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LL Cool J to Host Grammys; Glen Campbell Performing Last Tour; Adele Nominated for Best Album; Interview with Tony Bennett; Beach Boys to Perform For First Time in 20 Years

Aired February 11, 2012 - 14:30   ET


A.J. HAMMER, HLN HOST, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": Right now on a special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Showbiz at the Grammies. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT teams up with the team behind the Grammys to reveal the biggest, best, most explosive star showdowns.

It's Adele's big comeback since her throat surgery. And she's got a big showdown with Lady Gaga for Album of the year. The Chris Brown- Rihanna drama -- getting on the same stage for the first time since Chris was arrested three years for beating her up.

Oh so Cool J - SHOWBIZ TONIGHT one-on-one with Grammy host LL Cool J. Is the big job making Mr. Cool sweat?

One-on-one with living legend and Grammy nominee Tony Bennett and his brand new revelation about his duet with Amy Winehouse.

A special edition SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Showbiz at the Grammys, starts right now.

Hello, I'm A.J. Hammer in New York, and this is a special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, SHOWBIZ at the Grammys. The 54th annual Grammy awards are on Sunday night and SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is joining forces with Recording Academy, the folks behind the Grammys, to bring you up close and personal the biggest stars and biggest showdowns expected on Sunday night.

And I cannot wait to see how those battles play out. You have Adele, Lady Gaga, the Foo Fighters and Bruno Mars all fighting for album of the year. You have Kanye West versus Kanye West for best rap album. Tony Bennett's duets with Amy Winehouse and Lady Gaga are in the Grammy showdown race as well. We'll be speaking with Tony Bennett in just a moment. It's "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" at the Grammys that will surely be a night to remember.


HAMMER: Adele could win it all at the Grammys. Music experts agree Adele is about to have a big night. Adele is nominated for six Grammys, including the big three, record, song, and album of the year. And no one would be surprised at an Adele clean sweep.

TYE COMER, EDITOR, BILLBOARD.COM: She loved by fans and critics alike.

HAMMER: But could anyone pose problems for Adele? Bruno Mars is nominated against Adele in those big three categories.

COMER: Bruno Mars is the person who could probably come in with an upset.

HAMMER: But still it's probably going to be all about Adele Sunday night. Not only will she likely load up on Grammys, Sunday's show would be the first time she's performed since throat surgery caused her to miss most of last year.

Another Grammy performance showdown everyone is keeping an eye on, three time nominee Chris Brown. Sunday will be his first appearance at the Grammys since he assaulted then girlfriend Rihanna the night before the 2009 ceremony. Making things more interesting, Rihanna is also performing at this year's show.

COMER: There is going to be a lot of drama surrounding his performance and the fact that those two artists will be in the same space.

HAMMER: But as always, the real drama will be in the Grammy showdowns. The most competitive one -- best new artist.

COMER: That's a three-way race.

HAMMER: And then there's Kanye West versus Kanye West. The rapper's actually nominated against himself in the best rap album category.

COMER: It's an interesting situation where his "Watch the Throne" collaboration with Jay-Z is up against his solo record.

HAMMER: So we got to ask, if Kanye wins for one album, will he throw one of his infamous back stage meltdowns over the album that lost?

COMER: He won't be happy if he doesn't walk away with anything, that's for sure.

HAMMER: So all the showdowns, comeback, and possible tantrums will certainly make for an exciting Grammy night.


HAMMER: I'm also thinking what should really make the Grammys exciting is the LL Cool host. Yes, for the first time in seven years, there will be an official host of the Grammys, and it's LL Cool J. He's in pretty good company. Past hosts have you included Billy Crystal and Ellen Degeneres. LL is a two I'm Grammy winner, and SHOWBIZ TONIGHT's Nischelle Turner caught up with LL at the staple center during rehearsals.


NISCHELLE TURNER, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" CORRESPONDENT: Thank you for doing this. Now, you say you're a little under the weather?

LL COOL J, RAPPER: Yes, but I'll give you a little elbow.

TURNER: So seven years they haven't had a host and now you. Are you a little nervous?

LL COOL J: I wouldn't say I'm nervous, but I'm not, you know, cocky, like, oh, I've got it under control, it's done, I'm doing it. It's kind of one of those things where I realize this is a big responsibility and it's a large challenge. But I want to meet it and I want to make sure that everyone who sees the show has a good time.

TURNER: Who are you excited to see get up there and perform?

LL COOL J: It's so funny because any other year, I would be able to give you a real definitive answer, but this year because I'm the host, it kind of like becomes about the whole body of work.

TURNER: But I hear Chris brown will put on a show like we've never seen before.

LL COOL J: Yes, Chris is going to definitely do some crazy things. And it's going to be serious.

TURNER: So that's one to watch.

LL COOL J: And Bruce Springsteen will be a powerful performance.

TURNER: You cannot convince me that LL is not going to get on that stage and show these young folk that's he can still put it down.

LL COOL J: Get my Tony Bennett on? You never know.

TURNER: I took a little sneak peek, and here's what I want to show. Jay-Z's card is right here. Where is Beyonce? She doesn't rank?

LL COOL J: Maybe hers is tucked behind his. We're not sure.

TURNER: Is she coming?

LL COOL J: It still remains to be seen. We have to let it unfold.

TURNER: Diana Ross, then Chris Brown in between, and Reba McIntyre. Ain't no party like a Grammy party?

LL COOL J: Absolutely.

TURNER: LL says watch out for Chris Brown.

LL COOL J: LL says watch out for the Grammys. The Grammys will be hot. I don't know about the host, but you'll love the performances.


HAMMER: Thanks, Nischelle. And as LL just told us, yes, the Grammys will be very hot. And of course you can expect some real Grammy shockers. It wouldn't be a thrilling night without all the big showdowns and the must-see performances.

Bill Werde is with us from Hollywood, the editorial director of Billboard magazine. Bill, we know everybody is eager to see who will win the album of the year. And stars this year include Adele, Foo Fighters, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, and Rihanna al got at it. In your mind, who will win?

BILL WERDE, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, BILLBOARD MAGAZINE: Last year was Adele's year. It was her universe and everybody was just in it. So I got to say it's a little bit of tough luck for some performers who happen to be nominated in a year that Adele just owned.

HAMMER: I agree. I think it's hers to lose. And Adele's up for album of the year. She's going up against Bon Iver, Bruno Mars, Mumford and Sons, and Katy Perry. In this category would you agree it would be a shocker if Adele didn't win?

WERDE: The one thing the Grammy voters have shown is that they are willing to thumb their nose at expectation. I don't think a lot of people expected Arcade Fire to win album of the year. I know sitting in the audience that everyone was shocked when Esperanza Spaulding won best new artist last year instead of Justin Bieber. So nothing's really a lock.

That said, any category that Adele is nominated in, she has to be considered the favorite. She's the exact kind of artist that Grammy voters love. She's critically acclaimed. She made these amazing songs that really connected deeply with people that came from a very honest place of hurt and relationship pain. And at the same time, she was commercially very successful.

HAMMER: And on top of all of this, everybody is waiting to see what happens when Chris Brown takes the stage, his first public appearance in the same place as Rihanna since he was arrested three years ago after attacking her the night before the Grammys. And we've been in the staple center. We see they're both in the front row far away from each other. But, Bill, you know that Chris will give it his all. Very quickly, this performance is a must see, isn't it?

WERDE: I think so. Chris has proven that his musical career is back on full throttle. In some ways he's bigger than he ever was.

HAMMER: Bill Werde, thank you so much.

We move now from the Grammy new comers to the legends. Next two giant Grammy newsmakers. Tony Bennett up for two Grammys reveals to was made his duet with Amy Winehouse so magical for both of them.


TONY BENNETT, SINGER: She told me when she received her first Grammy years ago, she said it wasn't that she won that thrilled her but the fact that Tony Bennett announced that she won.


HAMMER: Tony tells me about his lasting Amy member, and why Lady Gaga made him giggle while recording their duet.

Plus Glen Campbell, the country music legend, making his final Grammy performance before the music fades away, stolen by Alzheimer's.


GLEN CAMPBELL, COUNTRY MUSIC SINGER: What did they diagnose me as?


CAMPBELL: What's Alzheimer's?


HAMMER: It's Glen Campbell's emotional and inspirations SHOWBIZ newsmakers interview. You're watching a special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Showbiz at the Grammys. And now a big Grammy showdown, the whacky battle for best short form music video, Adele versus Weird Al Yankovic.






TINA FEY, WRITER/ACTRESS: And there ain't no party like a Liz Lemon party because a Liz Lemon party is mandatory.

BETTY WHITE, COMEDIAN: I'm sure as hell not going to waste my time kissing her fanny. And if you don't like it, just drop dead.


HAMMER: Liz Lemon versus Rose Nylund, it's a Grammy showdown like no other. Tina Fey who's "30 Rock" alter ego is Liz, and the legendary Betty White are facing off. It is the battle for world domination in the best spoken world album category for their books.

Welcome back to a special edition of "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT," Showbiz at the Grammys as we team up with the folks behind the Grammys, the Recording Academy.

The Grammys are always is celebration of the best in music, and the big show is also about magical moments from fresh faces. Hold on to your seat, it will also be a night of icons. One of my favorites, Tony Bennett kicks that up a notch with his duets album. He's up for two Grammys. Tony just told me all about his magical memories from the collaboration and why Lady Gaga made him giggle on their duet. And in our Showbiz interview, I had to also ask if music's biggest party ever gets old for him.


BENNETT: I'm so fortunate. I've received 15 Grammys through the years, and I love it because the convention of the music world gathers around the Grammys. And it's the one time all of us entertainers are on the road in different parts of the world, and it's the one time when we all get together and have a big feast of saying hello to one another and reminding us where we met and where we performed with one another. So it's always a joy for me to be around that Grammys.

HAMMER: And we're so thrilled that we have some new Tony Bennett to enjoy. I've been loving listening to Duets 2. It's an incredible album.

BENNETT: Thank you.

HAMMER: And a lot of people were quickly talking about the fact that you did "Body and Soul" with the late great Amy Winehouse. I know you have extraordinary respect for her and really admired her talent. If you could take me back to that recording session, what's the magical memory from that time in the studio for you?

BENNETT: Everybody said look out, you know. But she showed up completely sober, and with her dad. And they were so mice to me. And she told me, she said when she received her first Grammy years ago, she said it wasn't that she won that thrilled her, but the fact that Tony Bennett announced that she won.

HAMMER: Take me back to that recording session. Because I imagine it was a much different dynamic with Gaga than it was with Amy Winehouse. What was the magical moment there for you?

BENNETT: What happened, a lot of my fans have mentioned it, how come you're laughing while she's singing On the Record. You hear me giggling about it. And what happened is I had no idea that she was that good a singer. A lot of people just look at her a big pizzazz, you know. But actually she's a magnificent singer.


HAMMER: And Tony Bennett will not be the icon everybody is going to be watching at the Grammys. Also 75-year-old Glen Campbell taking center stage for what could very well be his final Grammy performance. He will also be honored with a lifetime achievement award. The country superstar who has won five Grammys during his legendary career was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease last year. And when he takes the stage you can definitely expect emotions to be running very high.

Even though Glen's memory is failing him, he's clear about one thing -- he has lived his life exactly as he wanted to. Let's turn to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT's Nischelle Turner for another very special Showbiz newsmaker interview.


TURNER: Last summer Glen Campbell made a stunning announcement.

CAMPBELL: What did they diagnose me at?

ASHLEY CAMPBELL: Alzheimer's. CAMPBELL: What's Alzheimer's?

ASHLEY CAMPBELL: You start losing your memory and your ability to reason.


TURNER: But now after five decades as a music icon, the 75-year-old entertainer says he's calling it a day. In August, Campbell released his final album, "Ghost on the Canvas." Now he's in the midst of his farewell tour with a backing band that features three of his kids, including daughter Ashley.

ASHLEY CAMPBELL: He looks at me sometimes if he's confused and I'll just smile at him. I just try to make him feel like he's surrounded by people that love him on stage.

TURNER: The Recording Academy is honoring Campbell with a lifetime achievement word and he'll be performing at the 54th annual Grammy telecast.

CAMPBELL: I'm flattered. I really am. All I wanted to do ever since I can remember was play my guitar and sing.


HAMMER: It will be a touching performance. We wish our best to Glen Campbell.

And wouldn't it be nice to have a reunion of another legend, the Beach Boys? The boys are back, and they're teaming up with the band Foster the People. The Beach Boys will reunite live on the Grammy stage for the first performance together if more than 20 years. "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" was right there at their rehearsal. Wait until you hear what Brian Wilson and Mike Love told us.


TURNER: You guys said never in your wildest dreams did you imagine you would be attending the Grammys, but you're not just attending, you're performing, up no best new artist. How blown away are you?


HAMMER: The band Perry is right here for another show stopping SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsmaker interview. Will the superstar siblings snatch up the Grammy for best new artist? You're watching special edition "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT," SHOWBIZ at the Grammys. And now another blockbuster showbiz showdown -- Kanye versus kanye.





HAMMER: It's going to be so call. The Beach Boys will reunite live on the Grammy stage for their first performance in more than 20 years. The group Foster the People will be part of this amazing musical moment, as well. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT was right there as they were rehearsing the hit "Wouldn't it be Nice." We found out how this collaboration came to be.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe they did pick the songs because both Adam and Foster, they're long time, life time beach boys fans. So they knew exactly what songs they wanted to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a huge shock. I think all of us almost passed up when they asked us to play. The Beach Boys were my first concert ever. I saw them when I was seen years old and I never would have expected to share a stage with them. It's a dream come true.


HAMMER: Welcome back to this special edition of "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT." And certainly one of the most anticipated showdowns on Sunday night will be the battle for best new artist. It's an incredible showdown. We spoke with the superstar siblings of the band Perry, and even though they are now bona fide stars, they tell SHOWBIZ TONIGHT's Kareen Wynter which musicians take their breath away, and about their dreams of the first country-hip hop collaboration.


KAREEN WYNTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: You're attending the Grammys, performing, and up for best new artist.

KIMBERLEY PERRY, RECORDING ARTIST: The Grammys are like the Super Bowl.

WYNTER: Who do you want to rub elbows with?

KIMBERLEY PERRY: I heard Paul McCartney would be somewhere around the Grammys.

NEIL PERRY, RECORDING ARTIST: Bruce Springsteen, and Adele, as well.

KIMBERLEY PERRY: Big fan of hers.

WYNTER: Tell me about your own moments on stage.

NEIL PERRY: One moment for me, we were play hg tribute to the women of country music, all the legends. And I remember there were some of the legends sitting out on the crowd and when we started playing, my eyes caught with one of the others and I completely forgot to sing.

KIMBERLEY PERRY: It was Reba actually. And his eyes just -- for some reason, she totally --

NEIL PERRY: She made me nervous.

WYNTER: Who is that one artist that you're just dying to work with?

NEIL PERRY: We always wanted to do a collaboration with Eminem.

KIMBERLEY PERRY: He's such a focused artist and his lyrics are just so personal to him, and I really feel like he approaches writing the same way that we do.

WYNTER: I love the country and rap merger.

KIMBERLEY PERRY: Can you talk to him?

WYNTER: I'll call him up.


HAMMER: And of course we wish the band Perry the best of luck Sunday night at the Grammys.

And that is it for this very special edition of "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" SHOWBIZ at the Grammys. I'm A.J. Hammer. Thanks for watching.