LOS ANGELES — It's nearly noon when Amerie settles into her two-story penthouse suite at the W Hotel to prepare for the 48th annual Grammy Awards. Flanked by her makeup artist and hairstylist, the two-time nominee relaxes in her gray Juicy Couture tracksuit and bare feet before donning a Giorgio Armani gown for the big night.
"This is my first time at the Grammys," she says. "It's exciting."
Although this New Jersey native is "just happy to be nominated," she's also looking forward to getting all dolled up. "It's fun to get dressed up," she says. Designer duds, diamonds and pearls may not be part of Amerie's everyday wardrobe, but "borrowing clothes is like having a really big closet," she jokes.
After selecting her champagne-colored Armani gown at a fashion show in Milan, Italy, Amerie headed to Fred Leighton to finish her look. When she saw a freshwater pearl ring and diamond-and-pearl earrings at the Beverly Hills jewelry store, she knew she'd hit the jackpot. "I like bling, but not too much bling," she says, drizzling garlic oil on top of her mushroom, pepper and black olive pizza. "I usually go a little sparse on accessories."
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Getting her face touched up by makeup artist AJ Crimson, Amerie is equally easygoing about her beauty routine. "I try to drink a lot before an event," she says. "You need a lot of water because your makeup won't go on well if your skin isn't moisturized."
To overcome jet lag, Amerie — who's in the midst of recording a new album in New York — always makes sure to get plenty of rest before hitting a red carpet. "I tried to get eight hours last night," she says. To help her relax, she lit a vanilla-scented candle for "a familiar scent," to make her feel at home.
Home, however, is 3,000 miles away. So, win or lose, the singer plans to celebrate in a big way. "I have two dresses," says Amerie, who came prepared with Armani and Jenny Packham sheaths for Kanye West's and Sony's afterparties. "I haven't decided which one I'm going to wear yet."
Until then, she's content to slip into the hand-beaded Armani gown that she says "fits like a glove." Sashaying across the room in the plunging dress, she pays tribute to Christina Aguilera, singing, "I feel beautiful!"
One last glimpse in the mirror, a hair touch-up by stylist Stephanie Pohl, and she's ready to go. "It's a good thing I didn't eat an extra piece of pizza," she jokes. "This dress is so tight that I could jump up and down and do cartwheels and it still wouldn't move!"
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.