To cap off the epic five-and-a-half hour long GRAMMY nomination rollout earlier today—read the full list of nominees right here—the Recording Academy announced the final category of Album of the Year via the heartwarming, holiday-themed special A Very GRAMMY Christmas, which starred a slew of music all-stars.
The special featured classic and modern-day holiday tunes performed by Ariana Grande (doing her just-released "Santa Baby"), Maroon 5 (John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)"), Pharrell (the Eagles' "Please Come Home for Christmas") and Sam Smith (who ended the show with a stirring rendition of Frank Sinatra's "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas").
The artists also performed some of their own hits, with standouts from Mary J. Blige (performing her new London Sessions cut "When You're Gone), Tim McGraw (2004 single "Live Like You Were Dying"), Pharrell (his G I R L cut "Lost Queen") and Ariana Grande singing alongside boyfriend Big Sean for "Best Mistake." That last number finished with the couple walking off the stage hand-in-hand.
But the best part of the evening might have been the sit-down sessions between all the aforementioned artists, which were interspersed between performances. A Very GRAMMY Christmas host LL Cool J hit up the performers on their favorite holiday and GRAMMY memories.
Highlights from the chats included LL asking Adam Levine about celebrating Christmas even though he's Jewish. "Jews love Christmas," Levine replied. "It's a tradition; it kind of extends beyond religious belief."
Meanwhile, Ariana explained her musical household: "They got a karaoke machine when I was a little kid. I would sing all the time...I feel like that's where my passion came from. I thought singing was a normal thing that everyone did." And Pharrell detailed a heartbreaking story about how his grandma bought him snare drums with "the little money she had left" before she passed away.
For her part, Mary J went deep on her frustration over not winning a GRAMMY in 2002. "I just turned my life around and stopped drinking alcohol and trying to get my life together. I didn't get it, but...I've been working so hard for it, people have seen me struggle."