"Thank you for listening to me talk." With that, David Letterman summed up his Janet Jackson interview Monday night.
In her much-hyped first appearance on CBS since the Super Bowl halftime show, Jackson wore a red dress cut to expose hips waist and ample cleavage. "That's almost a malfunction itself," said Letterman.
Letterman's obvious eagerness to hear Jackson's side of the story was matched by Jackson's reluctance to say anything. It was frequently an awkward stand-off.
Jackson spent virtually the entire interview shyly, then exasperatedly, deflecting Letterman's repeated attempts to engage her in a discussion of what happened at half-time.
So much, so, in fact, that CBS wound up editing out an exasperated "jesus!" from Jackson as Letterman continued to grill her.Jackson did reiterate that it was a complete surprise, not a stunt. Still, a few minutes later she suggested it was planned, but it was not supposed to happen "just the way it did."
When Jackson revealed she was wearing jewelry similar to that exposed during half-time, Letterman said he wanted to check it out. The screen faded to black and Letterman apparently feigned an inspection as band leader Paul Schaeffer insisted to the TV audience that nothing was actually being revealed.
When Letterman suggested that having a guy grab at a woman and "pull her thing off" sends a bad message to young boys, Jackson nervously fixed on his use of the word "thing," but would not answer. "Why are we talking about this?" she said plaintively. When he said he wouldn't want his young son to see that, she said, "What, a breast?"
Jackson was equally mum about her brother Michael's current troubles.