The Grammy Awards gala Sunday promises an array of musical favourites, trotting out old-timers such as Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen as well as young talent such as Kelly Clarkson and last year's big winners, Lady Antebellum.

With Kanye West leading with seven nominations, there are also hotly anticipated appearances from the likes of Tony Bennett and Carrie Underwood, and The Beach Boys, are reuniting for their 50th anniversary.

Toronto dance-music DJ deadmau5 makes his Grammy debut and rapper Drake steps forward as a presenter at the biggest music night of the year in Los Angeles.

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Drake is up for three Grammy Awards for his collaborations, and is also a presenter for Sunday's event in Los Angeles. (Associated Press)

Canadian Grammy contenders

  • Producer deadmau5: best dance recording, best dance/electronica, best remixed recording.
  • Rapper Drake: for collaboration on Nicki Minaj’s Moment for Life, Rihanna’s Loud and DJ Khaled’s I’m on One.
  • R&B singer Melanie Fiona for best song and best R&B song for Fool for You with Cee Lo Green.
  • Composer Ryan Shore nominated for best score, for the movie The Shrine. 
  • Sum 41, best hard rock/metal performance for Blood in My Eyes.
  • The Suburbs by Arcade Fire, best recording package.

But no one's appearance will garner more attention than Adele, the British singer who stepped away from touring five months ago to undergo vocal cord surgery. She is giving her first live performance at the Grammys and also is a favourite to win in the six categories in which she is nominated.

Adele's sophomore album 21, which features hits like Rolling in the Deep and Someone Like You, soared on the music charts in 2011 and was one of the year's bestselling releases.

The Grammys returns to a hosted format for the first time in a decade, with LL Cool J doing the honours.

Other performers include Jason Aldean, Chris Brown, Glen Campbell with The Band Perry and Blake Shelton, Coldplay and Rihanna, Foo Fighters, Minaj and Katy Perry.

Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt are set to pay tribute to the late blues singer Etta James.

The televised gala Sunday night is mainly a celebration of pop's biggest stars, with a few key prizes, including best album, best recording and best single given out in between.

The bulk of the Grammys are given out earlier in the day, and the MusiCares gala is set for Friday night. McCartney is to be honoured for his humanitarian work at that event, which has tapped performers such as Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Diana Krall and the cast of Cirque du Soleil’s Love.

It’s the first ceremony since the academy shaved its categories from 109 to 78, and the reshuffling involved has angered some members of the music community, who have threatened to protest outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

This year marked West's return to Grammy prominence. His seven nominations include a bid for song of the year for his all-star hit All of the Lights, though his My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was overlooked in the best album category.

Bruno Mars and Foo Fighters are contenders in six categories and Lil Wayne in five. Other multiple nominees include deadmau5, Minaj, The Band Perry and Bon Iver.

The Grammy Awards will be broadcast Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.