A few months ago, I wrote an article that basically blasted the GRAMMYs for their nonsensical approach to their awards choices. With over 80 different awards to give out, and more attention given to artwork and design than the entire dance music industry, I thought that these things actually mattered. But it turns out, I was wrong. The only people who actually care about who wins which award are the artists nominated and their record label executives. The reason why millions of people around the world tune into this cavalcade of mediocrity is actually for the performances. And in my snobby, set-minded way, assumed that the live acts taking to the stage for the evening would be just as mundane as the idea of awarding trophies to those that sold the most records last year. But actually, there are some exceptional highlights on this year's list that will probably make the whole thing extremely tolerable. And in fact, I've found five such performances that may just be worth your time.
Lady Gaga Duet With Metallica
Now I'm no big fan of either here but you can't help but find that sentence interesting to say the least. Fresh from her plummeting half-time show at this year's Superbowl, Lady Gaga is planning to "duet" with Metallica. I use the quotation marks literally there as that is how the GRAMMYs themselves are marketing the performance. Which means one of two things, either Lady Gaga is going to wrap herself in gaffer tape before belting out the majority of 'Master Of Puppets', or she's going to lead the metal legends in harmonious chorus of 'Bad Romance'. And I pray and hope that it is the latter, because seeing James Hetfield scream his way through "RO-MA-AH-AH-AH RO-MA-OHH-LA-LA' would be worth the entrance fee alone.
Daft Punk & The Weeknd
Now Daft Punk have spent much of the last few months in a "will they, won't they" limbo regarding their tour plans for the coming year. To date, the duo have only embarked on two tours during their illustrious career. One in 1997 and the other in 2007. So math fans out there are expecting them to do it again this year. But it should also be noted that the last time Daft Punk gave a performance of any kind was at the 2014 GRAMMYs, where they joined Pharrell Williams, Nile Rodgers and Stevie "F-ing" Wonder to showcase their then hit-single 'Get Lucky'. So it should only be fitting that the awards once again serve as their medium to display their contributions to the so-so Weeknd album 'Starboy' from last year. To be fair, no-one is quite sure what to expect and many believe that the pair have spent the last few years reinventing themselves, so we may get to see, if not hear, what Daft Punk have become this year.
Chance The Rapper
Chance has become everyone's favourite small-time kid come good. For years, those with a true passion for hip-hop have watched the MC grow from incredibly humble beginnings to a worldwide superstar, all without sacrificing his integrity or style. He is true fairytale story of today's music industry and since the release of his recent album 'Colouring Book', has become an internationally recognised musical genius. His performance therefore will no doubt be filled with many of the heart-wrenching and sombre moments from his release. Of all the live acts taking to the stage at the awards this year, I feel that Chance The Rapper will be one of the acts people will be taking about for many days afterwards.
Anderson .Paak & A Tribe Called Quest
Now if there were a category on the GRAMMYs long list of awards for Best Comeback Album, Tribe would snap that up without complaint. Their first album in 18 years 'Thank You 4 Your Service' was easily one of the best albums of last year, and to have produced it after the untimely death of founding member Phife Dawg gives it an even bigger sentiment. Now the remaining members of the group plan to share the stage with one of the best new names in hip-hop Anderson .Paak. Someone who not only shares and relishes in the inspirations of bands like Tribe, but is also a creative and lyrically talented individual in his own right. Again, this dual performance could go one of two ways, but if we get to see Anderson join Tribe on a journey throughout their back catalogue, expect a full blown hype session like you've never seen before.
The Bee Gees Tribute - Demi Lovato, Andra Day & Tori Kelly
This one just has me interested to be honest. The tribute performances over the last few years have certainly been a much-loved highlight of the awards themselves. Usually a legendary artist is invited to watch on as a number of contemporary musicians do their best to not desecrate their reputation by performing a medley of their greatest hits. Last year, John Legend, Demi Lovato and Meghan Trainor were invited to pay tribute to Lionel Richie, but instead Richie ended up just getting on the stage with them, demanding a microphone and joining in himself. Proving that no-one loves Lionel Richie songs as much as Lionel Richie. But this year, it is The Bee Gees turn to be remembered, and I mean that in a very literal way. Given that Barry Gibb is the only living member of the Bee Gees and the band's reputation for beautifully written ballads, expect a tearjerker like nothing else to close this year's ceremony.
So there we have it. Five great reasons that you should give the GRAMMYs a go this year. Or you can just record it, go to bed, and just skip to the good bits the following morning like I'm planning to do. It may be as American as a bald eagle with a mounted assault rifle, but it certainly puts our mainstream awards ceremonies to shame, and for that we can only congratulate them for making a huge show out of next to nothing.
The GRAMMYs are shown in the UK on the 13th February, the day after the actual live ceremony, at 8pm on E4.