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GREIN ON GRAMMY NOMS, PART THREE
Grammy Showdown for Best New Artist

UPDATE (12/1): Best New Artist
I had Sam Smith, Iggy Azalea, 5 Seconds Of Summer, Pentatonix and KONGOS. And, what do you know, I still think this will be the field, though Aloe Blacc, Bastille, MAGIC!, Childish Gambino and Tove Lo are ready to move up if any of them falls short.

By Paul Grein

We’re taking a look at the likely Grammy nominees in top categories. On Tuesday, we looked at Album of the Year. Yesterday, we looked at Record of the Year. Today, we’ll finish up with Best New Artist.

BEST NEW ARTIST
 


Sam Smith
is the clear front-runner. He would become the first solo Englishman to win in this category.

This next factoid may attract more notice: Smith is vying to become the first openly gay artist to be named Best New Artist. Few were surprised when Boy George later came out, but he played it coy in interviews at height of his success with Culture Club (the 1983 winners). Tracy Chapman (the 1988 winner) has always kept her private life private.

Iggy Azalea also looks good for a nomination. She would be only the third female hip-hop artist to be nominated in this category, following Lauryn Hill, the 1998 winner, and Nicki Minaj.

5 Seconds of Summer, which, like Azalea, hails from Australia, is probably also headed for a nom. Teen sensations have a mixed record in this category: Backstreet Boys, Jonas Brothers and Justin Bieber were nominated; NSYNC and One Direction weren’t. But 5SOS has a power-pop sound that broadens its appeal beyond its teen fan base (as did Hanson, which was nominated in this category in 1997.)

The acapella group Pentatonix stands a good chance of making the finals.

KONGOS may round out the category. The South African brother quartet gave us "Come With Me Now."
 


Aloe Blacc
heads the list of likely runners-up. He followed his uncredited featured role on Avicii’s "Wake Me Up!" with a top 10 hit of his own, "The Man."

Bastille won’t be eligible for Record or Song of the Year for its top five smash "Pompeii" (which was released in the previous eligibility year), but there’s more flexibility in this category.

In a major upset, Fifth Harmony beat Smith, 5 Seconds of Summer and ScHoolboy Q (see final paragraph) for Artist to Watch at the VMAs on Aug. 24. The female quintet has a shot at a nomination here too, even though their first full-length album isn’t due until Nov. 17. (Their five-song EP, Better Together, satisfies the category’s criteria.)

Here are quick notes on other top contenders. MAGIC! had the #2 Song of the Summer, the pop/reggae charmer "Rude." Jhené Aiko followed up a hit EP, Sail Out, with a hit full-length, Souled Out. August Alsina won Best New Artist at the BET Awards on June 29.

Other contenders include August Alsina, A Great Big World, American Authors, Childish Gambino, Dan+Shay, Echosmith, Martin Garrix, HAIM, Tove Lo, Austin Mahone, The Neighbourhood, Sage the Gemini, MKTO, Kid Ink, Cole Swindell, Brandy Clark and Thomas Rhett.

Ariana Grande presumably won’t be eligible in this category. Her debut album, Yours Truly, opened at #1 three weeks before the end of the previous eligibility year. (According to the Academy, the award is "for a new artist who releases, during the eligibility year, the first recording which establishes the public identity of that artist.") ScHoolboy Q won't be eligible because he received a Grammy nomination last year as a featured artist on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' album, which was an Album of the Year finalist.

Grein, who writes frequently for Yahoo Music, has been tracking the Grammys since "Stay With Me" was a hit by Faces and "Fancy" was a hit by Bobbie Gentry.



 
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