Don’t get confused if the Oscars show on Sunday sounds more like a Grammys broadcast from the very first minute.
The show’s producers have tapped Queen to open the show and shake things up this year.
It’s not as random as it sounds. The band and its iconic lead singer, the late great Freddie Mercury, are the subject of one of the Best Picture nominees, “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
“If you’re ever heard Queen’s music, I think this will be something that will invite you in in a really great way,” producer Glenn Weiss told USA Today.
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“The music is so well-known that this to us became a really great way to open the show and not be traditional like a normal awards show and depend on things like a monologue.”
The show does typically begin with jokes from the host, but there is no host this year. Comedian Kevin Hart had been tapped for the gig but dropped out after being accused of making homophobic comments in old social media posts, CNBC reported in December.
“Glenn and I talked about Queen early on,” Donna Gigliotti, who is producing the show with Weiss, told the Los Angeles Times. “How did we come to that decision?
“Well, you have to look at the fact that this is a movie (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) that has done in excess of $800 million worldwide business. Japan alone is $100 million. We are putting on a show for a worldwide audience. So Queen is kind of a natural for us. I mean, don’t you want to be at rehearsals when Queen are rehearsing? It’s exciting. It’s fantastic.”
Weiss told the Times that “just opening the show with that kind of energy and known music and excitement allows us to start this in a different way, and we think it’s really good to just jump right in.”
Adam Lambert, who fronts the band on tour, will perform in what PopSugar described as a “full-circle moment.”
“The singer famously got his start on American Idol in 2009 after auditioning with ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,” the pop culture website wrote.
“That same season, Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor joined Lambert and fellow contestant Kris Allen for a performance of ‘We Are the Champions.’ It was such a good fit that Lambert went on to periodically front the band in subsequent tours.”
The producers have lined up a slew of big voices to perform the songs nominated for Best Original Song — “Bohemian Rhapsody is not one of them. Here’s the rundown of musical performers from the Orlando Sentinel.
Bette Midler will sing “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns.”
Jennifer Hudson will perform “I’ll Fight” from “RBG.”
Country duo Gillian Welch and David Rawlings will team up on “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.”
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper will sing “Shallow” from “A Star is Born.”
The fifth song nominated is “All the Stars” from “Black Panther.” Producers tried to get Kendrick Lamar and SZA to perform their song on the show but failed, Variety reports.
“The reason, according to a source close to the situation, is logistics and timing,” Variety reports. “Lamar was also a no-show at the Grammys this year. The song will not be performed by another act, an Academy source confirmed.”