Grammys 2017: All you need to know

Some of the main nominees and performers at the Grammy AwardsImage copyright
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The cream of the music world will be attending the ceremony

From Beyonce’s baby bump to Katy Perry’s comeback, this year’s Grammys ceremony looks rich with promise.

Here’s everything you need to know about the show.


James Corden is hosting the show live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles at 5pm(PT)/8pm(ET) on Sunday, 12 February.

If you’re in the US, you can watch the ceremony live on CBS from 8pm ET. In the UK, you have to wait until 4Music screen the show at 8pm on Monday night. Good luck avoiding spoilers.

However, you can watch the red carpet coverage live on E! (151 on Sky, 156 on Virgin, 321 on BT) from 11pm on Sunday.

And BBC Music News LIVE will be reporting on the action throughout the night.


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The show has a line-up to rival Glastonbury. Here’s what to expect.

  • Katy Perry: Giving the first performance of her comeback song Chained To The Rhythm.
  • Beyonce: Not officially confirmed – but her dad says she’s performing, so it must be true.
  • Adele: Likely to be singing her current single, Water Under The Bridge.
  • The Weeknd and Daft Punk: This is Daft Punk’s first performance in three years. Will White House press secretary Sean Spicer be more impressed than last time?
  • Chance The Rapper
  • Alicia Keys and Maren Morris
  • Bruno Mars: Appearing with Prince’s side-project The Time, whose music inspired Uptown Funk.
  • Little Big Town, Demi Lovato, Andra Day and Tori Kelly: Performing a tribute to the Bee Gees. Let’s hope it’s not as excruciating as it sounds.
  • Lady Gaga and Metallica: Strange though this collaboration sounds, Gaga used to be the singer in a Led Zeppelin tribute band, so it could just work.
  • Sturgill Simpson
  • Lukas Graham
  • John Legend and Cynthia Erivo: Performing a memorial to musicians who have died in the past year.
  • Anderson .Paak and A Tribe Called Quest
  • Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood
  • Kelsea Ballerini
  • William Bell and Gary Clark Jr

Other performers are likely to be announced in the run-up to the show, and there are usually a few surprises on the night itself.


There are 83 categories at the Grammys – including “best surround sound album” and “best notes” (C# is our favourite) – so if you’re a musician and you don’t get a prize, it’s probably best to cut your losses and take up ostrich farming.

You can see the main nominees at the bottom of this page, or read the full, exhaustive list on the official website of the Grammy Awards.


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The big fight is between Adele and Beyonce, who go head to head in the three main categories: Album of the year, record of the year and song of the year.

We predict Beyonce’s politically-charged Lemonade will take the honours for album of the year; while Adele’s Hello will take the others, which focus more on songcraft.

If we’re right, it will be the first time Beyonce’s won the main prize. Two years ago, she lost album of the year to Beck’s Morning Phase, prompting Kanye West to throw all his toys out of the pram.

“Beck needs to respect artistry and he should have given his award to Beyonce,” he observed.

Beck declined.


Song of the year goes to the people who wrote the music and lyrics.

Record of the year recognises everyone who contributed – musicians, producers, artists, catering team, dog groomer, receptionist, Simon Cowell, etc.


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Very much so. Photographs of the seating plans released on Friday show that Beyonce and Jay Z get the best seats in the house, cementing their position as pop royalty. Beyonce’s sister Solange – nominated for best RB performance – has to sit a row behind, resisting the urge to flick B’s ear.

Adele sits next to Bruno Mars, while Lady Gaga has an aisle seat. And, in the most unlikely pairing of the night, J-Lo will have to make small talk with Barry Gibb.


The name was chosen in a contest – as the ceremony was previously known as the Gramophone Awards. Jay Danna, the contest winner, received 25 LPs as a prize from the Recording Academy.


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Sturgill Simpson is the dark horse in the best album category. His nomination raised more than a few eyebrows from people who expected David Bowie’s Blackstar to be honoured by the Recording Academy.

The bad boy of country music, Sturgill covers Nirvana songs and has publicly berated Nashville for being out of touch.

Could he do a Beck?


Adele gave an uncharacteristically pitchy performance at last year’s Grammys – after a rogue microphone fell on her piano strings and knocked everything out of tune.

The Recording Academy have “spent a year trying to make it up to her,” Grammy producer Ken Ehrlich told E! and they’ll be tightening all the screws on all of the mic stands with an industrial-level power tool.

Undoubtedly, she’ll be back to her usual, flawless self.


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David Bowie, George Michael, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Sir George Martin, Sharon Jones, Glenn Frey, Prince Buster, Phife Dawg… 2016 was brutal – but that puts the Grammys in a pickle. They have a long history of musical tributes, but no-one wants this year’s show to feel like a funeral.

“You’ve got a lot of people incredibly excited about being nominated,” producer Kenneth Ehrlich told Rolling Stone. “I don’t want to deny them by devoting a third of the show to people who’ve passed away.”

However, organisers have announced there will be special segments devoted to Prince – possibly led by Bruno Mars – and George Michael.


Frank Ocean’s Blonde was one of the most critically-acclaimed albums of 2016 – but it’s nowhere to be seen in the Grammy nominations.

Don’t call it a snub, though. The star simply didn’t submit the record for consideration, citing his dissatisfaction with the way the Grammys treated black artists.

“That institution certainly has nostalgic importance,” he told the New York Times. “It just doesn’t seem to be representing very well for people who come from where I come from, and hold down what I hold down.”


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Kanye West, who’s up for best rap album, vowed to boycott the Grammys if Frank Ocean wasn’t nominated. We’ll have to wait and see if he keeps his word.

Among the other major stars, Justin Bieber is allegedly skipping the show because he “doesn’t think the Grammys are relevant or representative, especially when it comes to young singers” (according to TMZ, anyway).

And Drake isn’t going to make it to LA, because he’s playing a show in Manchester… But that might not be such a bad decision. The show’s ratings dropped to a seven-year low in 2016, meaning the star will make more money from a single concert than he would from three minutes’ TV exposure.


It certainly seems likely. Adele, Beyonce, Lady Gaga and John Legend have all been outspoken critics of the new president.

The show has a history of protest. Pharrell, Beyonce and Common all spoke out against police killings of African-Americans two years ago; while Kendrick Lamar performed in chains last year, making a comment on discrimination in America’s prison system.


Chance The Rapper could make history if his Coloring Book album snags any of the seven awards it’s nominated for. The ebullient, gospel-inspired record is the first streaming-only release to be eligible for the Grammys.

Although he’s locked out of the best album category, David Bowie has five other nominations – and is favourite to win best rock album. But don’t place a bet just yet, as he only ever won one competitive Grammy in his life.

Rihanna is second to Beyonce as the night’s most-nominated woman – she’s up for eight awards – but she’s likely to be overshadowed in the main categories. Her bold, experimental album ANTI should easily win best urban contemporary album, however.

And, while Kanye may complain, don’t expect anyone to refuse their awards. Sinead O’Connor is the only artist to have rejected her Grammy outright; while Milli Vanilli are the only act to have their award revoked.

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Rihanna now has 32 nominations and eight wins to her name

Grammy Awards 2017: Main nominations

Album Of The Year

  • Adele – 25
  • Beyonce – Lemonade
  • Justin Bieber – Purpose
  • Drake – Views
  • Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide To Earth

Record Of The Year

  • Adele – Hello
  • Beyonce – Formation
  • Lukas Graham – 7 Years
  • Rihanna ft Drake – Work
  • Twenty One Pilots – Stressed Out

Song Of The Year

  • Adele – Hello
  • Beyonce – Formation
  • Justin Bieber – Love Yourself
  • Lukas Graham – 7 Years
  • Mike Posner – I Took A Pill In Ibiza

Best New Artist

  • Kelsea Ballerini
  • The Chainsmokers
  • Chance The Rapper
  • Maren Morris
  • Anderson .Paak

Best alternative album

  • David Bowie – Blackstar
  • PJ Harvey – The Hope Six Demolition Project
  • Bon Iver – 22, A Million
  • Iggy Pop – Post Pop Depression
  • Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool

Best pop album

  • Adele – 25
  • Justin Bieber – Purpose
  • Ariana Grande – Dangerous Woman
  • Demi Lovato – Confident
  • Sia – This Is Acting

Best rap album

  • Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book
  • De La Soul – And The Anonymous Nobody
  • DJ Khaled – Major Key
  • Drake – Views
  • Schoolboy Q – Blank Face LP
  • Kanye West – The Life Of Pablo

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