'The Grammy Nominations Concert Live!' 2013: 'NCIS: Los Angeles' LL Cool J is still close to music

ll-cool-j-the-grammy-nominations-concert-live-countdown-to-musics-biggest-night-cbs-325.jpgLL Cool J and CBS have made good partners, musically as well as dramatically.

The rapper and "NCIS: Los Angeles" co-star has been a big part of the network's Grammy Awards coverage, having hosted the past two ceremonies, plus the special "The Grammy Nominations Concert Live! - Countdown to Music's Biggest Night" since it began in 2008. A two-time Grammy winner himself -- now a candidate for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame -- he'll preside again over the nominations show, airing Friday, Dec. 6, on CBS from Los Angeles' Nokia Theater L.A. Live.

"I'm still very, very close to music," maintains LL Cool J, whose given name is James Todd Smith. "This just gives me a chance to be more deeply immersed in music culture by hosting the show."

Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Robin Thicke, Keith Urban,  Lorde, and musical partners Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are scheduled to perform in the Grammy Nominations Concert. As accommodating as "NCIS: Los Angeles" has been about working his schedule around his Grammy-related work, LL Cool J doesn't necessarily expect to get those calls.

"You can't presume or assume that I'm going to do it," he tells Zap2it. "Every season is different, and there's no telling when the Grammys may want to go in a different direction, to work with someone else or try something new. We just take it one step at a time. If they come to me and ask me to do something, we talk about it and figure it out. I don't take any of this for granted."

Though LL Cool J enjoys his connection to the Grammys, it hasn't always been light in spirit. He faced the challenge of setting the tone as host of the award show the night after Whitney Houston's death in February 2012, an occasion that still resonates with him almost two years later.

"It's definitely something that I will always remember. It was a sad time and a shocking time, but I'm glad we made it through, and I'm glad that I was able to provide some kind of relief to the millions of people around the world who were watching the show. I'm grateful that I was able to handle it ... but hopefully, that will never happen again."
Photo/Video credit: CBS/Kevin Lynch
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