Don't call it a comeback.
LL Cool J is hosting Sunday's Grammy Awards, but he's been on TV for years (mainly, though, just three and change on "NCIS: Los Angeles"). And while there will be some focus on how often he licks his lips and how many more "Mama Said Knock You Out" references I can shoehorn into this space, most of the attention before the show is being directed at prognosticating who will take home the awards.
As much fun as caring about the winners can be -- and who doesn't enjoy the post-show photo of the big winners trying to carry all the little trophies like they just stopped in the grocery store for one thing but, oh man, look at that sale on avocados -- they really aren't the best part of the Grammys for me. People are pretty set in their ways of musical taste, and the Academy's choices do little to validate or invalidate those ways.
Instead, my favorite part of the Grammys are the musical performances that go along with the show. Whether it's acts bursting onto the scene for the first time or acts that have already burst using the opportunity to collaborate, there aren't many other times when so many unique talents do their thing in front of other unique talents.
Naturally, there are some acts I'm a little more excited for than others. Here's who will have me in front of the TV faster than you can put on a Kangol hat and star in a film about giant genius sharks.
BRUNO MARS, RIHANNA AND STING
Bruno has shown over the past two years that he's an excellent live performer, and his most recent album, "Unorthodox Jukebox," has one or two songs that sound rather Police-y. The wild card is Rihanna -- I don't know how she fits in. Perhaps someone sent her a message in a bottle? She might stand too close to him! De do do do, de da da da. I'll stop.
THE BLACK KEYS
The worst thing I can say about them is they're always good.
ELTON JOHN AND ED SHEERAN
I feel for Ed Sheeran. The past two people Sir Elton has dueted with at the Grammys are Eminem and Lady Gaga. Nothin' against the young Brit and his song about homeless junkies, but, well, those are some shoes to fill.
PRINCE AND BEYONCE
OK, this isn't actually scheduled. But both are presenting, and both also have hosted a Super Bowl halftime show. A guy can hope.
ALICIA KEYS AND MAROON 5
I don't even particularly like his new single, "Suit and Tie." But it's been far, far too long. This is the same guy who convinced us not only that he had retrieved sexy for us, that it was gone in the first place and that we really missed it, but also that any of that makes sense. He's returned, and I promise I won't even call it a comeback; I just hope he took some advice from the host's mama.
Really though, Prince and Beyonce. Think about it. Email Andy at firstname.lastname@example.org.