LOS ANGELES — Call it the P Principle. If you're going to Perform with Prince, you're going to Practice until the Purple one thinks it's Perfect. Beyoncé found that out this year, but didn't seem to mind one bit. The singer was giddy backstage at the Grammy Awards Sunday night, getting hugs from celebs and taking pictures with MTV's own Sway.
Just where does she get the energy, though? The night before the Grammys, Prince had Beyoncé performing late into the night, reportedly two and half hours past their planned cutoff time. The next day, the duo were at the Staples Center early in the morning, going through their set at the Grammy Awards dress rehearsal. While Beyoncé's practice run with Prince went off without a hitch, there were a few glitches in her solo performance of "Dangerously in Love 2" that she had to work out. (Click here for a list of Grammy winners.)
"I'm so in love with you," she began to sing at rehearsal, making her way down the steps. As B descended, her dress, the same stunner she wore at the actual show, got caught and stopped her dead in her tracks. The singer literally didn't miss a beat; she kept crooning the lyrics, but simply looked back to the side of the stage for assistance. In an instant, a stagehand came scurrying out like a mouse who saw cheese and unhooked the part of her dress' train that was caught.
Dre from Outkast kept his poise as well during a rehearsal mishap, but the rap-star-turned-pop-star let the few people fortunate enough to sit in on his rehearsal for "Hey Ya!" know that things were not going down as planned.
After someone in the rafters stopped their one-man chants of "Ice Cold" in anticipation of seeing Andre, smoke filled the stage and things quickly became too cloudy.
"I can't see," Dre laughed as he came to the mic. "I can't see."
Judging from his uncharacteristically lackluster rehearsal, during which Dre simply stayed at the mic and sang, and even needed to be reminded to shake his fingers at the audience like he was casting a spell, no one could foresee the energy he would bring during the real thing at the Grammys (see "Beyonce Sings Twice, Christina Plays Nice, Outkast Cool As Ice On Grammy Stage"). Guess that's why they call it practice.
As the actual Grammy show got under way, Prince and Beyoncé had just set the house on fire and finished an onstage ceremony of sorts that TV viewers didn't see, where P laid his handkerchief out on the floor for Beyoncé to walk on. After the singer obliged, Prince began clapping. You get the feeling if the phrase weren't so played out, Prince would've told her, "You go, girl!"
Kanye West was the first major celeb noticeably making the rounds backstage. Actually, before seeing Kanyeeze, one had to take in the spectacle of his sharply dressed mascot, Dropout Bear, who was traveling with the MC along with his management team.
By chance Dame Dash and Kareem "Biggs" Burke were also backstage doing some heavy self-promotion. While Biggs sorted out three different Roc-A-Fella-branded mixtapes, Dash held an advance copy of the magazine he's funding, America.
"Oh we do it all in here, movies, fashion, there's going to be some music, I mean everything," Dash told a lady backstage.
The Armadale-popping mogul did take a break from giving himself big-ups to rib his signee, who had on a light-colored, almost peach-looking sport coat.
"You look like you're eating a piece of your jacket," Dame laughed as Kanye chewed a chunk of melon.
The producer was all smiles as well, as he was able to look down on the venue and watch Justin Timberlake's performance from the stairs leading to the seats.
"Whoooooooo," Kanye, this time eating chicken and peas, began to yell when Justin finished.
Meanwhile, Gwen Stefani was coming from the print press room to make her rounds with the networks. She gracefully stopped when the network people or Staples Center staff told her how beautiful she looked.
At the same time in the hall, Nas and Kelis were showing their unconditional love for each other. When the two performers weren't giving interviews, they were holding hands on their way to give another interview. (Click for photos of Alicia Keys, Kelis, Amy from Evanescence, and Dave Navarro and Carmen Electra getting ready for their big night out.)
While Kelis was in with one reporter, P. Diddy had just made his way to the press area, accompanied by his own artist Loon, a couple of bodyguards and the newest member of G-Unit, Game. Diddy and Nas immediately shook hands and embraced each other when they crossed paths.
Seconds later, Diddy was scrambling to see Beyoncé go underneath the stage lights again.
"Is there a place I can see here?" Diddy asked. "I can't miss this."
P.D. was ushered to the same perch from which Kanye watched Timberlake perform. His viewing was interrupted by his cell phone, but he seemed to be keeping his eyes on Beyoncé (he kept his sunglasses on) as he held the phone to his ear.
"Beyoncé was my favorite performance so far," Diddy later told everyone in the main press room. Puff also alerted everyone that the Grammy Awards would be the last time people would be seeing him for a while, as he wanted to concentrate on his role in "A Raisin in the Sun" and would be going underground.
"Who won? Oh, Coldplay," he said in mid-sentence when the reporters began cheering Coldplay's win for Record of the Year (see "Beyonce Wins Most, Outkast Shine, 50 Cent Shut Out At Grammys").
Obviously everyone is going to have questions for P.D., and when the media-room attendant rudely tried to cut Diddy off in the middle of a sentence he took exception.
"I'm almost done, playboy," Diddy said. "I been here for a while. Whoever wants me out can come get me out their selves."
Later, as Snoop Dogg and the Archbishop Don "Magic" Juan were coming from the same media room, they ran into George Clinton's P-Funk crew.
"Loved one," Snoop said to Bootsy Collins.
"You looking good," George told Snoop.
"See, I steps my game up," the Dogg smiled. "We gotta stay sharp. Save me a 10 spot. I wanna come up onstage with you."
Farnsworth Bentley was also impressed with the West Coast king's wardrobe. "Maaaan. Snoop Dogg got a cape on! That boy there is a fool."
Snoop didn't stand out as much as the man in the P-Funk band who was dressed in a diaper. The man, covered in nothing but his baby garment and a sequined black coat, had had enough.
"Is there any food up here?" he asked a talent wrangler. "You sure?" he asked again when she said no. "I smell it!"
He then starting rubbing his bare belly and professed his hunger again.
As the night began to wind down, Beyoncé was stopped by Creed's Scott Stapp.
"Congratulations," he said, giving the Houston native props on the night. "You look so beautiful."
The two later took pictures and hugged.
Beyoncé got some love from Snoop Dogg as she walked by. "What's up baby, do your thing girl," the Dogg said, but no hugs. The lanky MC was busy holding court with a violinist who was with George Clinton. She auditioned for him right on the spot.
"I'mma definitely get at you," he told her. I need you on my record. I want you to play 'Good Times.' You remember that?"
The lady looked at him with bewilderment, so he sang it for her in a slow pimp drawl.
"Just look-iiiing outta the windoooowwww ..."
After two performances and three wins, the entire world was looking at Outkast, but Dre's young son just wanted to look at his bed. The tyke was falling asleep in his dad's arms as Andre 3000 and Big Boi made their final exit from the Staples Center.
So what do the duo do after a successful night in L.A.? Head for the hills! Outkast's manager Blue Williams gave his pair a bash like no other in the Hollywood Hills, where at one moment you could see Paula Abdul and Common, then look across the way and see Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson.
An hour before the Grammy Awards, check out "MTV News: All Up in the Grammys," which airs at 7 p.m. ET/PT. And stay online with us throughout the night for full coverage.
For a look at the nominees, Grammy fashion, past winners and much more, visit our Grammy hub.