LL Cool J to be first Grammy Awards host in seven years
LL Cool J has a good shot at becoming to the Grammy Awards what Neil Patrick Harris is to the Tonys and Billy Crystal is to the Oscars -- its A-No. 1-go-to host. For the first time in seven years, the Grammy Awards is doing away with its no-host format and has turned to the rapper-turned-actor, who has served as host of the Grammy nominations concert for the last four years.
In a statement, the "NCIS: Los Angeles" actor said, "I will always have fond memories of my first Grammy Awards and to now be hosting the Grammy show, in the company of so many other incredible artists, is a dream come true."
Those other artists performing at the 54th Grammys include Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson, Foo Fighters, Bruno Mars, Nicki Minaj and surprise-face queen Taylor Swift.
Strangely, LL Cool J is only the second musical performer to host the Grammy Awards in recent years. The last host, back in 2005, was Queen Latifah. But before her, it was a grab-bag of comedians, including Jon Stewart, Rosie O'Donnell and Crystal.
Will the CBS star be able to capitalize on his popularity to continue the trend of ratings increases at the awards show? It's possible, although more people will probably tune in to see the possible latest chapter in record of the year nominee Katy Perry's divorce drama.
The show will air live from Staples Center on Feb. 12.
--Patrick Kevin Day
Photo: LL Cool J at the 53rd Grammy Awards in 2011. Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times