Fine Tuning - Weekly column highlighting music on TV (Feb. 7-13, 2005).
GRAMMY TIME! Sure they hand out about 90 awards before the broadcast even starts, but the Grammy Awards remain an annual touchstone in the world of popular music. Sunday's 47th annual event will be no different, and along with a mere handful of honors accorded on television, there will be plenty of performances worth watching.
Let's start with Bonnie Raitt and Billy Preston paying tribute to Ray Charles. Look for this to be an emotional performance for those involved and those watching, as Charles was a beloved entertainer who touched the lives of many in this business.
The all-star rendition of the Beatles' "Across the Universe" -- Bono, Stevie Wonder, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Velvet Revolver, Tim McGraw and Brian Wilson, among others -- will certainly be a highlight. A recording of the performance will be released almost immediately via Apple's iTunes music store, with proceeds to benefit victims of the Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean.
It's possible that leading nominee Kanye West's performance with Mavis Staples and the Blind Boys Of Alabama could steal the show, while the multi-artist tribute to Southern rock, with members of Lynyrd Skynyrd joined by Gretchen Wilson and Tim McGraw, should also be interesting.
Also look for Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony to make their live performance debut as newlyweds, as well as music from U2, McGraw, Alicia Keys and Green Day, as well as a song from host Queen Latifah.
LESS FUNNY, MORE TEARS: That's what you should expect from "American Idol" on Fox this week as judges Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson look to narrow the field of nearly 200 contestants to just 24 (12 males, 12 females). On Tuesday and Wednesday, look for them to correct their mistakes from the audition rounds as they weed out those without a chance and try to identify those with enough talent to handle the grueling head-to-head weekly competition to come.
Also listen for host Ryan Seacrest to end the show, again, with his annoyingly forced catchphrase, "Secrest: Out!"
Those seeking an "Idol" who is more Latin should watch Sunday's premiere of "Nuevas Voces de America" (New Voices of America) on Telemundo. Produced by Latin music mogul Emilio Estefan, this reality show will chronicle the search for a new superstar that began with auditions in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Puerto Rico and San Antonio, Texas.
The show will be hosted by 2003 Miss Universe Amelia Vega and Spanish television personality Poncho de Anda. Judges include Mexican artist Alejandra Guzman, Los Rabanes singer Emilio Regueira and marketing executive David Naranjo, as well as several guest judges who will appear throughout the course of the series. Like "Idol," viewer voting will determine who remains in the competition.
SUPER RECAP: The Super Bowl was great, unless, like me, you're a Philadelphia Eagles fan. Paul McCartney did a fine job as halftime entertainment, and although seemingly shoehorned-in during an extremely crowded pre-game show, all of the other participating artists turned out good performances.
Now I've got a little more than six months to grumble until the start of the 2005-06 football season. But with pitchers and catchers due to report to spring training next week, hope is renewed with the dawning of a new season of baseball! For those playing along at home, here too my heart lies in Philadelphia. Go Phillies!
LOTS OF MUSIC ON TV: At least a small dose of music delivered via a television -- broadcast, cable or satellite -- is recommended for every American's diet. To help Billboard.com readers comply, I suggest watching the following:
Monday: Kanye West interviewed by PBS's Charlie Rose on the, ummmm, "Charlie Rose" show, of course.
Tuesday: Singer/songwriter Iron And Wine, an artist who should receive wider attention, on NBC's "Last Call With Carson Daly."
Wednesday: R&B crooner Brian McKnight pays a visit to "Live With Regis & Kelly" (syndicated, check local listings).
Thursday: Flavor Flav will be part of "The Big Idea With Donny Deutsch" (CNBC), as will his squeeze Bridgette Nielsen and members of Duran Duran. And comedian Joan Rivers. And actor Jon Cryer. What gives??
Friday: "Late Show With David Letterman" bandleader Paul Shaffer makes a guest appearance on ABC's "Hope & Faith."
Saturday: Emmylou Harris on Great American Country's "Grand Ole Opry Live" and Kelly Clarkson on NBC's "Saturday Night Live." (Note: Both shows are live).
Sunday: First there's the red carpet Grammy arrivals show on E!, then there's also "The Simpsons" on Fox, with special guest 50 Cent... And, of course, the Grammys themselves. Dude, you're gonna have to tape something to pull this off.