HOLLYWOOD — James Blunt is just beginning to make his mark in the U.S., but he's already won over the slew of Hollywood stars, musicians and die-hard fans that swarmed the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip late Tuesday night to get a taste of the British import's heartwarming goods.
Devotees lined up for blocks along the Strip, ready to whip out those lighters and shed a tear or two during Blunt's sold-out concert, which marked the first time the performer had his four-piece live band in tow (he went acoustic for his stint opening for Jason Mraz).
An eclectic array of celebs — including Mraz, Matthew Perry, Shakira, the Donnas, model Petra Nemcova and the Pussycat Dolls' Nicole Scherzinger — all came out to show their support for Blunt, and a white banner posted high above the venue reading "Blunt [Heart] L.A.," showed that the good feelings were mutual.
Producer Linda Perry, who first heard Blunt at the South by Southwest music festival nearly three years ago, made a rare appearance to show her support to the former-British-Army-officer-turned-international-star who has pushed more than 2.4 million albums worldwide (see "James Blunt Finally Getting Love From Americans — But Not Mischa Barton"). Perry signed Blunt to her Atlantic Records imprint, Custard, and she's already expecting the bloke to walk away with a handful of Grammys next year.
"I predict James will be nominated for three awards. He'll win two," the woman behind Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" and Pink's "Get the Party Started" said with conviction. "I'm not saying which ones, but he'll take some home. Mark my words."
Blunt kicked off his hour-and-a-half set with "Billy," a track the singer wrote about a son forced to leave home. He segued into his hit U.K. single "High," drawing screams of approval from the crowd.
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"I played here two years ago, so it's nice to see more people out there than those 25," Blunt joked.
The crooner sat at the piano to belt out the crushing "Goodbye, My Lover," and his haunting vocals even cracked a bit during the tune.
"And they just get more miserable from there," Blunt deadpanned. "I know you all came here to have a good time tonight, so that's why I'm playing so many [unhappy] songs."
The singer balanced out the melancholy mood by throwing out quick quips to the crowd during the show. Blunt even high-fived a couple of lucky audience members as he weaved his way through the rest of Bedlam's tracks, including "So Long Jimmy" and "No Bravery," a distressing tune about destruction and despair in Kosovo (which Blunt saw firsthand when he served as a NATO peacekeeper in the war-torn region). He wrapped up the show with an early-morning performance of his signature hit, "You're Beautiful."
If you couldn't make it to the pre-Grammy gig, you'll get another chance to see Blunt live next month. The singer kicks off the U.S. portion of a worldwide tour on March 13 in Washington, D.C.
The show's over, but there's still plenty of Grammy goodness right here on MTVNews.com. Check out photos of the hottest green-carpet and onstage moments, find out what went down at the celeb-packed parties, and share your thoughts on the performers, winners and losers.
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