The Grammy Awards pride themselves on coming up with one-of-a-kind match ups every year. Whether it was Eminem and Elton John in 2001 or the Gorillaz, Madonna & De La Soul mash-up in 2006.
The collaborations help boost viewership and create potential water cooler moments, but they are also a way to shoe horn lots of artists into the show, especially acts who may not be in the mainstream currently, such as Leon Russell, who played with the Zac Brown Band in 2010.
For Sunday night’s show, the number of pairings are insane, with at least 10 on-stage partnerships, including Robin Thicke and Chicago, and Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson and Blake Shelton. And there are some big question marks that we address as well. The Grammys air Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. ET.
Here”s a look at six you don”t want to miss:
Queens of the Stone Age, Dave Grohl, Nine Inch Nails and Lindsey Buckingham: Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are both performing on the Grammys, but it”s unclear if the Beatles will play together. If they were, wouldn”t they be the closers? (see below) Instead, we already know the final performance will be loud and it will be this collection of artists creating a great racket to send us into the night. You might need earplugs even if you”re watching on TV.
Beyonce and Jay Z: The Grammys haven”t officially confirmed that they are appearing together -only that they will both be on the show- but chances are really good that we”ll get the first live performance of “Drunk In Love.” Given that Jay Z has nine nominations, we”re sure he”ll pull something off of “Magna Carta Holy Grail” to perform as well, like the nominated “Part II (On the Run),” though I”d love to see them go from “Crazy In Love” to “Drunk In Love” into “03 Bonnie & Clyde.”
Daft Punk with Nile Rodgers, Pharrell and Stevie Wonder: Daft Punk appeared with Kayne West in 2008, when the French duo joined the rapper for “Stronger.” Their appearance this year with Wonder as their guest is sure to be a highlight. The question is which Wonder tune will they segue into after “Get Lucky?”
Sara Bareilles and Carole King: Bareilles was a very surprising recipient of an album of the year nomination and the pairing of the singer/songwriter with the legendary King promises to be a lovely, if low-key, event. I imagine facing pianos as they perform Bareilles” “Brave” and then any number of King”s hits…Perhaps “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman” or “It”s Too Late” or “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.” King will be honored Friday night as MusiCares Person of the Year, so this is a smart way to get her onto the televised event.
Metallica and Lang Lang: Sunday will mark Metallica”s first performance on the Grammys since 1991 and they will be paired with Chinese classical pianist Lang Lang. Metallica is no stranger to performing with classical artists: Its 1999 album, “S&M,” featured the metal band playing with The San Francisco Symphony conducted by the late Michael Kamen.
Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons: Two of 2013″s top new artists will join together for “Radioactive” and a Lamar song. Can you imagine hearing Imagine Dragons joining him on “Bitch, Don”t Kill Me Vibe?” Actually, I can”t… and I”m not sure the Grammys would go for that.
Two to watch for:
Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr: Even though they are getting the 2014 Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award, it seems like they are performing separately. In fact, The Grammys have gone out of their way to state that they “will each perform,” as if to stress it won”t be together. That just seems like a wasted opportunity, but the Grammys may be saving the reunion for a tribute to the 50th anniversary of The Beatles first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” that tapes the Monday night after the Grammys and will air on CBS Feb. 9
Madonna and ????: The Los Angeles Times reported last week that Madonna will appear with an artist on the show as a surprise guest. I know it sounds a little crazy, but I”d love to see her perform “Royals” with Lorde.
Which performance are you looking forward to seeing on the Grammys Sunday night?