Los Angeles’ Staples Center is where the 54th Grammy Awards will go down this Sunday. The CBS telecast kicks off at 8 p.m. EST, and the thought on everyone’s mind is likely this: just how many statues is Britain’s not-so-secret weapon Adele going to jet back to London with? Plus, will Grammy give the gift of a posthumous award to the late Amy Winehouse, who’s up for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance (with Tony Bennett)? Will this be the year Skrillex becomes a household name? Also, will Chris Brown and Rihanna bump into each other? Or will they avoid each other like the plague, given they that they’ve been rumored to be, er, “bumping” again lately? So many questions. But let’s run down what we know we’re in for on Sunday.
YOUR HOST(S) FOR THE NIGHT
Sunday’s ceremony will mark the first time the Grammys have had a host since 2004. And that host is LL Cool J — something we’re well aware of, thanks to his feisty and playful promo clips for the awards show with Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj. (Co-hosts will be Cali jazz saxophonist Dave Koz and pioneering “Keep On, Keepin’ On” rapstress MC Lyte.)
“Ni**as In Paris” hit-maker Kanye West will walk into the ceremony with seven nominations — the most racked up by any artist this year. Right behind him are Adele, Bruno Mars and Foo Fighters, who each earned six nods. Relative newcomer Skrillex is tied with veterans Radiohead and Lil Wayne with five nominations, and Bon Iver, Drake, Jay-Z, Mumford & Sons, Nicki Minaj and Rihanna each have four.
At some point last year, before the Grammy nominations were announced, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon was interviewed by the New York Times. At that time, he talked about what he would say in his acceptance speech if, hypothetically, he were to be nominated and win. “‘Everyone should go home, this is ridiculous. You should not be doing this. We should not be gathering in a big room and looking at each other and pretending that this is important.’ That’s what I would say,” stated Vernon. Turns out he was nominated four times. Oops!
Meanwhile, Vernon’s buddy Kanye West (the two collaborated on My Beautiful Dark Fantasy tracks “Monster” and “Lost In The World”) is also having mixed emotions. During a rambling two-hour Twitter rant early last month, Yeezy tweeted the following: “I appreciate having the most nominations at the Grammies but I feel so conflicted by the fact that award shows sometimes are completely……illogical… Good logic tells me smile Kanye… the world likes you again… red or blue pill? … aaaaand Swallow lol”
Here’s an idea: instead of the pills, ‘Ye, swallow your pride, crack a bottle of bubbly and enjoy yourself.
THE ADELE FACTOR
Look, there’s no denying the fact that Adele Adkins is going into this whole shebang with a gold-plated halo above her head. She had the best-selling LP of 2011 with 21, the best-selling single of 2011 with “Rolling In The Deep” (“Someone Like You” didn’t do too shabby, either) and, since her sophomore set was released nearly a year ago, she’s been on top of the album chart for 19 (non-consecutive) weeks and counting.
As mentioned above, Adele has six Grammy nominations: Album Of The Year (21), Record Of The Year (“Rolling In The Deep”), Song Of The Year (“Rolling In The Deep”), Best Pop Vocal Album (21), Best Pop Solo Performance (“Someone Like You”) and Best Short Form Music Video (“Rolling In The Deep”).
But let’s look at her track record at the various music awards ceremonies from the past few months. Adele won three of the four American Music Awards she was up for in the fall, but nabbed only three of her seven potential MTV VMAs — and those three were all technical ones (Art Direction, Cinematography and Editing) for the “Rolling In The Deep” video. The London-based singer was left empty-handed after both the People’s Choice Awards, where she was nominated four times, and the Soul Train Music Awards, where she stood to win in three categories.
Adele also struck out in the three Teen Choice Awards categories she was nominated for, failed to nab the Mercury Prize for Album Of The Year and emerged from the MOBO Awards with one win (Best UK R&B/Soul Act) out of four.
There seems to be the mindset that the singer will be and should be the night’s big winner. But if history has taught us one thing, it’s to go into the Grammys with a cautious, open mind.
In addition to current chart movers and shakers like Adele, Bruno Mars, Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift taking the stage, as well as veteran acts like Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Maceo Parker and Joe Walsh, there are also several pair-ups scheduled for Grammy night:
* In the wake of Whitney Houston’s untimely death on Saturday, Feb. 11, Grammy producers tagged Jennifer Hudson, who covered Houston’s “I Have Nothing” on American Idol, to perform a tribute to the superstar.
* Coldplay & Rihanna will presumably be performing “Princess Of China”.
* Jason Aldean & Kelly Clarkson are singing their nominated duet “Don’t You Wanna Stay”.
* Chris Brown, Deadmau5, Foo Fighters, David Guetta & Lil Wayne are doing some sort of dance music performance.
* Alicia Keys & Bonnie Raitt will tribute the late Etta James.
* The Beach Boys (!!) will be joined by Foster The People & Maroon 5.
* Glen Campbell, The Band Perry & Blake Shelton have the country collab box ticked.
* Tony Bennett, who performed at the very first Grammys, will perform a duet of “It Had to be You” with Carrie Underwood.
AND THE WINNERS ARE…