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Grammys producer discusses Kobe Bryant tribute scramble, Recording Academy controversy, Taylor Swift and making up with Ariana Grande

  • Ken Ehrlich, who produced his final Grammys Sunday after helming the ceremony since 1980, told Variety on Monday his experience dealing with the shocking death of Whitney Houston the day before the 2012 Grammys prepared his team for dealing with the shocking death of the Los Angeles Lakers legend, which was confirmed five hours before airtime. Ehrlich said it was host Alicia Keys' idea to sing “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” with Boyz II Men. "You know that they were already on the show with Tyler (the Creator)," he said. "We ran them over really quick from the hotel and put ‘em in her dressing room, and they rehearsed that maybe for six minutes while she was getting dressed, then it went on the air. It’s really amazing what the human condition can do when you’re tested. And we were tested." As for the controversy surrounding Recording Academy Deborah Dugan's abrupt ouster, Ehrlich said: "With the controversy, if you’re going to call it that, at the Academy, I never let that get into our DNA at all. I had one or two meetings with my staff as it was happening and said to them, 'Look, there’s stuff out there. It’s not going to be complimentary. It ultimately will spill over to what the show is, even though I don’t think it should. But we can’t be distracted.'" Ehrlich also spoke about Swift and how "her representatives called and said, specifically, that she wanted to do the show for me. And then it was not confirmed. So these reports that she pulled out of the show… She was never booked." Ehrlich also recalled patching up last year's rift with Ariana Grande: "I went down to the Forum to see her one night, and we talked for a little while and we hugged each other and we said, 'Let’s get past this. There’s no reason for this to happen. Let’s work on doing a great number on the Grammys,'" he said. "That was it. No drama."

    TOPICS: The Grammy Awards, CBS, Alicia Keys, Ariana Grande, Deborah Dugan, Ken Ehrlich, Kobe Bryant, Taylor Swift, Award Shows, Boyz II Men, The Recording Academy