"Please be sure that buttocks and female breasts are adequately covered," reads a "wardrobe advisory" sent out from CBS' standards and practices department. "Thong type costumes are problematic." Aren't they always?
Don't worry, there are more "problems" to come. "Please avoid exposing bare fleshy under curves of the buttocks and buttock crack. Bare sides or under curvature of the breasts is also problematic." In other words, ladies, CBS would really rather not see your side-cleavage or under-cleavage... and that goes for rear-end cleavage, too, guys.
The memo, as leaked by Deadline Hollywood, does go on. "Please avoid sheer see-through clothing that could possibly expose female breast nipples," CBS tells the performers' reps. "Please be sure the genital region is adequately covered so that there is no visible 'puffy' bare skin exposure."
What hath Beyonce wrought? Memos like these have not been a matter of course prior to other Grammy telecasts. But Bey's revealing Super Bowl wardrobe made some middle-American mothers and conservative pundits think they'd accidentally tuned in to the Lingerie Bowl, and it's hard not to wonder if all that Victoria's Secret-friendly costuming is what led the network to suddenly issue a very 20th-century-sounding call for (relative) modesty.
CBS is airing the Grammys just one week after the Bowl brought some heat down upon the network. In response to First Lady Michella Obama tweeting that she was "so proud" of Beyonce's performance, conservative radio talk-show host Laura Ingraham sarcastically tweeted back: "'Very family-friendly dancing S&M by Beyonce. What every girl should aspire to... Writhing in leather bustier in public=Grrl power."
And it wasn't just the half-time entertainers riling up the right. The Parents Television Council urged the FCC to take action after MVP Joe Flacco dropped an F-bomb in front of 100-million-plus viewers right after the game.
The Grammys will be on a delay to allow for bleeping—something the Super Bowl may be subject to, someday, too, given the complaints—but the network isn't taking any chances with naughty words that would need to be visually blurred, either. "OBSCENITY OR PARTIALLY SEEN OBSCENITY ON WARDROBE IS UNACCEPTABLE FOR BROADCAST," reads the one part of the memo in all-caps. And don't try sneaking profanity through in Japanese or Latin, licentious superstars! "Foreign language on wardrobe will need to be cleared," the missive continues.
In the old days, when you could count on a token classical or jazz spot on the Grammys, it would be easy to imagine Beverly Sills willingly adding a couple of inches of cloth to her corset, or Itzhak Perlman sighing, "Okay, I'll put away the butt chaps if I have to." But given that the Grammys now tend to emphasize much the same kind of pop favorites that make the MTV Awards so racy, it's not as if all the attendees (and their backup dancers) will have a demure alternative wardrobe packed in their luggage.
Think Pink. More specifically, think back to the memorable moments when she hovered over the audience wearing one of those "problematic thong-type" outfits. Most of the fabric that was visible on camera went into the rope holding her in the air.
Looking over the list of performers this year, there are a few that CBS doesn't have to worry about. Butt cracks, too much chest, or unsightly bulges from the Black Keys, Jack White, Kelly Clarkson, the Lumineers, Dierks Bentley, or Bruno Mars?
So you have to suppose this directive might be oriented toward the dance-pop-oriented performers who are most likely to bring a host of gyrating backup dancers on stage—namely, the oft-provocative Rihanna; previous wardrobe-malfuction-enabler Justin Timberlake; and the former goody-goody who now seems out to prove he's a bad cat, Justin Bieber.
Or maybe the network isn't really worried about any performers in particular and, after the Beyonce backlash, just feels it has to cover its own behind by leaving behind a paper trail of prudishness.
Anyhow, we can only hope the memo made its way to Soy Bomb, the half-naked guy who once famously interrupted Bob Dylan's Grammy performance. He's probably gained a few pounds in the intervening years, so if he's planning on jumping up on stage again this year, please, dude, cover up that cleavage.