Grammys are given out in 100 mind-numbing categories. If you didn't win one, you clearly weren't trying. With so much hardware so readily available, the real competition at last week's ceremony took place between artists trying to bend ever lower beneath the limbo bar of exuberant tastelessness. Madonna, 42, mother of two, staked an early claim by writhing on a hood ornament in a material girl tank top. She was soon followed by 'N Sync's Justin Timberlake, sporting a new haircut and a shirt that appeared to be made of carpaccio, and Christina Aguilera, fresh from her stay on Temptation Island. Erykah Badu shocked the Staples Center audience by revealing her shaved head, while TONI BRAXTON revealed as much Toni Braxton as network television would allow in a vain attempt to erase the memory of Jennifer Lopez. That left Eminem and a man famous for wearing a duck suit to carry the torch for class. Toning down the flamboyance for his duet on Stan, Elton John provided sterling vocals and keyboard improvisation while Eminem kept his composure among scattered boos to deliver six minutes of profanity-scattered rhymes too quick for the fingers on CBS's seven-second delay. In the end, the controversial rapper did not win Album of the Year. Instead the academy honored two aging hipsters who named their band after a dildo in William Burroughs' Naked Lunch and sang a jazzy tune about a pedophile who organizes a three-way. Amazingly, there were no formal Steely Dan protests, unless you consider a nation of people asking "Are they still alive?" a form of protest.