Despite heightened security at the 55th Grammy Awards, Ukrainian TV journalist and celebrity prankster Vitalii Sediuk managed to infiltrate the Staples Center on Sunday night and nearly accept an award on Adele's behalf. Now Sediuk, 24, exclusively tells The Hollywood Reporter how he pulled off the high-risk stunt that landed him in jail.
“My channel didn’t get credentialed, so I went with friends who had tickets,” Sediuk, who once earned a slap from Will Smith after kissing him on a red carpet, reveals. “They didn’t check how many we had, so I was let in. First I went to the media line and interviewed quite a few celebrities, like Jennifer Lopez and Nicole Kidman....Then I just followed one girl in a green dress through the (Staples Center) gates. They checked my pockets but never asked to see a ticket. Only once I was inside the building did I realize, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s Katy Perry!’”
After being told the show was about to begin, Sediuk found an empty seat in the second row, surrounded by A-listers such as Justin Timberlake, Beyonce and Sting. “I think it belonged to Adam Levine,” Sediuk says, “because he was sitting on the ground."
Sediuk insists he had no plans to mount the Grammys stage: "The idea to go on the stage came up at the last second. To be honest, Adele is my favorite singer. So when I heard her name, I came up with this idea to go up on the stage and say what I said.... I pretended this was an award for me, and then I said, 'Thank you, Adele. You’re my inspiration.'”
It all happened so quickly that security and bodyguards failed to react -- but Lopez, who was startled but composed, handled the situation deftly, pulling Sediuk away from the microphone and gesturing him offstage with a thumb.
"I don't remember her (facial) expression, but I remember someone pulled me. When I saw the video, I realized it was Jennifer Lopez," Sediuk says. After he walked backstage, crew and security were ready for him -- and weren't pleased.
"People were quite angry. I felt very nervous -- this will sound funny -- and I asked for water. And one guy was so furious, but he brought water. Then police guys took me to a room and asked a lot of questions about how I got inside," he says.
After being cuffed, fingerprinted, photographed and spending a night in a cold jail cell, Sediuk was charged with trespassing and released Monday morning pending a March court date. As for his crime, he accepts his punishment but insists that while he can sometimes "be rude," his antics are mostly innocuous and well-meaning.
"My purpose is to entertain and to show a different emotion of celebrities," Sediuk says, adding, "I’m not a crazy guy. I just think differently."