The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards go down this Sunday, and the guest list looks longer than a 30 Seconds To Mars video. Here’s a complete list of who’s playing, divided into what we’re anticipating and what we’re dreading…
OUR FIVE MOST ANTICIPATED PERFORMANCES
1. Lady Gaga
Whatever she wears is going to make headlines. She’s gone to awards shows dressed as a tampon, dressed as a cubist Marie Antoinette, dressed in a maggoty meat bikini that reeked and broiled under studio lights. What will she come dressed in this year? A barrel of pickles? The frowning face of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak? One of those big parachutes from gym class? Plus she’s going to perform “Born This Way” a mere 60 hours after its world premiere on Friday morning (and right beforeit inevitably reaches chart-topping status). This is the big one, folks. Get ready for some water cooler talk. Oh, hey, maybe she’ll come dressed as a water cooler!
2. Katy Perry
Katy is a goofball, but she’s a goofball to the 10th power. Whatever she does will be weird and wild and possibly ill-advised but certainly entertaining and colorful. Will she shoot fireworks at the surviving member of the Kingston Trio when they pick up their Lifetime Achievement Award? Will she find some way to make our living room smell like cotton candy?
3. Arcade Fire
This is called “rooting for the underdogs.” And yes, although Arcade Fire play Madison Square Garden and have chart-topping albums, they’ll still be indie-label underdogs until your mom asks you to buy The Suburbs. (Which will probably happen on Monday morning.) They will bring confetti and streamers and craziness and maybe cupcakes. It probably won’t be the most expensive performance of the night, but will probably be the most manic.
4. Cee Lo Green, with Gwyneth Paltrow and the Jim Henson Company Puppets
Mupp you! Let’s hope Katy Perry can keep away from Elmo long enough to get these guys on stage. Ok, actually they’re not real Muppets, but this performance will give us a great opportunity to do out “Rolf The Dog Sings ‘Fuck You’” impersonation during the commercial break. Puppets make everything better. Ask Stevie Wonder and Grover.
5. Mick Jagger+Raphael Saadiq
This is going to be a tribute to legendary blues ‘n’ soul pioneer Solomon Burke. And we couldn’t imagine a more inspired pairing.
SIX PERFORMANCES WE’RE CURIOUS ABOUT
1. Yolanda Adams+Christina Aguilera+Jennifer Hudson+Martina McBride+Florence Welch
Beating VH1 to this year’s Divas game, five singers pay tribute to Aretha Franklin, who has been in and out of the hospital with what sources say is pancreatic cancer. So this kind of doubles as a get-well card to the Queen of Soul. Florence of Florence and the Machine might have about as much soul as a Fluffernutter sandwich, but we’re interested to see what they’ll pull off.
2. Justin Bieber+Usher+Jaden Smith
Any high-definition shot of all this adorableness will shatter your TV. Man, how furious do you think Willow is that Jaden is performing on the Grammys and she isn’t?
3. Miranda Lambert
Ooooh, please bring back the bassist with the enormous mohawk.
4. Lady Antebellum
Ooooh, please steal Miranda’s bassist with the enormous mohawk.
The sound of these prog-rock behemoths goes hard in the proverbial paint. But their stage show has been a little weaksauce—see their performance of “Uprising” on the 2009 Video Music Awards. Here’s hoping these guys will bring a little more than blinky lights and enormous hooks.
6. Drake and Rihanna
Are they dating? Aren’t they dating? Their first performance together will answer none of the questions and possibly raise even more. But if they smooch like in the video for “What’s My Name?” you can pretty much bet on these two being Monday’s headline instead of “Bruno Mars Wins Some Award Or Something.”
FIVE PERFORMANCES WE’RE KIND OF DREADING
1. Esperanza Spalding performing with members of the Grammy Jazz Ensembles and Grammy Camp.
This Best New Artist nominee is the only jazz performer playing at the ceremony. It seems like the Grammys are kind of forcing her hand into playing with members of their sponsored ensemble of 30 high school students. Noble, yes, but if we’re going to only get one jazz performer during the evening, why can’t she play with the rippingest band possible?
2. B.o.B+Bruno Mars+Janelle Monáe
Enjoy playing 90 seconds each of your songs, kids!
3. Bob Dylan+Mumford & Sons+The Avett Brothers
Hilariously touted as a “special salute to acoustic music”—kick out the harpsichord jams! But someone is gonna feel like a fish out of water. We’re not exactly sure who.
4. Eminem+Dr. Dre+Adam Levine of Maroon 5
Em in full emo mode, Dre in full recluse mode, Adam Levine in full Maroon 5 mode. Pass.
5. Barbara Streisand
You don’t have to do this, Grammys, really. Our grandmothers were perfectly cool with Gaga last time we checked.