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ABOUT THOSE GRAMMY NOMINATIONS…

An Open Letter From HITS Editor-in-Chief Lenny Beer on the Nods in the Top Categories
Dear Messrs. Portnow, Ehrlich and Sussman:

Kudos, one and all. Overall, this year’s Grammy nominations are properly representative of the body of work conceived by a superb field of artists. With these nominations as a baseline, the upcoming awards show should make us all proud.

Of course, as with college football’s Final Four, not everyone will be 100% happy. These choices are always a close call; there are invariably some surprises that should make us smile and others that may cause consternation. But it’s clear that this was a difficult job well done.

So, let’s look at what happened, at how it compares to the considered prognostications of Grammy expert Paul Grein, and how things should shake out on Music’s Biggest Night.

Record of the Year
Iggy Azalea
Sia 
Sam Smith
Taylor Swift
Meghan Trainor

All five of the above were among Grein’s ten suggestions. The others that Grein felt were in play—Coldplay, Idina Menzel, KONGOS, Hozier and Ariana Grande—were all also worthy and, I’m sure, were in consideration. KONGOS is the only act Grein mentioned that wasn’t included elsewhere in the nominations.

Album of the Year
Sam Smith
Beyoncé
Pharrell Williams
Beck
Ed Sheeran

Again, Grein nailed most of the winners. He felt that Smith, Beyoncé and Sheeran were locks, and the Nominating Committee agreed. 

Of his other top choices, Ariana Grande, Miranda Lambert, Black Keys, Coldplay and Beck, the latter earned a well-deserved long-shot nomination. Grein just missed out on Pharrell, whose “Happy” single was in a difficult position due to its release date on the “Despicable Me” soundtrack. Call this a makeup for an artist we all admire, although his lack of a nomination to defend his Producer of the Year title (even though he was involved in projects with three of the Top Five nominees) is essentially a reverse makeup. 

Also passed over: Frozen, which could well be the top-selling album of the year in the U.S. (if Taylor Swift’s 1989 doesn’t overtake it in the final stretch) and is unquestionably both the dominant album worldwide and by far the year’s biggest cultural phenomenon. Disney’s mega-selling soundtrack did, however, end up with three nominations.  It’s also surprising that the category doesn’t feature a single nominee from Nashville this year.

Song of the Year
Meghan Trainor
Sia
Taylor Swift
Sam Smith
Hozier

Once again, Grein was on the right track, choosing Smith and Trainor, although his choices of Coldplay and Idina Menzel didn’t pan out; his last-minute switch from A Great Big World to Taylor Swift gave him three out of five. Sia proved to be more of a favorite with the Committee than Grein predicted, while Coldplay and AGBW moved to other categories.

As for Hozier, whose album should be a lock for a nomination next year, it’s great to see him rewarded early in the life of the song—and I look forward to seeing him on the TV show. 



Best New Artist
Iggy Azalea
Bastille
Brandy Clark
Haim
Sam Smith

This category nearly always contains the most surprises, and this year kept with the norm. Once again there were five worthy nominees, although Grein was also very high on 5 Seconds of Summer, Pentatonix, KONGOS, Aloe Blacc, Magic!, Childish Gambino and Tove Lo.  We also note that Brandy Clark is the only Nashville artist who scored a nomination in a Big 5 category.

To wrap up: Congrats once again to the Nominating Committee—and to Paul Grein for his detailed analysis of every category. Our expectations now turn to the TV Committee to put on their usual great show to make us all proud.  No one was Timberlaked this year, and for that we all should be grateful. 

The early betting line is to take Sam Smith in all of these major categories, but as we well know, surprises do happen. So, let the jockeying begin, let the prognosticators prognosticate, and may the best man, woman or group win. 

TAGS: nograybox
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