LOS ANGELES – Kanye West may have received a leading eight nominations, but the main question heading into Sunday night's Grammy Awards was: What will Amy Winehouse do?
Winehouse received six nominations after months of personal problems — including the release of a video that allegedly shows her smoking crack — that took the focus off her gritty, soulful music.
The British singer will not attend this year's Grammy Awards because her request for a visa was denied, but she will take a break from rehab to perform by satellite at Sunday's ceremony in Los Angeles.
West, known for throwing tantrums at awards shows when he doesn't win, has had a triumphant yet tragic year. He knocked 50 Cent off his throne when "Graduation" had the best-selling debut of the year with nearly one million copies sold, but his mother died suddenly in November at age 58 after plastic surgery.
West is planning an emotional tribute performance to his mom at the Grammys, People magazine reported. The rapper has not been officially announced as a performer for the awards show.
And Michael Jackson may actually be performing, FOXNews.com's FOX411 columnist Roger Friedman reported.
The possible scenario has Justin Timberlake starting the show singing along with a tape of Frank Sinatra. The next act up is Jackson, performing one of his hits from "Thriller," possibly even re-creating the dance number for "Billie Jean" he made famous at the Motown 25th anniversary show in 1983.
Other top nominees included the Foo Fighters, Jay-Z, Rihanna, Paul McCartney, T-Pain and Timbaland.
Both West and Winehouse were nominated for album of the year for their CDs "Graduation" and "Back to Black," respectively. Winehouse was also cited for best new artist, plus record and song of the year for the defiant hit "Rehab."
Other record of the year candidates include Beyonce's "Irreplaceable," the Foo Fighters' "The Pretender," Rihanna's "Umbrella" and "What Goes Around Comes Around" by Justin Timberlake.
In addition to West and Winehouse, the album of the year category also featured the Foo Fighters, for "Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace," Vince Gill's four-disc set "These Days," — and, surprisingly, Herbie Hancock's tribute to Joni Mitchell, "River: The Joni Letters."
Other song of the year candidates included Corrine Bailey Rae's sweet-sounding "Like A Star," Carrie Underwood's revenge anthem "Before He Cheats," The Plain White T's "Hey There Delilah" and "Umbrella."
Winehouse was competing against Feist, Paramore, Taylor Swift and Ledesi in the best new artist category.
The show is set to air at 8 p.m. ET on CBS from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.