Taylor Swift, Foo Fighters to perform at Grammys, but WWKWD?
Producers for the Grammy Awards have begun unveiling performers for its Feb. 12 telecast, starting with a pair of album of the year nominees -- rock act the Foo Fighters and R&B chameleon Bruno Mars. Also named among the initial crop of performers were country star Jason Aldean, former "American Idol" winner Kelly Clarkson, rapper Nicki Minaj and country-influenced pop star Taylor Swift, who no doubt acted with wide-eyed surprise at merely being asked to appear at the ceremony.
To maximize media attention, the Recording Academy will roll out the Grammy performing litter throughout the weeks leading up to the ceremony. It is typical for all album of the year nominees to perform, so it's all but guaranteed that future news releases will announce performances from Rihanna and Lady Gaga. The only question mark among this year's top nominees is whether or not soul singer Adele will be cleared by doctors to perform.
When it comes to who will or won't perform, perhaps the most tantalizing questions remain not in whether reunited acts such as the Beach Boys or Van Halen will appear -- likely with younger acts with whom they have little in common (ahem, Swift and Stevie Nicks) -- but is once again WWKWD (What Will Kanye West Do?).
The famed rapper has already criticized the Grammy Awards as "illogical," and while he has the most nominations with seven, his honors are predominantly in rap categories. West, however, is as unpredictable of a performer as he is a social network user, and his Grammy performances, including a glow-in-the-dark appearance with Daft Punk and a marching band blow-out for "Gold Digger," have been some of the most riveting the award show has seen in recent years.
Booking Adele, if she's given the green-light to sing, is a no-brainer, but the outspoken West may be seen as something of a risk, especially when one takes into account his multiple rants at not receiving an album of the year prize.
In 2005, for instance, West told MTV he would have a "problem" if he didn't win album of the year, and he has long been preoccupied with award show acceptance, including a backstage rant at the American Music Awards for not winning best new artist. So in a Grammy year when the only real drama is related to a pop star's vocal cord health, it's once again West who stands the most chance of giving viewers something to discuss on the morning of Feb. 13 -- if he's invited to perform.
The Grammys are determined by about 13,000 voting members. The eligibility period for nominated recordings was Oct. 1, 2010 to Sept. 30, 2011. The 2011 awards will be televised on CBS from Staples Center in Los Angeles.
-- Todd Martens
Photo: Taylor Swift is surprised -- again -- at an award show. Swift is slated to perform at Grammy Awards on Feb. 12. Credit: Matt Sayles / Associated Press