The music industry continues to fight against its reported demise with blockbuster celebrations of its finest contributors, such as tonight’s ceremony of The 56th Annual Grammy Awards, airing tonight from 8-11:30 on CBS. The Grammys 2014 edition will see a familiar host in LL Cool J, who also hosted the festivities last year.
It’s difficult some years — then again, some years it isn’t — to say what is the more anticipated part of the evening: the awards themselves or the performances. The many, many performances.
On the nominees front: Jay-Z leads the way with nine nods, with Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Justin Timberlake and Pharrell Williams all close behind with seven. Regardless of who wins what, expect more than one cutaway shot to Beyonce as her husband’s categories come up.
The roster of performers is ridiculously stacked, as usual, and includes Madonna (who hopefully will refrain from any racial appropriation); Sara Bareilles with Carole King; Gary Clark Jr.; Daft Punk with Nile Rogers; Pharrell Williams; Stevie Wonder; Hunter Hayes; Katy Perry; Lorde; Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons; and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Special performances include Billie Joe Armstrong (of Green Day) and Miranda Lambert performing a tribute to Phil Everly; a time-spanning collection of country stars consisting of Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson and Blake Shelton; and a rock confab featuring Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Dave Grohl, and Lindsey Buckingham.
Oh, and incidentally, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr (oh, and Yoko Ono) are going to be in the same building. Who knows what might happen? Most of the Beatles fireworks could be saved for that Beatles special coming up Feb. 9, commemorating the 50th anniversary of their performance on The Ed Sullivan Show, but it’s hard to imagine there won’t be some Fab Four love shown tonight.
Then, curiously, there are the celebrity presenters. So far, the non-musical people handing out awards includes Julia Roberts, Jeremy Renner, Steve Coogan and Anna Faris. Hey, it’s nice to see all these people, but how odd would it be if Robin Thicke showed up this year at the Oscars to hand out Best Actor?