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Grammys: Elton John sells out and the crowd goes wild

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In accepting his third award of Wednesday night's Grammy broadcast, U2's Bono noted, "Right now, this is our night."

And in any other year, you could have made a case for that — that winning song and record of the year, to name but two awards, would make it U2's night.

The Irish rockers may have taken home as many Grammys, but the night belonged to Eminem, who could have gone home empty-handed and still been the one to inspire the bulk of the water cooler/lunch-room conversations in the morning, what with all the controversy surrounding the brutal attacks on gays and women on "The Marshall Mathers LP."

The clown prince of musical hate crimes made his first appearance on the Grammy stage after beating his mentor Dr. Dre in the best rap album category, doing what was probably his best to set the record straight by saying, "I guess first of all, I want to thank everybody who could look past the controversy... or whatever... and see the album for what it was... and also for what it isn't."

Sadly, what the album was and also what it isn't was left for the viewer to sort out on his or her own while waiting for the most anticipated Eminem appearance of the show — his cheesy stunt duet with Elton John, who sold out every homosexual in the world by agreeing to perform with the greatest advance in homophobic science since the Family Values Act. And you thought Elton's hairdo was a crime.

Now this.

As host John Stewart was moved to comment on what would seem to be the most ridiculous attempt at appearing contrite since O.J. vowed to bring the real killers to justice, Eminem has agreed to "go to the bathroom with George Michael as well."

There were a few awards presented at the show that didn't have a thing to do with Eminem, but frankly, you can read about those anywhere and space is tight, which brings us to our own awards which, unlike all too many Grammys, only go out to the most deserving artists.

Best Attempt at Deflating the Eminem Gay-Bashing Controversy: Host John Stewart, who joked, "I don't know what all the controversy is about, quite frankly. I met Eminem backstage... and he is really gay. I mean, he's just about the gayest gay you'd ever meet."

Lamest Attempt at Defending the Grammy's Decision to Celebrate Eminem's Gay-Bashing: Michael Greene's speech, a collection of hollow cliches that ended with the most transparent line of bull I've ever heard: "Remember, sometimes it takes tolerance to teach tolerance."

Most Sobering Attempt at Putting the Eminem Gay-Bashing Controversy in Perspective: An ad that featured Matthew Shephard's mother decrying the very real dangers of such rampant homophobia.

Most Compelling Case in Favor of Lip-Synching, Female: Madonna, whose vocal performance proved to be the only drawback to an otherwise compelling bump and grind through "Music," much of it performed astride a Rhinestone-studded limo.

Best Madonna Joke: John Stewart, who remarked how old it made him feel: "As I was watching Madonna writhing around on the hood of the car, all I could think was that's really gonna drive up her insurance premium."

Best Lap Dance: The members of Destiny's Child, whose scantily-clad performance would've set you back at least a hundred bucks at Bare Elegance.

Weirdest Male Vocal Delivery: Paul Simon, whose overly dramatic reading of "You're The One" was enough to suggest that even he knew it was kind of weak compared to "Say My Name."

Most Inspired Performance: Macy Gray and her amazing band.

Most Intense Performance: U2, fueled by drummer Larry Mullen, Jr.

Best God Joke: Bono, who, accepting his award for best rock vocal performance by a duo or group, thanked God, then said, "I have this picture in my head of God looking down on people like us on occasions like this and going, 'Ohhh, don't thank me for that song. There's no hook, the chorus is weak. They'll never play that on the radio."

From the opposite end of the spiritual spectrum, Best Puff Daddy Joke: John Stewart, who joked, "We don't know whether or not he will be convicted, but I'm sure Sean would want everybody to know that it's an honor just to be indicted."

Dumbest Best New Artist Win Since the Milli Vanilli Debacle: Seasoned entertainer Shelby Lynne, who knew how dumb it was and came prepared to accept with a speech that noted, "13 years and six albums to get here."

Best Bet for Next Year's Best New Artist: Dolly Parton, who, it should be noted, looked a good deal newer than Shelby.

Best Comic Ad Lib, Pre-Show: Kid Rock's mother, who when Kid Rock a.k.a. Bob Ritchie joked that he was thinking of calling his next release "Five-Dollar Ho" and asked "Mom, what do you think?" smiled and said "I'd change that, Bob." Now that was funny.

Best Bo Derek Imitation, Hair: Christina Aguilera.

Best Bo Derek Imitation, Reading: Sheryl Crow.

Best Bo Derek Imitation, Showing Off the Booty: The members of Destiny's Child.

Most Daring Haircut, Male Teen Idol: Justin Timberlake of 'N Sync, sporting a cut out of "Full Metal Jacket."

Best Impression of a High School Freshman's First Attempt at Growing Facial Hair: Brad Paisley.

Most Blatant Example of Sentimental Favoritism Run Amok: The Grammys letting Steely Dan beat Britney Spears for best pop vocal album. Oops ... they did it again.

Coolest Thank Yous: Female Pop Vocalist Winner Macy Gray, whose thank you list included Sly Stone, Chaka Khan and Prince.

Dumbest Prop: The guy from "King of Queens" and Ray Romano shooting T-shirts out into the crowd.

Proof That Justice Does in Fact Exist: The Foo Fighters walking away before the telecast with best rock album, beating out such lesser nominees as Matchbox Twenty, No Doubt and Bon Jovi.

Pre-show Proof That Grammy May Have Stumbled Upon a Clue: The fact that Paul McCartney lost the alternative music Grammy to Radiohead.

Most Alarming Case of Diversity Keeping the Black Man Down: D'Angelo, who turned in last year's strongest album, "Voodoo," won two major Grammys — R&B album and R&B vocal performance, male. But both awards were given out before a broadcast so diverse it guaranteed at least a couple of lengthy bathroom and/or kitchen breaks for Grammy fans of all stripes.

Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service