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Pentatonix will go retro for Grammys performance, minus Dolly Parton

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LOS ANGELES — Pentatonix can breathe a little easier going into this weekend’s Grammy Awards.

The five-piece a cappella group — nominated for country duo/group performance for a revamped Jolene with Dolly Parton — will take the stage during Sunday’s telecast for a performance of another ’70s classic, which USA TODAY has been asked not to reveal.

While they admittedly have some jitters, they pale in comparison to last year’s ceremony, where they joined Stevie Wonder for Earth, Wind & Fire’s That’s The Way of the World, in tribute to late founder Maurice White.

“The reason I’m a little less nervous is because Stevie isn’t with us, because we did not want to mess up Stevie’s performance,” says Scott Hoying, sporting a leopard-print jacket after a Friday afternoon rehearsal at Staples Center. “But now it’s just us, so it’ll be all on us.”

Dressed down in black jeans and baseball caps, Pentatonix ran through the feel-good, high-pitched hit a half-dozen times on a small stage in the center of the arena. They chose the song — made famous by another five-member group — from a catalog of 25 tunes newly inducted into the Recording Academy’s Grammy Hall of Fame. “There are so many harmonies involved, so it was the perfect fit,” Hoying teases of the brief performance, which showcases the viral stars’ signature falsetto and beat-boxing.

During Sunday’s pre-telecast, The Sing-Off winners could potentially take home their third consecutive Grammy with Jolene, after snapping up best arrangement last year for Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, and in 2015 for Daft Punk. To be nominated with Parton for their new arrangement “means the world,” Hoying says. Recording the song with her last year, “we were so nervous, but she was like, ‘This is the best version I’ve ever heard! I’ll learn the new version that y’all did.’ She couldn’t be more humble.”

As for their fellow 2017 nominees, Hoying says he is rooting for Beyoncé’s Lemonade to win album of the year, while bandmates Kevin Olusola and Kirstin Maldonado are crossing their fingers for Justin Bieber’s Purpose.

“It was so good,” Maldonado says. “It was like a new artistic development (for him) and he just nailed it.”

Olusola adds: “Yeah, I don’t find a lot of albums that I listen to through and through that I enjoy, and that was one of the first ones in a recent time that I can think of. It’s a great album.”

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