Two likely Record of the Year finalists—“Somebody That I Used To Know” and “Set Fire to the Rain”—inexplicably weren’t entered for Song of the Year.


Our Resident Grammy Expert Takes a Look Inside the Crystal Ball

by Paul Grein

Frank Ocean should expect to hear from everybody he ever met at the conclusion of CBS’ nationally televised Grammy nominations TV special on Dec. 5. Ocean’s Channel Orange is sure to be up for Album of the Year, while “Thinking Bout You” has a good shot at nominations for Record and Song of the Year. Also, the 25-year-old rookie is a lock to make the finals for Best New Artist. In addition to releasing an album that received uniformly strong reviews, Ocean has a compelling life story: He revealed that his first love was a man. Such disclosures are still rare (and commercially risky) in the world of Urban Contemporary. Voters will want to signal their support.

Mumford & Sons, Gotye and Carly Rae Jepsen are also likely to snag multiple nominations in marquee categories.

Album of the Year
Ocean’s Channel Orange and Mumford & Sons’ Babel can’t miss. The Black KeysEl Camino is also likely to receive a nomination. The duo’s last album, Brothers, was voted Best Alternative Music Album of 2010, beating out Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs, which wound up winning Album of the Year.

Leading contenders for the two remaining spots include Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto, Rihanna’s Talk That Talk, Drake’s Take Care, Bob Dylan’s Tempest, Neil Young with Crazy Horse’s Americana, The LumineersThe Lumineers and P!nk’s The Truth About Love.

Lionel Richie’s surprise smash Tuskegee could also receive a nomination, but I wouldn’t bet on it. The album consists of Richie teaming with current country stars to perform his best-known pop and R&B hits. The genre-bridging aspect will probably appeal to some members of the panel that determines the final nominations in the top four categories. But other panelists will argue that the nominations should go to the best music of 2012, not songs that are decades old. Ray Charles’ 2004 duets album, Genius Loves Company, won Album of the Year, but Tony Bennett’s subsequent Duets albums weren’t nominated for the top award, probably for just that reason.

Other albums with a shot at a nomination include Gotye’s Making Mirrors, .fun.’s Some Nights, Miranda Lambert’s Four the Record, Bonnie Raitt’s Slipstream, Bruce Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball, John Mayer’s Born and Raised, Maroon 5’s Overexposed, Dave Matthews Band’s Away from the World and Emeli Sande’s Our Version of Events.

Record of the Year
For the second year in a row, the year’s best-selling song is likely to walk off with Record of the Year. “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye featuring Kimbra is favored to take the prize, which was won last year by Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.”

The year’s second best-selling song, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” is also likely to be nominated. The bubbly song is rather teen-oriented for the panel, but it was the year’s most ubiquitous hit.

“Take Care” by Drake featuring Rihanna is one of the best records either artist has released. Two previous Rihanna collabos have been nominated for Record of the Year.

Other records with a good chance at a nomination include Frank Ocean’s “Thinking Bout You,” Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain,” Bruce Springsteen’s “We Take Care of Our Own,” Mumford & Sons’ “I Will Wait,” Ne-Yo’s “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself),” “Payphone” by Maroon 5 featuring Wiz Khalifa, Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” and Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake.”

Phillip Phillips’ “Home” and “We Are Young” by .fun. featuring Janelle Monae are also strong contenders, though some panelists may dock them for sounding a bit too much like Mumford & Sons and Queen, respectively.

Maroon 5, Ne-Yo and .fun. are slated to perform on the nominations special (as is Luke Bryan). Taylor Swift, whose “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is a long-shot contender for Record and Song of the Year, is set to co-host the show with LL Cool J.

Song of the Year
Two likely Record of the Year finalists—“Somebody That I Used To Know” and “Set Fire to the Rain”—surprisingly weren’t entered for Song of the Year.

That leaves as front-runners “Call Me Maybe” (which Carly Rae Jepsen co-wrote with Tavish Crowe and Josh Ramsay), “Thinking Bout You” (which Frank Ocean co-wrote with Shea Taylor), “I Will Wait” (which the members of Mumford & Sons co-wrote), “We Take Care of Our Own” (which Bruce Springsteen wrote) and “Over You” (which Miranda Lambert co-wrote with her husband Blake Shelton.)

Other candidates include “Take Care” (which Drake co-wrote with Anthony Palman, Noah Shebib and James Smith), “Home” (which Greg Holden and Drew Pearson co-wrote), “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)” (which Ne-Yo co-wrote with Mike Dis Cala, Mikkel S. Eriksen, Sia Furler, Mark Hadfield and T.E. Hermansen), “Wide Awake” (which Katy Perry co-wrote with Max Martin, Lukasz Gottwald, Bonnie McKee and Henry Walter) and “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” (which Greg Kurstin, Jorgen Elofsson, David Gamson and Ali Tamposi co-wrote).

Best New Artist
Frank Ocean
and Gotye are certain to be nominated. One Direction and .fun. are also likely to make the cut. After that, expect a brawl for the fifth slot.

Carly Rae Jepsen is this year’s big question mark. “Call Me Maybe” proves that the 26-year old Canadian can make a classic teen pop record, but the panel may not be convinced that she has what it takes to go the distance.

Other contenders include The Lumineers, Miguel, Tyga, Ellie Goulding, Lana Del Rey, Christina Perri, Brantley Gilbert, Ed Sheeran, The Wanted, Alex Clare, Alabama Shakes, Of Monsters and Men, Hunter Hayes and Scotty McCreery.

Though Emeli Sande has achieved just modest success in the U.S., the panel may want to give a boost to a quality act that could use the exposure. Two years ago, the panel lifted jazz singer Esperanza Spalding to a nomination, and she wound up winning the award.

Grein has been writing about the annual Grammy horserace since Andy Williams (R.I.P.) was the show’s host. This piece was adapted from pieces Grein has posted at Yahoo.com.








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