Sunday, February 13, 2011

2011 Grammy Awards Preview

Music industry's biggest night is tonight. The 53rd annual Grammy Awards will be held in Los Angeles and the competition is tough this year. Let's take a quick look at the major categories, the nominees and who's got the best shot.

Album of the Year nominees:

Eminem - Recovery
Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
Lady Gaga - The Fame Monster
Katy Perry - Teenage Dream
Lady Antebellum - Need You Now

One of the most frequently asked questions in the last couple of months (since the nominees were announced) has been: will Eminem FINALLY get the much-coveted Album of the Year award? He has won 11 Grammys so far, but he's never gotten his hands on the the biggest award of the night. It could be his year. Recovery is the great comeback album for Eminem and the Academy loves comeback stories. It's also the biggest-selling not only of the 5 nominees in the Album of the Year category but also of 2010. On the other hand, some might argue that Arcade Fire's Suburbs is more to the Academy's taste (which is true) and it proved that the album format still matters. Plus, it's a very good album. The problem is, indie albums rarely win this category. But Arcade Fire do have a shot in the rock/alternative categories.

Lady Gaga's exclusion in both Record of The Year and Song of the Year categories (with Bad Romance) - and her being ineligible for a Best New Artist nomination last year which fueled long debates on the Academy's eligibility rules and finally led to a rule change in this category - might help her get some extra compensatory votes for The Fame Monster. Lady Gaga has a shot, although I'm afraid that some Academy voters might see this album as either a re-release of The Fame with some extra songs on it or, as far as the new songs go, more of an EP and therefore not really worthy of an Album of the Year win. BUT she is very popular and the Academy has had time to figure her out.

Best shot at winning: Eminem
Might pull it off: Lady Gaga
Real shocker: any of the other 3 nominees

Who should win: Eminem. I loved Arcade Fire's album and Gaga is huge at the moment, but I think Eminem is long overdue in this category and if there's one comeback album for which he deserves this Grammy, it's Recovery.

Record of the Year:

B.o.B. feat. Bruno Mars - Nothin' on You
Eminem feat. Rihanna - Love the Way You Lie
Cee Lo - F**k You
Jay-Z and Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind
Lady Antebellum - Need You Now

First of all, why was B.o.B. nominated for Nothin' on You, when it should have been Airplanes instead? Oh well, he has the weakest shot in this category anyway. Eminem's Love the Way You Lie was a huge hit and if the Academy decides this is Eminem's year, he has a really good chance to win this category too. Actually, he might just own the night. On the other hand, Cee Lo's F**k You was very popular and he also has a nice shot in the Song of the Year category, just like Eminem. (The difference between Song of the Year and Record of the Year: for Song, the award goes to the songwriter, "song" in this context meaning the song as written, not its recording. For Record, the award goes to the performing artist, the producer, recording engineer, and/or mixer for that song.)

I am not going to underestimate or rule out Lady Antebellum's Need You Now and that is because it very much suits the Academy's taste and it was a big crossover hit. It was also nominated for Song of The Year, so there's definitely love for it. Also not to be ruled out: Jay-Z's Empire State of Mind because it's a great record, very successful and Jay-Z is such a force in the industry. Plus, it's got Alicia Keys singing on it and the Academy loves Alicia Keys. The only problem with this one: it's rather old by now and the voters might have either forgotten its impact or gotten tired of it.

This is a hard to predict category. Empire State of Mind, F**k You, Nothin' On You and Love the Way You Lie are all urban radio and they might split the vote. That means there's a possibility that Lady Antebellum's Need You Now could triumph, especially if we look at past winners and see that it's the conservative record that usually wins this category. Ultimately, any of these 4 could win: Eminem, Lady Antebellum, Cee Lo, Jay-Z. I really don't want Cee Lo to win this category, but it's not up to me. The real shocker would be B.o.B. My personal preference is Jay-Z's Empire State of Mind. He's the greatest rapper alive and this is truly a great song that has acquired anthem status. One of his best.

Best New Artist:

Justin Bieber
Florence and the Machine
Mumford & Sons
Esperanza Spalding

It is not a very strong, competitive category this year. With artists like Bruno Mars, B.o.B, Ke$ha, Marina and the Diamonds, Taio Cruz, La Roux, Nicki Minaj, Janelle Monae, Jason Derulo or Adam Lambert being either not eligible or simply ignored for a nomination in this particular category, it's looking quite boring.

Florence and the Machine SHOULD win this one, there's no doubt about it. She's so talented and had a great year. Unfortunately, she doesn't have the best shot in this category. Who does? Bieber and Drake, so I'm guessing it will be one of them. Long shot spoiler: Mumford & Sons.

Best Female Pop Vocal Performance:

Sara Bareilles -  King of Anything
Beyonce - Halo (Live)
Lady Gaga - Bad Romance
Norah Jones - Chasing Pirates
Katy Perry - Teenage Dream

This one should be a no-brainer: Lady Gaga for the win. Possible spoiler: Norah Jones or even Katy Perry. Real shocker: either of the other 2 nominees.

Best Male Pop Vocal Performance:

Michael Buble - Haven't Met You Yet
Michael Jackson - This Is It
Adam Lambert - Whataya Want From Me
Bruno Mars - Just The Way You Are
John Mayer -  Half of My Heart

Michael Jackson has a great shot and he deserves it for sentimental reasons. But the real winner should be Bruno Mars for his lush rendition of Just The Way You Are. Possible spoilers: Michael Buble or John Mayer (who pretty much won this category every time he was nominated). Adam Lambert didn't get much love from the Academy, he wasn't nominated for Best New Artist, which makes me believe he has no chance here.

Best Pop Album:

Justin Bieber - My World 2.0
Susan Boyle - I Dreamed A Dream
Lady Gaga - The Fame Monster
John Mayer - Battle Studies
Katy Perry - Teenage Dream

Not an easy category. Bieber, Boyle, Gaga and Perry, any of them could get this one. John Mayer apparently has the weakest shot. I say apparently because it's not one of his strongest albums, but he is one of the Academy's favorite artists, he gets nominated (and wins) often. Maybe too often, but that's another story. If Lady Gaga doesn't get Album of the Year, she will very likely win this one. She has a great shot either way, but it's not a lock. Who wins if the Academy refuses to acknowledge Lady Gaga? I would venture to say Katy Perry, because the album sold well and Perry has the popularity factor cashing in points for her. Plus, she has been nominated before in 2009 and 2010 but didn't win. She was invited to perform at this year's ceremony, even though she's not the best live singer AT ALL. Please no Bieber or Boyle. Please no. Just no.

Best Rock Album:

Jeff Beck - Emotion & Commotion
Muse - The Resistance
Pearl Jam - Backspacer
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Mojo
Neil Young - Le Noise

The Academy usually goes for younger acts in this category, so technically it is Muse's award to lose. They should win, it's a very good album. Possible spoiler: Neil Young. He has been nominated 5 times before in this category, but never won. 

Best Rap Album:

B.o.B. - The Adventures of Bobby Ray
Drake - Thank Me Later
Eminem - Recovery
Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3
The Roots - How I Got Over

Eminem's Recovery is the strongest of the pack. It's hard to imagine he will lose in this category.

Best Rap Song: 
Jay-Z and Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind
Eminem feat. Rihanna - Love the Way You Lie
Eminem - Not Afraid
B.o.B feat. Bruno Mars - Nothin' on You
Jay-Z - On to the Next One

Here's the thing: Jay-Z's Empire State of Mind should win this one. Eminem could easily pull it off too (for Love The Way You Lie, although if he were to win, I wish it were Not Afraid instead). A potential problem for both of them is that they each have 2 songs nominated in this category, which might cause the votes to split and result in B.o.B.winning (long shot, but not impossible), especially if the Academy wants to reward Bruno Mars' songwriting.   

Best Music Video:

Lady Gaga - Bad Romance
Eminem feat. Rihanna - Love The Way You Lie
Johnny Cash - Ain't No Grave/The Johnny Cash Project
Gorillaz - Stylo
Cee Lo - F**k You

Lady Gaga's Bad Romance should win, not because it's Gaga, but because it's the best video of the pack. Everyone else just step aside.

For a complete list of the 2011 Grammy nominees, go to

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...