LOS ANGELES — It’s not as if anyone expected conviviality from the notoriously press-averse Barbra Streisand.
But the eye-rolling was cued when we were informed by a suit-clad gentleman, security earplug firmly in place, that Ms. Streisand would not be giving any interviews on the red carpet… before she even stepped foot on it.
At a random Hollywood gathering, sure, understood.
But at a Grammy-related event where you’re being honored as the Person of the Year for a well-regarded charity?
A simple, “It’s wonderful to be here,” would have sufficed.
Instead, Streisand, escorted by suave hubby James Brolin, Neil Portnow, president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and a phalanx of others, not only shirked simple interviews, but barely posed for photos as she swept by under the protective grasp of Brolin.
She looked lovely in a floor-length black gown and matching cape with fur trim, her hair straight and glistening, but…that’s all we can tell you.
On the other hand, the two-hour parade of celebs of varying levels of fame that strolled and posed on their way into the Los Angeles Convention Center for the 21st MusiCares event gushed about Streisand with little prodding.
(MusiCares, by the way, has been a tremendous help over the years to members in the music community who need
emergency financial assistance or help with medical expenses.)
“I love her, she’s so amazing,” said Jordin Sparks, long hair streaked with purple and flowing leopard-print dress indicating she’s been on the Jennifer Hudson diet. “She’s such a legend.”
Paul Williams, who co-wrote “Evergreen” with Streisand for 1976’s “A Star Is Born,” noted, “I don’t think she performs a song. She expresses it.”
Streisand is set to sing the blockbuster ballad on Sunday’s Grammy telecast (8 p.m. CBS).
Other notables from a guest list ranging from who-remembers-him? “American Idol” contestant Jamar Rogers to the ever-classy Tony Bennett to new “Glee” heartthrob Darren Criss:
– Speaking of “Glee,” the show’s alpha female singer, Lea Michele, also didn’t speak to the press, but her mere presence ignited a cacophony of barked demands from the assembled photogs (“Lea, turn right!” “Lea, look here!” “Lea, blow us a kiss!” “Lea, do an over-the-shoulder pose”) – and she patiently obliged, expertly posing and tilting like the pro she’s become. Wonder if Streisand has seen her fierce rendition of “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from last year’s Tonys?
– Diana Krall – with husband Elvis Costello, dapper as usual in a fedora – said that producing Streisand’s 2009 album, “Love is the Answer,” was the ultimate creative process and, “the highlight of my life…I hope she asks me again.”
– Swedish-Congolese R&B/reggae singer Mohambi might not be a recognizable name yet, but one of his collaborators is familiar to Atlantans – and the world. That would be Akon, who sings on Mohambi’s “Dirty Situation” single.
“I’m getting a taste of what it feels like to win a Grammy,” the stylish young artist said. “To be a superstar, you have to learn how to deal under pressure.”
– One superstar who isn’t fazed by much is Randy Jackson, who cheerfully greeted packs of photographers with, “Here are the party people!” When one called out to Jackson, “What’s your favorite J. Lo song?” he didn’t miss a beat while walking. “’Love Don’t Cost a Thing” – and it’s true, baby!”
Jackson had nearly finished his press walk when he spotted Quincy Jones making his way down the carpet.
“Q!” Jackson exclaimed, rushing to embrace the legendary producer.
You can always count on “Idol”’s cheeriest dawg to liven up an event.
By Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene blog
Follow me on Twitter @ajclifestyle