves, with their throw-every-genre-of-music-out-there-and-see-what-sticks, Ritchie Sambora locks, and leather, metal-studded jackets. I couldn’t help thinking of Alien: Resurrection, that room containing all the failed attempts at replicating Ripley. Rascal Flatts would be the last one, lying on the table begging to be killed.

Carrie Underwood, though, did a better job at “Desperado” than Henley himself. I think I finally understood that song.

YEAH YEAH YEAH,the Police reunited and it felt so good (and Sting still looks fine).

But the best thing about this year’s Grammy Awards was the way it honored powerful women, and it’s about frickin’ time. I’m talking about Mary J. Blige and of course the Dixie Chicks’ sweep — five Grammys including Album of the Year.

Mary broke it down when she sang “Be Without You.” She gave us the back story — telling us how she didn’t love herself enough to let someone love her — proudly donned her Queen of Hip-Hop Soul crown, and delivered that song with a voice that knows pain, suffering, struggle, but now also deliverance and redemption. When she spoke, it was from the heart, drawing from a well of life experience, including her personal triumph in allowing herself to have love. There was no ego, or pretense, only strength and a depth of character we don’t see in the likes of Jessica Simpson or even Carrie Underwood.

And the Dixie Chicks! How perfect that the lovely Joan Baez introduced them? I don’t even have to say it. We all know what the Dixie Chicks’ winning, especially in the Country Music category, meant. We know what it meant for free speech, maybe for the nonexistent antiwar movement, but I was especially happy to see women being rewarded for sticking up for themselves in the face of unpopular opinion. Not just for being half nude and dancing (I forgive Shakira; her Arabic belly dance was sort of political on some level). I haven’t felt so inspired by women or felt like there were any real role models since Sally Ride went into space. One small step for women, one giant step for little girls everywhere.

—Linda Immediato

LA Weekly