Grammys 2016: 8 performances we can't wait to watch

Unlike other award shows, the Grammys put the spotlight on one thing: eye-popping musical spectacle. Of late, that's meant a lineup packed with top contenders, hot newcomers, beloved elders and interesting (sometimes head-scratching) match-ups. Here are eight Grammy performances we're looking out for Monday night.

Adele, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar and Hollywood Vampires on the bill

Rihanna, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga are all set to take the Grammy stage to perform Monday night. (Getty Images)

Unlike many of the awards shows strewn across the airwaves this season, the Grammys put the spotlight on one thing: eye-popping musical spectacle by today's chart-toppers.

Sure, a few of those glittery gramophone trophies get handed out during the telecast, but the vast majority of those are distributed in the non-televised pre-show, leaving a juicy, prime-time TV block to be filled with a parade of high-profile performances.

In recent years, that's meant a lineup packed with top contenders, hot newcomers, beloved elders and interesting (sometimes head-scratching) artist mash-ups.  

Here are seven Grammy performances we're looking out for Monday night.

Justin Bieber

Could Justin Bieber, seen performing in Toronto in December, win his first Grammy Award? (John Rieti/CBC)

The Biebs was a Grammy contender before, but could he win his first trophy? At the very least, we're anticipating the typically showy Bieber taking the stage to perform his best dance recording-nominated track Where Are You Now with song co-creators and EDM hitmakers Diplo and Skrillex.


Rihanna, seen onstage with Drake at the 2011 Grammys, is a go-to performer for the annual music extravaganza. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Lending the Grammys some just-released currency, pop star Rihanna will offer a taste of her brand new album Anti. Riri is a go-to Grammy performer in the past few years, having delivered electrifying, choreographed-to-the-nines solo sets as well as sharing the stage with Kanye West and Paul McCartney, Eminem, Mikky Ekko, Drake and Ziggy Marley, Sting and Bruno Mars.

In tribute

Lady Gaga, who shared the stage with Tony Bennett at the 2015 Grammys, returns this year as a nominee and to pay tribute to the late David Bowie. (Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

Tributes are a recent Grammys mainstay and, when they work, can hit that nostalgic note just right. This year's most prominent homage is expected to be Lady Gaga's seven-minute tribute to David Bowie, but don't discount some other salutes currently on the books.

Gary Clark Jr., Bonnie Raitt and Chris Stapleton will celebrate the legacy of blues great B.B. King while Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Bernie Leadon, and Timothy B. Schmit are joining Jackson Browne in honouring Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey. Also, Hollywood Vampires — otherwise known as the super group comprising Alice Cooper, Aerosmith's Joe Perry and Johnny Depp — will toast Motorhead's Lemmy Kilmister.

Lionel Richie, who is still with us, will be celebrated as the 2016 MusiCares Person of the Year by John Legend, Demi Lovato, Meghan Trainor and Luke Bryan.

Mash-up: Pitbull, Robin Thicke, Travis Barker

Miami rapper Pitbull, centre, will take the Grammy spotlight alongside Travis Barker of Blink-182 and crooner Robin Thicke. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/Associated Press)

What do you get when you mix Miami rapper Pitbull, Blurred Lines crooner Robin Thicke and Blink 182-drummer Travis Barker? Umm… we'll see.


Adele's 25 is not in contention this year, but she'll perform at the show nonetheless. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters )

Sure Adele's massive, record-smashing 25 was released after this year's Grammy eligibility window. But c'mon, who wouldn't sign the 10-time Grammy-winner and ubiquitous singer up to perform this year?

Big contenders 

It's be a smash year for Toronto R&B star The Weeknd. Will he triumph at the Grammys? (Getty Images)

Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, Taylor Swift: We can't wait to see what kind of fire the trio leading the Grammys race will bring, with each slated to take the stage.

The cast of Hamilton

Lin-Manuel Miranda, foreground, and his Hamilton cast will perform via satellite from New York. (Joan Marcus/The Public Theater)

Though they occasionally earn Grammy nominations, Broadway musicals only make rare appearances in the televised show. But there's no stopping the juggernaut that is Hamilton, the hip hop-infused look at U.S founding father Alexander Hamilton — the hottest ticket in New York and set to begin its first U.S. national tour this fall. Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and his talented cast will deliver a number live via satellite from the Richard Rodgers Theatre in Manhattan (only the fourth time in Grammy history the show has featured performance via satellite).

Grammy cam

This year, organizers have embedded a Go Pro camera inside the stand-in Grammy trophies handed to winners onstage, potentially making for some interesting footage. (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)

There have been different versions of Grammy cams over the years, but this year's innovation is one actually mounted inside of trophies handed to the winners onstage (stand-ins for the engraved ones eventually delivered to winners). Organizers have embedded specially rigged GoPro cameras inside these trophies in hopes of capturing a fresh, "never-before-seen" view of the celebrations for fans at home.

Other artists set to perform: Alabama Shakes, Joey Alexander, Miguel, James Bay, Andra Day, Ellie Goulding, Sam Hunt, Tori Kelly, Little Big Town and Carrie Underwood.

Cuban-Canadian singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Alex Cuba is among the slew of Canadians up for Grammys Monday night.

Apart from the musical spectacle, it's a boffo year for Canadian acts. Aside from The Weeknd, Bieber and Toronto rapper Drake, a slew of other homegrown artists are in contention, including:

  • Caribou (best dance/electronic album for Our Love)
  • Alex Cuba (best Latin pop album for Healer)
  • Stephan Moccio with Abel Tesfaye and others (best song written for visual media for Earned It from Fifty Shades of Grey)
  • Joni Mitchell (best album notes for Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting to be Danced)
  • Marc-André Hamelin with Takacs Quartet (best chamber music/small ensemble performance)
  • Yannick Nézet-Séguin (shared best opera recording nomination for Mozart: Die Entführung Aus Dem Serail)
  • Ron Korb (best new age album for Asia Beauty)
  • Matt Maher (best contemporary Christian music album for Saints And Sinners and best contemporary Christian music performance/song for Because He Lives (Amen)
  • Producer Kevin Howes (best historical album for Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, And Country 1966-1985)
  • Michael Silver, also known as CFCF (best remixed recording non-classical for Berlin By Overnight - CFCF Remix)
  • Jan Haust and Peter J. Moore (part of the team up for best historical album for The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11)
  • Charles Moniz (as part of the team behind record of the year nominee Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson)​

Grammy winners in approximately 70 categories will be announced Monday at the Premiere Grammy Awards Ceremony, a pre-televised event taking place at (and being live-streamed from) the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET.

The 58th annual Grammy Awards televised gala follows at the Staples Center. Hosted for a fifth consecutive year by rapper-turned-actor L L Cool J, it airs on CBS beginning at 8 p.m. ET.


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