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Grammys Are Off Their Rocker

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The Grammys needs a new name next year. Call it the "Young and Nubile Awards", or the "It's Okay to be an Older Man But Not An Older Woman Awards", but there was nary a real live Grammy in sight at Sunday's festivities -- despite the fact that it was largely women in this age bracket who saved the industry last year.

Forgive me if as a member of this demographic I'd allowed myself a moment of ebullient optimism when Stephen Colbert used his opening moments on the world stage of this year's Grammy Awards to ask: "What I want to know is: Why isn't Susan Boyle here?"

Why, indeed. "I Dreamed a Dream," the debut release by the 48-year-old singer was the best-selling new album of 2009 -- and second in sales overall. "For many in the music industry Ms. Boyle's sales are a reminder of a large and often forgotten audience: older listeners..." wrote the New York Times.

But lest those of you who missed the Grammys assume we older women were about to be thanked by Colbert, guess again. He went on:

"I mean, (Susan Boyle) accomplished something huge this year. You may have brought the sexy back, but she sent it away again. No thanks Sexy, we're just going with good singing this year...this year the industry was saved by a 48 year old Scottish cat lady in sensible shoes."


And that was just the beginning. Before the night was out, watching in growing dismay the parade of presenters and performers, honorees and attendees, I realized that the industry had managed to render virtually invisible the very demographic that had the potential to come to its rescue again in 2010. Vibrant Women are, after all, the ones with the highest level of disposable income. And despite the stereotypes, we know, love and buy lots of music.

Okay, I don't expect to see one of us in nude body suit hanging from the rafters with water pouring over us, a la Pink (although knowing the cool 50 plus women who I hang out with at, I'm sure at least some of us would be game!) but besides the token Stevie Nicks (61) and the septuagenarian Roberta Flack (fittingly singing "Where is the Love?"), there wasn't a single woman of authentic Grammy age performing at the Grammy's.

This isn't a case of simple ageism, either. For there were plenty of middle-aged and older men. For starters: Placido Domingo, Alice Cooper, Elton John, Jeff Beck, Lionel Richie, Quentin Tarantino, Smoky Robinson, Jeff Bridges, Carlos Santana and Ringo Starr.

And the best they could do for us was Stevie and Roberta, a still life photo of honoree Loretta Lynn, one middle-aged female music business executive and a couple of audience shots of beaming moms?

And you, Stephen Colbert, who I watch religiously every night? To not only ignore us -- but bash us? I must say, it's time to wake up. We real Grammies rock. And as for the music business's top awards show? To marginalize your top consumer: there's only one possible explanation. Your Grammys must be off their rocker.