What to Watch for and How to Watch the Grammys This Weekend
Music’s biggest stars will gather in Los Angeles this weekend for the industry’s signature award show, when comedian James Corden hosts the 59th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday night. Beyond the star-studded red carpet and the unveiling of winners across various categories, millions of viewers will tune in for the long list of high-profile performances and musical tributes. Performers at this year’s show include Lady Gaga, fresh off her well-received Super Bowl LI halftime performance, as well as Metallica, Katy Perry, and Adele. Meanwhile, Beyoncé will also take the stage for a much-hyped performance that comes in the wake of an announcement that she is pregnant with twins.
Here’s what else you need to know before watching Sunday’s star-studded show:
Who Will Be the Biggest Winner?
With nine nominations following the release of her 2016 album Lemonade, Beyoncé leads this year’s Grammys nominees. Lemonade caused a stir with its surprise release (along with an accompanying HBO special) last April. Released by Sony’s (SNE) Columbia Records, it debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 music sales chart and went on to become the sixth Beyoncé album to top one million sales.
Lemonade was only one of two 2016 albums to sell more than one million copies. The other was Drake’s Views (released by Vivendi’s Universal Music Group) which will be up for a total of eight Grammys this weekend, tying Drake for second-place among nominees with Kanye West and Rihanna. Also notable are the seven Grammy nods for Chance the Rapper, whose Coloring Book is the first-ever album released only online to receive a Grammy nomination, after the Grammys recently decided to change its rules and grant eligibility to streaming-only submissions.
Meanwhile, Sony’s Columbia Records pulled in more Grammy nominations in the four major categories (Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist) than any other record label. Columbia’s artists—including Beyoncé and Adele, as well as new acts such as country singer Maren Morris and pop group The Chainsmokers—earned eight total nominations in those four categories.
In addition to honoring some of the most acclaimed music of the past year, the Grammys will also pay homage to Prince and George Michael, both of whom died in 2016. In a statement, Recording Academy President Neil Portnow, who heads the Grammys’ host organization, called both musicians “pop icons who showcased rare musical genius and otherworldly charisma.”
Sunday will also be a big day for Prince fans who want more opportunities to stream his music online. After years of record label disputes, Prince held a tight grasp on the rights to his music and even pulled his catalog from Spotify and other streaming services (with the exception of hip-hop mogul Jay-Z’s Tidal) in 2015. But Prince’s music will finally be available on an array of streaming sites—including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Prime Music, and others—starting Sunday, timed to coincide with the Grammys. Prince’s estate reached a deal with Universal Music Publishing last fall to expand the online distribution of the late-musician’s catalog.
How Many Will Watch?
Last year’s Grammys saw the event’s lowest ratings since 2009, with nearly 25 million viewers tuning in to watch Taylor Swift win 2016’s Album of the Year. Those ratings marked a 1.4% dip from the awards’ 2015 telecast. The Grammys aren’t the only awards telecast to suffer declining ratings in recent years, as the Oscars and Emmys have also seen their ratings slip. Regardless, the Grammys should be the most-watched event on Sunday night, especially with the lineup of stars set to perform.
Meanwhile, The Late Late Show host James Corden gets his first shot at hosting the Grammys after a well-received turn hosting the Tony Awards for CBS last summer. It was the highest-rated night for the Broadway-focused awards show in 15 years.
How to Watch
The Grammys will air on CBS at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 12, with some red carpet coverage airing on CBS and online starting at 7:30 p.m. The event will be streamed online exclusively through CBS’s subscription-only app, CBS All Access, which is available for download on iOS mobile devices, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, Google Chromecast, Sony’s PlayStation 4, and Microsoft’s Xbox. (Subscription tiers for CBS All Access start at $5.99 per month, though there is an option for a week-long free trial.) Viewers can also head to the Grammys official website, which will stream live, behind-the-scenes action during the show, though not the actual onstage performances.