The Grammys really want you to watch their show on Sunday. And they’re doing it by throwing as many performers as humanly possible onstage — many of them at the same time.
This afternoon, the producers announced that the long-dormant, recently reconstituted surviving members of the Beach Boys — Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, and David Marks — would be making their return to the stage at the show for their first performance together in roughly two decades.
In a confounding bit of casting, they’ll join “Pumped Up Kicks” hitmakers Foster the People and “Moves Like Jagger” juggernaut Maroon 5 for a never-before, never-again collaboration that has the potential to be both a blissfully memorable celebration of great music or a complete and utter train wreck. (On a side note: This is totally the performance the Grammys wanted Bon Iver to be a part of, right?)
Also on the Grammys performance roster this year? The Civil Wars, Maceo Parker, Diana Krall, and Joe Walsh. For those of you keeping track, the current performance lineup looks like this: Adele; Tony Bennett and Carrie Underwood; Glen Campbell, the Band Perry, and Blake Shelton; Coldplay and Rihanna; Foo Fighters, deadmau5, David Guetta, Chris Brown, and Lil Wayne in a tribute to dance music; Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson; Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt paying homage to Etta James; Bruno Mars; Paul McCartney; Nicki Minaj; Katy Perry; Bruce Springsteen; and Taylor Swift.
It was unclear whether or not the Civil Wars, Parker, Krall, and Walsh would be performing together (though that quartet doesn’t make any sense at all, for what it’s worth), but even if they are, that’s a conservative grand total of 15 performances over the course of Sunday night’s show. Last year’s version of the Grammys featured 17, and there’s still time for some surprises.
Adele’s performance is undoubtedly the most hotly anticipated and the most important, as it will be the first time the world has heard her since her vocal cord surgery. But the biggest headline-grabbers from last year were the tributes and collaborations, so let’s dive into those, shall we? Beach Boys, Pumped Up Kicks, and Maroon 5
Foster the People make sense as heirs to the Beach Boys’ throne; there’s plenty of SoCal vocal harmonies and sonic weirdness on their debut album Torches. Maroon 5 make a little less sense musically, though like the Beach Boys, they do like putting whistling in songs and are also from the Golden State. As noted above, this could be a delightful celebration of the Beach Boys music and legacy, or an awkward cluster that makes everybody look bad. There is nothing in between.
Foo Fighters, deadmau5, Lil Wayne, David Guetta, and Chris Brown
The Grammys are touting this as the first tribute to dance music in the show’s history, which seems impossible. But even if it is true, this doesn’t seem like the way to go about it. Guetta’s crossover sound bridges the gap between the hardcore club thump of deadmau5, hip-hop, and R&B. Foo Fighters did get some remix help from deadmau5, so there’s a tenuous connection there, but is there any doubt that this will be anything but a gimmicky mess?
Tony Bennett and Carrie Underwood
Their collaboration on Bennett’s album is great, and Underwood has a way of elevating herself for big moments. This could also be the place where the Grammys slip in an Amy Winehouse tribute.
Glen Campbell, the Band Perry, and Blake Shelton
Country legend Campbell is suffering from Alzheimer’s and is in the midst of a farewell victory lap in the form of a tour and an excellent 2011 album Ghost on the Canvas. There isn’t much of Campbell’s old-school sound in the Band Perry, but both they and Shelton have quite a bit of reverence for Campbell, so this should be one of the most emotionally satisfying bits of the night.
Alicia Keys, Bonnie Raitt, and more to be announced
These two will participate in an Etta James tribute, and since they both borrow quite a lot from James’ vocal stylings, this should be sweet and reverent, if not entirely world-beating. Will Christina Aguilera reprise her much-discussed recent “At Last” outing? Time — and possibly self-tanner — will tell.
What performance are you most looking forward to during this Sunday’s Grammys (which will be live-blogged and such here in this space)?
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