The main question tonight seems to be which of the top Grammys will go to Coldplay and which of them to Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. But some burning questions do sizzle through -- like will Lil Wayne pull it off? Or Radiohead? Or, off topic, is M.I.A. gonna have that baby on stage?
Will M.I.A. drop her baby at the ceremony?
M.I.A.'s planned performance at the Grammys might be more labor intensive than most.
The pregnant rapper is nominated for two Grammys, including record of the year for her hit "Paper Planes." She could give birth to her first child at any moment. Yet she has agreed to perform during the Grammy telecast, to be aired live on CBS on Sunday.
M.I.A. said she'd been asked to perform with Jay-Z, T.I., Kanye West and Lil Wayne on the Grammy-nominated "Swagga Like Us," which is based on a sample of "Paper Planes."
But in a recent interview, she admitted that she worried such a performance "might induce labor.
"When I read these books on childbirth they are like, 'If you want to induce labor, try having a game of arm wrestle with your friend.' I am like, 'Oh my God, my option isn't an arm wrestle -- it's like being onstage and with Jay-Z and Lil Wayne and Kanye and T.I.' To me that is really exciting, to be a nine-month pregnant woman," she said.
Will Coldplay be served with legal papers?
In the distracting scuttlebutt surrounding the lawsuit of Joe Satriani vs. Coldplay, rumor have been swirling this week that Satriani's lawyers -- who have thus far been unable to serve the band members formerly with papers, and have alleged that they've been dodging the process -- will slap the papers into Chris Martin's hands at the Grammy ceremony tonight.
Satriani is suing Coldplay for copyright infringement, claiming that the title song from the band's new album, "Viva La Vida," copies the melody of his own 2004 instrumental, "I Just Wanna Fly." Satriani's lawyer told Fox News his team will have servers staked out all over the event, plus camera crews to capture the moment as proof.
MTV News, however, reported this weekend that that's not the plan. Or is that just what the lawyers want us to think...?
Will Kanye win and freak out, or lose and freak out?
Maybe neither. Our testy hometown rapper said on Friday that he'd prefer not to win, based on some kind of Westian numerology:
"I actually don't want to win any more Grammys," he said. "Because I have 10, and that's a perfect number. I don't want to have 11 Grammys. That f---s my number up."
He's got his hands full with another fashion enterprise right now, anyway, as MTV reports:
He does have shoes though, as West pointed out . ... High-end shoes. The Louis Vuitton Don's Louis Vuitton sneakers are going to cost $600-$800. The Air Yeezys he designed for Nike are going to be $250-300. "For me, it's so, so overwhelming," West beamed about being able to design shoes. "It's like winning a Grammy for me, 'cause you know, I really care about clothes. I wanted to be a designer back in fourth grade. I got scholarships to go to art school, and I dropped out to do music, to focus more on music. "Because in life, you graduate, you get new goals and stuff like that," Ye added.
Take that, Lupe Fiasco shoes.
Will Radiohead finally win a best album award?
Radiohead has sold millions by making some of the most daring and genre-defying music of the last two decades. But even with their industry-changing "In Rainbows," they've always seemed to be stuck in the alternative world.
Though they've been twice nominated for an album-of-the-year Grammy, their two Recording Academy trophies are in the alternative category. Could a best-album win on Sunday elevate the critically revered group to a new -- and decidedly more mainstream -- level?
Jonny Greenwood, the group's multi-instrumentalist, thinks those are good questions to ask. And he isn't quite sure the answers matter.
"I don't know, I'm curious," he wondered before a rehearsal for the Sunday telecast, during which Radiohead is set to perform. "Are we the kind of band that it would change anything, really? It's sort of hard to imagine that it would."
Radiohead's "In Rainbows" was first released via the Internet in the fall of 2007 in a pay-what-you-wish model that shook up a shaky industry. The band achieved double-platinum success in the past but is not the kind of act that churns out radio hits or blockbuster CDs like Coldplay or Lil Wayne, both competitors in the album of the year race (also up for best album are the unlikely pairing of Robert Plant and Alison Krauss; and platinum R&B singer-songwriter Ne-Yo).
Much of the talk heading into the Grammys has been about Lil Wayne, the rapper who is up for a leading eight Grammys, and Coldplay, which garnered seven.
But Radiohead -- which includes Greenwood, frontman Thom Yorke, guitarist Ed O'Brien, drummer Phil Selway and Greenwood's brother Colin -- was showered with six Grammy nominations (and the album got a seventh for the producer of the year for Nigel Goodrich) for "In Rainbows," a surreal and hypnotic mix of sounds.
Though the British group has lost the album-of-the-year category twice before, when they were nominated for the seminal albums "Kid A" and "OK Computer," Greenwood doesn't feel like the band is due to finally be rewarded.
In fact, he claimed ignorance on the significance of the American awards ceremony.
"I'm confused, because whenever I watch 'The Simpsons,' they're very rude about the Grammys," he said with a laugh in between spoonfuls of soup at the famed Chateau Marmond hotel. "It's hard to know how important they are."
Or will Lil Wayne finally take hip-hop to the top of the Grammys?
Album-of-the-year hopeful Lil Wayne leads the field with eight nominations. He'll join fellow rap superstars Jay-Z, T.I. and Kanye West at tonight's show, performing "Swagga Like Us." Jay-Z and West also have six nominations each, while T.I. has four.
"It's nice to see that Lil Wayne is the darling of the Grammys this year," says Danyel Smith, "Vibe" editor in chief. "It's an acknowledgement of his talent and the huge impact he's had on music this year."
Lil Wayne's "Tha Carter III" has sold close to 3 million copies and was 2008's biggest-selling album; he has had or been featured on nearly a dozen hits.
If he does win, there might not be room for his posse on stage.
Sigh. No, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss are going to win, aren't they?
Probably. Have the Grammys ever failed to let you down?
Sun-Times staff and wire reports