Last year, the Grammys led off with Prince and Beyonce's wild medley duet. How to top that? How about five nominated acts performing before the intro credits...and that's just for starters.
Over the years, the Grammy Awards telecast has gradually increased musical performances while reducing the actual award winners shown. Tonight, the Grammys pull out all the stops, leading off with five nominees performing across three stages.
For the first time in the history of the Grammy Awards, the five artists — the Black Eyed Peas, Gwen Stefani (who will perform with Eve), Los Lonely Boys, Maroon5 and Franz Ferdinand — will all open the 47th Annual Grammy Awards.
Additional special performances throughout the show will include a first-time duet between Jennifer Lopez and husband Marc Anthony, as well as Kanye West featuring John Legend, Mavis Staples, and the Blind Boys Of Alabama; a tribute to Ray Charles featuring Bonnie Raitt and Billy Preston; a Janis Joplin tribute by Melissa Etheridge and Joss Stone; and a salute to Southern rock with Tim McGraw, Gretchen Wilson, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Dickey Betts, Elvin Bishop, and Keith Urban.
Usher (with special guest James Brown), Alicia Keys (with special guest Jamie Foxx), John Mayer and Green Day will also perform live on the show.
What I'm most looking forward to is a special fund-raising musical performance of John Lennon and Paul McCartney's "Across The Universe." Performing the song, on behalf of continued tsunami relief efforts, will be Bono, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Slash, Velvet Revolver, Tim McGraw, Brian Wilson, and Stevie Wonder. Immediately following the Grammys broadcast, viewers will be able to download the live performance of the song from iTunes Music Store for $.99, and CBS.com will offer exclusive video of the segment. All proceeds from downloads of the track will go to tsunami relief efforts benefiting survivors and their families.
Presenters at this year's Grammys will include Nelly, Sheryl Crow, champion cyclist Lance Armstrong, Rob Thomas (matchbox twenty, Ricky Martin, T Bone Burnett, Amy Lee (Evanescence), Tyra Banks, Ellen DeGeneres, Hoobastank, Norah Jones, Alison Krauss, Kris Kristofferson, Ludacris, Matthew McConaughey, Mark McGrath, Christina Milian, Lisa Marie Presley, Charlie Sheen, Gary Sinise, John Travolta, Steven Tyler (Aerosmith) and actor/recording artist Kevin Bacon
Awards will be given out this year in over 107 categories from all genres of music. There are also technical awards given out in the fields of art direction and video. To make room for all of the on-air performances, most of these categories will be announced prior to the televised portion of the ceremony. To be eligible for an award this year, the release date had to fall between October 1, 2003 through September 30, 2004. For a complete list of nominees, please visit grammy.com.
Hosted by the always regal Queen Latifah, the 47th Annual Grammy Awards will be broadcast on the CBS Television Network on Sunday, Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. (ET/PT). I'll follow up the show with a recap and a list of the winners.