Who wins what is often secondary to the drama of the Grammy Awards. The 54th annual edition of the music-biz awards, taking place in Los Angeles on Sunday, is no exception.

Although Kanye West is the lead nominee, nominated for seven 2012 Grammys, he's not going to be the star of Sunday's broadcast. Instead, Britain's soul-singing sensation, Adele, is shaping up to be the central figure, a twist of fate that must irk the ambitious rapper.

Rosy-cheeked Adele Laurie Blue Adkins is up for a half-dozen awards, tied with rockers Foo Fighters and urban crooner Bruno Mars. But the spotlight is on Adele because she's scheduled to perform on the telecast, the 23-year-old's first performance since she had surgery on her vocal cords five months ago.

Millions of fans around the world don't give a hoot about how many awards she wins; they're crossing their fingers that she can still sing as she does on her hit album, 21.

The second studio album by Adele was the sleeper hit of 2011, a set of blues-and gospel-drenched soul songs that connected with listeners in a big way, largely because of the emotional resonance of her incredible voice and her heart-wrenching breakup tales. It has sold millions, achieving the No. 1 spot in most countries. A landmark album that has revitalized the entire industry, 21 has served to make a case for the power of natural talent.

Heading into the Grammy Awards on Sunday, Adele is poised to sweep the top three categories, with nominations for album of the year, record of the year and song of the year. If she wins all three, which I predict she will, she would be the first artist to do so since the Dixie Chicks in 2007. Kanye West, on the other hand, was shut out of the album and record categories, although his co-writing credit on All of the Lights makes him a contender for song of the year. The song, which features West with Rihanna, Kid Cudi and Fergie, is also nominated for best rap/ sung collaboration and best rap song.

What's bumped up the number of West's nominations is the fact that he produced two albums, and both earned recognition. West's album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, is competing for best rap album with the album he produced with Jay-Z, Watch the Throne. The West-Jay Z joint, Otis, is also nominated for best rap performance and best rap song.

West released two albums last year, and neither one is up for album of the year.

If you're wondering what happened to the Canadian contingent this year, you can chalk up the weak representation to a combination of bad timing and fewer categories.

Last year, the Recording Academy restructured the awards, cutting the number of categories to 78, down from 109. Many of the cuts took place in the genre-specific categories. Instead of separate categories for polka and native American music, for example, sub-missions are now funnelled into one regional-roots category. The shift likely means we won't be seeing much of the oft-nominated specialty Canadian acts, such as powwow band Northern Cree and polka king Walter Ostanek, on the Grammy nominee list in the future.

As for timing, the biggest albums by Canadians, including those by Nickleback, Drake, Feist, Justin Bieber and Michael Bublé. were released after the Sept. 30 closing date of the Grammys' eligibility period. Drake was still able to rack up four nominations, thanks to collaborations with Rihanna and Nicki Minaj that fell within the deadline.

Bieber's Christmas album is not eligible for a Grammy, but he does have a connection to this year's gala: Veteran songwriter Diane Warren earned a nod for best song written for visual media for Born to Be Somebody, one of the tracks included in Bieber's Never Say Never movie. Warren, by the way, has another song vying for the same award. You Haven't Seen the Last of Me, a song she wrote for Cher to sing in the 2010 musical, Burlesque, is also in the running.

And what about Arcade Fire, the surprise winners of last year's album-of-the-year Grammy? Well, you have to dig deep to find any mention of the Montreal ensemble on the 2012 list, and then it's for their art director. Montreal filmmaker Vincent Moris-set is nominated for the best recording package for his work on the short Arcade Fire/Spike Jonze film, Scenes from the Suburbs.

Other Canadians to look for on Sun-day include electronic artists Deadmau5 (Joel Zimmerman) and Montreal DJ A-Trak (Alain Macklovitch), who is one-half of Duck Sauce, the fun-loving duo that produced the viral hit, Barbra Streisand, and are working on a full-length debut. The Niagara Falls-raised Deadmau5 is up for three Grammys, including one for his remix of the Foo Fighters' Rope. He'll also be performing with the Foos, Chris Brown, David Guetta and Lil Wayne, on the televised broadcast in the show's first electro-dance segment.

Deadmau5 and Duck Sauce will be basking in the rising popularity of electronic music, as shown by the nomination of American dubstep producer Skrillex as best new artist. It's the first time an electronic dance artist has been nominated in one of the top categories, although winning is a long shot.

Skrillex is competing for the new-artist crown with a wholesome country band, the Band Perry, rapper J. Cole, feisty MC Nicki Minaj, and indie folky Bon Iver, for the honour.

Another slab of Canadian content can be found on the opposite end of the pop-music spectrum. Face-melting rockers Sum 41, formed more than a decade ago in Ajax, Ont., are a surprise entry in the hard rock/metal category, rubbing shoulders with some of the most ferocious monsters of rock, including Megadeth, Mastodon, Dream Theatre and Foo Fighters. The Canuck band's first Grammy nod comes for Blood in My Eyes, one of the heaviest tracks from their fifth studio album, Screaming Bloody Murder, which was completely over-looked in this week's round of Juno nominations.

Meanwhile, Toronto R&B singer Melanie Fiona shares a Grammy nomination with U.S. powerhouse Cee Lo Green for the song, Fool for You, which they recorded together. It's up for best traditional R&B performance. Also sharing in a nomination is Victoria singer Adonis Puentes, of Jose Rizo's Mongorama. The nine-piece Latin-jazz ensemble, featuring Puentes as lead vocalist, is nominated in the category of best tropical Latin album.

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