Hudson wins first Grammy; Chris Brown investigated
|Jennifer Hudson get emotional as she accepts the award for best R&B album for “Jennifer Hudson” at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2009, in Los Angeles.|
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A tearful Jennifer Hudson won her first Grammy, thanking her family "in heaven and those who are with me today" to kick off an evening already stoked with drama when police said they were investigating double nominee Chris Brown for an alleged assault on an unidentified woman.
Brown and longtime girlfriend Rihanna, each nominated and slated to perform, separately dropped out of the Grammys at the last minute and their whereabouts were not immediately known Sunday night. The victim of Brown's alleged assault wasn't identified, and it wasn't immediately clear whether Rihanna's absence was related to Brown's.
Hudson, 27, made no direct reference to the killings of her mother, brother and nephew that kept her in seclusion until just this month. But while fighting back tears, she made it clear that her family was foremost on her mind.
"I first would like to thank God who has brought me through," said Hudson, also an Oscar winner, as she accepted her award from Whitney Houston.
Hudson later performed "You Pulled Me Through," a dramatic song about overcoming deep despair, with the lyrics: "When I was drowning, when I was so confused, you, you pulled me through." As she sang the last note, she looked directly into the camera and dissolved into tears once again.
While Hudson's emotion was front and center, drama unfolded behind the scenes when police said just 90 minutes before the show began that they were investigating the 19-year old Brown. His performance was subsequently removed from the show, though it was unclear if he bowed out or was dropped.
Then, minutes before U2 opened the telecast by zipping through its new single, the Recording Academy said Rihanna had scratched her performance as well. The couple could be seen sitting together at a Grammy pre-party the night before in Los Angeles.
According to the police report, Brown and a woman were in a vehicle in the ritzy neighborhood of Hancock Park when they began to argue around 12:30 a.m. Sunday. Brown stopped the car and both got out, whereupon the argument escalated, the report said.
The woman, who had visible injuries when police arrived, identified Brown as her attacker, but he had left the scene, the report said.
The absences of both performers put a huge hole in the Grammy telecast, but the Recording Academy found able replacements in Justin Timberlake, Al Green, Boyz II Men and Keith Urban as they all sang Green's classic hit, "Let's Stay Together." No mention was made on the broadcast about the switch.
With all the drama going on onstage and behind the scenes, the awards seemed almost like an afterthought - but the awards went on all the same. Coldplay, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, and Lil Wayne each won three apiece - Coldplay's win included song of the year for "Viva La Vida."
"We've never had so many Grammys in our life," said lead singer Chris Martin, perhaps so excited he got confused (they had already won four over the years). "We feel so grateful to be here. I'm going to tear up."
British singer Adele was also teary, as she beat the Jonas Brothers, Lady Antebellum, Jazmine Sullivan and fellow Brit singer Duffy to nab best new artist. It was her second award of the evening.
"Thank you so much. I'm going to cry. I want to thank my manager, my mom, she's in London. And Duffy I love you. I think you're amazing. Jonas Brothers, I love you as well," she said, saying the last part with a devilish look, eliciting laughter.
It was Adele's second award; she earlier won for best female pop vocal.
Lil Wayne was the nominations leader with eight, and won best rap solo performance for "A Milli," rap song for "Lollipop" and rap/sung collaboration for "Swagga Like Us," an all-star song featuring Jay-Z, T.I. and Kanye West.
But the prolific rapper won't be going home with eight trophies; he was competing against himself in two categories that he won and lost another. He still has a chance to win the evening's top prize, album of the year, for his best-selling disc "Tha Carter III."
Plant and Krauss, also nominated for album of the year for their collaboration "Raising Sand," took home an award for country collaborations with vocals and contemporary folk/Americana album. They later won a third for pop collaboration with vocals.