Grammy spotlight on Adele as Kendrick Lamar, Taylor Swift, The Weeknd battle for top award

Adele performs at the 54th annual Grammy Awards in this Feb 12, 2012 photo.
Adele performs at the 54th annual Grammy Awards in this Feb 12, 2012 photo. PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Frontrunners Kendrick Lamar, Taylor Swift and The Weeknd will battle for the top honours at Monday's Grammy awards, but British singer Adele may well steal the spotlight at the star-studded ceremony.

The Grammy Awards, in its 58th year, will see only a handful of its 80-plus trophies handed out during a three-hour live televised show, which is known more for pairing artists not typically seen together for performance spectacles.

The night's top award, album of the year, pits Lamar, with 11 nominations, against Swift and The Weeknd, each with seven nods.

But all eyes will be on Adele. The British sensation, while not nominated as her hit album 25 was released after the Sept 30 cut-off date, will return to the Grammy stage for the first time since 2012, when she swept the awards with seven wins.

The singer performed a surprise sold-out show on Friday at the intimate Los Angeles venue The Wiltern, attended by the likes of Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson and Josh Groban.

Pop star Swift will kick off the show from the Staples Centre hosted by LL Cool J with a song from her album 1989, followed by performances by Lamar, The Weeknd and a tribute to David Bowie performed by Lady Gaga. Bowie died in January from cancer at the age of 69.

Veteran musician Lionel Richie will be honoured by artists Demi Lovato, John Legend, Luke Bryan and Meghan Trainor, while rockers The Eagles will pay tribute to late frontman Glenn Frey with singer-songwriter Jackson Browne.

Adele's concert was just one of many music industry events across Los Angeles over the weekend.

Richie was feted at a star-studded party on Saturday and Compton native Lamar was given the key to his hometown.

"I will always, since day one, scream Compton and make sure I come back to this community and do right by them because Compton's done right by me," Lamar said.

The rapper, 28, is emerging as a favourite to win album of the year for his To Pimp A Butterfly, which fuses hip-hop with poetry, jazz, blues and social commentary and has won praise from musicians Leon Bridges, Gary Clark Jr. and Corinne Bailey Rae.

"I love what he has to say, I love how he says it, I love his sort of rhythmical experimentation and diversity," Bailey Rae told Reuters. "He's a brilliant rapper and a really great artist."