When it comes to booking talent, the producers behind the Grammy Awards can't resist packing the roster full of as much A-list eye candy as possible. And sometimes that means doubling, tripling or quadrupling up on acts in order to ensure the show doesn't stretch into Monday morning.
The lineup for Sunday night's 54th annual affair is no different, with a sometimes-confounding collection of contemporary and classic artists smooshed together in ways that will only make sense once the show commences. And even then ... The most recent addition is the recently reformed original lineup of surf daddies, the Beach Boys, who will blow the dust off with a helping hand from Foster the People and Maroon 5. Certainly no one is going to gum up Adele's big live-performance comeback by packing the stage with other distracting artists, but only the good lord above knows what it will look like when Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, David Guetta, the Foo Fighters and Deadmau5 summon their Wonder Twin powers for the show's first-ever salute to dance music. The year's obligatory tribute will honor the recently deceased Etta James, and it will pair R&B diva Alicia Keys with blues soul veteran Bonnie Raitt and some more players to be announced later. It wasn't specified at press time, but the most recent release from the Recording Academy also noted that jazz pianist/singer Diana Krall, Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh, funk saxophonist Maceo Parker and Americana duo the Civil Wars had been added as well. This year's roster bodes well when it comes to WTF moments, but there are plenty more highlights from the ghost of Grammys past: 2011: In a tribute to then-ailing soul icon Aretha Franklin, we saw the sometimes jarring combination of indie darling Florence Welch sharing the stage with country singer Martina McBride, R&B belters Jennifer Hudson and Christina Aguilera, and gospel great Yolanda Adams. And who could forget the sight of Bob Dylan fronting a board-groaning collaborative that also included Mumford & Sons and the Avett Brothers? Slightly less odd, but still pretty trippy, was the hookup between actress/ part-time movie singer Gwyneth Paltrow, Cee Lo Green and the Henson Company Muppets for a version of Green's ubiquitous "Forget You." 2010: Pairing Lady Gaga and Elton John kind of made sense on paper, but whoever dreamed up the odd combo of Jamie Foxx, T-Pain, hip-hop legend Doug E. Fresh and guitar hero Slash for a version of Foxx's "Blame It" should have maybe let that soup cook a bit longer. 2009: We're not saying that the Jonas Brothers didn't hold their own on the stage with Stevie Wonder, but let's just say that the sooner "Burnin' Up" ended and "Superstition" began, the better. 2006: Speaking of good on paper, whatever the conversation was that persuaded Madonna to share the stage with cartoon hip-pop group Gorillaz must have been pretty brave. That year also featured two of the all-time head-scratching Grammy groupings. A tribute to funk pioneer Sly Stone packed the stage with a disparate group that included Joss Stone, John Legend, Fantasia, Maroon 5, Ciara, will.i.am, Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, Robert Randolph, and lesser-known singers Van Hunt and Devin Lima. Perhaps strangest of all, though, was when the reclusive Sly Stone came out sporting a towering Mohawk and mumbled a few lyrics before walking offstage. And if you had ever told anyone that one day Paul McCartney would share the stage with Linkin Park and Jay-Z for a mash-up of the Beatles' "Yesterday" and the Jay/Park number "Numb/Encore," well, let's just say they might not believe you.