by Albert Rodriguez
SGN A&E Writer

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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 6, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 06
The Grammys: Madonna, Lady GaGa, Sia, Grande, AC/DC set to appear
Arts & Entertainment
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The Grammys: Madonna, Lady GaGa, Sia, Grande, AC/DC set to appear

by Albert Rodriguez
SGN A&E Writer

            THE 57TH GRAMMY AWARDS
            MAIN TELECAST:
            SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 8
            8 P.M. on CBS
            PREMIERE CEREMONY WEBCAST:
            SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 8
            12:30 P.M.
            WWW.GRAMMY.COM/LIVE

            Star-studded are the words to describe this year's Grammy Awards telecast, set for Sunday night beginning at 8 p.m. Madonna, Kanye West, Rihanna, AC/DC, Lady GaGa and Tony Bennett, Sir Paul McCartney, Usher, Sam Smith, Pharrell Williams, Ariana Grande, Eric Church, Miranda Lambert, Mary J. Blige, Hozier with Annie Lennox, Beck with Chris Martin, John Legend and Common, Brandy Clark with Dwight Yoakam, Tom Jones with Jessie J, Adam Levine with Gwen Stefani, and Ed Sheeran are all performing on the show. Last-minute additions are expected in the final hours before the event, with Iggy Azalea and Meghan Trainor most likely to be folded into the three-hour broadcast from LA's Staples Center; no confirmation on Beyonce or U2 joining the lineup, despite reports they would be performing. Taylor Swift, apparently, is not.
            Of the 83 categories, only 13 of them will be presented on the main telecast. The remaining 70 will be handed out during the Premiere Ceremony, previously called the Pre-Telecast Ceremony, taking place Sunday afternoon next door at Nokia Theatre. Country nominee Hunter Hayes will host that event with scheduled performances by Angie Fisher, Cheyenne Jackson and Alexandra Silber (West Side Story), Old Crow Medicine Show, Ana Tijoux, and several others. At press time, presenters for the main telecast were not revealed.
            A few LGBT artists are nominated this year, including Sia, who is openly Bisexual, Sam Smith and John Waters, who are both Gay. And, to my knowledge, this is the first time Madonna and Lady GaGa will perform on the same stage, same night. Here are my picks and predictions in 10 exciting Grammy races.

            ALBUM OF THE YEAR
            Nominees: Morning Phase - Beck; Beyonce - Beyonce; X - Ed Sheeran; In the Morning Hour - Sam Smith; Girl - Pharrell Williams
            Will win: Beyonce
            It's not Queen Bae's best album, though it is her most ambitious. And while she has a trophy case filled with Grammys already, a coveted AOTY win has eluded her.
            Should Win: Morning Phase
            Beck's Odelay suffered an embarrassing defeat to pop screecher Celine Dion back in 1997, and therefore is owed. Besides, Morning Phase is such an expertly written singer-songwriter album with a mood-swinging set of beautiful, complex tracks.

            RECORD OF THE YEAR
            Nominees: ‘Fancy’ - Iggy Azalea featuring Charlie XCX; ‘Chandelier’ - Sia; ‘Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)’ - Sam Smith; ‘Shake It Off’ - Taylor Swift; ‘All About That Bass’ - Meghan Trainor
            Should/Will win: ‘Chandelier’
            Not only was this a mammoth hit in 2014, it artistically stood head and shoulders above the rest as well. A sweeping, infectious ballad we'll be listening to years from now.

            SONG OF THE YEAR
            Nominees: ‘All About That Bass’ - Kevin Kadish and Meghan Trainor, songwriters; ‘Chandelier’ - Sia Furler and Jesse Shatkin, songwriters; ‘Shake It Off’ - Max Martin, Shellback, and Taylor Swift, songwriters; ‘Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)’ - James Napier, William Phillips, and Sam Smith, songwriters; ‘Take Me to Church’ - Andrew Hozier-Byrne, songwriter
            Should/Will win: ‘Chandelier’
            All of these songs are wonderful, including the pro-plus size women ditty by Trainor. But, again, ‘Chandelier’ is too good.

            BEST NEW ARTIST
            Nominees: Iggy Azalea; Bastille; Brandy Clark; Haim; Sam Smith
            Will win: Sam Smith
            This is a cakewalk for Smith, who's had this award in his back pocket since early 2014.
            Should win: Brandy Clark
            After penning songs for Grammy winners Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, Darius Rucker, and LeAnn Rimes, to name a few, it's time Clark gets recognition for herself. From moms lighting joints when the kids go to bed (‘High’) to her personal dislike of prison outfits (‘Stripes’), her brand of country music is a breath of much-needed fresh air.

            BEST ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM
            Nominees: This Is All Yours - Alt-J; Reflektor - Arcade Fire; Melophobia - Cage the Elephant; St. Vincent - St. Vincent; Lazaretto - Jack White
            Will win: Lazaretto
            The universally respected rocker faces some competition here, but he does have deep support within the Recording Academy.
            Should win: St. Vincent
            As a fan of White and Arcade Fire, I'd have no problem seeing either get called to the podium. But the most creative work of the bunch was turned in by St. Vincent, who finally broke through with her self-titled album.

            BEST RAP PERFORMANCE
            Nominees: ‘3005’ - Childish Gambino; ‘0 to 100/The Catch Up’ - Drake; ‘Rap God’ - Eminem; ‘I’ - Kendrick Lamar; ‘All I Need is You’ - Lecrae
            Will win: ‘I’
            Grammy voters need to redeem themselves for letting Lamar go home empty-handed last year, after being nominated 7 times. Here's a perfect opportunity to do it.
            Should win: A victory for Lamar would not disappoint me, but my vote goes to Eminem's 6-minute long single from The Marshall Mathers LP 2.

            BEST COUNTRY ALBUM
            Nominees: Riser - Dierks Bentley; The Outsiders - Eric Church; 12 Stories - Brandy Clark; Platinum - Miranda Lambert; The Way I'm Livin' - Lee Ann Womack
            Will win: The Outsiders or Platinum - too close to call
            Should win: Platinum or 12 Stories
            Both of these women kicked ass with albums released in different years, 2013 (12 Stories) and 2014 (Platinum). Yet, both face stiff competition from Church, a very credible singer-songwriter in his own right.

            BEST SPOKEN WORD ALBUM (INCLUDES POETRY, AUDIO BOOKS & STORYTELLING)
            Nominees: Actors Anonymous - James Franco; A Call to Action - Jimmy Carter; Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America - John Waters; Diary of a Mad Diva - Joan Rivers; A Fighting Chance - Elizabeth Warren; We Will Survive: True Stories of Encouragement, Inspiration, and the Power of Song - Gloria Gaynor
            Should/Will win: Diary of a Mad Diva
            The idea of Waters giving an acceptance speech is tempting, although this award belongs to the late great Rivers, whose brilliant recording What Becomes a Semi-Legend Most? unfortunately lost to Eddie Murphy in 1985 for Best Comedy Album.

            BEST SONG WRITTEN FOR VISUAL MEDIA
            Nominees: ‘Everything is Awesome!!!’ (The Lego Movie); ‘I See Fire’ (The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug); ‘I'm Not Gonna Miss You’ (Glen Campbell...I'll Be Me); ‘Let It Go’ (Frozen); ‘The Moon Song’ (Her)
            Will win: ‘Let It Go’
            With the exception of Ed Sheeran's Hobbit entry, each of these movie tunes was, or is currently, nominated for Best Original Song - two competed in 2014's Academy Awards, the other two are in the running this year. That said, the Frozen theme seems invincible.
            Should win: ‘I'm Not Gonna Miss You’
            Country legend Campbell deserves it, even slightly more than Karen O's adorable number from Her.

            BEST MUSIC VIDEO
            Nominees: ‘We Exist’ - Arcade Fire; ‘Turn Down for What’ - DJ Snake and Lil Jon; ‘Chandelier’ - Sia; ‘Happy’ - Pharrell Williams; ‘The Golden Age’ - Woodkid featuring Max Richter
            Should/Will win: ‘Chandelier’
            There's a slim chance that the whimsical, choreography-heavy video for ‘Happy’ could upset, but Sia's ‘Chandelier’ with interpretative dancing by reality TV star Maddie Ziegler is the one to beat.

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