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The red-hot singer, who was voted Best New Artist three years ago, is a cinch to be in the running for Album, Record and Song of the Year.
ADELE ABOVE ALL AT
THIS YEAR’S GRAMMYS
Our Resident Grammy Expert Paul Grein Says U.K. Pop Diva Looks Like a Lock, but There’s Still Plenty of Action to Come

by Paul Grein

We all know that Adele will dominate the nominations for the 54th annual Grammy Awards, which will be announced Wednesday, Nov. 30, on the nationally televised CBS special. The red-hot singer, who was voted Best New Artist three years ago, is a cinch to be in the running for Album, Record and Song of the Year.

But who is Adele likely to square off against in those marquee categories? That’s harder to say, but I’ve taken some educated guesses.

It’s not easy to predict the Grammy nominations, largely because there are so many entries. This year, 854 recordings are competing for Record of the Year. Also, there’s a complicated, two-step process for selecting the nominees in the top four categories. First, the broad membership of the Recording Academy has a chance to vote. Then, a committee selects the final nominees from lists of the top vote-getters.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Adele’s 21 is all but certain to be nominated. Paul Simon’s So Beautiful or So What and Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday also have a very good chance. This would be Simon’s eighth nomination in this category. Minaj would be the first female rapper to make the finals since Missy Elliott in 2002.

Lady Gaga was nominated the last two years with The Fame and The Fame Monster. Born This Way could easily put her in the finals for the third year in a row, something no artist has done since the Beatles were nominated five years in a row from 1965 through 1969. But there’s a complicating factor: A widely publicized 99-cent sale on Born This Way tarnished the album’s image.

A Country album has made the finals in four of the last five years. This year’s strongest candidate is Jason Aldean’s My Kinda Party, which is the year’s best-selling country album. (Aldean and Gaga were the first performers announced for the TV special on which the nominations will be revealed. That doesn’t mean they’re automatic nominees, but it suggests the Grammy winds are blowing their way.)

Taylor Swift, who won this award with her previous album, Fearless, may return to the finals with Speak Now. The only hitch: follow-ups to Album of the Year winners generally have a hard time making the finals. Swift will probably just miss, especially if the panel follows the lead of the Country Music Assn., which selected Aldean over Swift for their Album of the Year award.

Kanye West, who was nominated in this category with his first three albums, has two albums in the running: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Watch the Throne, his collaboration with Jay-Z. They’ll probably cancel each other out in the voting.

Other leading candidates include Tony Bennett’s Duets II, Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter IV, Foo Fighters’ Wasting Light, Rihanna’s Loud, Jill Scott’s The Light of the Sun, The Civil WarsBarton Hallow, Foster the People’s Torches and Glen Campbell’s Ghost on the Canvas.

RECORD OF THE YEAR

Adele was nominated in this category three years ago with “Chasing Pavements.” She’s sure to be back in the finals with “Rolling in the Deep.” (“Someone Like You” wasn’t entered, so there’s no chance of her splitting her votes.)

Three other slots will probably be filled by Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass,” Katy Perry’s “Firework” and “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera. Three tracks are leading contenders for the fifth and final slot: Lady Gaga’s “You and I,” Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” and Christina Perri’s “Jar of Hearts.”

Other possibilities include Mumford & Sons’ “The Cave,” Paul Simon’s “So Beautiful or So What,” Coldplay’s “Paradise,” Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow” and five collaborations: “I Need A Doctor” by Dr. Dre featuring Eminem & Skyler Gray; “We Found Love” by Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris; “Stereo Hearts” by Gym Class Heroes featuring Adam Levine; “Give Me Everything” by Pitbull featuring Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer; and “5 O’Clock” by T-Pain featuring Wiz Khalifa and Lily Allen.

The Band Perry’s country crossover smash “If I Die Young” would have had a good chance at a nomination, but it was released before the start of the eligibility period (Oct. 1, 2010 through Sept. 30, 2011).

SONG OF THE YEAR

Three of the likely Record of the Year nominees are likely to show up in this songwriter’s category: “Rolling in the Deep” (which Adele co-wrote with Paul Epworth); “Firework” (which Katy Perry co-wrote with Ester Dean, Mikkel Ericksen, Tor Erik Hermansen and Sandy Wilhelm); and Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” (written by Ester Dean).

Seven songs are leading contenders for the two remaining spots. Lady Gaga’s “You and I,” Paul Simon’s “So Beautiful or So What,” “Jar of Hearts” (which Christina Perri co-wrote with Drew Lawrence and Barrett Yeretsian); Mumford & Sons’ “The Cave” (which was written by the four band members); Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” (written by group leader Mark Foster); Pink’s “F**kin’ Perfect” (which she co-wrote with Max Martin and Shellback); and “Moves Like Jagger” (which Adam Levine co-wrote with Benjamin Levin, Ammar Malik and Shellback).

Other possibilities include Coldplay’s “Paradise” (written by the band);  Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris’ “We Found Love” (written by Harris); Glen Campbell’s “Ghost on the Canvas” (written by Paul Westerberg); Sara Evans’ “A Little Bit Stronger” (written by Luke Laird, Hillary Lindsey and Hillary Scott); and Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow” (which he co-wrote with Mikkel Ericksen and Tor Erik Hermansen).

BEST NEW ARTIST

Nicki Minaj has an excellent chance of becoming the first Rap artist to win in this category since Arrested Development took the prize for 1992. Look for her competitors to include Foster the People, The Band Perry and Christina Perri.

Gospel singer Le’Andria Johnson, Americana duo The Civil Wars and rapper Wiz Khalifa are the leading candidates for the fifth slot. Other possibilities include Jackie Evancho, J. Cole, Hot Chelle Rae, Miguel, Bon Iver, the Cataracs, Thompson Square and Andy Grammer.

Paul Grein writes the weekly Chart Watch blogs for Yahoo.com. He has a keen understanding of the Grammy mindset, but don’t ask him to explain how Esperanza Spalding won last year.

 

 

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