Pop mega-star Ariana Grande -- who dropped her highly anticipated album "Thank U, Next" just before the Grammys -- slammed producer Ken Ehrlich over her decision not to perform, suggesting he was "lying" about her readiness.
Grande won for best pop vocal album for "Sweetener."
Drake, Lamar and Childish Gambino -- the rap alter-ego of actor Donald Glover -- have also all turned down performance offers, and it was not clear if they would even attend.
Childish Gambino won the coveted prize for best music video for his politically provocative "This Is America."
Gaga, Carlile, Monae, Cardi B and Musgraves are all due to take the stage.
Hopes that women would get their due comes after the head of the Recording Academy -- which includes more than 13,000 music professionals -- told them last year to "step up" if they wanted to do better on Grammys night.
The brazen comment drew outrage and prompted the executive, Neil Portnow, to say he would resign when his contract expires this summer.
Gaga's initial two wins were out of five nominations, including for both Record and Song of the Year for "Shallow," which she performed with co-star Bradley Cooper.
Songstress Alicia Keys, a 15-time Grammy winner, is set to host the televised ceremony -- the first woman to do so in 14 years.
She vowed this year's performances would be the "sickest" yet, with icons like Parton and disco diva Diana Ross also set to take the stage.
A performance honouring the legacy of the late "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin is also expected.
Keys told CBS news this year's greater representation from women was "far overdue."
She hailed the importance "particularly for women to have our seat at the table, to represent the fact that we are so here and so incredible and we are the creators of our music."
"There's a great respect that is deserved to women and you will see that live embodied on Sunday."