U2 and Alicia Keys are the first performers confirmed for the 44th Grammy Awards, to be broadcast live Feb. 27 on CBS. “U2 and Alicia Keys are emblematic of the diversity and limitless talent of our nominees and the powerful music that they create,” Recording Academy president/CEO Michael Greene said in a statement. “With this year’s spotlight being focused on singer/songwriters across all genres, the Grammys will showcase a wide array of the world’s best artists, making this show the most dynamic ever.”
As previously reported, U2 leads the field with eight nominations, including album of the year and best rock album for “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” (Interscope). Keys earned six nominations, including best new artist and four separate nods for her No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hit “Fallin’.”
Janet Jackson, Diana Krall, and Britney Spears are the first confirmed presenters. As previously reported, comedian Jon Stewart will host the Grammys for the second year in a row.
In other U2 news, fans have the opportunity to win a trip to see the band’s Super Bowl XXXVI halftime performance in New Orleans up close through an ongoing America Online (AOL) sweepstakes. The winner of the contest — which is open to AOL members — will receive game tickets, access to U2’s heart-shaped stage, as well passes to CBS’ “Friday Night Super Bowl Bash,” featuring performances by No Doubt and Sting. The winner will also receive passes to the Coca-Cola/AOL sponsored NFL Experience, an interactive theme park with games and entertainment, to be held Jan. 31 through Feb. 3, the day of the big game.
— Jonathan Cohen & Barry A. Jeckell, N.