Firstly Janet Jackson has responded to rumours TV executives were still pushing for her to be axed from this weekend’s Grammys by getting in their first and pulling out of the show. The singer’s publicist yesterday told reporters: “I can confirm she is not attending. I won’t give any more details”. As previously reported, Jackson had been due to present an award at the event, but bosses at CBS – who screen the awards ceremony – are still reeling from last weekend’s Superbowl performance and had been hinting they would demand Grammy bosses axe her from the show. R&B star Patti LaBelle will replace her as a presenter.
What about little old Justin Timberlake? CBS bosses had originally hinted he too would be forced out of the Grammys show, where he is due to perform with the Black Eyed Peas. However Justin has got all serious about the whole Superbowl thing since his initial ambivalence on Monday – telling all that will listen at the Grammy rehearsals how he didn’t know Janet would be bare breasted at the end of the routine, that he was incredibly embarrassed about the whole thing, that his family were really disappointed in the show, that it is all deeply deeply deeply deeply regrettable. Those comments, alongside confirmation from Jackson that the whole Superbowl thing was her idea, probably means Timberlake’s performance at the Grammys is safe – presumably giving him free range to feel up Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas’ arse, ala Kylie at the Brits.
Less good fortune for Justin’s Nsync bandmate JC Chasez of course. As we reported yesterday, his half time performance at the NFL’s Pro Bowl event this weekend has been axed following concerns it also might be too raunchy for American sports fans. Chasez also seems to have changed his tune this week – initially he seemed kinda gratious about being axed saying he was disappointed but understood why NFL had made the decision.
But then yesterday he got all angry telling reporters: “While I agree the mishap at the Super Bowl was a huge mistake, the NFL’s shallow effort to portray my music as sexually indecent brings to mind another era when innocent artists were smeared with a broad brush by insecure but powerful people.” Chasez also confirmed he has pulled out of the Pro Bowl opening where he was due to sing the American national anthem. He explained: “That [the way the NFL reacted] is not the America I love. Nor is this the NFL I love. I’ll sing the national anthem anytime, anywhere, but not for this NFL.”
As if this whole Nipplegate wasn’t insane enough, CBS’s rival broadcaster NBC confirmed yesterday it was dropping a scene from a new episode of ER which showed the breast of an elderly woman. The network explained that although the scene was “appropriate and in context” it could not ignore the “atmosphere” created by Jackson’s stunt on Sunday.
But you know what they say – no publicity is bad publicity and all that. According to the New York Post Janet Jackson’s website has jumped up the most-searched-for music site charts from 173 to number one in the last week. Virgin Records will be hoping all that renewed interest turns into record sales when Janet’s new album is released this Spring.
And hey, if nothing else, it took brother Michael out of the headlines for a few days.