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Grammys 2019: Alicia Keys Finds the Humor in Hosting

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Unlike the Academy Awards, which is set to hold this year’s ceremony without a host for only the second time in its history, the Grammy Awards have done without a dedicated emcee on 16 past occasions.

But, not in 2019.

Taking the hosting reins at the Grammys—in contrast to what has seemingly become a thankless gig hosting the Oscars following Kevin Hart stepping down and no replacement being named—is 15-time Grammy winner Alicia Keys. “I know what it feels like to be on that stage, and I’m going to bring that vibe and energy,” Keys said in a statement Tuesday.

Keys will join a diverse list of previous Grammy hosts that includes John Stewart, Garry Shandling, Queen Latifah, Frank Sinatra, Jerry Lewis, Andy Williams, John Denver, Kenny Rogers, Paul Simon, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal, Paul Reiser, Ellen DeGeneres, Kelsey Grammer, Rosie O’Donnell, LL Cool J and most recently James Corden.

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Of the two ceremonies the Grammys is perhaps best suited to go without a host. More freewheeling than the Oscars but not as shock-worthy as the MTV Video Music Awards, the Grammys are as much about the performances as the winners. Notable performers deliver their biggest hits­—many of which are nominated—to a worldwide audience eager to see such songs showcased in a live environment.

Yes, the Oscars also has performances, but only a handful. The usually obscure songs nominated in the original song category are hardly a big audience draw. And though Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper are set to perform the nominated song “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born” during the Feb. 22 Oscar telecast, such star power pales in comparison to Sunday’s Grammy lineup which will features performances by Diana Ross, Post Malone, Shawn Mendes, Dua Lipa, Kacey Musgraves, Miley Cyrus, Little Big Town, Ricky Martin, Yolanda Adams, Young Thug, Janelle Monae, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Lady Gaga, among others.

In the lead up to Sunday, Keys has already shown she understands the importance of having fun in the host role. Something the Academy Awards should note is a huge audience pleaser, like the time DeGeneres descended into the audience and created perhaps the most famous selfie of all time.

In an almost 10-minute announcement video uploaded to YouTube three weeks ago, Keys let fans come along for the ride as she discovered she got the Grammy gig, excitedly broke the news to her mom over the phone, woke husband Swizz Beats to tell him, received a suitably underwhelming reaction from her two small children, and then took us along to a Grammy promo shoot where she perused a few questionable outfits behind the scenes. All while sporting a beaming smile and a knowing wink at the camera.

Further proof Keys—only the fifth woman to host the Grammys and the first to do so in 14 years following Queen Latifah in 2005—knows how to have a good time in the role arrived Wednesday when she appeared on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” and asked the former host for a few tips on how to navigate the big night. Rather than sit and chat, the pair performed a parody cover version of Gaga and Cooper’s ballad “Shallow,” which is nominated for song and record of the year.

Standing by an upright piano with Keys providing musical accompaniment, Corden sang of the importance of wearing “comfy shoes” and warned that after four hours “you’ll find yourself drinking cheap booze / Stealing from gift bags, a candle for free.” Other advice from Corden included, “Try not to be scared,” and “act like you’ve been there,” to which Keys belted back: “You know I’ve won 15 times!”

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All of which signifies that the safest gamble concerning Sunday’s ceremony would be to bet on Keys. Not to win an actual award, she isn’t nominated, but to deliver an entertaining show buoyed by humor and respect for the craft being honored. Such expertise she has already shown in abundance.

The 2019 Grammy Awards are set to air live Feb. 10 on CBS from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Top nominees are Kendrick Lamar and Drake with eight and seven nominations respectively.

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5 Highlights of Comic-Con 2019

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To help make sure you stay informed, each Sunday we revisit five stories from the previous week and capsulize them in this digest. Today’s collection highlights our coverage of Comic-Con 2019! Find our special section here.

1. That Finale. ‘Game of Thrones’ Cast Talks to Fans

The cast was in good spirits after years of attending Comic-Con and not being able to reveal anything at the panels. Finally they were allowed to talk about things. So what about those coffee cups and water bottles, eh? Read about what the cast had to say here.

2. ‘Maverick’ Returns to San Diego With Long-Awaited ‘Top Gun’ Trailer

The audience in the 8,000 seat room went wild for Tom Cruise Thursday afternoon. The actor made an unexpected flyby at San Diego Comic-Con to debut the first trailer for “Top Gun: Maverick.”

Tom Cruise Crashes Comic-Con To Premiere ‘Top Gun’ SequelTom Cruise Crashes Comic-Con To Premiere 'Top Gun' Sequel

3. Fans Wait in Line and Love It

San Diegan Lauren Kaye told us she was looking forward to waiting in the long Hall H line. “I’ve been wanting to experience Comic-Con for quite a few years, and to finally be able to make it happen is a dream come true,” said Kaye.

4. Portman Is Thor, Ali Is Blade and More From Marvel

With over $22.3 billion in worldwide earnings, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is by far the most successful franchise of all time. Fans learned about new reboots and storylines directly from the producers in a special Hall H panel.

5. Carmel Valley Students Present Educational Comic at Comic-Con Panel

Among the celebrities, comic book legends, and movie studios present at Comic-Con, there is a young generation of comic book artists, high school students from Carmel Valley’s Canyon Crest Academy. NBC 7’s Danica McAdam met up with them for this report.

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It’s a Boy! Chelsea Clinton Announces Birth of Third Baby

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Chelsea Clinton is now a mother of three!

The daughter of former President Bill Clinton announced on Twitter Monday morning that she and husband Marc Mezvinsky welcomed their third child, a boy named Jasper.

“This morning we welcomed our son, Jasper Clinton Mezvinsky,” she wrote. “We are overflowing with love and gratitude and can’t wait to introduce him to his big sister and brother.”

Former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote that she and her husband were “thrilled” at the addition of their newest grandchild.

Clinton, 39, and her husband had announced in January that she was pregnant with a new sibling for daughter Charlotte, 4, and son Aidan, 3, to make them a party of five.

It’s been a big year on the baby front for children of current and former presidents, including TODAY’s own Jenna Bush Hager, the daughter of former President George W. Bush. She announced in April that she is pregnant with her third child.

Earlier in April, Eric and Lara Trump, the second-oldest son and daughter-in-law of President Trump, announced they are expecting their second child in August.

Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY: 

 

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TV Personality Jesse James Offers Reward for Return of Dog

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Reality TV star Jesse James is offering a $5,000 reward for the return of one of his beloved dogs.

James in an Instagram post says the 6-year-old French bulldog named Coco went missing in the Newport, Rhode Island area last Tuesday.

In a previous post James had offered a $2,000 reward for the return of his dog “no questions asked.”

He said in that post Coco “only has eyes for me and won’t want to stay with anyone else.”

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James, founder of West Coast Choppers motorcycle customizing business, was the star of “Jesse James is a Dead Man” on Spike TV and “Monster Garage” on the Discovery Channel.

He says there have been reported sightings of the dog but none have panned out.

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