The nominations for next year's Grammys won't be announced until December, but it surely wouldn't hurt to take a brief look at the early field of contenders. I took a stab at three of the main categories, putting the likelihood of a nomination in order from strongest to weakest as of right now.
Album of the Year
1. The Black Keys - El Camino
What it will need to get the nod: If no other indie rock act manages to catch fire with the critics and the mainstream, El Camino would be the strongest candidate for the token rock slot.
What might work against it: It's been released so long ago that it might've been forgotten.
2. Jack White - Blunderbuss
What it will need to get the nod: The solid reviews and White's name alone could be enough to do the trick, but most past Album of the Year nominees needed at least one song to catch on with the majority of the public. Blunderbuss hasn't delivered yet.
What might work against it: The reviews have been solid, but not something that suggests it's an event LP.
3. Lionel Richie - Tuskegee
What it will need to get the nod: If it continues to sell consistently, it will definitely stand out in a year that has not seen many breakout albums, plus plenty of support from both country and R&B voters would help. A big sales push during the holiday season would also boost its profile.
What might work against it: The Grammys have been slowly leaning away from acknowledging older acts in this category for the past few years in an effort to seem current and hip.