Bon Jovi, Melissa Etheridge and Alicia Keys make for a very juicy red carpet at The Recording Academy Honors event taking place at NYC’s Cipriani Wall Street.

Jon Bon Jovi blinds with his super-white teeth and he performs a little dance for the VH1 cameras. Who does Jon credit for his massive success? “My wife, Dorothea, who tolerated this all for 25 years,” he says. Hm. Hey, wait, how did Richie Sambora get out of rehab to attend this shindig? (He checked into Utah’s Cirque Lodge on September 17.) Richie dashes inside when he hears that sort of chatter, but Melissa, who is covering Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On A Prayer and Wanted: Dead Or Alive during the ceremony, addresses the issue. “I’m happy he’s here,” she says. “I hope he’s learning and growing and learning to be strong. When you are held up in that rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle…woo! You’re a rock god, and then you have a drinking problem. Oops. You have to grow up when your job is not to grow up. He’s a big boy, he’ll overcome this.”

And, here’s Alicia, who has choice words when asked about her album going head-to-head with Britney Spears. She brings her mom, who is wearing a sheer white dress. Whoa! The nine-time Grammy winner recently appeared in The Nanny Diaries. Did she have any bad baby-sitting experiences? “I was babysitting when I was 12, and I was watching a kid who was like three. He ate a hand full of pennies, and I was like ‘Oh my God! Oh my God!’ I called my mom and I was like ‘Oh my God, ma, he just ate all these pennies, what do I do?’ She said ‘oh, don’t worry. It’ll come out the other end.”

The publicist tells me she loves my Rihanna interview, in the OK! out now. She really digs what the Umbrella-ella-ella singer says about Britney. (Who can forget how she was caught on camera snickering during that infamous MTV Video Music Awards performance?)

Time to head inside. We enjoy an appetizer of tomato and mozzarella; dinner of filet mignon, potato and asparagus; and a dessert of pumpkin pie before Jon announces his candidacy for the Common Sense party – ha ha – when he accepts his award. The father of four has children on his mind. “Kids really want to write another song, and they want that song to be heard,” he says. “Let’s try to find a way in this day and age that we can continue to turn the next generation and the next generation on to the beautiful gift of music that is given to all of us in our lives. We have to get more creative, folks.”

Oleta Adams covers If I Ain’t Got You, and Alicia tears up when she accepts her prize from Clive Davis, who calls her the most talented artist under the age of 40. (Snap! He says there’s too much “childish behavior” in the music industry – hello, K.C.? Ouch.) Alicia thanks her boyfriend Krucial who “made me fly,” and “the most beautiful woman in the world, my mother Terri.”

And, there’s a gift bag! I love gift bags. I’m invited to the afterparty at Soho Grand, but I can’t stay out all night…

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