TORONTO – Big questions abound for Sunday’s Grammy Awards show as the music industry celebration gets underway in a tempestuous political climate.
Host James Corden will set the tone for the evening, which will include tributes to both George Michael and Prince as well as performances by Adele, Bruno Mars and Chance the Rapper.
Quebec pop icon Celine Dion is slated to present one of the honours, while other huge celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Seacrest and John Travolta will also grace the stage.
But Dion is far from the only Canadian hook to the show this year.
Here are five homegrown Grammy storylines to watch for at Sunday’s music event:
1. THE GREAT CANADIAN VOID:
Even though Drake and Justin Bieber are vying for major Grammy awards neither is expected to show up. Drake is nominated in eight categories, but his tour schedule has him in the United Kingdom this weekend. Bieber (who has four nominations) doesn’t have as solid an excuse. The international leg of his “Purpose” tour doesn’t start until next week.
WATCH: 2017 Grammys: Who’s Going, Who’s Not?
2. NORTHERN TOUCH:
Numerous musicians from the north are nominated in categories that will be featured during the Grammy’s “premiere ceremony,” streamed online Sunday afternoon before the telecast. Among the Canucks planning to attend are Vancouver electronic duo Bob Moses, remixer James Teej, and jazz ensemble Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society. Indigenous group Northern Cree usher in the ceremony with a performance, which starts at 3:30 p.m. ET on Grammy.com/live.
3. RELATIONSHIP STATUS:
Are they or aren’t they? The tabloids have been salivating over photos which suggest the Weeknd is dating “Hands to Myself” singer Selena Gomez. Both camps have been coy on whether it’s official, which makes it possible the Grammys red carpet will be the moment of truth. If the rumours are legit, that would easily make them one of the music industry’s most powerful couples. Oh, and the Weekend is performing with Daft Punk, so there’s always that.
4. POLITICAL TENSION:
With Donald Trump weighing heavily on the minds of the creative community, it’s likely some will use their Grammy win to speak out about the president. Bringing together a diverse group of pop, country and world music artists could mean divergent views on the subject. Some musicians have already made their position known, including Drake, who stepped into the political conversation on Thursday. The Toronto rapper posted a photo of himself alongside Barack Obama in the White House with a message: “Hope you are somewhere at peace with the family. We miss ya g.”
5. TORONTO FEUDS:
The closest we’ll get to a Canadian spat at this year’s Grammys is a showdown between Toronto-based rapper Tory Lanez and Drake protege Partynextdoor in the best R&B song category. It’s a symbolic standoff between two corners of Toronto’s hip-hop music scene. Lanez is an outspoken critic of Drake and rarely shies away from an opportunity to diss the rapper. The “Hotline Bling” singer hasn’t exactly shown love for Lanez either, suggesting he “wanna be me a little” in the song “Summer Sixteen” last year. So if either Lanez or Partynextdoor emerge Grammy winners on Sunday, expect a little chest-puffery.
The Grammys air Sunday on City and CBS starting at 8 p.m. ET.