- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 9, 2006

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mariah Carey ended her 16-year Grammy drought, but rock gods U2 smashed her comeback-queen dreams by snatching five trophies last night, including song and album of the year.

Miss Carey, one of the best-selling artists of all time, hadn’t won a Grammy since she won two as a fresh-faced ingenue in 1990. On Wednesday, she was nominated for a leading eight and won three in the pre-telecast ceremony. No woman had ever won more than five in one night.

But Miss Carey was shut out through the entire televised portion, losing twice to U2, once to Green Day for record of the year and once to former “American Idol” Kelly Clarkson for best female pop vocal performance.

“If you think this is going to go to our head, it’s too late,” U2 frontman Bono said after the group won song of the year for “Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own.”

The band also won for album of the year and best rock album for “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.”

After winning the night’s big award, album of the year, Bono told Miss Carey from the stage, “You sing like an angel.” He also paid tribute to the other nominated artists — Kanye West, Gwen Stefani and Paul McCartney.

The Irish band now has 22 Grammy awards over its career, the sixth most ever.

Miss Clarkson, who also won best pop album, helped steal some of Miss Carey’s spotlight in the first televised category for the evening, when her triumphant “Since U Been Gone” won best female pop vocal performance.

“I’m sorry I’m crying again on national television,” said Miss Clarkson, tearful and shaking as she held her first Grammy. “Thank you so much. You have no idea what this means to me.”

The highlight of the show was the appearance of Sylvester “Sly” Stone, the mercurial, psychedelic pioneer who disappeared from the music scene decades ago and hadn’t performed in public since 1993.

Toward the end of a sizzling all-star tribute, Mr. Stone emerged onstage sporting a tall blond Mohawk and breathed new life into one of his biggest smashes, “I Want To Take You Higher.”

Though the tribute was planned, many didn’t expect Mr. Stone to show up.

Keith Urban was answering questions backstage when Mr. Stone’s performance began playing on a nearby monitor, and he had to stop talking.

“I think we just got upstaged,” Mr. Urban said in amazement. “Everything pales in comparison.”

There also was a brief, impromptu performance by Alicia Keys and Stevie Wonder, who introduced the first award. Mr. Wonder pulled out his harmonica and the two soulfully sang his classic “Higher Ground” as a tribute to Coretta Scott King, who was buried Tuesday.

“Let’s keep trying to reach that higher ground,” Miss Keys said. “I forever want to reach that higher ground.”

The performances kept the prime-time TV audience entertained, but there were some awards actually given out during the telecast.

The Edge, the group’s guitarist, said the award meant much to the group, “but even more precious than the awards is the gift you’ve all afforded us.”

“You’ve allowed us to continue to make our music,” he said.

U2 provided one of the more rousing performances in the jam-packed show as they sung their hit “Vertigo,” then collaborated with R&B; queen Mary J. Blige’s gospel-inflected fervor for their classic “One.”

Mr. West’s three Grammys matched his total for last year. The brash rapper/producer played up his egotistical reputation as he won best rap album for “Late Registration.”

“I had no idea. I had no idea,” Mr. West said in mock shock as he pulled a huge sheet of paper that read “Thank You List.”

John Legend was also a big winner, bagging three awards including best new artist. He also beat out Mr. Wonder, Miss Keys, Fantasia and Earth, Wind & Fire to snag best R&B; album for his platinum debut, “Get Lifted.” He picked up his third trophy for best male R&B; vocal for “Ordinary People.”

Alison Krauss & Union Station also had three awards each, including for best country album, while Mr. Wonder, who released his first album in 10 years last year, also had two.

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