Taylor Swift, Rihanna and Mumford & Sons are among the initial crop of artists unveiled as performers on the Feb. 10 Grammy Awards. LL Cool J will return return as host for the telecast, which will be broadcast live except for the West Coast on CBS at 8 p.m.
The Black Keys and Fun. were also a part of Wednesday’s announcement. Typically, all five nominees for album of the year are tasked with performing. Contenders for the top prize this year are Mumford & Sons’ “Babel,” the Black Keys’ “El Camino,” Fun.'s “Some Nights,” Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange” and Jack White’s “Blunderbuss."
The Grammys are going all-in on Rihanna this year, even though she’s not one of the top vote-getters. The artist, known best these days for social media tweets and photos regarding her relationship with Chris Brown, is an anchor artist of the Recording Academy’s ad campaign for the Grammy Awards. She was the centerpiece artist of one of the first major commercials to air this year.
Rihanna’s top nomination this year was in the best pop solo performance field, where her “Where Have You Been” was recognized. She’ll compete against Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” a live version of Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain,” Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake” and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.”
Rihanna’s 2011 album “Talk That Talk” was entirely overlooked by Grammy voters and her current effort, “Unapologetic,” was not eligible as it was released in November, well past the Sept. 30 deadline for albums. Rihanna’s 2010 “Loud” was a prior album of the year contender at the Grammys.
Swift, who co-hosted the Grammy nomination concert with LL Cool J, had the No. 2-selling album of 2012 with “Red.” To date it’s sold more than 3.1 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, and only Adele’s “21" sold more in 2012. “Red” also missed the Grammy eligibility period as it was released on Oct. 22.
Unlike Rihanna, however, Swift at least has a nomination in one of the big three Grammy categories -- record, song and album of the year. Her “We Are Never Getting Back Together” is up for record of the year, where it will compete with songs from Ocean (“Thinkin Bout You”), the Black Keys (“Lonely Boy”), fun. (“We Are Young” featuring Janelle Monae), Clarkson (“Stronger”) and Gotye (“Somebody That I Used to Know” featuring Kimbra).
Wednesday’s statement doesn’t mention whether the artists will be performing together or separately. So there is still hope, Grammy watchers, that Swift and Rihanna will take part in an extended medley honoring the songs of Bruce Springsteen.