Monday, November 28, 2011

2012 Grammy Nomination Predictions

Nominations for the 54th Grammy Awards will be announced during their annual concert on Nov. 30. In what has also been a tradition for me, I like to predict who will get nominated.

Album of the Year

I'm not sure that I've seen anything as close to a sure thing for AOTY over such a long period of time, but Adele's 21 has been leading the charge since the beginning of the year with astoundingly consistent sales numbers from week to week. The album has been at or near the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 and the fact that her music is accessible and inoffensive pretty much makes her a lock. It also doesn't hurt that she's a previous Best New Artist winner as well. Things couldn't be set up any better.

I don't have any other definite locks, but I feel very confident in a few other favorites. One of them being Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. It may not have had the hit singles that his previous albums did, but it had universal glowing reviews in the same stratosphere as Speakerboxxx/The Love Below and OK Computer, both previous nominees in this category. The fact that it wasn't the commercial juggernaut that his other AOTY entries were might be overlooked for the chance to reward what many consider a masterpiece by one of today's most important artists. One outlandish scenario where I don't see it getting nominated is if his collaboration with Jay-Z, Watch The Throne, cancel both albums out and leaves room for Lupe Fiasco's Lasers to slide in. Lupe just happens to be a performer at the nomination concert and although he had a successful year, I don't think too many people saw him as a frontrunner for any of the general fields. It's definitely something to keep an eye out for since most performers who are asked to be at the nomination concert end up getting a nod in a big category.

Country music has two strong contenders with Taylor Swift's Back To December and Jason Aldean's My Kinda Party, but I'm gonna go with Swift since she's still very well known and the album has moved a lot of units. I just don't think Aldean has that much awareness in the mainstream right now.

I'm conflicted about Lady Gaga's Born This Way making it since the album has gotten a mixed reaction from critics, but she has maintained a high profile over the course of the year and she is still a hot item in the world of pop culture. Her first two efforts were also AOTY nominees and a third straight nod would put her in the company of Kanye West, Dixie Chicks and Stevie Wonder as far as artists who've had three consecutive albums get acknowledged here. In those other cases, there was at least sustained hype and the feeling that the third album could match up to their previous work. I don't get that feeling from Born This Way, but it's difficult to count her out at this point in her career.

On paper, Tony Bennett's Duets II seems like it should get an automatic spot here because of the high profile guest stars, but I think that all the years the NARAS has been chided for being out of date are starting to catch up to them, and we probably won't see too many elder statesmen in this category unless it's for sentimental reasons or the academy is trying to make up for not rewarding them in their prime. Bennett already has an Album of the Year win and several trophies from the previous decade alone. The main factor that could catapult him into this category is the Amy Winehouse collaboration, "Body and Soul."

Foo Fighters' Wasting Light is another album that has a great shot of crashing the party because of how well its singles have done on rock radio and the enthusiastic response from fans to the album in general. Those kind of ingredients make it a good bet to take up the token rock spot, so I'm going with that. I ultimately decided on Bruno Mars' Doo Wops & Hooligans for the fifth and final spot because he has been in the spotlight all year long and it's hard to bet against an album that has two #1 singles and another that hit the top 5.


Bruno Mars-Doo Wops and Hooligans
Foo Fighters-Walking Light
Taylor Swift-Speak Now
Kanye West-My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Possible spoilers-: Tony Bennett-Duets II; Bon Iver-Bon Iver; Lady Gaga-Born This Way; Lupe Fiasco-Lasers
Other contenders: Jason Aldean-My Kinda Party; Marsha Ambrosius-Late Nights, Early Mornings; Tony Bennett-Duets II; Bon Iver-Bon Iver; Lupe Fiasco-Lasers; Nicki Minaj-Pink Friday; Paul Simon-So Beautiful or So What
Long shots: Beyonce-4; Foster The People-Torches; Jay-Z & Kanye West-Watch The Throne; Radiohead-The King of Limbs

Record of the Year

Expect to see Adele here also, this time for "Rolling In The Deep." A nomination for Teenage Dream last year showed that the NARAS has acknowledged Katy Perry as one of the biggest stars going and won't be afraid to let her mix it up in the general field. A nod for "Firework" will be the result of that. I'll go ahead and give another lock to Bruno Mars for "Grenade."

Although the year is heavy on pop contenders, there still must be room allowed for other genres. Foster The People's "Pumped Up Kicks" should represent the rock side of things and it's also reminiscent of other hip Record of the Year choices that had huge commercial success like "Feel Good Inc.," "Crazy" and "Paper Planes." A lot of other strong pop contenders such as Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera's "Moves Like Jagger," Pink's "Raise Your Glass" and Lady Gaga's "Yoü and I" could also make some noise, but there has rarely been a year that an urban song wasn't nominated in this category. By default the main contenders are Jay-Z and Kanye West's "Otis," Kanye's "All The Lights" and Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass" (or that pesky Lupe). I'm going with "Super Bass" since it can practically double as a pop song, it was more popular, and Nicki had a huge year in general, which the NARAS loves to acknowledge.


Adele-"Rolling In The Deep"
Foster The People-"Pumped Up Kicks"
Bruno Mars-"Grenade"
Nicki Minaj-"Super Bass"
Katy Perry-"Firework"

Possible spoiler: Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera-"Moves Like Jagger"
Other contenders: Jay-Z & Kanye West-"Otis"; Lady Gaga-"Yoü and I"; LMFAO-"Party Rock Anthem"; Pink-"Raise Your Glass"; Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris-"We Found Love"
Long shots: Tony Bennett feat. Lady Gaga-"The Lady Is A Tramp"; Foo Fighters-"Walk"; Lupe Fiasco-"The Show Goes On"; Taylor Swift-"Back To December"; Wiz Khalifa-"Black and Yellow"

Song of the Year

I never claimed to the be the greatest at predicting Song of the Year since the nominees are usually based on how the panel personally connects with a song, so I'll try to make this quick. "Rolling In The Deep" will be here. No surprise. I also like Bruno Mars' chances for "Grenade." Jason Aldean's duet with Kelly Clarkson, "Don't You Wanna Stay" seems like it has the best shot to represent country. There also has to be something dark, so I'll go with Mumford & Sons' "The Cave" since their profile has only risen since their Best New Artist nomination last year. One good way to predict who will land here is to look at what has done well on adult radio stations. Pink's "Fuckin' Perfect" seems to fit that criteria and could play spoiler due to how much the Grammys love her, but with Katy Perry's "Firework" also being submitted here and a newfound openness toward uptempo pop songs in SOTY (think about past nominations for "Single Ladies," "American Boy" and "Poker Face"), I can't think of many reasons to bet against her.


Adele-"Rolling In the Deep"
Jason Aldean feat. Kelly Clarkson-"Don't You Wanna Stay"
Bruno Mars-"Grenade"
Mumford & Sons-"The Cave"
Katy Perry-"Firework"

Possible spoilers: Marsha Ambrosius-"Far Away"; Pink-"Fuckin' Perfect"
Other contenders: Beyonce-"I Was Here"; Bon Iver-"Holocene"; The Civil Wars-"Poison & Wine"; Foster The People-"Pumped Up Kicks"; Lady Gaga-"Yoü and I"; Christina Perri-"Jar of Hearts"; Paul Simon-"So Beautiful or So What"; Taylor Swift-"Back To December"
Long shots: Fleet Foxes-"Helplessness Blues"; Lil Wayne-"How To Love"; Miranda Lambert-"Heart Like Mine"; Pistol Annies-"Hell On Heels"

Best New Artist

This will more than likely be the only category where an artist will have a fighting chance if their name isn't Adele. Continuing with the trend of good years, I like Nicki Minaj to keep on riding the wave all the way to a BNA nod. I also like The Band Perry to be token country act, and if they hadn't submitted "If I Die Young" last year, I think we'd see them in Song of the Year. This category is at its most difficult to predict when there aren't a ton of mainstream success stories. Foster The People seems like an obvious choice, they're pretty much living off of one song and not a ton of people are exactly crazy about their album.

Although I don't like Foster The People's chances here because of the lack of buzz for their album, the indie rock world has made an impact on this category the past few years. Even though they lack a radio hit in the same way that allowed Feist, The Ting Tings and Silversun Pickups to crash the party, I think Bon Iver should get a nod here due to the attention their album has gotten and all the positive reviews. Lykke Li can also capitalize off the goodwill of a previous album much like Bon Iver will surely do. There isn't that one big money song on Wounded Rhymes that the general public can't identify, which makes me worry about Li's chances, but if recent history holds up, more than one indie act can make it here.

I also like Cage The Elephant's chances because of the success they've had on radio as well. I'm probably crazy for not including Fleet Foxes here since they are arguably more popular than Li and got better reviews than Cage, but I don't think they have that one song that has connected outside of their core audience. At least Justin Vernon of Bon Iver is in good with Kanye.


The Band Perry
Cage The Elephant
Bon Iver
Lykke Li
Nicki Minaj

Possible spoilers: The Civil Wars; Fleet Foxes; Foster The People
Other contenders: Ellie Goulding; Il Volo; Miguel; Christina Perri; Skrillex; Tyler, The Creator
Long shots: Nicole Atkins; James Blake; J. Cole; Jessie J; Wiz Khalifa

Here are some other categories that are of interest to me:

Best Alternative Music Album

Death Cab For Cutie-Codes and Keys
My Morning Jacket-Circuital
PJ Harvey-Let England Shake
Bon Iver-Bon Iver
Radiohead-The King of Limbs

Other contenders:
Foster The People-Torches; Kid Cudi-Man On The Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager; Lykke Li-Wounded Rhymes; The Strokes-Angles; TV On The Radio-Nine Types Of Light
Long shots: Bright Eyes-The People's Key; St. Vincent-Strange Mercy; Wild Flag-Wild Flag

Best Rap Performance

Beastie Boys-"Make Some Noise"
Chris Brown feat. Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes-"Look At Me Now"
Nicki Minaj feat. Drake-"Moment 4 Life"
Wiz Khalifa-"Black and Yellow"
Jay-Z & Kanye West-"Otis"

Other contenders: Common and Nas-"Street Dreams"; Lil Wayne feat. Cory Gunz-6 Foot 7 Foot; Lupe Fiasco-"The Show Goes On"; Tyler, The Creator-"Yonkers"
Long shots: Kreayshawn-"Gucci Gucci"; Waka Flocka Flame feat. Roscoe Dash and Wale-"No Hands"

Best Rap Song

Chris Brown feat. Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes-"Look At Me"
Dr. Dre feat. Eminem and Skylar Grey-"I Need A Doctor"
Lupe Fiasco-"The Show Goes On"
Kanye West & Jay-Z-"Otis"
Wiz Khalifa-"Black and Yellow"

Other contenders: Bad Meets Evil-"Lighters"; Beastie Boys-"Make Some Noise"; Lil Wayne feat. Cory Gunz-"6 Foot 7 Foot"; Lupe Fiasco-"The Show Goes On"; Kanye West-"All Of The Lights"; Nicki Minaj-"Right Thru Me"
Long shots: Drake-"Marvin's Room"; Tyler, The Creator-"Yonkers"

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration

Bad Meets Evil feat. Bruno Mars-"Lighters"
Dr. Dre F/ Eminem & Skylar Grey-"I Need A Doctor"
Kanye West feat. Rihanna & Kid Cudi-"All The Lights"
Kelly Rowland feat. Lil Wayne-"Motivation"
Rihanna feat. Drake-"What's My Name?"

Other contenders: Beastie Boys feat. Santigold-"Don't Play No Games I Can't Win"; Beyonce feat. Andre 3000-"Party"; DJ Khaled feat. T-Pain, Drake, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne-"I'm On One"; Lupe Fiasco feat. Trey Songz-"Out Of My Head"; Sade feat. Jay-Z-"The Moon & The Sky"; Tinie Tempah feat. Eric Turner-"Written In The Stars"
Long shots: Jamie Foxx feat. Drake-"Fall For Your Type"; Lloyd feat. Andre 3000 & Lil Wayne-"Dedication To My Ex"; Miguel feat. J. Cole-"All I Want Is You"; Tyler, The Creator feat. Frank Ocean-"She"; Kanye West feat. John Legend-"Blame Game"; Betty Wright, The Roots & Lil Wayne-"Grapes On A Vine"

Best Rap Album

Lil Wayne-The Carter IV
Nicki Minaj-Pink Friday
Kanye West-My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Jay-Z & Kanye-Watch The Throne
Lupe Fiasco-Lasers

Other contenders:
Bad Meets Evil-Hell: The Sequel; Beastie Boys-Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2; Diddy-Dirty Money-Last Train To Paris; J. Cole-Cole World; Wiz Khalifa-Rolling Papers
Long shots: Talib Kweli-Gutter Rainbows; T.I.-No Mercy; Tyler, The Creator-Goblin

Best Pop Solo Performance (Yes, I'm aware that I chose six nominees. It's happened before and there are a lot of favorites this year.)

Adele-"Someone Like You"
Lady Gaga-"Yo
ü & I"
Bruno Mars-"Grenade"
Katy Perry-"Firework"
Pink-"Fuckin' Perfect"
Taylor Swift-"Back To December

Other contenders: Beyonce-"Best Thing I Never Had"; Kelly Clarkson-"Mr. Know It All"; Ke$ha-"We R Who We R"; Rihanna-"S&M"; Paul Simon-"So Beautiful or So What"; Britney Spears-"Till The World Ends"; Taylor Swift-"Back To December"
Long shots: Lady Gaga-"Judas"; Christina Perri-"Jar of Hearts"; Willow-"Whip My Hair"

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

Tony Bennett feat. Amy Winehouse-"Body and Soul"
Foster The People-"Pumped Up Kicks"
LMFAO-"Party Rock Anthem"
Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera-"Moves Like Jagger"
Katy Perry feat. Kanye West-"E.T."

Other contenders: Adele & Darius Rucker-"Need You Now"; Black Eyed Peas-"Just Can't Get Enough"; Chris Brown feat. Justin Bieber-"Next To You"; David Guetta feat. Usher-"Without You"; Coldplay-"Paradise"; Hot Chelle Rae-"Tonight Tonight"; Jessie J feat. B.o.B.-"Price Tag"; Jennifer Lopez feat. Pitbull-"On The Floor"; Pitbull feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer-"Give Me Everything"

Best Pop Vocal Album

Bruno Mars-Doo Wops & Hooligans
Lady Gaga-Born This Way
Paul Simon-So Beautiful or So What

Other contenders: Black Eyed Peas-The Beginning; Lindsey Buckingham-Seeds We Sow; Cee-Lo Green-The Lady Killer; Britney Spears-Femme Fatale
Long shots: Ellie Goulding-Lights; Ke$ha-Cannibal

Best R&B Performance

Chris Brown-"She Ain't You"
Marsha Ambrosius-"Far Away"
Ledisi-"Pieces of Me"
Jennifer Hudson-"Where You At

Other contenders: Mary J. Blige-"25/8"; Corinne Bailey Rae-"Is This Love"; El Debarge feat. Faith Evans-"Lay With You"; R. Kelly-"Love Letter"; Keri Hilson-"Pretty Girl Rock"; Jill Scott-"The Light (Piano Mix)"; Jazmine Sullivan-"10 Seconds"

Best R&B Traditional Performance

Cee Lo Green feat. Melanie Fiona-Fool For You
Raphael Saadiq-Good Man
Jill Scott feat. Anthony Hamilton-So In Love
Betty Wright feat. The Roots & Joss Stone-Whisper In The Wind
Charlie Wilson-You Are

Other contenders: Betty Wright feat. The Roots & Joss Stone-"Whisper In The Wind"; Kelly Price feat. Stokley-"Not My Daddy"; Jennifer Hudson-"Feeling Good"; Keb Mo' & India.Arie-"Crush On You"; Ronald Isley-"What I Miss The Most"; R. Kelly-"Radio Message"

Best R&B Song

Jill Scott feat. Anthony Hamilton-"So In Love"
Marsha Ambrosius-"Far Away"
Jennifer Hudson-"Where You At"
Miguel-"Sure Thing"

Other contenders: El Debarge feat. Faith Evans-"Lay With You"; R. Kelly-"Love Letter"; Keri Hilson-"Pretty Girl Rock"; Ledisi-"Pieces of Me"; Jazmine Sullivan-"10 Seconds"
Long shots: Cee Lo Green feat. Melanie Fiona-"Fool For You"; Sade-"Love Is Found"

Best R&B Album

Jill Scott-The Light Of The Sun
Raphael Saadiq-Stone Rollin'
Marsha Ambrosius-Late Nights and Early Mornings
R. Kelly-Love Letter

Other contenders: Chris Brown-F.A.M.E.; El Debarge-Second Chance; Jennifer Hudson-I Remember Me; Jazmin Sullivan-Love Me Back; Keri Hilson-No Boys Allowed; Ledisi-Pieces of Me; Miguel-All I Want Is You; Ne-Yo-Libra Scale
Long shots: Kelly Rowland-Here I Am; Charlie Wilson-Just Charlie

Best Dance/Electronica Album

David Guetta-Nothing But The Beat
Ladytron-Gravity The Seducer
LMFAO-Sorry For Party Rocking
Robyn-Body Talk Pt. 3
Skrillex-Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites

Other contenders: Benny Benassi-Electroman; Cut Copy-Zonoscope; Deadmau5-4x4=12; Metronomy-The English Riviera

Best Dance Recording

Benny Benassi feat. Chris Brown-"Beautiful People"
Dev-"In The Dark"
Duck Sauce-"Barbara Streisand"
Martin Solveig & Dragonette-"Hello"
Robyn-"Call Your Girlfriend"

Other contenders: Afrojack feat. Steve Aoki-"No Beef"; Deadmau5-"Raise Your Weapons"; LMFAO feat. Natalia Kills-"Champagne Showers"; Skrillex-"Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites"; Alexandra Stan-"Mr. Saxobeat"; Swedish House Mafia-"Save The World"

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