Grammy awards: 10 things to expect – from Jack White to wardrobe mistakes

CBS is playing the wardrobe police, but come on, someone's going to slip. What to watch out for on music's big night

What can we expect at the 55th annual Grammy awards show this Sunday night on CBS? Traditionally there is no tradition here. A show composed of musicians not actors tends to be the most "spontaneous" of the awards season. The Grammy red carpet has always been more outrageous than its Oscar counterpart – remember Lady Gaga in the egg? Performances can be unplugged or unscripted. Remember Kanye? It can feature unexpected singers. Remember Gwyneth and Cee Lo Green? This is a show that rarely drags and is filled with color. Here are some things to look for.

1. No "puffy" bits on display

Costumes can be completely out there, but they have to be on YOU. CBS issued you a wardrobe guide for everyone appearing on camera on Sunday night. No commercial endorsements, no plugs for any causes on your t-shirts or anywhere else. But the best part is the paragraph that deals with decency which we share with you in its entirety.

"Please be sure that buttocks and female breasts are adequately covered. Thong type costumes are problematic. Please avoid exposing bare fleshy under curves of the buttocks and buttock crack. Bare sides or under curvature of the breasts is also problematic. Please avoid sheer see-through clothing that could possibly expose female breast nipples. Please be sure the genital region is adequately covered so that there is no visible "puffy" bare skin exposure."

2. The Sandy Hook elementary school choir

They appeared at the Super Bowl singing America the Beautiful with Jennifer Hudson. Now they're back with the song of last summer, Carly Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe. Choir director Sabrina Post describes the children's public performances this way:

"This opportunity to do something positive lets the kids know that although a lot of things happen in our world that are not pleasant, like this that happened with us in Newtown, there are many giving people and wonderful things that can come out of life, so don't get discouraged."

3. Justin

Not Bieber but Timberlake. Timberlake will be performing at the Grammys for the first time since 2009 (when he stepped in at the last minute to sing Let's Stay Together with Al Green after Chris Brown and Rihanna dropped out.) Fans are hoping he'll sing the newly released soul single Suit & Tie, featuring Jay-Z, but word from the Grammy people is that he sent them something newer that he's considering.

4. A collaborative performance

Featuring Rihanna, Sting and Bruno Mars. We are praying it's not the ballad version of Umbrella.

5. Performances by Taylor Swift and Kelly Clarkson

Already being hyped as a catfight – sigh – because they are fellow nominees for the record of the year. Remember what happened when Swift lost to Adele at the Golden Globes? The internet entered Gif heaven.

6. Jack White – unplugged

White's nominations, Blunderbuss is up for album of the year and best rock album, and Freedom at 21 is nominated for best rock song. So he was guaranteed a performing spot. But he told The Hollywood Reporter this week that he had no intention of rehearsing. So we're giving him the Too Cool for School award.

7. The grandaddy of the Grammys

Elton John's first appearance was in 1971. Remember Your Song? The five-time Grammy winner is back on Sunday in a group tribute to …

8. The late Levon Helm

Helm (drummer of The Band) died of throat cancer last year. This year's big ensemble performance is a tribute to him. Besides Elton look for Mumford and Sons, Brittany Howard of The Alabama Shakes, Mavis Staples and Zac Brown on stage. Expect to hear The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.

9. Beyonce, Katy Perry and Bonnie Raitt

Are all presenting not performing. Some are calling this a diss. We are calling it a well-earned break.

10. Frank Ocean

The one to watch, the 25-year-old has the hottest spot of the year. He's the rookie who has the same amount of nominations (six) as Kanye and Jay-Z. He's already been punched by Chris Brown. (He's not pressing charges.) He's up for Best New Album and Best New Artist.

So tune into CBS with us on Sunday night and watch for wardrobe malfunctions, fights, upsets and hopefully some great music. We'll be live blogging the show starting at 7pm ET. See you there.


Emma G Keller

The GuardianTramp

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