Grammys 2012: Chris Brown to Attend, Perform after Three-Year Absence

Nominated in three categories, the R&B star returns to the awards show for the first time since his 2008 assault against then-girlfriend Rihanna.
Kenneth Cappello

According to a report in the Associated Press, Chris Brown will return to the Grammy Awards for the first time in three years.

No one needs reminding as to why he’s been absent from music's biggest night for so long -- recapping the horrific events of February 8, 2009 is painful enough to think about, never mind blog, so here’s a link that says it all. 

As for the timing of his return? You can’t blame Brown for wanting to revel in the success of F.A.M.E., his 2011 album which has spawned the hits “Look At Me Now,” “Yeah 3X” and “She Ain’t You” and garnered three Grammy nominations, including best R&B album. Even The Hollywood Reporter named it one of the best albums of 2011. But is America ready to forgive? And cheer?

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And how about ex-girlfriend Rihanna, who’ll be mere feet away (but no closer than 10 yards, as per a judge’s order, which also stipulates that Brown to serve five years probation and perform six months of community service) and moments from a potential win of her own? (She’s up for four Grammys, including album of the year for Loud.) Will Brown’s performance be her theme to an endless bummer?

When I asked American Music Awards producer Larry Klein why he decided the time was nigh to book Brown for the November 2011 show, he seemed torn on the subject. “Of course, what happened years ago no one would condone,” said Klein. “It was a terrible thing, but everyone deserves a second chance.”

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And it wouldn't be his first live performance on a national stage since the assault. Brown has appeared on the aforementioned AMAs and the BET Awards in 2011.

Klein went on to add that he “likes Chris a lot” and respects his creativity but ultimately he has the TV audience in mind and what they respond to is a “phenomenal entertainer.”  Ratings for last year’s show were in line with the previous year, but saw a slight uptick among teen viewers -- Chris Brown fans?

Yes, we’ve asked this question before but never seem to be satisfied with the answer (even when we turn it on ourselves): how do you reconcile the Chris Brown who’s prone to Twitter rants, posting naked pictures of himself, and, yes, violence, with the showman moonwalking across your TV screen on Grammy night? And do you find his "look at me now" boasting off-putting? 

Twitter: @shirleyhalperin