* Mumford & Sons, Frank Ocean, FUN. vying for album of year
* Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood among country nominees
* Justin Timberlake, Elton John to perform
By Piya Sinha-Roy
LOS ANGELES, Feb 10 Country music artists will
share the spotlight with rising stars and veteran performers at
the Grammy Awards on Sunday as they take the stage for music's
Grammy organizers want to bring the attention back to the
music this year, after the death of singer Whitney Houston the
night before last year's awards ceremony cast a pall over the
This year's key categories are dominated by male artists,
with British folk band Mumford & Sons, indie-pop trio FUN. and
R&B singer Frank Ocean going into the show with six nominations
each, including for the top award of album of the year.
They will be among dozens of performers including U.S.
rockers The Black Keys, who have five nods, and former White
Stripes frontman Jack White, who has three nominations.
After paying tribute to electronic dance music last year,
the Grammys are highlighting country music. Nominations were
announced last December in a live concert from Nashville.
On Sunday, country will be represented by nominees Dierks
Bentley and Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood and best new
artist contender Hunter Hayes. Country music veterans Tim McGraw
and Faith Hill will hand out awards.
The three-hour Grammy show, broadcast live on television,
has a reputation for pairing up old-timers and newcomers.
On Sunday, Mumford & Sons will perform alongside Zac Brown,
Elton John, Mavis Staples and Alabama Shakes singer Brittany
Howard in a tribute to blues-rock musician Levon Helm of The
Band, who died last April of throat cancer
Mumford & Sons won mainstream attention in the United States
after performing at the 2011 Grammy show alongside the Avett
Brothers and Bob Dylan. Their sophomore album "Babel" became one
of 2012's top-selling albums in the United States.
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE COMEBACK
But the Grammys are not just about those competing for
awards. Justin Timberlake will make his long-awaited return to
the musical spotlight in his first televised performance since
he released "Suit & Tie" in January, his first new song in five
Timberlake, whose album "The 20/20 Experience" will be
released on March 19, will also be performing a show in
Hollywood immediately after his turn on the Grammy stage.
R&B artist Bruno Mars and Rihanna will team up with Sting,
while John and British rising star Ed Sheeran, 21, are set to
perform a duet.
Country-pop darling Taylor Swift did not release an album in
time for the Grammy voting eligibility period, but she still
scored a record of the year nod for her hit single "We Are Never
Ever Getting Back Together" and will perform on Sunday.
Kelly Clarkson, Alicia Keys and best new artist nominees The
Lumineers, an indie-folk band from Colorado, are also scheduled
The Grammy red carpet has seen some outrageous moments in
previous years as stars pushed the fashion boundaries. But
perennial scene-stealers such as Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and
Justin Bieber all failed to score nominations this year and are
not expected at Sunday's show.
Performers have been warned by the CBS network, which airs
the Grammy Awards, to keep their buttocks, nipples and genitals
covered up, in a "wardrobe advisory" aimed at avoiding indecency
complaints from viewers and federal authorities.
Red-carpet moments this year are likely to come from
Beyonce, who wowed millions on TV at her Super Bowl half-time
show last Sunday and will be a presenter as well as a nominee in
the traditional R&B performance category.
Beyonce is likely to be joined by husband, rapper Jay-Z, who
is nominated for six Grammys. Kanye West, who is also competing
in six categories, may turn up with his pregnant reality star
girlfriend, Kim Kardashian.
Adele, who swept the Grammys last year with six awards, is
back this year with one nomination for pop solo performance for
her single "Set Fire To The Rain."
All eyes will also be on Rihanna and Chris Brown, who are
both nominated, and who recently resumed their romance four
years after Brown pleaded guilty to assaulting her on the eve of
the 2009 Grammy Awards show.
The 55th annual Grammy Awards show will be broadcast from
the Staples Center in Los Angeles.