Grammy Performance Preview

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Lady GaGa / Billie Joe
WRITTEN BY
David Marchese

It's all well and good to give out awards and watch performers thank everyone who ever really, truly believed in them when nobody else did, but the most exciting thing about the Grammy telecast is undoubtedly the performances. Remember Soy Bomb crashing Bob Dylan's party? How about Eminem's emotional duet with Elton John? With today's announcement of some of performers who will be gracing the stage at L.A.'s Staples Center on January 31, we can start wondering who'll be the ones to shake, shimmy, and sing their way into Grammy history.Here's the list:

  • Beyonce
    Nominations (10): Song of the Year for "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)"; Record of the Year for "Halo"; Album of the Year for I Am...Sasha Fierce; Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "Halo"; Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)"; Best Traditional R&B Vocal performance for "At Last"; Best R&B Song for "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)"; Best Contemporary R&B Album for I Am...Sasha Fierce; Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Ego" (with Kanye West); Best Song Written for Motion Picture, Television, or Other Visual Media for "Once in a Lifetime" (From Cadillac Records)
    What to expect: With more nominations than anyone else, this could shape up to be a very big night for Beyonce -- and the show's producers know it. Look for a high profile guest appearance, likely from Kanye or her man, Jay-Z.
  • Black Eyed Peas
    Nominations (6): Record of the Year for "I Gotta Feeling"; Album of the Year for The E.N.D.; Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for "I Gotta Feeling"; Best Pop Vocal Album for The E.N.D.; Best Dance Recording for "Boom Boom Pow"; Best Short Form Music Video for "Boom Boom Pow."
    What to expect: When Will.I.Am, Fergie, and, uh, the other two, get together, things have a way of transforming into a high energy dance party. If there's an act capable of getting the big-name behinds up out of their seats, it's the Black Eyed Peas.
  • Dave Matthews Band
    Nominations (2): Album of the Year for Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King; Best Rock Album for Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King
    What to expect: Given that Big Whiskey was intended as a tribute to the band's recently deceased sax player LeRoi Moore, I think the DMB will offer up something bittersweet rather than its more typical swirling folk-jams.
  • Green Day
    Nominations (3): Best Rock Performance by a Duo/Group with Vocals for "21 Guns"; Best Rock Song for "21 Guns"; Best Rock Album for 21st Century Breakdown.
    What to expect: Billie Joe Armstrong will strum an acoustic guitar as the band somberly runs through "21 Guns." I will eat my shoe if this doesn't happen.
  • Lady Antebellum
    Nominations (2): Best Country Performance by a Duo/Group with Vocals for "I Run To You"; Best Country Song for "I Run to You."
    What to expect: Building on the foundation of last year's Best New Artist nod, the trio is now filling the obligatory sexy young country act slot. Meaning, Hillary Scott will show some leg.
  • Lady Gaga
    Nominations (5): Record of the Year for "Poker Face"; Album of the Year for The Fame; Song of the Year for "Poker Face"; Best Dance Recording for "Poker Face"; Best Electronic/Dance Album for The Fame.
    What to expect: Maybe she'll come out covered in lemurs. Perhaps she'll descend from the Staples center on a gondola made out of meatballs. Whatever the spectacle-mongering Lady Gaga does, you can be sure we'll be talking about it -- for better or worse -- the morning after.
  • Maxwell
    Nominations (5): Song of the Year for "Pretty Wings"; Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for "Love You"; Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for "Pretty Wings"; Best R&B Song for "Pretty Wings"; Best R&B Album for BLACKsummers'night.
    What to expect: The sales success of his BLACKsummers'night proved that the audience hungry to hear Maxwell's sophisticated slow jams hadn't shrunk in the eight years since his last album. Look for more sensual seduction come Grammy night.
  • Pink
    Nominations (2): Best Female Rock Performance for "Sober"; Best Pop Vocal Album for Funhouse.
    What to expect: Her big-grossing Funhouse tour featured a bevy of harlequins and acrobats as part of its loose circus theme. Expect a scaled-down version of the same.
  • Taylor Swift
    Nominations (8): Record of the Year for "You Belong With Me"; Album of the Year for Fearless; Song of the Year for "You Belong With Me"; Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "You Belong With Me"; Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for "Breathe" (with Colbie Caillat); Best Female Country Vocal Performance for "White Horse"; Best Country Song for "White Horse"; Best Country Album for Fearless;
    What to expect: At last year's Grammy ceremony, Swift duetted with Miley Cyrus on "Fifteen." But after releasing a huge-selling albums -- and rivaling Lady Gaga for breakout of the year -- Swift won't be sharing the spotlight with anyone this time around.
  • Zac Brown Band
    Nominations (3): Best New Artist; Best Country Performance by a Duo/Group with Vocals for "Chicken Fried"; Best Country Album for The Foundation.
    What to expect: Nothing fancy. This Atlanta country-rock sextet made it big by keeping things down home. I'd be surprised -- and a little disappointed -- if they don't all show up in jeans.

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