Grammy Awards 2015: A Viewer’s Guide

Is This The 2015 Grammy Awards Seating Plan?
One of the organizers took a sneaky pic of the alleged seating plan.

Well. It’s nearly that time once again, folks: The 57th Annual Grammy Awards.

This year’s ceremony, airing on February 8 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, has certainly grown more and more impressive each day, considering there are performers still being added to the roster daily — from the first few announcements of Ariana Grande, Madonna and Ed Sheeran back in January all the way up to Super Bowl halftime show starlet Katy Perry, who was announced just days ago.

Last year, Daft Punk took home two of the night’s biggest awards with Random Access Memories for Album Of The Year and “Get Lucky” for Record Of The Year, while New Zealand teen sensation-turned-superstar Lorde left with the trophy for “Royals” in the Song Of The Year category. But who will reign supreme in 2015?

Check out all of the things you need to know about this year’s show down below.

YOUR HOST FOR THE NIGHT: LL Cool J. Again. Maybe until forever? He’s a safe choice, as Wendy Williams declared on her talk show earlier in the week. As we said in 2014: “As we said in 2013: ‘Your host for the night is “the same dude who hosted last year, so we guess he must’ve done a good job? We can’t really remember, which is sort of the point of being the Grammy host.'” On the plus side, we’ll seemingly never have to update this blurb again…

MOST-NOMINATED ARTISTS:  This year’s a three way tie at the top between Beyoncé, Sam Smith and Pharrell with six nods each, while acts like Iggy Azalea, Jay Z, Miranda Lambert, Sia and Usher all come in with four nominations each.

THE PERFORMERS: Like last year, the show is supplying us with plenty of collaborations — most of which are to be expected: The Voice judges Gwen Stefani and Adam Levine are teaming up (where’s Christina? This show is a sham!), as are constant musical collaborators Mary J Blige and Sam Smith. Ed Sheeran‘s teaming up with Herbie Hancock, John Mayer and Questlove. That’s kinda outta left field! And of course, we’ve got some majorly anticipated pop diva heavy hitters, including Beyoncé, Sia, Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Madonna. Take a selfie backstage, ladies! The full list is as follows:

*AC/DC
*Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani
*Annie Lennox and Hozier
*Ariana Grande
*Beck and Chris Martin
*Beyoncé
*Brandy Clark and Dwight Yoakam
*Ed Sheeran, Herbie Hancock, John Mayer, and Questlove
*Eric Church
*John Legend and Common
*Kanye West (solo and duet with Rihanna)
*Katy Perry
*Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett
*Madonna
*Miranda Lambert
*Tom Jones and Jessie J
*Rihanna, Kanye West & Paul McCartney
*Pharrell Williams
*Sam Smith and Mary J Blige
*Sia
*Usher

THE STORYLINES: With 2014 largely lacking in the major musical thrills department for the most part, viewers will most likely be tuning in for the live performances to showcase what’s to come in 2015, from Rihanna‘s “FourFiveSeconds” performance with Kanye West and Paul McCartney to Madonna’s “Living For Love.” Even Katy Perry‘s bringing a new side of herself to the show, performing her emotional ballad “By The Grace Of God” from Prism. The event might feel more like a peek into the future rather than just a look behind.

It’s a big year for pop acts in the top categories, with Taylor Swift, Meghan Trainor, Iggy Azalea and Sia battling for the Song Of The Year and Record Of The Year gramophones, largely overshadowing the R&B and rock contributions. (In fact, only Hozier and Sam Smith are holding up the torch in that respect.)

The Album Of The Year category is a slightly more scattered cast of characters, ranging from Beck to Beyoncé to Ed Sheeran, and it’s anyone’s guess where that notoriously wildcard category will ultimately land — but let’s face it, even Sam Smith thinks Yoncé should win.

Beyond the major categories, Iggy Azalea‘s nomination for Best Rap Album with The New Classic has resulted in some heated discussions about race in the media, so it’ll be especially interesting to see the outcome of this particular category. Macklemore controversy part two?

THE QUESTIONS:
*What’s Kanye doing for his solo performance?
*Will there be any surprise winners?
*Will the camera pan to Taylor in the crowd during Katy’s performance?
*Will Madge, Rihanna, Katy, Gaga and Bey come together for an epic behind-the-scenes selfie?
*How long is this thing going to run, anyway?