Predicting who will come up with the next morning's water-cooler moment at the Grammy Awards is just as difficult as guessing who will win album of the year.
Grammy producers seem to have found the magic formula lately, pairing artists in ways that may not make sense when we first hear about them, but have made for compelling television nonetheless. In 2014 we have the head-scratchers Metallica with classical pianist Lang Lang, Kendrick Lamar with Imagine Dragons, and Robin Thicke with Chicago, and we can't wait to see how they turn out.
And there's also Katy Perry, Lorde, Pink with fun.'s Nate Ruess, one of last year's top winners, Sarah Bareilles and Carole King, and a trio of legends — Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson — will join Blake Shelton.
All make for exciting moments, but here are a few predictions for who will provide the night's top moment:
The Fab 2: The Beatles have defied time, age, changing tastes and fate to remain the world's most popular rock 'n' roll band more than 40 years after the group broke up. John Lennon and George Harrison aren't with us anymore, but that won't dim the excitement as Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr take the stage. Which of their dozens of hits will they perform? Will the sons of Lennon and Harrison join them? Doesn't really matter, it's the first time Sir Paul, a two-time nominee this year, and Ringo have performed together since 2010, and whatever they do will be talked about for a long time.
Everyone gets “Lucky”: Had McCartney and Starr chosen to sit this one out, the night's most anticipated performance would likely belong to the throng of favorites joining Daft Punk onstage — Stevie Wonder, Nile Rodgers, Pharrell Williams and the star session men who helped them make “Get Lucky” a memorable song. The charisma emanating from the stage will be off the charts. And adding Wonder means fans not only get to have their cake and eat it, too, but they also get to scrape the last of the icing out of the bowl.
Swift's coronation?: Taylor Swift put out “Red” way back in late 2012, and for the most part, the 24-year-old pop star has been left out of the buzz surrounding the Grammys. Oddsmakers, however, are keeping her close to their hearts and we're here to remind everyone that Sunday could easily be Swift's night. She's already a Recording Academy favorite and is the odds-on favorite to win album of the year. If she does win, it would make her the youngest artist with two album of the year awards — surpassing Wonder by a month or so. Her last two performances at the Grammys have been sprawling and colorful, another reason to stay tuned.
Jay Z and Beyonce: Our top nominee and his Queen B will perform, and the tweets will fly. Presumably the couple is performing nominated song “Part II (On the Run).” But doesn't this seem like the perfect opportunity for Beyonce to do something big? She's yet to play a song from her new self-titled album. It came out too late for these Grammys, but what's the harm in laying the groundwork for the next round of awards?
The big rumor: Have you heard the one about Madonna making a surprise appearance? Look it up.
The Grammys will air live Sunday on CBS from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.