God knows the performances get worse every year, so the most interesting thing about watching awards shows these days is seeing who’s going to do something controversial and/or generally boneheaded, whether in a deliberate attempt to court publicity, or just because they’re drunk and coked out of their minds. In entirely unrelated news, it’s the Grammys this weekend! We will be covering the event live on Sunday night — pray for our music editor — but in the meantime, here’s a series of completely, 100 percent serious and not at all facetious predictions as to what this year’s performers might do to get the fires of internet outrage started.
Daft Punk with Nile Rodgers, Pharrell Williams, and Stevie Wonder
The performance turns out to be an extended medley of songs from Random Access Memories. As Thomas Bangalter’s solo on a very expensive and totally authentic vintage analog synth extends into its 27th minute, the performers are lassoed and dragged off stage while the show cuts to an unscheduled commercial break. Much of the following day’s debate centers on the entire Mormon Tabernacle Choir who were scheduled to perform the final chorus of “Get Lucky,” and the fact that they were denied their moment in the spotlight.
Swift decides to shock the world and perform with a backing choir of all her ex-boyfriends, Flight of the Conchords style. The stage collapses.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
“And now, I want to speak from the heart about an issue that’s very important to me.” “Oh, Macklemore, you’re so wonderful.” “It’s an issue that plagues our society, and one that we all need to face up to in 2014.” “Oh, Macklemore, tell us more.” “Tonight I want to talk about… cultural appropriation.” “COMMERCIAL BREAK!”
Robin Thicke and Chicago
One of the interchangeable old dudes from Chicago emerges from the side of the stage in a flesh-colored bikini to join Thicke for a risqué version of “If You Twerk Me Now.” Several guests are carried out by paramedics.
In which Katy tries to outdo Miley Cyrus’ appropriation of internet culture by performing as… Doge. The internet excoriates her for being “late.” A week later, Miley gives an impromptu performance as Planet Hillary. Miley wins again.
Sara Bareilles and Carole King
Bareilles and King accidentally perform Katy Perry’s “Roar” instead of Bareilles’ “Brave.” No one notices the difference.
Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons
The Grammys pay tribute to Run-DMC and Aerosmith’s iconic “Walk this Way” video by placing the two acts on either side of a wall, which will eventually be broken down to catalyze a joint performance. Unfortunately, the collective might of Imagine Dragons proves insufficient to lift a sledgehammer. As the quartet convenes a group meeting to discuss alternative ways of scaling the wall, Lamar walks off in disgust.
Metallica and “Cultural Ambassador to China” Lang Lang
“Thanks, Mr. Cultural Ambassador, and we’re sorry about Dennis Rodman! Wait, what? Oh. Fuck.”
Instead of performing, Lorde gives a dramatic reading of think-pieces discussing whether “Royals” is racist or not. Shortly afterward, a fire breaks out at Tumblr’s offices as several servers melt down simultaneously.
Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Blake Shelton
Willie skins up and lights up. Miley Cyrus jumps onstage for a hit. The entire auditorium passes out. The end.