You may still be recovering from the incredibly entertaining power grab that was Beyoncé's Super Bowl halftime show, but there's no time to dilly-dally! Gird your loins for the next pop music extravaganza and all the GIFs, unflattering photographs and slaying of faves that it will entail. Yes, the Grammys are almost here, airing live from L.A. on Sunday (Feb. 10) at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. That means you have only a little time to get your mind right.
That's where we come in. We have surveyed the pop music wilderness, withstanding its harsh winds and gnashing teeth, and we have returned with a map so that you may enjoy its bounty. What we're saying is, we've compiled a handy CliffsNotes guide to this year's Grammys. Here's everything you need to know about Sunday's ceremony.
Your host for the night
LL Cool J. Yep, the same dude who hosted last year, so we guess he must've done a good job? We can't really remember, which is sort of the point of being the Grammy host. The only difference for LL this year is that, instead of merely serving as a sentient promotional tool for CBS' "NCIS: Los Angeles," he is also promoting his very own comeback album, "Authentic Hip Hop." Funny how that works out.
This year's roster represents a decent mix of pop's current trends -- resurgent R&B, roots rock -- though it's lacking in the hip-hop and electronic departments, as always. There's also the usual amount of pop juggernauts, and collaborations both natural and puzzling. It would probably have been quicker for us to just list the acts who aren't performing at the ceremony, but bear with us. This is gonna take a while:
- Justin Timberlake - Taylor Swift - Tribute to Levon Helm featuring Elton John, Mavis Staples, Zac Brown, Alabama Shakes' Brittany Howard and Mumford & Sons - Miguel and Wiz Khalifa - Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert - The Black Keys - Kelly Clarkson - Fun. - The Lumineers - Mumford & Sons - Frank Ocean - Rihanna - Carrie Underwood - Jack White - Ed Sheeran and Elton John - Alicia Keys and Maroon 5 - Bruno Mars, Sting and Rihanna
The story lines
The snubs were the story line leading up to this month, with superstars like Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj, Christina Aguilera and One Direction overlooked by the Grammy cabal. By the time Sunday night rolls around, though, it'll be like those stars don't exist, because there's simply too much going on that's worth talking about. The only Justin on our minds will be the one rocking a suit and tie on the Staples Center stage.
Though he's not up for any awards, JT's return may be the most-anticipated moment of the broadcast. While that's the biggest one-off, the most compelling narrative is the rising Ocean (#badglobalwarmingjokes). Frank has gone so far, so fast, that it's hard to believe he was once just "that guy from Odd Future who can sing." The young crooner has a real shot at leaving this thing with an armful of awards, Adele-style.
Another interesting subplot is the pseudo-return of rock. Thanks to groups like Mumford & Sons and Fun., dance-pop's lead on the charts (and in sales) is no longer quite so dramatic. (Still, the rock-to-rap ratio of this ceremony is totally out of line with the nation's listening habits). Jack White is a total dreamboat to the Recording Academy, but it's Fun., with their mainstream pop appeal and connection with that ever-important "youth" demographic, that could be rock's champions. Their bid for the Grammy slam -- nominated for Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist -- will be a key piece of Sunday's drama.
And then ... there is something known as Al Walser, who is up for Best Dance Recording. At first you may be thinking, "Oh, so it's some foreign DJ who's huge with the raver kids these days. Who cares?" Well, no. He is huge with nobody. He was literally an unknown when his nomination was announced. In fact, he's been dubbed the Rebecca Black of EDM (judging by the song for which he is nominated, and its budget video, that label seems accurate). Everyone is certain his nom is the result of a glitch in the Matrix, and everyone is ticked that he's taking a slot that could've been used on someone like, say, David Guetta who's only the BIGGEST DJ IN ALL OF THE LAND. But everyone's also sort of rooting for him so we can all groan about how the Grammys bungled yet another big award.
- Will Frank Ocean win the night? Or will rock crash his party and lead to more complaints about the Grammys' subservience to the six-string? - What song will JT debut? And will he be joined by a surprise guest? - Which Police song will Bruno and Sting mash up with "Locked Out of Heaven"? - Was PSY invited? - Will Rihanna be sitting with Chris Brown? (Ugh.) - And, seriously, what horrible information does Al Walser have about the Grammy cabal that has enabled him to blackmail them into giving him a nomination?
Janelle Monáe, featured artist; Jeff Bhasker, Emile Haynie, Jake One & TommyD, producers; Jeff Bhasker, Pete Bischoff, Jeff Chestek, Rich Costey, Andrew Dawson, Emile Haynie, Ken Lewis, Manny Marroquin, Sonny Pinnar, Pawel Sek & Stuart White, engineers/mixers; Chris Gehringer, mastering engineer
André 3000, John Mayer, Earl Sweatshirt & Tyler, The Creator, featured artists; Om'Mas Keith, Malay, Frank Ocean, Pharrell & Shea Taylor, producers; Calvin Bailif, Andrew Coleman, Jeff Ellis, Doug Fenske, Om'Mas Keith, Malay, Frank Ocean, Ken Oriole, Philip Scott, Mark "Spike" Stent, Pat Thrall, Marcos Tovar & Vic Wainstein, engineers/mixers; Vlado Meller, mastering engineer
Sean Anderson, Mike Dean, Tauheed Epps, Willie Hansbro, Malik Yusef Jones, Anthony Khan, Stephen Taft, James Thomas, Terrence Thornton, Herbert Turner & Kanye West, songwriters (Denzie Beagle, Winston Riley, Reggie Stepper & Reggie Williams, songwriters)
(Kanye West Featuring Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz)
Label: G.O.O.D. Music; Publishers: Please Gimme My Publishing/EMI Blackwood/RLFG Music/FF to Def Pub./Neighborhood Pusha/Sony ATV Songs/Ty Epps Music/Copyright Control/Roynet Music/Dub Plate Music
Label: Roc-A-Fella Records; Publishers: Hit-Boy Music/Very Good Beats, Hip Hop Since 1978, Dean's List Productions, Unichappell Music
Young, Wild & Free
Calvin Broadus, Chris Brody Brown, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Peter Hernandez & Cameron Thomaz, songwriters (T. Bluechel, M. Borrow, T. Griffin, K. Jackson, N. Lee & M. Newman, songwriters) (Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa Featuring Bruno Mars)
Track from: Mac And Devin Go To High School: Music From And Inspired By The Movie
Label: Atlantic; Publishers: My Own Chit Publishing/EMI Blackwood, PGH Sound, Mars Force Music/Roc Nation Music, Toy Plane Music-Universal Music, Westside Independent, WB Music, Late 80's Music, Beechwood Music, BMG Platinum, Rebellion Corps.
Album of the Year » The Black Keys - El Camino » Fun. - Some Nights » Mumford & Sons - Babel » Frank Ocean - Channel Orange » Jack White - Blunderbuss
Record of the Year » The Black Keys - "Lonely Boy" » Kelly Clarkson - "Stronger" » Fun. feat. Janelle Monae - "We Are Young" » Gotye feat. Kimbra - "Somebody That I Used to Know" » Frank Ocean - "Thinkin Bout You" » Taylor Swift - "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"
Best New Artist » The Alabama Shakes » Fun. » Hunter Hayes » The Lumineers » Frank Ocean
Best Pop Vocal Album » Kelly Clarkson - Stronger » Florence and the Machine - Ceremonials » Fun. - Some Nights » Maroon 5 - Overexposed » Pink - The Truth About Love
Song of the Year » Ed Sheeran - "The A Team" » Miguel - "Adorn" » Carly Rae Jepsen - "Call Me Maybe" » Kelly Clarkson - "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" » Fun. - "We Are Young"
Best Pop Solo Performance » Adele - "Set Fire to the Rain (Live)" » Kelly Clarkson - "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" » Carly Rae Jepsen - "Call Me Maybe" » Katy Perry - "Wide Awake" » Rihanna - "Where Have You Been"
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance » Florence and the Machine - "Shake It Out" » Fun. - "We Are Young" » Gotye feat. Kimbra - "Somebody That I Used to Know" » LMFAO - "Sexy and I Know It" » Maroon 5 - "Payphone"
Best Dance Recording » Avicii - "Levels" » Calvin Harris feat. Ne-Yo - "Let's Go" » Skrillex feat. Sirah - "Bangarang" » Swedish House Mafia feat. John Martin - "Don't You Worry Child" » Al Walser - "I Can't Live Without You"
Best Dance/Electronic Album » Steve Aoki - Wonderland » The Chemical Brothers Don't Think » deadmau5>Album Title Goes Here< » Kaskade Fire & Ice » Skrillex Bangarang
Best Rock Performance » Alabama Shakes - "Hold On" » The Black Keys - "Lonely Boy" » Coldplay - "Charlie Brown" » Mumford & Sons - "I Will Wait" » Bruce Springsteen - "We Take Care of Our Own"
Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance » Anthrax - "I'm Alive" » Halestorm - "Love Bites (So Do I)" » Iron Maiden - "Blood Brothers" » Lamb of God - "Ghost Walking" » Marilyn Manson - "No Reflection" » Megadeth - "Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)"
Best Rock Song » Jack White - "Freedom at 21" » Mumford & Sons - "I Will Wait" » The Black Keys - "Lonely Boy" » Muse - "Madness" » Bruce Springsteen - "We Take Care of Our Own"
Best Rock Album » The Black Keys, El Camino » Muse, The 2nd Law » Coldplay, Mylo Xyloto » Bruce Springsteen, Wrecking Ball » Jack White, Blunderbuss
Best Alternative Music Album » Fiona Apple, The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do » Bjork, Biophilia » Gotye, Making Mirrors » M83, Hurry Up, We're Dreaming » Tom Waits, Bad As Me
Best R&B Performance » Estelle - "Thank You" » Robert Glasper Experiment feat. Ledisi - "Gonna Be Alright (F.T.B.) » Luke James - "I Want You" » Miguel - "Adorn" » Usher - "Climax"
Best Traditional R&B Performance » Anita Baker - "Lately" » Beyonce - "Love on Top" » Melanie Fiona - "Wrong Side of a Love Song" » Gregory Porter - "Real Good Hands" » SWV - "If Only You Knew"
Best Urban Contemporary Album » Chris Brown, Fortune » Miguel, Kaleidoscope Dream » Frank Ocean, Channel Orange
Best R&B Album » Robert Glasper Experiment, Black Radio » Anthony Hamilton, Back To Love » R. Kelly, Write Me Back » Tamia, Beautiful Surprise » Tyrese, Open Invitation
Best Rap Performance » Drake feat. Lil' Wayne - "HYFR (Hell Ya F---ing Right)" » Jay-Z & Kanye West - "N---as In Paris" » Nas - "Daughters" » Kanye West feat. Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz - "Mercy" » Young Geezy feat. Jay-Z & Andre 3000 - "I Do"
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration » Flo Rida feat. Sia - "Wild Ones" » Jay-Z & Kanye West feat. Frank Ocean & The-Dream - "No Church in the Wild" » John Legend feat. Ludacris - "Tonight (Best You Ever Had)" » Nas feat. Amy Whinehouse - "Cherry Wine" » Rihanna feat. Jay-Z - "Talk That Talk"
Best Rap Song » Nas - "Daughters" » Wale feat. Miguel - "Lotus Flower Bomb" » Kanye West Featuring Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz - "Mercy" » Drake feat. Lil' Wayne - "The Motto" » Jay-Z & Kanye West - "N---as In Paris" » Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa Featuring Bruno Mars - "Young, Wild & Free"
Best Rap Album » Drake, Take Care » Lupe Fiasco, Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Pt. 1 » The Roots, Undun » Nas, Life Is Good » Rick Ross, God Forgives, I Don't » 2 Chainz, Based on a T.R.U. Story
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