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Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 02/16/2011

Kids can be so cruel: The Esperanza Spalding vs. Justin Bieber worldwide freakout, Day Three

By Allison Stewart

esperanza spaldingEsperanza Spalding: Best Non-Bieber. (Kyle Gustafson/FTWP)

It's been three days since little-known jazz bassist/singer Esperanza Spalding upset Justin Bieber for the Best New Artist trophy at Sunday night's Grammy awards, commencing a YouTube/Twitter/blogosphere freakout the likes of which we have not seen since Miley last picked up a bong. Spalding's Wiki page was Bieber-bombed by irate members of his child army who threatened her life and, for reasons that are less clear, changed her middle name to "Quesadilla." Kids can be so cruel!

While we wait for the healing to begin, we thought we'd address some common questions that have arisen in the wake of what we will now, for decency's sake, refer to only as The Incident:

Who the heck is Esperanza Spalding, and is her life insurance up to date?

She's a jazz musician. She has an album out. Possibly it's good, but we're not getting in the middle of this. (Actually, it is.) And those classier than us certainly seem to like her. We think she looks like what would happen if Willow Smith and Gwyneth Paltrow had a baby. And yes, we know that's impossible.

There have been so many death threats. How can you pick a favorite?

You can't. It wouldn't be fair. But we are partial to a tweet from @Danideelove that suggested Spalding "Go die in a whole" (we think she means "hole"). More, mostly unprintable ones, can be found here.

(Bieber takes it like a man, and why Grammy voters were probably not smoking crack, after the jump.)

Could this have happened because Grammy voters figured that everyone else was going to vote for Justin Bieber, freeing them to vote for someone else? Or maybe they're just really sick of him and wanted to cut him down to size a little?


How is Bieber holding up?

Like a champ. He publicly embraced Spalding backstage, either potentially sparing her life or endangering it further: We just don't know yet. He exhibited just the right amount of disappointment during an appearance on "Chelsea Lately," saying "I'm not going to lie. People are expecting me to say something else, but I am disappointed."

Why is Bieber acting like this was his to lose, anyway? Weren't there other artists nominated in this category? Entirely credible candidates like Drake and Florence and the Machine?

Yes, which makes Spalding's win even more surprising. In a way, she took one for the team.

By Allison Stewart  | February 16, 2011; 11:30 AM ET
Categories:  Riffs  
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Next: John Legend, Smokey Robinson and more to honor "Motown Sound" with White House concert


The most talented, deserving, and hardest working musician at the Grammys "took one for the team"?

A little research will show she's more than a jazz musician, she is one of the most accomplished musicians at her age this century.

Posted by: zaza945 | February 16, 2011 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Esperanza Spalding has been one of the biggest names in the world of jazz for the last few years. What surprises me is that she one best new artist when she has put out 2 records already and was a side person in bands for years before that. I had never heard of Lady Antebellum before Sunday night. There is a good reason for that. I never listen to country music. It is fine to like country music, it is just not my thing. Evey person who is currently a modern jazz fan knew Esperanza Spalding long before this Sunday.

Posted by: evensteven1 | February 16, 2011 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Technically she has 3 records plus she was the leader for Noise for Pretend back in the day, and the side-work as a bassist ...

But then didn't Blues Traveller have four albums out when they were nominated for best new artist?

Then again, the Bieb has rereleased the same batch of material 3 or 4 times now, so I guess nothing the Best New Artist award is tainted.

Posted by: M__N | February 17, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Like I have said numerous times, if the FBI and/or Canadian Mounties (Justin is Canadian) came and knocked on some of these "beliebers" front doors, they would stop faster than the late Dale Earnhardt, Sr. doing a lap at Daytona International Racetrack. Death threats are illegal and can land you in jail for 2 years or more.

Posted by: superbenA2002 | February 20, 2011 6:27 PM | Report abuse

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