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Awards season is in full swing—and for all the obsessing over those golden Oscar statuettes, the 59th Annual Grammy Awards are here to remind us that music matters, too.

To help you prepare for what promises to be an epic Adele-Beyoncé showdown, here’s everything you need to know before tuning in to music’s biggest night.

When is it happening? This year’s Grammys will go down on Sunday, Feb. 12, beginning at 8:00 p.m. EST and airing on CBS. No TV? No problem. You can stream the show live via the CBS website if you spring for their all-access membership. If you’re a true cord-cutter and avoid membership accounts, you’ll have to make do with Twitter recaps.

Who is performing? At the top of the bill are some of pop and rock’s biggest names: Adele, John Legend, Bruno Mars, and Metallica, for starters. Katy Perry announced an unexpected return to the Grammys stage, too. The Weeknd will be joined by Daft Punk (for the latter’s first live performance in three years). Country stars Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban will make appearances, as will two nominees for Best New Artist: Maren Morris, who will perform with 15-time winner Alicia Keys, and rapper Anderson .Paak, who will be accompanied by A Tribe Called Quest and Dave Grohl.

OK, but what about Beyoncé? February has already been a big month for Queen Bey: she announced she’s expecting twins. Rumors of a performance had been swirling for awhile, and Entertainment Tonight reported that she was spotted last week rehearsing with a crew of dancers. If she doesn’t make it to the stage, at least we’ve got last year’s VMAs performance to play on loop.

And the other major stars of the year—Justin Bieber, Drake and Kanye West? The bad news is that all three of these artists—despite multiple nominations apiece—look to be skipping out on the ceremony. Bieber is allegedly ditching the night in some kind of protest. West vowed back in October to boycott if fellow artist Frank Ocean came up blank. And Drake’s concert schedule currently has him across the pond doing a show in the U.K. on Grammy night.

Who’s hosting? James Corden will take the wheel for his first spin at driving the night’s show. The beloved British “Carpool Karaoke” comedian is a natural fit for the musical ceremony, and a change of pace after five years of L.L. Cool J playing emcee.

And who’s nominated? Bey takes the crown with nine nominations. Adele is up for five, and the two dominant singers will duke it out for the big awards like Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Record of the Year. Drake and Rihanna each racked up eight nods (thanks in part to their collaboration on “Work”), and Chance the Rapper already made history with seven nominations, five of them for the streaming-only Coloring Book album. (In the past, the Grammys excluded digital-only releases.) Justin Bieber and Kanye West also pop up plenty.

Then there’s David Bowie’s Blackstar, which has five nominations and might finally afford the iconic artist the respect, albeit posthumously, that the Grammys mostly withheld during his lifetime. But with Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool and Bon Iver’s 22, A Million also in the mix, competition in the Alternative Music category is stiff.

The other big question mark is in the Best New Artist category. Electronic DJ duo The Chainsmokers have had a breakout year, but they’re up against Chance the Rapper, Anderson .Paak, Maren Morris, and Kelsea Ballerini—the latter two being country singers in a similar vein to early Taylor Swift.

Anything else to look out for? The Prince tribute will be star-studded, and rumor has it Bruno Mars is involved. Beyond that, host Corden’s easygoing brand of humor suggests he’ll try to keep the tone light. Given the explosive political climate of the country and the outspoken nature of many of the artists, however, speeches are likely to rise above the usual spiels of endless “thank yous.” In every awards event so far this year, stars—from Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes to Julia Louis-Dreyfus at the SAG Awards—have used their time onstage to make broader social statements.

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Write to Raisa Bruner at

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