The Grammys—everyone's favorite somewhat legitimate, always ridiculous awards show—return this Sunday. And while the blizzard and/or manhunt could put something of a damper on the festivities in Los Angeles, we're getting pretty excited. We'll be live-blogging the whole thing, but these things, well, these things are truly intriguing, or messy, or just plain fun. At least as far as the Grammys go.
Everything with Taylor Swift Regardless of how you feel about her music, you have to admit that you're just a little bit fascinated by the perplexing, doe-eyed T-Swift. Swift, who has a habit of making her surprise-face at these things. She'll be opening up the show in a performance that will apparently reveal a "Taylor Swift you've never seen," at least according to a Grammy executive. This could mean we'll see see something vaguely similar to everything else she's ever done. Or she'll have shaved her head. It's really one or the other. She'll probably perform "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together." She's not up for that many awards this year so we won't see too much of that surprise-face, so we're holding out for this disappointed face from the Golden Globes:
Also perhaps, for some sort of fight with Carrie Underwood.
Things with Multiple Performers The Grammys have a habit of putting together famous artists for awkward duos. (Not to harp on Taylor Swift, but remember when she teamed with Stevie Nicks? Sorry.) Anyway, there's no shortage of match-ups this year, and Todd Martens at the Los Angeles Times has some rankings or other, but we're excited about all of them. Sure, the combo of Sting, Rihanna, and Bruno Mars sounds disastrous, but that's a train wreck worth watching. Who hasn't always wanted to hear the "Desert Rose," "Diamonds," and "Locked Out of Heaven" mash-up? (Actually, that last one does have a lot of Sting in it.) A big group number featuring Grammy host LL Cool J and Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello? Sure.
Nudity! These rules we just meant to be broken, right? We want "puffy bare skin exposure!" We're pretty sure the leak of that memo just gave some people ideas. This is pretty close to "female breast nipple," isn't it?
The Thing with Justin Timberlake We've been following the bizarre Justin Timberlake comeback parade, and while we've heard tell of his pre-Super Bowl performance, here's his chance to prove himself on national TV. Perhaps a preview:
The Miranda Lambert-Chris Brown Feud Thing Last Grammys country star Miranda Lambert railed on Chris Brown's inclusion at the event after his assault on then-girlfriend Rihanna back in 2009. This year, she's nominated and performing. He is also nominated, fresh off new controversy, and there's a possibility he could be attending alongside fellow nominee Rihanna. So there's that.
All Things Backlash The Grammys have a history of producing award winners that can seem, well, arbitrary. People got mad that pop tart T-Swift (love you, girl) won over more established artists like Beyoncé. People didn't really know what an Arcade Fire was. People were pretty upset about Bon Iver winning Best New Artist. This year's lineup of nominees seems ripe for that sort of frustration. While Frank Ocean has an effusive following, some of the other nominees for top prizes have vocal detractors—cough, cough Mumford & Sons. Another category that might see serious backlash: Well, you may not care, but Best Dance Recording is controversial this year. Al Walser, according to NPR, "heavily marketed himself on Grammy 365, a private social networking website for voting members of the Recording Academy" to get a nomination. So there's that, too. See you back here Sunday for the red-carpet thing.