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Peter Gabriel Not Performing At Oscars Out of Protest

February 13, 2009 12:56 PM ET

This year's Academy Awards took a big risk by only nominating three songs in the Best Original Song category, and it looks as though it has backfired: Peter Gabriel, who was nominated for "Down To Earth" from Wall-E, will not perform at the ceremony. Gabriel is protesting the producers' decision to only allow him to perform 65 seconds of the track as part of a medley.

"We were originally hoping to perform," he said. "We'd assumed, as there are only three nominees, that the songs would be performed in full. But the producers came in to revamp it as audience figures were falling off," Gabriel said in a video on his Website, "So I've now decided to withdraw from the ceremony, but I'll still go along. I do think it's a bit unfortunate. I do think songwriters, even though they're a small part of the filmmaking process… we still work bloody hard and I think deserve a place in the ceremony as well."

Gabriel is likely the favorite to win the award, having won the Best Song From a Motion Picture trophy at last weekend's Grammy Awards. The other nominees for Best Song at the Oscars are a pair of Slumdog Millionaire songs, "Jai Ho" and "O Saya," which features M.I.A. Given that M.I.A. will most likely have given birth to her child by the February 22nd ceremony, her presence at the Oscars isn't guaranteed either. Thus, the Academy Awards may be faced with the absence of two of three Best Song nominees. We bet they're wishing they hadn't snubbed Bruce Springsteen's "The Wrestler" right about now.

The Oscars have relied on other artists to perform songs in place of the original singer in years past. Think Robin Williams singing "Blame Canada" from that South Park movie. But it'll be awkward to get a replacement for Gabriel when the former Genesis singer is sitting in the crowd. "So I'm an old fart, and it's not going to do me any harm to make a little protest. But the ceremony will be fun and I'm looking forward to it," Gabriel said.

Related Stories:

Oscars Snub Springsteen, Celebrate "Slumdog" As Nominations Are Announced
M.I.A. Responds to Oscar Nod: "I Can Afford to Book Dave Chappelle at the Baby Shower Now."
Oscars Change "Original Song" Rules

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Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

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