Beyoncé! Kanye! Madonna! Pharrell!
It’s hard to imagine a more star-studded lineup than the 2015 Grammy Awards – so it’s no surprise that the actual honors are taking a backseat to the stage performances.
Not that there isn’t plenty of drama left over for the podium.
One year after conquering the Grammys with a very provocative performance of “Drunk in Love,” Beyoncé is in contention for six Grammy Awards, tying her for the most nominations this year with last year’s industry darling Pharrell Williams and this year’s breakout artist Sam Smith.
Iggy Azalea is up for several Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist.Larry Marano/Getty Images for iHeartMedia
Iggy Azalea is up for several Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist.
Meghan TrainorGerardo Mora
Meghan Trainor’s ‘All About the Bass’ is nominated for Song and Record of the Year.
While the “Crazy in Love” singer has the distinction of being the Grammys’ most-nominated female artist of all time (with 52 nods and 17 wins to date), she has yet to win its’ top award: Album of the Year.
Queen Bey is vying for the biggest award along with Beck (“Morning Phase”), Ed Sheeran (“X”) and Pharrell (“Girl”) and Smith (“In the Lonely Hour”).
The potential spoiler for Beyoncé taking home the prestigious prize? The British upstart Smith, whose debut album was so embraced by the Grammys that many predict he could sweep the awards show like Adele and Norah Jones did in previous years.
Paul McCartney (l.), Rihanna (center) and Kanye West will perform their new single ‘FourFiveSeconds’ at this year’s show.RihannaVEVO
Paul McCartney (l.), Rihanna (center) and Kanye West will perform their new single ‘FourFiveSeconds’ at this year’s show.
But even Smith is rooting for Mrs. Carter to win: He claimed that if he wins over Beyoncé, he’ll give the award to her.
The British crooner is also a contender for Song and Record of the Year for “Stay With Me,” but he faces tough competition in both categories. For the former, he’ll be facing off against Sia (“Chandelier”), Meghan Trainor (“All About the Bass”), Taylor Swift (“Shake It Off”) and Hozier (“Take Me to Church”).
Excluding Hozier, the Song of the Year nominees will also duke it out for Record of the Year, with Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX’s “Fancy” rounding out that category.
Grammy nominations 2015 View gallery
The Aussie rapper and the British pop star are the odds-on favorites to win the Grammy for Best New Artist category, with either Smith or Azalea likely to beat out their fellow nominees, sister pop group Haim, British rock band Bastille and country singer Brandy Clark.
While more than 80 awards to be handed out prior and during Sunday’s telecast, viewers don’t just tune in to see who wins, but watch to see the nominees take the stage for all-star performances.
Among the most anticipated performances will be Kanye West, Rihanna and Paul McCartney, who are giving their first-ever live performance of “FourFiveSeconds.” The Grammy stage will also host Madonna debuting songs from her upcoming album “Rebel Heart” (likely her new single “Living for Love”).
While Taylor Smith is nominated for Song and Record of the Year, she won’t perform at the Grammy Awards this year.JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images
While Taylor Smith is nominated for Song and Record of the Year, she won’t perform at the Grammy Awards this year.
The Grammy Awards are known for bringing together artists for one-of-a-kind performances, and this year’s show will include “The Voice” mentors Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani joining forces for a duet; Smith performing with fellow powerhouse vocalist Mary J. Blige; and Beyoncé retaking the Grammys stage, this time to perform a gospel song as an introduction to Common and John Legend’s performance of “Glory” from the film “Selma.”
One nominee who’s not taking the stage Grammy night? Taylor Swift.
The “Shake It Off” singer bowed out of performing because she said she needed to focus on her upcoming world tour.
But viewers can count on seeing Swift watching the show along with them, or as she put it, “having a dance party/rage fest in the audience.”
The 57th annual Grammy Awards air tonight: Sunday at 8 p.m. on CBS.