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Portnow speaks

GRAMMYS GET CAGEY: In past years, the Recording Academy has behaved predictably in its staggered announcements of Grammy performers, and the pattern held with the org's four official press releases on the subject. The 12/19 missive revealed that Imagine Dragons will be paired with Kendrick Lamar; P!nk will be joined by Fun.’s Nate Ruess; and Merle Haggard will make his Grammy debut surrounded by Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson and Blake Shelton in what is billed as a “Grammy Moment.” The second set of acts booked for the show went out on 1/7, with Lorde and Katy Perry confirmed as presumably solo performers, along with additional pairings: Metallica with Lang Lang, Robin Thicke with Chicago, and Nile Rodgers, Pharrell Williams and Stevie Wonder with Daft Punk. The third release on 1/14 broke out John Legend, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kacey Musgraves, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr (who will receive the 2014 Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award), Sara Bareilles and Carole King. But this year, the Academy has remained mum on its pair of aces in the hole—Beyoncé and Jay Z—while the big rock finale with Dave Grohl, Queens of the Stone Age, Lindsey Buckingham and Nine Inch Nails was revealed not in a press release but rather by Ken Ehrlich in a 1/21 interview with Spin, coinciding with another release from the Academy that also named Gary Clark Jr. and Hunter Hayes as performers. Ehrlich followed that reveal with another in USA Today, acknowledging, "Yep, the rumors are true. Madonna will perform with one of the nominated acts."A quote from Ehrlich in the same piece reads, "My staff is going to kill me, and they have every right to." Meaning that Grammy PR this year has been as offbeat as the nominations themselves.

NEIL'S SPIN: Speaking of which, Neil Portnow has finally given his take on this year’s wacky nominations, telling the New York TimesBen Sisario: “We’re going to be different and unpredictable because the decisions are made by the creative community. And their opinions about what constitutes great music may be a little different from the general public.” He might've added that their opinions are just as different from those of the music biz as a whole. (1/24a)

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