(For a complete list of 53rd GRAMMY Award nominees, click here.)
Welcome to the official liveblog tracking the Countdown to Music's Biggest Night, the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards. I'm your host, Maura Johnston. Join me as we follow "The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!!" which kicks off at 10 p.m. ET and will be hosted by two-time GRAMMY winner LL Cool J. In addition to the announcing the nominees, we'll watch performances by Justin Bieber, B.o.B., Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, and Train. Let's get started!
And we're live! Well, via satellite at least.
LL Cool J is in the crowd, and introducing "one of the most competitive races in years." And Katy Perry, who appears to have packaged herself with her own head-borne mistletoe.
I'm in New York (current temperature: a not-balmy 44 degrees) so I'm not quite sure what the temperature is at the L.A. Live plaza, but there's quite a winter wonderland on the stage behind Katy. The white cardigan, silver pencil skirt look is very curl-up-by-the-fire, no?
LL is back, and looking quite fine in an all-black suit with matching cap. He's walking into the building...and introducing Bruno Mars.
Bruno is working the old-school, MTV Unplugged setup for this stripped-down performance of "Just The Way You Are" — piano, strings, acoustic guitar, and tambourine. And, of course, shades. (Those stage lights can be bright!)
The song's innate prettiness is really being brought out by this arrangement and performance — it sounds nearly like a first-wedding dance record, er, just the way it is.
That was nice. And hey, it's time for the Song Of The Year nominees, brought to you by the Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl and actress/singer Selena Gomez. The nominees are "Beg Steal Or Borrow," Ray LaMontagne, songwriter (Ray LaMontagne And The Pariah Dogs); "F*** You," Cee Lo Green, Philip Lawrence & Bruno Mars, songwriters (Cee Lo Green); "The House That Built Me," Tom Douglas & Allen Shamblin, songwriters (Miranda Lambert); "Love The Way You Lie," Alexander Grant, Skylar Grey & Marshall Mathers, songwriters (Eminem Featuring Rihanna); and "Need You Now," Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley & Hillary Scott, songwriters (Lady Antebellum).
Train is up with "Hey, Soul Sister" on the patio, and it's almost being recast into a holiday ditty by the setting.
Well, the mandolin helps.
Yay, Paramore's Hayley Williams! She's here with an apple-red 'do and introducing a medley of former Best New Artist winners. And the nominees for this year's award are: Justin Bieber, Drake, Florence + The Machine, Mumford & Sons, and Esperanza Spalding. Very eclectic group....
BNA nominee Justin Bieber is also being beamed in via satellite all the way from London, and he's wearing a hat just like LL. Also, he's giving an acceptance speech already!
Love Miranda Lambert, love her dress (which looks like a roulette wheel), love the sass all over "Only Prettier."
Justin Bieber may be in London, but he's here with us (and a furry of fans raising digital cameras) to perform an unplugged, slightly "La Isla Bonita"-ish version of "Favorite Girl."
And the great 25-time GRAMMY winner Stevie Wonder is here to announce those people who might follow in his footsteps and win this year's Album Of The Year GRAMMY: Arcade Fire, The Suburbs; Eminem, Recovery; Lady Antebellum, Need You Now; Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster; and Katy Perry, Teenage Dream.
And now Katy Perry and LL Cool J are chatting tableside about what it might be like to win an award. I'm going to guess the answer is, at least in part, "sparkly."
And here's Bruno Mars for a return appearance with B.o.B, as they perform a duet of "Nothin' On You." Bruno has swapped his guitar for an electric this round. (And he has his hat on.)
Meanwhile, B.o.B has...grown...a tail? It matches his jacket nicely, at least.
Craig Ferguson is making a primetime appearance and putting on his best Southern accent to announce the Best Female Country Vocal Performance nominees: Jewel, "Satisfied"; Miranda Lambert, "The House That Built Me"; LeAnn Rimes, "Swingin'"; Carrie Underwood, "Temporary Home"; and Gretchen Wilson, "I'd Love To Be Your Last."
More nominees! More people! Here's LL Cool J to help with the Record Of The Year nominees — and to let Craig know that he is one of the nominees in the Best Spoken Word Album performance category. The nominees for the coveted Record Of The Year GRAMMY are: B.o.B Featuring Bruno Mars, "Nothin' On You"; Eminem Featuring Rihanna, "Love The Way You Lie"; Cee Lo Green, "F*** You"; Jay-Z Featuring Alicia Keys, "Empire State Of Mind"; and Lady Antebellum, "Need You Now." Pop, R&B, rap, country…it's all covered!
The highly decorated Miranda Lambert is having a pretty amazing 2010, although she's just country enough to know that she doesn't want to jinx it just yet.
Don't forget — when this is over, you can view the entire list of 53rd GRAMMY Award nominees right here.
And we're drawing to a close. But here's B.o.B before we go, with an electric guitar, a superlative light show and a complement of backup singers…and "Don't Let Me Fall."
And here are the credits. That was kind of quick, no? In addition to the nominee list, make sure and view GRAMMY.com's First Look installments breaking down the nominees in the four General Field categories. The real countdown to Music's Biggest Night begins now! Make sure to tune in to CBS on Feb. 13, 2011, for the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards.
(Photo information: Katy Perry performs at "The GRAMMY Nominations Live!!" | Photo: John Shearer/WireImage.com)