Cyndi Lauper is hosting the Grammy pre-telecast ceremony on Sunday. (Jennifer S. Altman / For…)
Welcome to the 2014 edition of brunch time at the Grammy Awards.
The big concert extravaganza at Staples Center isn't for a few hours yet (5 p.m. Pacific time and tape-delayed until 8 p.m. for the West Coast), but the bulk of the Grammys will be awarded in a pre-telecast. As in years past, the Grammy pre-show will take place at Nokia Theatre, and Pop & Hiss will live blog the proceedings.
Awards come fast and drama is largely absent, but the Cyndi Lauper-hosted event should provide some indication as to which way the Grammy Awards will head this evening.
FULL COVERAGE: Grammy nominations 2014
Will, for instance, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis win any love from the hip-hop community, or will fellow album of the year nominee -- and local artist -- Kendrick Lamar build toward a big night?
Can Taylor Swift dominate the country categories, or will her wholehearted embrace of mainstream pop turn off the Nashville contingent?
And will producer-of-the-moment Ariel Rechtshaid win over the likes of more established hitmakers such a Rob Cavallo or Dr. Luke?
TIMELINE: Grammy Awards through the years
The main event will provide even more questions. Heading into the 56th Grammy Awards, hip-hop superstar Jay Z leads all nominees with nine, but he's far from the biggest story today.
Some of the topics on our mind: Can Daft Punk score an album of the year win for dance music?
Will the Grammy producers carry through with their threat to allow Chicago to perform?
How many times will Dave Grohl pop up?
Can newcomers such as Lorde and Kacey Musgraves steal the spotlight from established industry artists such as Katy Perry, John Legend and Pink?
PHOTOS: Grammys 2014: Show highlights
Will the entire Grammy show feel like a teaser for the upcoming Beatles special that CBS will air on Feb. 9?
So many questions. But now, on with the show. Everything below this point will be live, so please forgive any typos. Happy Grammy Day.
1:27 p.m.: The Grammy pre-show live stream has just now rescued us from watching the Grammy.com live stream of the red carpet. Don’t misunderstand us, we enjoy watching official Grammy hosts Louise Roe and Andrew Burnette introduce themselves to artists by saying, “So, tell us who you are,” but we’d prefer some jazz.
And that’s what we received, courtesy of Dave Koz, Mindi Abair, Gerald Albright, Richard Elliot and Verdine White. They were all fully clothed musicians, so you’ll never see them on prime-time television. Pre-show host Cyndi Lauper started with a few jokes. She noted that last year’s Grammy live stream was watched “by more than 100,000 people, and that’s not including the NSA.”
NSA joke count: 1.
Lauper then did a Cliffs Notes summary of the year in music in 2013, mentioning only Beyoncé’s performance at the Super Bowl and the release of the last two members of Russian punk collective Pussy Riot from prison. The latter, said Lauper, was “not only was a great victory for artistic freedom, but we got the chance to hear all the world leaders say, ‘Pussy Riot.’ ”
Quick aisde: If you’re curious as to when some of the more “pop” categories will be unveiled -- be it folk, rap, blues, rock or alternative -- you’ve probably got about an hour or so to wait. First up was the Grammy for pop instrumental album, which went to Herb Albert for “Steppin’ Out.” Albert, according to the Grammy site, has six prior Grammy wins.
Other initial winners included Ziggy Marley’s “Ziggy Marley in Concert” for reggae album, and then there was tie for world music album: The Gypsy Kings’ “Savor Flamenco” and “Live: Singing for Peace Around the World” by Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The band’s manager accepted the award, to say that the group wanted to dedicate the award to Nelson Mandela, but he was played off.
The children’s album award went to Jennifer Gasoi, who noted she was “officially the first Canadian to win this award.” She won for “Throw a Penny In the Wishing Well.”
The spoken word Grammy went to Stephen Colbert for “America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't”; he was not present to accept the award.