In spite of being the plucky, show-must-go-on Broadway veteran that she is, the illin' Streisand has been counted out of tomorrow night's Grammy Awards, organizers said Tuesday.
Rehearsal schedules at Grammy Central (aka, New York's Radio City Music Hall) had been worked and reworked to afford the 55-year-old überstar, feverish since being waylaid by the flu last weekend, every chance to get in mike time before her scheduled "Tell Him" duet Wednesday with diva heir apparent, Celine Dion.
While things looked bleak on Sunday (she called in sick for a run-through), the chances of a rare Streisand live performance were initially upgraded today to "maybe." Gossip maven Liz Smith even promised that La Streisand was "on antibiotics" to make her date with Grammy.
But that was all for naught. In a statement released late Tuesday, Grammy honcho Michael Greene confirmed CBS' worst fears: "We are all very disappointed that Ms. Streisand will not be able to perform on the show due to her illness."
The Eye network should have couriered a pot of chicken soup over to the superstar's hotel room. The network heavily hyped the Barbra-Celine coupling during its otherwise languid Winter Games. (Of course, that was before Streisand started sniffling just like every other under-the-weather athlete at the flu-besieged Nagano Olympic Village.)
In Streisand's absence, Dion will go solo, performing her ubiquitous single from the Titanic soundtrack, "My Heart Will Go On," instead of "Tell Him."
The show will also feature its usual eclectic (schizophrenic?) roster of talent: from Will Smith and the Blues Brothers to Luciano Pavarotti.
"Tell Him" is nominated for a Grammy in the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals category. The cut, released last fall, is featured on both Streisand and Dion's new albums, Higher Ground and Let's Talk About Love, respectively.
Now that Streisand's not taking the stage with Dion, it could be perceived as the second slight of her younger, more trendy-popular counterpart. At the 1997 Oscars, Streisand visited the bathroom during Dion's performance of "I Finally Found Someone"--the love theme from the Babs' The Mirror Has Two Faces--a song that Babs herself declined to sing at the ceremony. (Dion and Streisand claimed no feud. Dion explained that Barbra didn't know she was due on stage when nature called.)
(UPDATED 3:25 p.m. PT)