Grammy rehearsals, day one: Zac Brown Band, P!nk, Lady Antebellum

Not quite live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, it’s the first day of rehearsals for the 52nd annual Grammy Awards! They gave themselves a fairly light load of artists to start yesterday, but the schedule is filling up with some heavy hitters: Awards show all-star Jamie Foxx and the magnificently manipulated T-Pain rehearsed last night for their just-announced performance with Slash and Doug E. Fresh; there’s a tribute to Les Paul on the books; the cast of the American Idiot musical will perform with Green Day; and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland was mentioned rather non-specifically in a press release yesterday morning, thus increasing the chances we’ll hear “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” as part of the big Bon Jovi tribute to 100.7%. (This year’s Grammys: a lot of tributes!) After the jump, my breakdown from Thursday at the arena…

First to the stage was Best New Artist nominees the Zac Brown Band, the proudly Georgia-based sextet who’ll be performing a medley in Special Grammy Collaboration™ with legendary pianist Leon Russell, including “America the Beautiful” and their nominated breakthrough hit, “Chicken Fried.” For Brown, the Grammys are “the pinnacle,” marking the end of what’s been a pretty extraordinary year. “We’re moving into a whole new horizon,” he says, plugging the West Coast swing of his Breaking Southern Ground tour, on which he’ll be continuing the “Eat and Greets” he started last year. I asked what he’ll be cooking for me, should I stop by. “I’ve got a famous pork tenderloin, and my own sauces that I’m manufacturing.” (Indeed, those sauces can soon be found at Cracker Barrel. Seriously.)

Pink (wait, is it “P!nk”? are we stuck with that exclamation point now?) is nominated for “Sober,” aka the trapeze number she did on the VMAs, and after lunch, rehearsal started with her stunt coordinator and a trio of gold-body-painted dancers spending some time running through the spinning air ballet of “Glitter in the Air.” It’s the same version of this number that I found so moving when her tour swung through Staples in September, and when the rock star herself appeared, clad in her censorship-defying white-ribboned body stocking and performing the aerial stunts herself, I choked up immediately. Best moment: During the first full run-through, the steadicam operator found himself doused with glitter, and must have flinched, because P!nk paused mid-verse to wryly inform him, “It washes off.” Then she kept singing — and I kept weeping. Can’t wait to see how this reads on TV.

Third: The perky puppies of Lady Antebellum, with whom I’ve spent a truly ludicrous amount of time over the past several days, reporting a feature that is scheduled to run in an upcoming print edition of EW. They’re nominated for Best Country Song and Performance by a Duo/Group thanks to “I Run To You.” “American Honey” is their current single. But  “Need You Now” is sweeping the nation—are they playing it on your pop station yet?—and it is therefore making another awards-show performance. I talked to the trio about the song’s power:

Hillary Scott: That song took on a life of its own. There was no way we could have thought, dreamed, that it would have hit and connected the way that it did.

Dave Haywood:  We thought it was good after we wrote it. Like, that’s cool. We’ll never record it. And then we recorded it—

Charles Kelley: And we knew it was special.

Dave: It was our favorite song.

Charles: But you could never predict this.

Hillary: No.

And for the record, when asked about their chances to win, Hillary says, “If that happens, you may see me pee my pants.”

To see that and all the rest of the action, tune in to the 52nd annual Grammy Awards, live on CBS, Sunday, Jan. 31, at 8 p.m. ET/PT — and check back here tomorrow for more rehearsals including, but not limited to, Dave Matthews, Green Day, Taylor Swift, and a very popular group named after a lentil. And don’t forget to sign up for our Grammy live blog!

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

More from EW.com’s Music Mix:
New Mariah Carey video, ‘Up Out My Face’: Finally, Mimi does it right!
Matt Morris: Justin Timberlake’s “Hallelujah” duet partner talks Haiti telethon, Justin’s next move
Kanye West: New album sooner than expected?
Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger: What’s in it for you?

Comments (22 total) Add your comment
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  • mscisluv

    “Awards show all-star Jamie Foxx and the magnificently manipulated T-Pain will rehearsed last night for their just-announced performance with Slash and Doug E. Fresh”

    What? “will rehearsed”??

    • mscisluv

      Thanks for fixing that, but you guys have gotten really sloppy lately, and that’s even forgiving a lot since this is a blog.

  • TT2

    FIRST!!! Need You Now is my favorite song right now. I heard it for months on the country station before, then a few weeks ago I heard it on the pop station. That’s a big deal. Lady Antebellum rules!

  • Chichi

    I see by that pic, Andy D*ick will be on drums.

    • WEndy

      lol that does look like him too funny

  • DebbieLG

    Always look forward to the Grammy – always great/interesting performances

  • graeme

    Pink is performing “Glitter In The Air”? No WAY! I’m not a massive Pink fan, but that song is by far the best thing she’s ever done.

  • UGH

    I call camel-toe.

  • sarah

    Who cares? I don’t know one educated person who watches this crap (and most of the people I know have PhD’s and Master’s degrees in engineering). I wonder what that says about the dedicated viewers…

    • Beau

      Get over yourself honey! There’s a whole world out there.

  • rob

    ughhhh…Pink….loudmouthed ego ridden no talent..one of those “talents” that make it bigbecause everyone is terrified to say NO to her..

    • springs

      I’m not really a Pink fan, but I think she has a good voice. You should see her cover Joplin.

      • springs

        Ugh, hear her. I watched it online, thus the “see”.

    • nic

      Pink is one of the most talented singer/songwriter today and I can say arguably the best live performer in the world. I have never seen any other artist work that hard on stage for their money. Instead of hating, try giving her music a listen.

  • grant

    I completely disagree with you. I think P!nk is incredibly talented. Her voice is rough and sexy that hints of a partying past. I think she is a real performer who loves to entertain and write from her soul. I admire her songs from her latest CD funhouse. All the songs are pretty well written. They are meaningful and at the same time they can be fun. I love her and I can’t wait to see her perform!!

    • Kate

      I just got Funhouse, it was a gift. It is my favorite album at the moment and I never listen to what might be called pop music. I think she is very talented.

    • nic

      I cant wait for Pink’s performance either. She’s the only reason Im watching the grammys

  • Rachel

    Whitney, I trust your blog 100% when it comes to anything Sugarland/Jennifer Nettles. I didn’t know it was a Bon Jovi tribute, I just heard from another source here that the boys were doing “We Weren’t Born To Follow”, Jen was coming to do “Who Says” with them, and then they were gonna do the fan voted song. But again, I trust you, and I’m glad Jen will be with the boys(despite Country Standard Time saying she was gonna be with Elton John). Sunday night’s gonna be awesome!

    • JBJ fan

      I can’t wait for the Bon Jovi’s performance at the Grammys. He deserves recognition for his talent and dedication to music (and fans) for nearly THIRTY years. Better late than never!

  • MissBliss

    Pink performing Glitter In The Air is going to be amazing. If its the same version as the one she performed at the concerts, and it sounds like it will be, it will be spectacular.

  • MissBliss

    Oh, and to Sarah: Sorry honey, but I *am* an educated person. The people you know probably wont be watching the grammy’s because they will be too busy playing Dungeons and Dragons.

  • Matt

    Who was the girl singing with the jeff beck band?

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