The 2014 Grammy Awards: Performances, Predictions and Some Guesses

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Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

The 56th Grammy Awards are this Sunday, at 8 p.m. ET on CBS, so gather around the television and watch the spectacle of GIFs waiting to happen,  video mash-ups played live and iPod shuffle playlists come to life.

The Grammy Awards have become less about which trophy is destined for whose mom’s mantelpiece and more about the incredible performances that the producers can put together. This year the producers are using their super-powers for good and forcing The Beatles to reunite, making Metallica play with Lang Lang, Sara Bareilles to croon alongside Carole King and Robin Thicke to take his rightful place alongside Chicago. That alone means we will be parked on the couch watching the Grammys instead of Downton Abbey.

Here are a few performances to look forward to, some to avoid and a few wild guesses as to who will take home the trophies:

The Host: LL Cool J. While it’s not clear why the Grammys continue to ask the erstwhile rapper, avid hat wearer, and current NCIS: Los Angeles star to host the show, a role he’s held for the last two years. Perhaps next year the Grammys will simply play “Going Back To Cali” during the breaks between awards and performances and save LL the trouble of dressing up.

Category To Watch: Song of the Year. If Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ equality anthem “Same Love” takes the title, history will be made. That would be the first time ever, a hip-hop track — albeit a loosely-defined one — would win Song of the Year. Given the song’s popularity and message —and the veritable pupu platter of a category — there’s a good chance it could happen. If that’s not enough of the Mack for you, the rap duo apparently has a showstopper in the works for its live performance. They’ll be joined by Mary Lambert, the song’s co-writer and guest vocalist, as well as New Orleans sensation Trombone Shorty topped off with choreography by Nappytabs, the duo behind So You Think You Can Dance.

PHOTOS: The Best Of Everything at the Grammy Awards Red Carpet

Toughest Competition: Best Rap Album. Put two titans —Kanye West and Jay Z — against Drake, an upstart with an excellent new album, and two freshmen —chart-topping Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and critically-acclaimed Kendrick Lamar — anyone could win and they all deserve the laurels. Not bad for a category that didn’t even exist until 1989, when the Best Rap Performance category was introduced, but not televised. If the Grammys really wanted to make the broadcast exciting they would make the men freestyle battle it out for the prize.

Performance We’re Most Excited For: Jay Z and Beyoncé. Will they perform “Drunk in Love” off of Bey’s surprise album, Beyoncé?  Or their Grammy nominated rap/song collaboration on Jay Z’s “Part II (On the Run? Or perhaps “Crazy in Love”? Frankly, who cares. These two could sing the Barney theme song and we would be rushing to download it on iTunes. Not only will this be Bey’s big unveiling after surprising the world with her visual album, but this will be Jay’s first Grammy appearance in ages. It was probably hard for him to continue his boycott in the face of nine Grammy nods.

Performance We’re Struggling To Imagine: Whoever dreamed up a collaboration between Nine Inch Nails, Queens Of The Stone Age, Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham has been …er, spending some quality time in Colorado. That said, people probably thought the first person to put peanut butter and chocolate together was crazy, too, and we all know how well that turned out.

Performance We’re Least Excited For: Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons. Kendrick keeps drawing the short straw at awards shows. At the VMAs he had to perform with Robin Thicke in the wake of Miley Cyrus and now, he is saddled with performing with mainstream alterna-rockers Imagine Dragons. Hopefully the Grammys will provide Lamar with a really big gong to go with Imagine Dragons  really big drum.

Album We’re Rooting For: While Album of the Year has a lot of excellent contenders, if Kendrick Lamar manages to take the title, not only will it be the first time in a decade that a hip-hop album took home the night’s biggest prize (OutKast won in 2004 for Speakerboxxx/The Love Below), but the 26-year-old Lamar will have managed a feat that neither Kanye West nor Eminem nor Lil Wayne have pulled off. Plus, Lamar managed to slip into the category against heavyweights like Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience and Bruno Mars’ Unorthodox Jukebox.

Most Likely To Pull A Kanye:  If Lamar does take Album of the Year — and Jay Z is in attendance — there’s a chance (admittedly a slim one) that Jay will rush the stage to point out that he thinks Beyoncé was a better album (even though it’s not eligible to win this year) or to publicly pout over the fact that he has never even been nominated for Album of the Year. Of course, we wouldn’t put it past Mr. Carter to rush the stage just to congratulate Lamar.

The Big Question: If Daft Punk wins Record of the Year for “Get Lucky”, will they actually speak?

Best Rewind Performance: Were you expecting us to say Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney? Not this Sunday, because country supergroup The Highwaymen is riding again. Sadly there are no plans for a Johnny Cash or Waylon Jennings hologram, but founding members Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson will be there joined by Blake Shelton and Merle Haggard filling  in for the late Cash and Jennings.

Keep It In Perspective: The Baha Men won a Grammy for “Who Let The Dogs Out.” And Korn? They have two.

A Few Predictions:

Record Of The Year

Should Win: Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams “Get Lucky”
Will Win: Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams “Get Lucky”

Album Of The Year

Should Win: Kendrick Lamar “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City”
Will Win: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis “The Heist”

Song Of The Year

Should Win: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Featuring Mary Lambert “Same Love”
Will Win: Lorde “Royals”

Best New Artist

Should Win: Kendrick Lamar
Will Win: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Best Country Album

Should Win: Kacey Musgraves “Same Trailer Different Park”
Will Win: Taylor Swift “Red”

Best Rap Album

Should Win: Kanye West “Yeezus”
Will Win: Kendrick Lamar “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City”

Best Alternative Album

Should Win: Vampire Weekend “Modern Vampires Of The City”
Will Win: Vampire Weekend “Modern Vampires Of The City”

The full list of Grammys nominations for 2014 is available at the awards show’s website. There are 82 categories.

MORE: QUIZ: How Well Do You Know The 2014 Grammy Nominees?

MORE: 2014 Grammy Nominations: The Snubs and Surprises

29 comments
KristenWaters
KristenWaters

Why Didn't Eminem Perform In The 2014 Grammys? I Waited For Him To Perform All Night And He Didn't

happyupdates
happyupdates

hi I agree with most of what you said, but not only will Yeezus not win best rap album over GKMC, but it doesn't deserve to. I know it's all opinionated at the end of the day, but GKMC eclipses Yeezus in sales, critical acclaim (note it's higher metascore), and it's the preferred album to the general population. And it's just a quality album. It tells a story back to back. Yeezus has songs where he's rapping about eating ass and not wanting to get a chick's girlfriends in the club Results. This is all coming from a huge Kanye fan, Ye's my favorite artist of any genre period, but Kendrick's way more deserving of any healthy award he gets than any other rapper this year. Even Kanye & Jay, and especially Macklemore.

lt29
lt29

The performance you were least excited for was just the best performance of the entire show. 

lockeloadphoto
lockeloadphoto

All I had to read was your ignant tidbit on LL to know the rest of this article wasn't worth reading. Actually, I feel like I wasted time writing this, but before I felt that, I had written too much. You stink. LL is $$. Bye.

DerrickMc
DerrickMc

there are only 2 reasons to watch this:

Nine Inch Nails, Queens Of The Stone Age, Dave Grohl and Lindsey Buckingham performance- Dave Grohl brought these people together, and he makes musical magic happen.


Metallica is always awesome, and i saw pics of them rehearsing with some classical piano looking guy.. so it's gonna be epic.


everything else is just filler.



Nyran125
Nyran125

I want Lorde to win, Just for the simple fact, it would be great to see someone who doesnt show tits and arse to win for a change or is a rapper. Someone who doesnt use  autotune and writes their own stuff. Be refreshing. So im rooting for Lorde. Regardless if i like her music or not. Seriously kanye? his songs have been complete sht for ages. Also bound 2 and his music last year was TERRIBLE TERRIBLe TERRIBLE, anyone who writes songs like that and uses autotune, doesnt deserve to be up there.

brenro12
brenro12

How about a different channel? Since when is the Grammy Awards about actually good music? Talk about lame.

sweettangykiki
sweettangykiki

For me, Best Alternative Album should be won by Hesitation Marks by Nine Inch Nails. And about their performance, they have performed together already various times. In fact, in last year's tour it was NIN with QotSA so I can't see where is the problem. It will be as amazing as always.

Weszor
Weszor

Jay-Z and Beyonce is the most anticipated performance? Did they overlook Ringo and McCartney? Or that Metallica is playing one of their most iconic songs with "One?" What a joke.

stephanieroth
stephanieroth

I can't be the only one that's disappointed about David Bowie not performing.

stephanieroth
stephanieroth

Best Alternative Album:

Should win: Tame Impala "Lonerism"

Will Win: Vampire Weekend "Modern Vampires of the City"

charisse.hill1
charisse.hill1

It's not Jay's "first grammy appearance in ages." He sat front row last year with his wife, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel. He also performed Justin's "Suit & Tie", partially from his seat.

shoegal21280
shoegal21280

Sorry if this posts twice but I wasn't logged in when I hit submit earlier. This article is why I have a problem with the Grammys. If if isn't pop related, people have no clue. If you actually followed the rock nominees, you'd know that Reznor/Grohl/Buckingham/QOTSA have collaborated before in several different combinations, and will do so in the future. Do your research, please. This will likely be one of the few performances this evening with actual talent, innovation, and a reason to actually be up on that stage.

SimoneStafford
SimoneStafford

I had to Youtube Kendrick Lamar. I'd never heard of him and sorry, that genre does absolutely nothing for me. PS. I will watch the Grammys for the first time just to hear the NIN/QOTSA/Grohl collaboration :D

TheJones10
TheJones10

Jay Z went from boycotting to 9 nods. That's how you're suppose to do it. Make people respect you by showing them how good you are.

Brooklyn is proud of the BIG HOMIE!

Haters sit down!

JeffGordon
JeffGordon

Album Of The Year

Should Win: Paul McCartney "New"
Will Win: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis “The Heist”




JeffGordon
JeffGordon

Performance We’re Most Excited For: Jay Z and Beyoncé.


Who's the moron who's most excited for that ??? Paul and Ringo and going to be playing together - actually, since they're the only real musicians on the show, they should take over the entire show !!

NuclearLullaby
NuclearLullaby

Nooo clue who this Kendrick person is,but...Not into their style of music really & he's paired up against a few talented people I DO know in a few award nominations!

JhuntdaProdigy
JhuntdaProdigy

I agree with most of what you said, but not only will Yeezus not win best rap album over GKMC, but it doesn't deserve to. I know it's all opinionated at the end of the day, but GKMC eclipses Yeezus in sales, critical acclaim (note it's higher metascore), and it's the preferred album to the general population. And it's just a quality album. It tells a story back to back. Yeezus has songs where he's rapping about eating ass and not wanting to get a chick's girlfriends in the club. This is all coming from a huge Kanye fan, Ye's my favorite artist of any genre period, but Kendrick's way more deserving of any award he gets than any other rapper this year. Even Kanye & Jay, and especially Macklemore. 

mateusz2
mateusz2

I agree with basically everything you said, Kendrick will get robbed for sure

alphabetasquad
alphabetasquad

Grammy s suck now a days jay z And bounce what a joke ......

SukMadiq
SukMadiq

Will Joe Camel and Drag Queen B bring out their spawn Blue Ugly Carter?

AlecBarner
AlecBarner

@SimoneStafford maybe you should really look into "that genre" and come to understand it before you discard it as doing "absolutely nothing for you". Hip Hop is a genre that originated for the people and despite what mainstream media and radio would have you inclined to believe their is immense talent in the genre. Kendrick Lamar is an extremely talented young artist who released a critically acclaimed debut album. He deserves to win Album of the year without a doubt but this being the grammys the winner of that award will most likely be Macklemore who is not a bad rapper but not better then kendrick. 

stephanieroth
stephanieroth

@JeffGordon Only real musicians? Pretty much everyone in the alternative category is a  "real musician", as well as Lorde, David Bowie, QOTSA, Jack White, Black Sabbath, Kanye...the list goes on. 

TheJones10
TheJones10

Learn to spell correctly if you're going to try to insult people. #Loser

TheJones10
TheJones10

@SMD Loser! Now I see why your mother disowns you.

HigherLearning
HigherLearning

@SukMadiq It's fair game to poke fun joke at adults but what does it say about you when you attack a child?