Were the Grammys as snooze-inducing for the stars in attendance as they were for viewers at home? Don't ask pop starlet Samantha Mumba, 19. "I wasn't there!" she tells TV Guide Online. "My managers got to go, but I was actually up in the air, flying to Chicago to promote The Time Machine."

The latest movie based on H.G. Wells's classic sci-fi novel, Time finds Mumba making her acting debut as a post-apocalyptic beauty. Amidst battling monsters, she catches the eye of lovelorn time traveler Guy Pearce. But the Irish lass — who prefers blokes closer to her own age — wasn't as excited as some of us might be to play Pearce's love interest. "It was fine," she shrugs. "We don't actually kiss or anything, so it kind of leaves [the audience] to their own ideas."

Let's get this clear: Mumba doesn't mind not snogging the 34-year-old Aussie dreamboat in the film, due out this Friday? "No, that's fine," she giggles. "He's married!"

Her shy in-person demeanor belies Mumba's powerful pop personality. Best known for saucy singles like "Gotta Tell You" and "Baby Come Over," she'll release her third album — as yet untitled — this summer. "'Shutting You Down' is my favorite song on the whole album," she previews. "It's just attitude, complete attitude. It's about this guy who's unfaithful to his girlfriend and she's telling him that he was with some slut and that it's his loss. There's this chorus that says, 'You're hard, but I'm harder.'"

"It's still poppy and very catchy stuff," she smiles, "just a little edgier."