Yes, America, Amy Winehouse Is a Star

Five – count ‘em – five Grammys. Amy Winehouse nearly matched Christopher Cross‘ achievement back in 1980, the year he won all four “general field” awards (Album, Record, Song, and Best New Artist). The Winehouse sweep, however, was ended by an out-of-left-field Album of the Year win from jazz legend Herbie Hancock. But she has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Her five Grammys match the record held by Lauryn Hill, Norah Jones, Beyoncé, and Alicia Keys for most Grammys won in one night by a female solo artist. Not bad company there, at least from a record-sales standpoint.

And to think, just a few days prior, Winehouse had been admitted to rehab after that infamous crack-smoking video. To make matters worse, she couldn’t get a visa. Instead of getting her chance to shine on the Grammy stage, she was forced to do a 4 am gig in London at a small club via satellite.The Grammys had been hyping her set as “the performance we’ve all been waiting for” throughout the night. The hype seemed ominous: would the notoriously erratic Winehouse fall on her face, as she infamously did at the MTV Europe Awards? But Amy didn’t let us down. When she always sings live, she sings raw; she doesn’t just imitate her recordings. Last night, she undertook a “Oh no you di-int” stance, staring down the camera and rolling her neck like a ghetto diva. But she also looked genuinely happy and alive – playful, sarcastic, and every bit a rock star. She was confident enough to have fun with “You Know I’m No Good” and “Rehab,” jokingly lowering her voice, pulling up her skirt, and giving Tina Turner and Beyoncé a considerable run for their money in the energy department.

After winning Record of the Year for “Rehab,” her whole backup band huddled around her like a safety shield: it was then and only then that she seemed fragile. She held on to her mother and father for support as she made her soft-spoken acceptance speech. It was just a moving moment, and the intimacy of that tiny London club worked in her favor.

And her little comment at the end? “This for London cuz Camden Town is burning down.” Instant classic. (It was a reference to the massive fire over the weekend in Camden that burned down Amy’s hangout joint, The Hawley Arms.)Let the post-Grammy bounce begin. She deserves it.

Now the UK charts: Basshunter has made it five weeks in the pole position, and that Nickelback song is showing surprising tenacity, moving up to No. 2 ahead of Adele. David Jordan skips up five spots to No. 5, and look who’s back on the charts – Scottish band Wet Wet Wet, who spent 14 weeks at No. 1 in 1994 with their song, “Love Is All Around.” Lead singer Marti Pellow, once one of the most stunningly gorgeous men in music, is a little gaunt at age 42, but he looks phenomenal considering he battled a serious heroin addiction for many years.

1. Basshunter – Now You’re Gone
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2. Nickelback – Rockstar
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3. Adele – Chasing Pavements
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4. Rihanna – Don’t Stop the Music
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5. David Jordan – Sun Goes Down
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6. Kelly Rowland – Work
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7. Hot Chip – Ready For the Floor
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8. Britney Spears – Piece of Me
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9. Lupe Fiasco ft. Matthew Santos -Superstar
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10. Wet Wet Wet – Weightless
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Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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