What to Watch For at This Year's Grammys

Taylor Swift LL Cool J Lady Gaga SPlit - H 2016
Getty Images

Taylor Swift LL Cool J Lady Gaga SPlit - H 2016

The 58th Grammy Awards will broadcast live from the Los Angeles Staples Center at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET Monday, Feb. 15 on CBS.

The Grammys still know how to change things up.

For the first time in 58 years, the annual Grammy Awards will air on a Monday night (thanks to this weekend's double-holiday) and will broadcast live coast to coast. Though held in downtown Los Angeles, the Grammys are the last of the major awards shows to provide the West Coast with a night of spoiler-free entertainment when they air live in all time zones Feb. 15 on CBS at 5 p.m. PT.

Music's biggest superstars are set to attend when LL Cool J returns as host: Taylor Swift kicks off the mega list of performers to open the show with a hit off 1989, and Adele, the cast of Hamilton, Justin Bieber with Diplo and Skrillex, Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar and more follow. In another first for the Grammys, Gwen Stefani will broadcast a live music video for her new single, "Make Me Like You."

In a year where the usual In Memoriam presentation wouldn't be enough to honor the stars music has lost, a handful of performances will go to tributes: Lady Gaga to David Bowie; the Eagles for Glenn Frey; Chris Stapleton, Bonnie Raitt, and Gary Clark Jr. will remember B.B. King; and the Hollywood Vampires (Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper, Duff McKagan and Joe Perry) will honor Lemmy Kilmister in their TV debut. Earth, Wind & Fire, who will be one of several lifetime achievement award recipients, will pay tribute to Maurice White when they present the award for record of the year.

The person of the year award will go to Lionel Richie, who will be performing a surprise song (a "Hello" duet with Adele?) after getting his own star-studded tribute when Luke Bryan, John Legend, Meghan Trainor and Demi Lovato team for a mini-medley of his hits.

As for nominations, Lamar leads the artists with 11, and Swift and The Weeknd, who face-off for record of the year for "Blank Space" and "Can't Feel My Face," are tied in second place with seven. Amy Poehler is up for best spoken word album for the audio book of Yes Please and Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth's Furious 7 hit "See You Again" scored three. See the full list of nominees here.

The Hollywood Reporter will be providing party coverage all weekend and come Monday, full coverage of the awards ceremony, including the complete list of winners, show highlights, backstage moments, expert analysis and red carpet and afterparty coverage on Twitter, Facebook and THR.com.  

Start counting down to these five expected show highlights:

LL Cool J Returns to Host for Fifth Year in a Row

The Grammys appear to abide by the adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it": Once again, LL Cool J returns as host.

While the Oscars, Emmys and Golden Globes compete for the biggest and best hosting names each year, the Grammys have dependably relied upon the NCIS: Los Angeles star and rapper. The repetition of LL doesn't necessarily make for pre-show headline-grabbing news (like Ricky Gervais or Chris Rock), but viewers know the Grammy winner won't bomb, either. In fact, LL, who will be hosting his fifth consecutive show, finds success in letting the performances be the star, and has continued to pull in steady ratings by playing more of an emcee. Last year, he didn't even do an opening monologue.

"I just try to be myself," he has said. "I’m not trying to be Ellen [DeGeneres]. I’m not trying to be Billy Crystal. I’m just me."

Taylor Swift Will Open the Show

Another perk to LL being such a seasoned host? He'll know how to handle a potential Kanye 3.0 — or at least joke about it.

While it's not yet confirmed if West will be attending (he performed on Saturday Night Live two night's prior and has since gone on a Twitter rant about whether or not he will attend the awards show), the star has new album The Life of Pablo to promote, and on it, a lyric that has reignited his on-and-off beef with Taylor Swift just days before she is set to open the show (West famously interrupted Swift during the 2009 Grammys, and nearly did the same with Beck last year). On West's new track "Famous," he raps "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous."

Kanye-interruption or not, Swift will kick off the show with a performance of one the nominated singles from her hit album, 1989, which is up for album of the year. (Despite Swift's massive reach, critics are eyeing a Lamar sweep, see below.)

Lady Gaga to Perform David Bowie Medley; Eagles Will Honor Glenn Frey

Barely a month in and 2016 rocked the music world to its core when it said goodbye to music legends David Bowie on Jan. 11 and Glenn Frey on the 18th.

Lady Gaga, fresh off her memorable Super Bowl performance, will cover at least three or four Bowie songs during a six-to-seven minute tribute that will serve as an homage to the artist, as well as the influence he had on fashion and pop culture. "When I fell in love with David Bowie," Gaga told THR after his death, "I always felt that his glamour was something he was using to express a message to people that was very healing for their soul."

Eagles co-founders Don Henley and Bernie Leadon will be joined by guitarist Joe Walsh, bassist Timothy B. Schmit and Jackson Browne when they pay tribute to their bandmate and friend Frey. A likely song they will perform is the band's first hit, "Take It Easy."

Cast of 'Hamilton' Set to Perform From Broadway

With tickets sold out through the fall, the Grammys are giving fans of the hit Broadway musical a chance to see Lin-Manual Miranda and the rest of the Hamilton cast in action when they perform their opening number via telecast. Their live performance will be broadcast from New York City's Richard Rodgers Theatre, home to Hamilton, where they'll be singing for a live Manhattan audience.

The hip-hop show about Alexander Hamilton has been praised for its diversity, creativity and timeliness, and was called a "game-changing musical" by THR.

Kendrick Lamar Could Make History

In an awards season defined by #OscarsSoWhite controversy and talks of increasing diversity in entertainment, rapper Kendrick Lamar heads into the Grammys with history-making potential.

In the Grammys existence, only two hip-hop artists have ever nabbed the night's biggest award for album of the year (Lauryn Hill and Outkast), and a rap song has never won song of the year — both categories where Lamar is nominated. After being shutout at the 2014 Grammys, Lamar says this year, "I want to win them all."

The To Pimp A Butterfly singer, who falls one nomination short of the total record for nominations held by Michael Jackson, also has the potential to implode social media if he performs "Bad Blood" with Swift — the pair has yet to sing their remixed version live.