2019 Grammys A-Z: Everything You Need to Know

By Billy Nilles Feb 08, 2019 2:00 PMTags
Watch: Must-Knows for Grammys 2019

It's almost time for music's biggest night!

When the recording industry's biggest and brightest gather at the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the live broadcast of the 61st Grammy Awards, there's no telling what might happen. After all, this is the one night when your faves across all genres of music are under one roof. Where else will you see Cardi B rub elbows with Dolly Parton? Or possibly catch Drake chatting up Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers?

And that's just the expected audience interaction, saying nothing about those patented Grammy moments the broadcast is known for, wherein two artists with little to no connection get mashed up for one surprisingly killer performance. Think: Last year's killer opener with Kendrick Lamar and U2 or Alicia Keys and Maren Morris teaming up on the latter's "Once" the year before that. With a stellar list of announced performers on tap for this year's ceremony, there's no doubt that we're in for quite a show. 

2019 Grammys: Nominees React

And then, of course, there's the hardware that'll be handed out. After last year's #GrammysSoMale controversy, which stemmed out of the lack of female representation among nominees in most major categories and only one woman winning a major award on the night of, followed by Recording Academy President Neil Portnow massively stepping in it by suggesting that women need to "step up" in order to alleviate the gender disparity, this year's crop of nominations is much more diverse across the board, with five women among the eight nominees for both Album of the Year (compared to last's year one in five) and Record of the Year (compared to last year's total shut-out among the five nominees).

Before we tune in and see who comes out on top this year, let's brush up on the key players in the mix!

Getty Images/Shutterstock
A: Alicia Keys

The 15-time Grammy winner and former Voice coach is taking over hosting duties from James Corden for this year's ceremony, with Portnow praising her as "an artist who speaks to the power of music for good, a role model, and a spokesperson for change" when the announcement was made.

"I know what it feels like to be on that stage, and I'm going to bring that vibe and energy," Keys told E! News in a statement. "I'm so excited to be the master of ceremonies on the biggest night in music and celebrate the creativity, power and magic. I'm especially excited for all the incredible women nominated this year! It's going UP on Feb. 10!"


It'll be a big night for fans of boy bands both domestic and global with K-pop sensations BTS on board as official presenters during the evening's telecast while the Backstreet Boys will be in the house thanks to their nomination in the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category for their new single "Don't Go Breaking My Heart." With their first nomination in 17 years, could this finally be the year that BSB goes home a winner?

C: Chloe x Halle

Hot off their outstanding performance of "America the Beautiful" prior to kickoff at Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta on Sunday, Feb. 3, Beyonce's protogees (who also dabble in acting with roles on Freeform's Grownish) are up for two awards: Best New Artist and Best Urban Contemporary Album for their debut studio album The Kids Are Alright —where they're up against Queen Bey for The Carters' Everything Is Love.

D: Dolly Parton

It's a big night for everyone's favorite painted lady. Not only is Dolly being honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year, an award presented by The Recording Academy's charity arm that commends musicians for their artistic achievement in the music industry and dedication to philanthropy, but she's also going to be making her return to the Grammy stage for the first time since 2001 to perform new music from her hit album Dumplin' (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack). Her special tribute segment will also see Little Big Town, Maren Morris, Kacey Musgraves and Katy Perry perform renditions of her classic hits.

E: Eighty-Four

On music's biggest night, The Recording Academy gives out a whopping 84 awards in categories ranging from the "General Field" biggies like Record of the Year to ones as niche as Best Album Notes and Best Orchestral Performance. Because a telecast featuring each winner announcement would likely take a full day—and, let's face it, the only people interested in the winners of Best New Age Album might be the five nominees—only 10-12 are typically shown during the telecast. The rest are presented in a pre-telecast "Premiere Ceremony" held earlier in the afternoon.

F: First-Time Nominees

There are a handful of big stars who are up for their very first Grammys during Sunday's ceremony, including Dua Lipa (up for Best New Artist and Best Dance Recording), Florida Georgia Line (up for Best Country Duo/Group Performance), Camila Cabello (up for Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Pop Vocal Album), and, of course, Bradley Cooper. Should the A Star Is Born director take home either Record of the Year or Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for the film's standout duet with Lady Gaga, "Shallow"—which, let's be honest, there's a very good chance he will—he'll become a Grammy winner before this whole list of music industry superstars.

G: Gaga, Lady

Not only is Lady Gaga up for five awards on Sunday, including one for the title track from her 2016 album Joanne, inexplicably, but she's also set to take the stage as a performer. However, don't expect Cooper to take the stage alongside his co-star and duet partner. He won't even be in the building, as he'll be in London repping A Star Is Born at the 2019 BAFTA Awards.

H: H.E.R.

The mysterious R&B upstart, whose true identity—that of 21-year-old Gabi Wilson—was kept hidden from fans for the first few years of her career, is up for five awards during Sunday's ceremony, including two main event categories, Best New Artist and Album of the Year for her self-titled debut album. And if you're wondering what H.E.R. stand for, we've got you: Having Everything Revealed.

I: Invasion of Privacy

With her debut album, Cardi B became the third female rapper to be nominated for Album of the Year. The reigning queen of rap is up for a total of five awards at Sunday's ceremony.

J: Janelle Monae

One of the five females to break through with a nomination in the Album of the Year category for her standout Dirty Computer, Janelle Monae was also recognized in the Best Music Video category with a nomination for the Tessa Thompson-starring "Pynk" clip. Fans of Monae are in a treat during the telecast as she'll also be taking the stage as a performer.

K: Kendrick Lamar

With eight nominations, mainly for his stunning work on Black Panther: The Album, K-Dot stands out as the evening's most-nominated artist. He's up for Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the year, Best Rap/Sung Performance, Best Song Written for Visual Media, Best Rap Performance, and Best Rap Song (where he's nominated against himself, with one nod for "King's Dead" off the Black Panther soundtrack and another for Jay Rock's "Win," which he's credited on as co-writer).

L: Leaked Winners List

Weeks before the telecast, a purported leaked winners list began circulating on the internet, seemingly revealing the victors in every main category with the Twitter account Main Pop Data citing an archived version of The Recording Academy's webpage as the source of the information. A spokesperson for the Academy denied the legitimacy of the leak, telling E! News in a statement, "GRAMMY Awards results are not shared, even with Recording Academy staff members, until the day of the GRAMMY Awards ceremony, when names of the recipients are delivered by Deloitte in sealed envelopes." But you better believe that everyone's going to be comparing the revealed winners to that leaked list come Sunday.

M: Mac Miller

Though rapper Mac Miller tragically passed away last September at the tender age of 26, his final album, Swimming, earned him his first Grammy nomination ever, with a nod for Best Rap Album. Should he posthumously win, he'll have bested Cardi B, Pusha T, Travis Scott, and Nipsey Hussle.

N: “Nice for What”

The song that sparked a viral challenge in May of last year earned Drake one of his seven nominations at this year's ceremony in the Best Rap Performance category—where he's nominated against himself thanks to his work on Travis Scott's "Sicko Mode."

O: Once on This Island

The stunning revival of this Caribbean-set Broadway musical already took home the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical last year and now it's up for Best Musical Theater Album. It's up against the Broadway cast recordings of The Band's Visit, Carousel, and My Fair Lady, as well as the original soundtrack of NBC's Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.

P: Post Malone

The "Rockstar" crooner earned his first four Grammy nominations this year, including one for Record of the Year for the aforementioned track and another for Album of the Year for his second LP, Beerbongs & Bentleys. During the telecast, he'll be joining forces with Red Hot Chili Peppers for what's being touted as an "unforgettable Grammy moment."

Q: Questlove

The iconic drummer and joint frontman of The Roots, who nightly serve as in-house band for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, is a nominee at this year's ceremony, but not for his music. Rather, he earned a nod in the Best Spoken World Album (Includes Poerty, Audio Books & Storytelling) for the audio book of his 2018 self-help "guide to creativity," Creative Quest.

R: Ross, Diana

The iconic Ms. Ross, a 12-time nominee who's never won, only earning a Grammy in 2012 for Lifetime Achievement, will take the stage on Sunday in honor of her 75th birthday with a performance meant to celebrate her life's greatest musical accomplishments.

S: Shawn Mendes

Pop music's newest heartthrob, who earned his first two Grammy nominations for Song of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album this year, will also take the stage as a performer. Cue the screams of adoring fans everywhere.

T: "This Is America"

Donald Glover's musical alter ego Childish Gambino earned four of five Grammy nominations this year thanks to this instantly iconic track and it's equally impressive music video. The song is up for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance, while the stunning Hiro Murai-directed clip is a frontrunner for Best Music Video. (Gambino's also up for Best R&B Song for "Feels Like Summer.")

U: Unapologetically

After a 2017 nomination for Best New Artist, country breakout Kelsea Ballerini is back this year with a nomination for Best Country Album thanks to this, her second studio album.

V: Victory Lap

Nipsey Hussle's been dropping mixtapes since 2005, but it wasn't until the 2018 release of his debut studio album that he earned himself a Grammy nomination, finding himself up against Mac Miller, Cardi B, Pusha T, and Travis Scott in the highly-competitive Best Rap Album category.

W: West, Kanye

Thanks to his work on last year's Pusha T, Kids See Ghosts, Teyana Taylor and Nas albums, as well as his own Ye, Kanye West has earned his first nomination for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical. He's up against Boi-1da, Larry Klein, Linda Perry, and Pharrell Williams.

X: Xtina

Following the release of Liberation, her first album in six years, Christina Aguilera earned herself two nominations at this year's ceremony: A Best Pop Duo/Group Performance nod for "Fall In Line," her duet with Demi Lovato, and a Best Rap/Sun Performance nod for "Like I Do," which features rapper GoldLink.

Y: “You Say”

This 2018 track from Contemporary Christian artist Lauren Daigle, the lead single from her third studio album Look Up Child, was quite a crossover track for the artist, reaching Adult Top 40, Adult Contemporary, and Mainstream Top 40 charts. After making its way to inclusion on Now That's What I Call Music!, Vol. 68, and after Selena Gomez threw a heap of praise and attention Daigle's way, the track was nominated for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song, marking the second time the artist has been nominated in the category. Her album is also up for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album this year, as well.

Z: Zedd

Thanks to his smash hit "The Middle," super-producer Zedd, alongside Maren Morris and Grey, is up for three awards at this year's ceremony, including the highly-coveted Record of the Year and Song of the Year. He's only won once before, in 2014, taking home Best Dance Recording for his breakthrough track "Clarity."

Don't miss all the fun when The 61st Grammys broadcast live on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on CBS.