Sherri Sylvester and Scott Leon: The Grammy Awards
Sherri Sylvester is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for "Showbiz Today." Scott Leon is vice president of CNN Entertainment News and executive producer of "Showbiz Today."
CNN Moderator: Is the controversy over Eminem's nomination overshadowing the ceremonies and what has been the reaction by other artists?
Scott Leon: I think that from the media standpoint, it's been overshadowing it, but not from the artistsí standpoint. Most of the artists here are here to celebrate music in general and are taking the controversy in stride. Most artists we've talked to support him from an artistic expression standpoint. Most musicians and artists chafe at the idea that they can be dictated to as to how to express themselves. So that is why you find people like Elton John and Madonna and Stevie Wonder coming out in support of Eminem.
Question from chat room: How did the rehearsals for the Eminem/Elton John duet go. Well?
Scott Leon: The two of them rehearsed in a secret location. Even many members of the Grammy production team have not been allowed to witness that rehearsal. I can tell you that it will be the last performance of the night. Obviously, the Grammy folks want to leave the most controversial and the one thing everybody's looking forward to the end of the night, so people will sit through the whole evening.
Question from chat room: Is Jon Stewart a nervous wreck coming in at virtually the last minute to host the Grammys?
Sherri Sylvester: It's a tough job. Most hosts get usually about two months to prepare, and they have comedy writers working with them, I saw Jon Stewart Monday, coming in to rehearse, think for the first time, because his show is in New York. So he has been a very last-minute host. Is he nervous? I can't tell, what do you think? He's never hosted a show of this magnitude before, so he's not quite as easygoing in his manner as he is on his TV show.
CNN Moderator: What is the difference between record of the year and album of the year?
Sherri Sylvester: Record of the Year is for a single track, and it goes back to the days of vinyl, when artists released a single song on their own record, which was a 45 you may remember. Album of the Year is for a multi-track, entire album.
CNN Moderator: Any comment on the absence of Britney Spears
Sherri Sylvester: We expected her to be here. No one seems to know why she is not here. Some artists we knew in advance would be on tour and unable to attend, such as Ricky Martin, whom I interviewed earlier in the week. He's out of the country. I believe But Britney we expected.
Question from chat room: Is there plenty of security on hand to prevent anything odd happening,?
Sherri Sylvester: There is extensive security, including color-coded passes to very specific areas of the building, including the perimeter. And the security guards are every, maybe 10 feet, checking your badges before they'll allow you to pass.
CNN Moderator: Who have you talked to tonight and what are some of the reactions so far?
Sherri Sylvester: One of our favorites backstage was Ricky Skaggs, who is traditionally a country and bluegrass artist. He came by with his mandolin and played some bluegrass for us. And then he came back when he won a Grammy for Best Gospel Album.
We've also spoken with Radiohead, the Foo Fighters, and Emmylou Harris. Emmylou Harris was particularly interesting, because she went back through her 30-some odd year career and talked about her early days as a performer, and how passionate she still is about the music.
Radiohead took photos backstage of us and our room to send to their mothers in England. It's a great Grammy year, because there's no one artist who's going to sweep. So we're excited to interview such a diverse group of winners.
CNN Moderator: Thank you for joining us
Scott Leon: Thanks!
Sherri Sylvester: Thank you!
Despite Eminem verse, Grammys are diverse
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