Full disclosure: I’m not much of a Grammys person. I accepted a long time ago that most of the bands I love, no matter how talented and popular they are in my little corner of the Internet, will never be officially recognized for their craft with a diminutive gilded gramophone. While most years I’d eschew the live telecast in favor of watching pretty much anything else, this year is different. This year I’ll actually be tuning in, and not just for the outlandish fashion.
The Grammys have cut 31 awards (not without some well deserved criticism), but what this means for viewers is this: more performances and fewer speeches. The show will be jam-packed with artists as diverse as Paul McCartney, Nicki Minaj, Bruce Springsteen, Katy Perry, and Kelly Clarkson performing solo and collaborating with their peers. Sure, most of these performers are not in my iPod, but what makes the Grammys fun and ridiculous are what-were-they-thinking?! pairings like The Beach Boys with Maroon 5 and Foster the People, or the Foo Fighters playing a dance/electronica song with Lil Wayne.
So without further ado, here are my most anticipated 2012 Grammy performances.
Adele has won over both indie rock and mainstream crowds with her smoky delivery and understated retro glam. In an era when people supposedly no longer buy music, Adele’s “21” was the top-selling record of the year with 5.82 million copies sold. She’s pegged to win most of the 6 Grammys for which she’s been nominated and her performance on Sunday will be her first since having throat surgery last fall.
Want to see more than a single performance? You can catch a free live concert Adele recorded for Live From the Artists Den right here.
Although I still haven’t quite forgiven him for the ear-wormy cheesiness of “Just the Way You Are,” Bruno Mars’ 2011 Grammys performance completely disarmed my snarky disposition with his charm. I may have tuned in for my girl Janelle Monae, but like Adele, Bruno Mars taps into a retro vibe that is hard to dislike. His doo-wop inspired interpretation of his hit “Grenade” was ridiculously fun and unexpected.
The man can write, sing, play piano, and drum; his 6 Grammy nominations are well earned. Add a collaboration with Cookie Monster, and Bruno, your competition’s got nothing on you.
Just kidding. My little corner of the internet was abuzz when this indie folk outfit was nominated for four Grammys, including Best New Artist, but turned down the opportunity to perform at the ceremony. According to an interview in Billboard Magazine so comically pretentious it teeters on parody, Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon explained they decided against performing when they were asked to collaborate with another act rather than play their own music. (My guess: The Beach Boys.)
I completely understand and admire artistic integrity, but it’s hard to plead conscientious objector when you use your music to endorse a brand of whiskey and lament that the Grammys aren’t giving you the opportunity to capitalize on its broad stage to market your music.
So Bon Iver fans, I guess you’ll have to settle for their SNL performance, which committed an even worse sin than Lana Del Rey’s: It was completely forgettable.