Not quite live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, it’s the first day of rehearsals for the 52nd annual Grammy Awards! They gave themselves a fairly light load of artists to start yesterday, but the schedule is filling up with some heavy hitters: Awards show all-star Jamie Foxx and the magnificently manipulated T-Pain rehearsed last night for their just-announced performance with Slash and Doug E. Fresh; there’s a tribute to Les Paul on the books; the cast of the American Idiot musical will perform with Green Day; and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland was mentioned rather non-specifically in a press release yesterday morning, thus increasing the chances we’ll hear “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” as part of the big Bon Jovi tribute to 100.7%. (This year’s Grammys: a lot of tributes!) After the jump, my breakdown from Thursday at the arena…

First to the stage was Best New Artist nominees the Zac Brown Band, the proudly Georgia-based sextet who’ll be performing a medley in Special Grammy Collaboration™ with legendary pianist Leon Russell, including “America the Beautiful” and their nominated breakthrough hit, “Chicken Fried.” For Brown, the Grammys are “the pinnacle,” marking the end of what’s been a pretty extraordinary year. “We’re moving into a whole new horizon,” he says, plugging the West Coast swing of his Breaking Southern Ground tour, on which he’ll be continuing the “Eat and Greets” he started last year. I asked what he’ll be cooking for me, should I stop by. “I’ve got a famous pork tenderloin, and my own sauces that I’m manufacturing.” (Indeed, those sauces can soon be found at Cracker Barrel. Seriously.)

Pink (wait, is it “P!nk”? are we stuck with that exclamation point now?) is nominated for “Sober,” aka the trapeze number she did on the VMAs, and after lunch, rehearsal started with her stunt coordinator and a trio of gold-body-painted dancers spending some time running through the spinning air ballet of “Glitter in the Air.” It’s the same version of this number that I found so moving when her tour swung through Staples in September, and when the rock star herself appeared, clad in her censorship-defying white-ribboned body stocking and performing the aerial stunts herself, I choked up immediately. Best moment: During the first full run-through, the steadicam operator found himself doused with glitter, and must have flinched, because P!nk paused mid-verse to wryly inform him, “It washes off.” Then she kept singing — and I kept weeping. Can’t wait to see how this reads on TV.

Third: The perky puppies of Lady Antebellum, with whom I’ve spent a truly ludicrous amount of time over the past several days, reporting a feature that is scheduled to run in an upcoming print edition of EW. They’re nominated for Best Country Song and Performance by a Duo/Group thanks to “I Run To You.” “American Honey” is their current single. But “Need You Now” is sweeping the nation—are they playing it on your pop station yet?—and it is therefore making another awards-show performance. I talked to the trio about the song’s power:

Hillary Scott: That song took on a life of its own. There was no way we could have thought, dreamed, that it would have hit and connected the way that it did.

Dave Haywood: We thought it was good after we wrote it. Like, that’s cool. We’ll never record it. And then we recorded it—

Charles Kelley: And we knew it was special.

Dave: It was our favorite song.

Charles: But you could never predict this.

Hillary: No.

And for the record, when asked about their chances to win, Hillary says, “If that happens, you may see me pee my pants.”

To see that and all the rest of the action, tune in to the 52nd annual Grammy Awards, live on CBS, Sunday, Jan. 31, at 8 p.m. ET/PT — and check back here tomorrow for more rehearsals including, but not limited to, Dave Matthews, Green Day, Taylor Swift, and a very popular group named after a lentil. And don’t forget to sign up for our Grammy live blog!

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