Last year’s Grammy telecast featured a funk jam session; this year, it’ll be a tribute to Southern rock. Leading the Southern-fried jam session will be redneck woman Gretchen Wilson, who’s up for four prizes at the Feb. 13 ceremony, CBS announced Thursday. Fellow country artists Tim McGraw and Keith Urban (up for two awards apiece) will also be sitting in, along with actual Southern rockers: Allman Brothers Band alum Dickey Betts, Elvin Bishop, and some members of Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Besides going South, the Grammys are also going West. As in Kanye West, the rapper-producer who is nominated for 10 prizes. West has been also added to the bill, performing a number that will see him joined onstage by gospel group the Blind Boys of Alabama (who are up for two awards), soul-gospel legend Mavis Staples (who’s getting a lifetime achievement award), and West protégé John Legend, the pianist/R&B singer whose recently released major label debut Get Lifted is riding high on the Billboard album chart.
Jamie Foxx isn’t expected to enliven the acceptance speech podium (that’s another awards show), but the presence of Ray Charles will still be felt. Paying tribute to the late soul pioneer (who’s up for six posthumous prizes) will be previous Grammy winners Bonnie Raitt and Billy Preston.
These performers join previously announced Grammy performers U2, Green Day, and Alicia Keys. Also added, as presenters, are Grammy nominees Norah Jones and Ludacris, as well as Extra cohost Mark McGrath and CSI: NY star Gary Sinise. Presenters already on the roster were Ellen DeGeneres, singer-actress Christina Milian, and Milian’s costar in the upcoming movie Be Cool, John Travolta. Queen Latifah will both emcee and perform.