H.E.R., Leslie Odom Jr. & More to Perform Oscar-Nominated Songs on Pre-Show, Not the Main Telecast

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H.E.R. performs onstage during Spotify "Best New Artist 2019" party at Hammer Museum on Feb. 7, 2019 in Los Angeles.

The Oscars have struggled with how to include the five nominated songs without having a four-hour show.

The producers of the 93rd annual Academy Awards had good news and bad news for the singers who are performing this year’s Oscar nominees for best original song. The good news: All five nominees will be performed in their entirety. The bad news: They’ll be featured on a 90-minute pre-show, Oscars: Into the Spotlight, which is billed as “the lead-in” to the Oscars.

Hosted by actors Ariana DeBose (Hamilton) and Lil Rel Howery (Bad Trip), the pre-show will air Sunday, April 25, at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. The main Oscar telecast will begin at 8 p.m.. ET/5 p.m. PT.

The Oscars have struggled with how to include the five nominated songs without having a four-hour show. In a few years, none of the nominated songs were performed on the show. In others, some were, some weren’t. Or some songs were truncated. All of these approaches made music fans unhappy. This year’s approach, in which song nominees are relegated to a pre-show, will likely also make music fans unhappy.

In two cases, both co-writers of a nominated song will perform, rather than just the artist who performed it on the film soundtrack. Laura Pausini and Diane Warren will perform “Io Sì (Seen)” from The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se). Celeste and Daniel Pemberton will perform “Hear My Voice: from The Trial of the Chicago 7.

Individual artists will perform the other three nominees. H.E.R. will sing “Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah. Leslie Odom Jr. will perform “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami… Molly Sandén will perform “ Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. (Actress Rachel McAdams lip-syncs the song in the film.)

“Husavik” will be recorded in Húsavík, Iceland. The other four performances will be recorded at the Dolby Family Terrace of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles.

According to an Academy statement, the 90-minute pre-show “will highlight the nominees’ journey to Hollywood’s biggest night [and] give fans around the world the ultimate insiders’ sneak peek into the party.” The show will feature an appearance by DJ Tara.

At the conclusion of the 93rd Oscars, there will be a third Oscar-branded show, Oscars: After Dark, hosted by actors Colman Domingo (Zola) and Andrew Rannells (The Prom) and featuring interviews by film critic Elvis Mitchell. The special will recap the evening’s must-see moments and showcase Oscar winners as they have their statuettes personalized.

“We’ve come up with some serious pre-game and post-game action to enhance our main event,” said Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher and Steven Soderbergh, who are producing this year’s main Oscar telecast. “Our suggestion is just tune in for the whole shebang, otherwise you’ll miss something really unexpected and fun.”

Both the pre-show and the wrap-up special are executive-produced by Michael Antinoro and David Chamberlin, alongside Collins, Sher and Soderbergh. Collins has worked on the Grammys production team for 17 years. This year, he was co-executive producer for the first time.

The 93rd Oscars will be held on Sunday, April 25, at Union Station Los Angeles and the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and international locations via satellite.

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