Last-Minute Grammy Dramas
The Grammy production team, led by executive producer Ken Ehrlich, spends months mapping out the show. But real life has a way of intruding. Here are eight last-minute surprises, dramas, mishaps and even tragedies that had to be dealt with.
Feb. 12, 2012: Whitney Houston, who was a Grammy favorite in the '80s and '90s, died the day before the telecast. The producers revamped the show. Host LL Cool J opened the show by offering a prayer. Jennifer Hudson sang Houston's signature song, "I Will Always Love You."
Feb. 8, 2009: Chris Brown and his then girlfriend Rihanna were both set to appear on the Grammys. At around 12:30 a.m. on the day of the telecast, Brown assaulted Rihanna. Obviously, neither could appear on the show. To fill the gap, Grammy producers added a last-minute performance of Al Green's classic "Let's Stay Together."
Feb. 8, 2004: Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson were set to appear separately on the Grammys: Timberlake to perform; Jackson to host a segment that paid tribute to Luther Vandross, who had suffered a stroke the previous spring. One week before the telecast, the two stars performed together at the Super Bowl. An infamous "wardrobe malfunction" created a media firestorm. Timberlake kept his date with Grammy, but Jackson backed out (in part because of the sensitivity of the Vandross segment). Another fall-out: For the first time, CBS put the Grammys on a five-minute delay.
Feb. 25, 1998: An attention-seeking extra with the words "Soy Bomb" painted on his chest started gyrating during Bob Dylan's performance of "Love Sick." Dylan, to his credit, kept on going with barely a sideways glimpse at the intruder. Unfortunately, far more people remember "Soy Bomb" than remember Dylan's subsequent Album of the Year victory for "Time Out Of Mind."