March 18, 2002 12:00 PM

Forget the five trophies (including Album of the Year) the sleeper hit O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack snagged at the 44th Annual Grammy Awards. The real surprises at the Feb. 27 fete, held at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, took place on the red carpet, where Lil’ Kim, clad in Chanel’s leather motorcycle gear, rolled up on her red Vespa (“It gets me where I’m going—fast,” she said) and Olympic golden-boy-next-door Jimmy Shea Jr. schmoozed Hugh Hefner. “I wanted to ask if I could go to his mansion,” Shea said, “but I was too shy.” Timidity wasn’t an issue for presenter Sheryl Crow, who sported a barely there blue-suede jumpsuit by Henry Duarte. “Turning 40 really agrees with me,” Crow said. “I’m busting out.”

So were guests at the five biggest postshow parties, including quintuple-winner Alicia Keys and Christina Aguilera, who munched on sushi and 10 different types of pizza at the BMG bash. Matthew Perry, meanwhile, looked to make a new friend at the Warner Music blowout. “I’m dying to meet Bono,” he said. “He’s like the Messiah.” Less reverential was Matchbox Twenty singer Rob Thomas. “Here,” Thomas said, holding up a place card. “This is U2’s reserved table. We stole it from them!”

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