Chris Brown’s Road Back

Paul Grein
Stop The Presses!

Chris Brown will perform on the Grammys on Sunday, just three years after his career nearly derailed when he assaulted his then-girlfriend Rihanna on the eve of the 2009 Grammys, where he was scheduled to appear. It has been a remarkably swift comeback for Brown; the latest example of an artist surviving a career set-back that might, in another time, have permanently kept him on the fringes.

Brown will perform with deadmau5, David Guetta and Lil Wayne in a segment highlighting dance/electronica music. The performance will take place in an outdoor tent adjacent to Staples Center.

In addition to his performance, Brown is expected to win his first Grammy for Best R&B Album for F.A.M.E. By one account, the album's title stands for Forgiving All My Enemies. But is Brown's fans who have been forgiving. F.A.M.E. has sold 822,000 copies, which is more than twice as many as Brown's previous album, Graffiti. That album, which was released just 10 months after the assault, has sold just 355,000 copies. That constituted a big drop-off from Brown's first two albums, both of which have topped the 2 million mark in U.S. sales.)

F.A.M.E. entered The Billboard 200 at #1 in March, becoming the first #1 album of Brown's career. "Look At Me Now" (featuring Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes) reached the top 10 on the Hot 100. It was an even bigger hit with Brown's core R&B fans. The song topped the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for eight weeks. It is nominated for two Grammys, though not in the R&B field. The hip-hop track is vying for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song.

"Look At Me Now" was the only song from the album to crack the top 10 on the Hot 100, but two other songs from the album, "She Ain't You" and "Wet The Bed" (featuring Ludacris), cracked the top 10 on the R&B chart.

As it happens, Rihanna will also perform on the show, together with Coldplay. They will presumably sing "Princess Of China," which they recorded for Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto album.

Tony Bennett and Carrie Underwood have also been added to the line-up. They will presumably perform "It Had To Be You," which they recorded for Bennett's Duets II. That album is expected to bring Bennett his record-extending 11th award in the category of Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. The album entered The Billboard 200 at #1 in September, becoming the first #1 album of Bennett's 60-year career.

(Another duet from Bennett's album, "Body And Soul," with Amy Winehouse, is locked in a tight race with "Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera, for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.)

Underwood won't be the only former American Idol winner who will perform on the Grammy stage this year. Kelly Clarkson will team with Jason Aldean, presumably to perform their #1 country hit "Don't You Wanna Stay."

Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt have been added to the line-up to salute Etta James, who died on Jan. 20 at age 73. The great R&B and blues singer received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.

Marc Anthony, Lady Antebellum and Ryan Seacrest have been added to the show as presenters.

Other performers set for the show include Adele, Foo Fighters, Bruno Mars, Paul McCartney, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Taylor Swift and Glen Campbell with The Band Perry and Blake Shelton.