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The Grammys, which turn 50 on Sunday (8 p.m., CBS), are as much about performance as awards (110 will be given out.) It’s important to keep the viewers entertained, and this year’s show is loaded with compelling performances.

The highlights:

  • Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard, on grand pianos, perform with John Fogerty.
  • Reunited funk-rock outfit The Time brings its Jungle Love to Rihanna’s Umbrella.
  • The casts of Cirque du Soleil’s LOVE and Across the Universe revive A Day in the Life and Let It Be in homage to The Beatles.
  • Foo Fighters’ The Pretender will be staged outdoors with an orchestra featuring the My Grammy Moment winner chosen by YouTube voters. Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones is the arranger/conductor.
  • Kid Rock and pop singer Keely Smith collaborate onThat Old Black Magic, the song that earned Smith and Louis Prima a Grammy at the inaugural ceremony in 1959.
  • Andrea Bocelli and Josh Groban perform The Prayer. Footnote: Eight years ago, Bocelli fell ill, and an unknown Groban, summoned by producer David Foster, filled his duet slot with Celine Dion at a Grammy rehearsal.
  • Herbie Hancock joins Chinese classical pianist Lang Lang for a performance of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.”
  • The electronic pairing of an unnamed contemporary superstar (Kanye West perhaps?) with rare ’50s footage of Frank Sinatra.
  • Beyoncé and Tina Turner together.
  • A Fergie/John Legend duet.Amy Winehouse will perform via satellite from London.
  • Aretha Franklin anchors a gospel medley with BeBe Winans, the Clark Sisters and Madison Bumble Bees, a trombone-driven South Carolina choir.
  • Alicia Keys, Carrie Underwood, John Mayer and Brad Paisley are also on the bill.
  • A possible star-studded tribute to Michael Jackson’s Thriller.