Olivia Rodrigo performs “Good 4 U” at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sept. 12, 2021, in New York. Rodrigo is nominated for seven Grammy Awards. (Photo by Charles Sykes)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Grammys might be missing stars like Drake, The Weeknd and Kanye West as a performer, but the biggest night in music could still shine bright on the Las Vegas Strip.
The ceremony relocated to Las Vegas for the first-time ever with several artists who could have epic nights including Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo and Jon Batiste. The awards shifted from Los Angeles because of the rising COVID-19 cases and omicron variant in January. Sunday’s show will air live beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS and the Paramount+ streaming service.
Host Trevor Noah calls Las Vegas a “perfect place to have a celebration” with fans at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Last year, the Grammys had a music festival vibe with parts of the show held outdoors in an intimate in-person setting with music artists mixed with pre-taped performances.
Noah expects an entertaining show with several performers set to hit the stage including Rodrigo, Eilish, Lil Nas X, Jack Harlow, Brandi Carlile, Batiste, Silk Sonic, H.E.R., Chris Stapleton, Leslie Odom Jr. and Brothers Osborne. He said the awards will be a celebration of the music industry coming back to life.
“There’s an element of this (show) that’s like a music camp,” Noah said. “I think it’s going to bring a different energy, and I’m excited to be a part of it.”
It’s still unclear whether the Foo Fighters will take the stage following the recent death of its drummer Taylor Hawkins. The rock band – nominated for three Grammys – is scheduled to perform during the ceremony, but they recently canceled all upcoming concert dates.
The Grammys will continue to move forward without West, known as Ye, after news surfaced earlier this month that he wouldn’t perform at the show because of his “concerning online behavior.” The Weeknd is still boycotting the awards and Drake said he wanted no part in competing for a Grammy, withdrawing his two nominations.
The three popular performers will be missed, but the show will certainly go on.
The multitalented Jon Batiste enters the Grammys as the leading nominee with 11 in a variety of genres including R&B, jazz, American roots music, classical and music video. Justin Bieber, Doja Cat and H.E.R. are tied for the second-most nominations with eight apiece.
The awards will introduce its expanded 10 nominees in three major genres — record, album and song of the year. The growing categories will make the competition stronger but could make choosing a winner a lot tougher.
For album of the year, the Recording Academy expanded the category’s eligibility for any featured artists, producers, songwriters and engineers — even if the music creator co-wrote one song on the project. That means there could be a large amount of winners on stage, depending on who wins.
For example, if Bieber’s “Justice” wins at the show, more than 50 creators could pack the stage. The same could be said for Ye, Doja Cat and H.E.R., who have a plethora of contributors.
But Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever” features songs written by the young star and her brother Finneas, who produced all of her tracks. Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga and Rodrigo are sitting in the same boat.
Harvey Mason jr., the academy’s CEO, said the number of creators in a category won’t dictate the winner.
Either way, Noah said he doesn’t mind.
“It’ll be great to see that moment,” he said. “You get to be on stage and celebrated for your work. I’m excited for that. I want to see 25 people on stage celebrating and sharing the love and joy for something they’ve done.”
Before the awards, the academy will hold a couple events including a tribute to Joni Mitchell at the MusiCares Person of the Year on Friday night. Chaka Khan, Cyndi Lauper, Billy Porter and Beck are among those expected to perform.
On Saturday, Grammy winner John Legend will be honored during the academy’s Black Music Collective. The singer will receive his first-ever Recording Academy Global Impact Award for his personal and professional achievements in the music industry.
Legend will be celebrated with a performance by Summer Walker, D-Nice and MC Lyte as the voice for the evening. Jimmy Jam will be making remarks.
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