The Grammy Awards are airing on CBS at 8pm this Sunday night. Music’s biggest awards show is often as confounding as it is exciting, but the megawatt lineup suggests noteworthy “moments” (the Grammys’ favorite word) are ahead. Here are six performances I’m anticipating.
Beyoncé (& Jay Z?) The Queen Bey will make her first television appearance since she dropped a world-shaking, album-length bomb on iTunes in December. Rumor has it she’ll be performing the barn-burning jam “Drunk In Love,” which means she’ll likely be joined by none other than her husband Jay Z. His verse does its best to kill the momentum of that otherwise flawless song, but the onstage chemistry should be electric nonetheless.
Beyoncé’s last Grammy performance was in 2010.
Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers It didn’t happen on Colbert. It didn’t happen at the VMAs. But this Sunday, Daft Punk will perform for the first time anywhere in several years, and they’re bringing their “Get Lucky” co-stars with them. I’m most excited for the Stevie Wonder element of this performance, however. How will arguably the world’s best living musician mesh with two French robots? The results could be stunning.
Bonus: Daft Punk’s last televised performance was this Kanye West collaboration at the 2008 Grammy Awards.
Taylor Swift: I was a tad surprised to see the reigning Queen of Pop on the list of performers. After all, she’s in between tours and in the process of writing her next album, which will likely debut in the fall. But she’s an Album of the Year nominee and a showman if ever there was one, so I won’t complain. What will she sing? Will she bring guests? Will she keep it simple or expand her scope? If she plays her cards right, she could be riding a wave of enthusiasm all the way to another million-plus debut for her next album.
Last year, Taylor kicked off the show with a big stick.
Lorde and Kacey Musgraves. Two emerging talents with distinctive voices will take the stage on Grammy night, perhaps to make a statement about their pop peers, or perhaps just to make some good music. Either way, I’ll be interested to see whether Lorde and Musgraves can elevate their profiles even further with these performances, or whether the hype has been overblown. At the Grammy Nominations Concert, Lorde didn’t seem particularly keen on sticking around for applause, but she got plenty of it anyway. Musgraves’ attitude is also notoriously carefree. Either one of these performances could be a breath of fresh air.
Imagine Dragons and Kendrick Lamar. Because WHY? I can’t think of two less compatible artists.
Also noteworthy: Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are set to perform, though possibly not together. Robin Thicke will join Chicago for what promises to be the cheesiest performance in history. Carole King and Sara Bareilles will mash up some of their biggest hits (King’s bigger than Bareilles’, naturally). The show will end with a raucous set from rockers Queens of the Stone Age, Lindsey Buckingham, Nine Inch Nails and Dave Grohl. Plus: Keith Urban! Hunter Hayes! John Legend! Katy Perry! Macklemore and Ryan Lewis! P!nk and Nate Ruess! Expect the show to teeter over the edge of its timeslot. I’ll be there until the end.