Tonight's broadcast of the American Music Awards (8 pm/ET, on ABC) will be chock-full of celebrity presenters and flashy performances by the likes of Beyonce, the Pussycat Dolls and Tenacious D. But they'll also be mixing it up a bit with country artists Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts and even going a bit of classical with a song from Josh Groban. TVGuide.com had the chance to talk to Groban — who just released his new album, Awake — about what the 25-year-old "adult contemporary" sensation has up his sleeve for the awards show.
TVGuide.com: What song are you performing on the AMAs?
Josh Groban: I'm very excited. It is "February Song," from the new album. I'm playing piano on it as well. I wrote it with my friend John Ondrasik from Five for Fighting. It's a very personal song for me, so it will be a perfect venue for me to do that.
TVGuide.com: You wrote and produced significantly more of this album than you have done in the past. Was that important to you this time around?
Groban: It has become more important to me as I've grown a little bit. I've always known that I can sing, and that has always been the easy thing for me. I think I felt that in order to push myself a little more, I needed to tap into it — and not in an, "Oh, this is what everybody [else] is doing so I have to do it" kind of way. It honestly felt like the natural progression for me as I would sit in the studio and really start having confident feelings about where things need to go. As I start trusting my instincts more, it just happens naturally. And now that I've been able to have my hand on that side of it, I can't really imagine it any other way in the future. It does make it so much more personal and so much more fun to perform.
TVGuide.com: Is it nice to be at the AMAs and not have to worry about winning or losing an award?
Groban: [Laughs] Yes. Last time I was there, I was nominated for Male Artist of the Year, and it was definitely a very nerve-racking experience. So this time around, to just go and have fun and celebrate the best music of the last year is the best of all worlds.
TVGuide.com: Are you rooting for anyone in particular?
Groban: God, there are so many great performers, so many great artists that are nominated... and so many that aren't nominated that are performing. We'll have to see, but it's cool because it is voted on by the people. It's a great opportunity for the people to share their feelings about who they want. It is a party, very casual, and a good time.
TVGuide.com: Next year, I'm sure you'll be back on the hot seat.
Groban: I wasn't eligible this year because my album just came out, but maybe next year. We'll see.... If the people will have me.
TVGuide.com: How do you feel about falling in the "adult contemporary" category since you are such a young guy?
Groban: The way I feel about categories and genres in general is that they exist because they have to exist and there has to be a name for it. But the music world now is so open-minded. I'm definitely played on adult contemporary radio, but I did a record signing the other day, and it was mostly teenagers. It is a style of the format and name for the format; but with the type of music I sing, every newspaper calls it a different thing. The title of it has never really been important to me. Whatever you decide to call it, you can call it.
TVGuide.com: I saw you in a one-night benefit performance of Chess. Would you ever consider doing another Broadway show?
Groban: Bless you, thank you for coming to that! Yeah, I majorly have the bug for theater. It is something that I respect so greatly. I love the discipline of it and the idea of telling that story live. Chess was a phenomenal piece of work, so to be able to sing that concert was a great thrill. To do it with some of my Broadway heroes was fun, and it was for an amazing cause, The Actors Fund. So the short answer to your question is... yes!
TVGuide.com: Awake has more English-language songs on it than your last few albums. Is that the direction you are planning on heading in?
Groban: I may decide to do an album one day that is classical in nature and is all foreign language. But this album, I felt like I wanted it to be primarily in English. I wanted to keep [some of] what I feel I do very well with the foreign-language stuff, as I've done in the past. But I wanted to skew more toward English, because I write in English and it is my first language.
TVGuide.com: And you are going back on tour soon. Are you excited?
Groban: I can't wait for the tour. It has been a couple of years since my last one, and I'll be going out in February. That to me is the most fun I have all year, going out on stage. For the same reason I love theater, playing the arenas and being in front of all those people is a great thrill.
TVGuide.com: Well, I'm looking forward to the AMAs, and I'm excited to see you play piano.
Groban: Thank you. I'll be excited to play piano. I hope I don't have butterfingers that night. [Laughs] But it will be fun.
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