As with any major awards show, although the statues are a draw, the eyeballs stay glued thanks to the stars. Without Leo at the head table at the Golden Globes or Brad and Angelina in the audience at the Oscars, it's a fact that not as many people will tune in.
That might explain why the Grammys overflowed the performance trough this year, with a list of live acts slated to perform at Sunday night's event that rivals some of the big summer festivals.
Take a breath and try to recite the following list without passing out: Radiohead, Coldplay, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, T.I., Jay-Z, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Estelle, Chris Brown, M.I.A., Justin Timberlake, Kid Rock, the Jonas Brothers, U2, Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Robert Plant, Alison Krauss, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Kenny Chesney, Adele, Sugarland, Ne-Yo, Jamie Foxx, Duke Fakir, Terence Blanchard, Neil Diamond, Smokey Robinson, Robin Thicke, Allen Toussaint, Stevie Wonder, B.B. King, John Mayer and Keith Urban.
(Check out pictures of the bounty of Grammy performers.)
The show is approximately three and a half hours long, which got me thinking: If each of these acts plays their songs as recorded, can they even fit it all in, not to mention the awards, the honorary statues, that bit with the accounting firm, the montage of fallen artists, the stale banter between presenters, commercials and other assorted shenanigans?
We've got the numbers listed after the jump. Will you make it through the whole extravaganza?
A (totally unscientific) breakdown of how long the actual performances will take, based on speculation of which songs the artists will perform and reports on their selections (times indicated refer to recorded versions):
» Coldplay, "Viva la Vida" - 4:01
» Radiohead, "House of Cards" - 5:28
» Lil Wayne and Robin Thicke, "Tie My Hands" - 5:19
» Estelle and Kanye West, "American Boy" - 4:45
» T.I., Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Jay-Z, "Swagga Like Us" - 5:27
» Katy Perry, "Thinking of You" - 4:06
» Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift, "Fifteen" - 4:54
» Rihanna and Justin Timberlake, "Rehab" - 4:54
» Chris Brown, unknown
» M.I.A., "Paper Planes" - 3:24
» Kid Rock, "Roll On" - 6:11
» Jonas Brothers, "Tonight" - 3:29
» U2, "Get on Your Boots" - 3:24
» Paul McCartney and Dave Grohl, "Highway" - 4:17
» Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, "Rich Woman" - 4:04
» Carrie Underwood, "I Told You So" - 4:17
» Jennifer Hudson, "You Pulled Me Through" - 3:40
» Kenny Chesney, "Down the Road" - 2:58
» Adele, "Chasing Pavements" - 3:31
» Sugarland, "Love" - 4:29
» Four Tops Tribute, "Baby I Need Your Loving"/ "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)"/ "Reach Out I'll Be There"/ "Bernadette" - approximately 4:35
» Terence Blanchard, unknown
» Neil Diamond, unknown
» Smokey Robinson, unknown
» Allan Toussaint, unknown
» Stevie Wonder, unknown
» Bo Diddley Tribute, "Bo Diddley"/ "I'm a Man"/ "Who Do You Love?" - approximately 4:00
So, let's say we add another 15 minutes of live music to the estimated 88 minutes of performances we're already anticipating, then tack on another 63 minutes of commercials (most one-hour programs average around 18 minutes of commercials per hour). That gets us up to almost two and a half hours of non-award programming, which leaves just about an hour to actually hand out the dozen or so golden gramophones. Make it quick, Weezy, we've gotta keep this thing moving!