It’s the Year of Taylor but anything could happen at the ever-unpredictable Grammys on Sunday, with Queen Swift poised to make history and women performers expected to reign supreme.
The 66th edition of music’s most prestigious awards ceremony marks a historic year for women, queer and gender-fluid artists up for the night’s major trophies.
But whether they’ll actually win is anyone’s guess, and there’s always room for eyebrow raises and quirky choices across the evening’s more than 90 competitive fields.
Here’s a guide to Sunday’s gala in Los Angeles:
– Taylor eyes history, no Travis –
Swift is up for six gramophones this year, including Album of the Year for her most recent new volume of work, “Midnights.”
If she wins the prestigious trophy, it would be her fourth — the most of any artist, breaking the tie she is currently in with Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder.
Her high-profile relationship with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is among the myriad reasons Swift’s name is headline catnip these days, but the NFL superstar is not set to attend Sunday’s gala with her.
Kelce will be busy preparing to play in next weekend’s Super Bowl in Las Vegas, in which the Chiefs will face the San Francisco 49ers.
“I wish I can go and support Taylor at the Grammys and watch her win every award that she is nominated for,” Kelce said in a recent interview.
– Tracy Chapman returns? –
The Recording Academy hands out most of its dozens of awards prior to the more than three-hour, performance-heavy main broadcast, to air on US network CBS.
Expected on stage is Luke Combs, the country singer whose omission from the evening’s major prizes was a surprise.
Combs dropped a cover of Tracy Chapman’s 1988 classic “Fast Car” to resounding success, earning a single nod in the country categories.
It is rumoured that Combs’ performance will include Chapman herself, who rarely appears in public.
Viewers can also look forward to a set from Billy Joel, who just released a new single, his first original music in nearly two decades.
– Joni takes the stage –
The 80-year-old received a folk album nomination for her live record “Joni Mitchell at Newport,” when she delivered a set just years after an aneurysm led to fears she might never play again.
Mitchell isn’t the only OG up for a prize: two compilations from Bob Dylan and the late Lou Reed are in the running for Best Historical Album.
The winner of that prize will go to the albums’ producers and engineers, rather than the artist, but the name recognition could boost their chances.
The same goes for a music video set to “I’m Only Sleeping” by The Beatles.
The Fab Four aren’t up for the award themselves — the video’s director and producers are — but their appearance on a shortlist that includes Billie Eilish, Kendrick Lamar, Tyler Childers and Troye Sivan was a little far-out.
Icon Joni Mitchell also will serenade the gala, her first Grammy performance ever despite a half-century relationship with the Academy.
– Barbie Girls –
Women have more representation than ever at this year’s Grammys, with SZA earning nine nods followed closely by the likes of Swift, Olivia Rodrigo and supergroup boygenius.
But it’s our girl Barbie who raked in the most chances at Grammy gold, with 11.
The eclectic, star-powered soundtrack to the billion-dollar summer blockbuster earned nominations for songs performed by Eilish, Dua Lipa, Best New Artist favorite Ice Spice and the Oscar contender Ryan Gosling.
Eilish won a Golden Globe last month for her spare, wrenching ballad “What Was I Made For?” which earned her Grammy nominations for both Best Song and Best Record — and could also see her win an Oscar next month.
It’s a rare hit that wins both a Song of the Year Grammy and an Academy Award for Best Original Song: others to accomplish the feat are Barbra Streisand’s “The Way We Were” and Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.”
– And the Grammy goes to… Bernie? –
Bernie Sanders—yes, that Bernie Sanders—has a second chance to win a Grammy in the audiobook and narration category.
The leftist senator’s reading of “It’s OK to Be Angry About Capitalism” is up against efforts by Michelle Obama, Meryl Streep, William Shatner and Rick Rubin in one of the night’s quirkier categories.
If former First Lady Obama wins, it would be her second audiobook victory; her husband Barack has two already.
Also in contention is Trevor Noah, the comedian hosting the gala for the fourth consecutive year.
Noah lost the Best Comedy Album honor in 2020 to Dave Chappelle, one year before he began his stint as Grammy master of ceremonies.
Speaking to People recently, Noah joked that his hosting gig is just a campaign to win: “It’s all been a long con.”