Comedian Jon Stewart will host the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards Wednesday in Los Angeles, while Macy Gray, Sheryl Crow, Shelby Lynne, Moby, Jill Scott, classical pianist Marc-André Hamelin, and the mysterious Blue Man Group have been added to the list of performers.
"Not since 1986 … when we named a relatively unknown comic named Billy Crystal … have I been this energized by our choice for host," said Recording Academy President Michael Greene in a statement released yesterday.
The announcement of the host did come unusually late this year — a mere week before the big night. The Academy Awards, by comparison, named Steve Martin as host in December — more than three months before the show.
The Recording Academy was in a scramble to find a master of ceremonies, after Rosie O'Donnell, Whoopie Goldberg, and reportedly Jim Carrey all turned down offers.
The New York Post reports that the Academy may have delayed the announcement to avoid its being overshadowed by the attention paid to rapper Eminem, who generated considerable controversy when he landed four nominations — and the later announcement that he would perform with Elton John.
"They just didn't want Jon Stewart hosting the Grammys to end up being a blurb in an Eminem article," a source told the tabloid.
Stewart, who is best known for Comedy Central's hit program The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, has also appeared in movies such as Big Daddy and The Faculty.
The Academy also announced that Sisqo, Gloria Estefan, Vince Gill, Joni Mitchell, and MTV personality Carson Daly will be presenters at the event.
Already scheduled announcers include Erykah Badu, Toni Braxton, Carlos Santana, and actors Andy Garcia, Kevin James, and Ray Romano.
The new contingent of performers join already announced acts Christina Aguilera, Destiny's Child, Elton John, Eminem, Faith Hill, Madonna, 'N Sync, Nnenna Freelon, Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton, Take 6, and U2.