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2018 Grammys: Get Ready to Rock

Sunday's awards show is jam-packed with live performances

 Lady Gaga performs during the Lady Gaga 'Joanne' World Tour

Scott Legato/Getty Images for Live Nation

A 2017 performance by Lady Gaga during her "Joanne" world tour in Detroit

U2 will rock the house. Lady Gaga is rehearsing a track from her storied Joanne album. Elton John and Miley Cyrus are plotting a duet, as are R&B sensation Bruno Mars and rapper Cardi B. Hip-hop superstar Kendrick Lamar, British singer-songwriter Sam Smith and country quartet Little Big Town are also on the marquee.

The “awards” in the Grammy Awards are almost an afterthought. The 60th annual show is so jam-packed with live performances that only a handful of the trophies are doled out during the musical marathon, hosted by James Corden of The Late Late Show.

The Grammys air live Sunday on CBS at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT from New York’s Madison Square Garden. The majority of awards will be dispensed before the ceremony at a three-hour event that will stream live starting at 3 p.m. ET on the Grammys and CBS websites.

Key categories will be televised, including the tension-filled best album, record, song and new artist races, all difficult to predict with any assurance this year. Lamar is favored in the album slot, but industry pet Jay-Z could be the upset. And if they split the rap vote, Mars may walk away with the prize. The inescapable "Despacito" by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee seems like a shoo-in for record, though Mars’ "24K Magic" and Lamar’s "Humble" pose serious threats. While the new artist battle appears headed for a showdown between R&B singer-songwriters SZA and Alessia Cara, this category historically delivers surprises, so soul singer Khalid or pop singer Julia Michaels has a shot at the coronation.

Jay-Z leads the pack with eight nods, followed by Lamar with seven and Mars with six. The unprecedented diversity of Grammy’s nominee crop is reflected in the lineup. Logic, Cara and Khalid, the trio behind the suicide-prevention hit "1-800-273-8255" — up for best song — will enlist suicide survivors for their performance. Country favorites Eric Church, Maren Morris and Brothers Osborne plan a tribute to victims of the shooting at last year’s concert in Las Vegas.

Broadway legend Patti LuPone and Ben Platt of the Tony-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen are joining forces to commemorate the ceremony’s return to New York and to toast Leonard Bernstein and Andrew Lloyd Webber. LuPone is brushing off Evita highlight "Don't Cry for Me Argentina."

Also on tap: rocker Pink, rapper Childish Gambino (the stage name of Atlanta actor Donald Glover), singer Kesha and Latin stars Fonsi and Daddy Yankee.

QUIZ: Can You Name That Tune?