LL Cool J to be first Grammy host in seven years

LL Cool J The rapper's stage name is an abbreviation of "Ladies love cool James"

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The Grammys have appointed LL Cool J to be the ceremony's first official host in seven years.

The star, whose hits include Mama Said Knock You Out and I Need Love, will follow in the footsteps Ellen DeGeneres and Queen Latifah.

In recent years, the position of "official" host has been replaced by a string of guest presenters.

Kanye West, Adele and Taylor Swift are among the acts expected to win awards at the event on 12 February.

"I'm thrilled to be part of music's biggest night," said LL Cool J, whose real name is James Todd Smith.

"I will always have fond memories of my first Grammy Awards and to now be hosting the Grammy show... is a dream come true."

Performers at the ceremony have already been announced, and will include Bruno Mars, Foo Fighters, Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga - who will open and close the show.

The original line-up of the Beach Boys may also make an appearance, guitarist Al Jardine told Rolling Stone magazine.

"There will be a surprise at the Grammys," he said. "We'll do something really exciting. There's a lot of interest in it, which is nice. It's going to be a very big operation."

Diana Ross, Steve Jobs, Gil Scott-Heron and Glen Campbell will be among the lifetime achievement recipients at the ceremony.

The biggest music awards show in the US, the Grammys are determined by about 13,000 voting members.

There are 78 categories this year, cut down from 109 in 2011.

Zydeco and Cajun music were among the casualties, while gender-specific awards were dispensed with in some categories, including best pop vocal, best R&B vocal and best country vocal.

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