|Return of Timberlake Among Grammy Highlights|
|By LUCHINA FISHER (@luchina)||Feb 7, 2013, 11:32 AM|
Perhaps no other performance is more anticipated for this Sunday's live telecast than Timberlake's. The last time he graced the Grammy stage was 2009, when he stepped in at the last minute to perform a duet with Al Green.
Ken Ehrlich, executive producer of the awards, told ABC News that Timberlake "saved our lives" with his last-minute performance of "Let's Stay Together," which filled a hole in the broadcast -- a hole that was caused -- Ehrlich noted -- by "that little drop-out with Chris Brown and Rihanna."
Both artists, then a couple, pulled out of the show following Brown's assault on Rihanna.
"We've missed him," Ehrlich said of Timberlake.
So have his music fans. This will be Timberlake's first musical appearance in support of his first new solo work since 2006. Not yet known is whether he'll perform his recently released "Suit & Tie," the retro-minded soul single featuring Jay-Z, or unveil something new.
Billboard editor Joe Levy told ABC News that Timberlake sent Ehrlich a track that he was thinking of performing, leading many to believe that it could be a new song, not currently on the radio.
Timberlake won't be the only performer people will be talking about. There will, of course, be the discussion of who was wearing what, although CBS took the unusual step of issuing a "clothing advisory," advising talent to be sure their "buttocks and female breasts are adequately covered" as well as their genitals covered so that there is no visible 'puffy' bare skin exposure."
"It is a black tie affair so you hate to see anyone turn up wearing a handkerchief," Levy said. "Then again, it is rock and roll, so you gotta expect it."
Click through to see what else to expect.
Levy said it's been a very big year for Frank Ocean.
"I'm looking for him to take home the award in two key categories," he said. "He's a lock for best new artist and he's a strong candidate for album of the year. And that's just two of his nominations. He's going to have a very big night. He's one of the most exciting stories artistically in music right now. For the Grammys to recognize him and give him a huge platform is only going to grow his stardom."
Another artist sure to benefit from the Grammy stage is newcomer Ed Sheeran, the English singer-songwriter. His breakthrough hit, "The A Team," is nominated for song of the year and he is scheduled to perform with veteran Elton John in one of the Grammys' famous mashups.
"I think Ed Sheeran will have a breakthrough moment," Levy said. "He has a strong and passionate audience, his single has been doing well on radio and this is a chance for him to reach beyond his audience."
It's also a chance for some of that Elton John magic to rub off on him. "The Elton-Eminem performance from years ago is still a standout performance," Levy said. "John is know for recognizing young atalent on the rise. I think this performance will be a springboard for Ed Sheeran."
Other exciting duets to watch for: Maroon 5 singing with Alicia Keys and Bruno Mars teaming up with both Sting and Rihanna.
"People now come to expect that from our show," Ehrlich told ABC News of these "Grammy moments." "And artists now are very open and receptive about doing it, because they really look at it as an opportunity. It's not something that they can necessarily do on other shows."
Like Ocean, Mumford & Sons is up for six awards. Levy says look for the hipster folk rock band to take home at least some Grammys, though they don't have a lock on album of the year. "It's a slugfest," said Levy. "They are up against Ocean and some exceptional records from Jack White and the Black Keys. But they are overdue to win some Grammys."
The group will also perform with Elton John and more in a tribute to The Band's singer and drummer Levon Helm.