Inspire U: The Podcast

For the first time in seven years, CBS’s broadcast of the Grammy Awards ceremony will have an official “host” — LL Cool J.

In an incredible coincidence, singer/rapper LLCJ stars on CBS’s ‘NCIS: Los Angeles” — one of the country’s most popular TV series.

The Grammy broadcast has been host-less since 2005 when Queen Latifah did the honors and the show attracted an average audience of around 19 million viewers — one of its smaller crowds.

Speaking of Grammy hosts, Jon Stewart did it, in ’01 and ’02, attracting more than 26 million viewers the first time, but only 19 milthe very next year.

Because, let’s face it, more than any other major televised trophy show, this one isn’t about the host. Heck, it’s not even about the winners.

It’s about the performances.

Last year’s host-less 2011 Grammycast, for example, logged nearly 27 million viewers – the biggest haul since ’00 — thanks in large part to the first ever Grammy on-stage performance of Mick Jagger, as well as a very rare coming out of mothballs for Barbra Streisand and what’s left of Bob Dylan. Meanwhile, the album of the Year win went to — “The Suburbs.” Yawn.

In 2010, nearly 26 million people watched a host-less Grammycast that featured — “GLEE”!

But the best performance stunt-casting was the 2009 Grammy ceremony. That year, CBS and the producers lined up a bunch of Blind-Date Duets: the Jonas Brothers with Stevie Wonder, Radiohead and the USC Marching Band, Miley Cyrus and BFF Taylor Swift singing about the trials and tribulations of being dumped by a Jonas Brother. Blind-Date Dueting was born of desperation — the previous year, the show clocked its second smallest audience ever — around 17 million viewers. With Blind-Date Dueting, the Grammy audience that year was more than 19 million strong.

Even so, the show is going with a host this year. Because, besides being a CBS primetime star, with some actual music cred, LLCJ has been hosting the recording academy’s thankless “Grammy Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown to Music’s Biggest Night” special, in which glam category noms are revealed, since its inception in late 2008. (The first year he co-hosted with Taylor Swift — after that he was on his own.)

So the academy and CBS owe him.

LLCJ is going to have his work cut out for him. The recording academy already has announced some performers for next month’s Grammycast and it’s nothing to squeal about: Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson, Foo Fighters, Bruno Mars, Nicki Minaj, and Taylor Swift. It will be the first time Aldean and Minaj will be performing on the show.

Still, LLCJ sounded upbeat in Wednesday’s announcement. “I’m thrilled to be part of Music’s Biggest Night, “ he enthused, adding, “I will always have fond memories of my first Grammy Awards and to now be hosting the Grammy show, in the company of so many other incredible artists, is a dream come true. Great performances and great music — it’s gonna be a great night!”


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