Grammy Preview: Elton, Ed Sheeran To Team

Paul Grein
Stop The Presses!

Elton John, who memorably performed on the Grammys with Eminem in 2001 and Lady Gaga in 2010, will team with Ed Sheeran in a performance on this year’s telecast. Sheeran is nominated for Song of the Year for his hit ballad “The A Team.” The 55th annual Grammy Awards are set to air Feb. 10 from Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Elton has a long history of championing new artists. Eminem was still fairly new in February 2001 when he and Elton performed “Stan,” a song from The Marshall Mathers LP, on the Grammy telecast. Eminem was under fire at the time for lyrics that some deemed homophobic. Elton’s embrace was seen as the support that was needed to quell the controversy. Gaga was still fairly new in January 2010 when she and Elton opened the telecast with a medley of two of her songs, “Poker Face” and “Speechless,” and one of his, “Your Song.”

Elton, 65, no doubt sees a bit of himself in Sheeran, 21. Both singer/songwriters are English. Elton was 22 in 1969 when he released Empty Sky, his debut album in the U.K.

Sheeran’s debut album, +, topped The Official U.K. Album chart for three weeks in 2011 and 2012. It has climbed as high as #5 on The Billboard 200 in the U.S. “The A Team” has climbed as high as #16 on the Hot 100.

Elton has won five Grammys, plus a Grammy Legend Award in 2000. He was nominated for Album of the Year and Best New Artist for 1970, the year of his U.S. debut, but he wasn’t nominated for Song of the Year (the award Sheeran is nominated for this year) until 1994. That year, he made the finals with two songs that he and Tim Rice wrote for The Lion King, “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” and “Circle Of Life.”

Country stars Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert are also set to perform together on the telecast.

Grammy producers are fond of these collaborations of artists who aren’t known for performing together, which they call “Grammy moments.”

Also set to appear on the show are the Lumineers, Carrie Underwood, Jack White, the Black Keys, fun., Mumford & Sons, Rihanna and Taylor Swift.

All of the announced performers (except for Elton) are current nominees. In several cases, announced performers are competing against each other, which should give a little extra bit of tension to show rehearsals.

To cite just two examples, Mumford & Sons’ “I Will Wait” and The Black Keys’ “Lonely Boy” are competing for Best Rock Performance; Bentley’s “Home” and Underwood’s “Blown Away” are competing for Best Country Solo Performance.

Additional performers, presenters and special segments will be announced soon. LL Cool J will host the show for the second year in a row.