Tonight at 10p.m., CBS airs the Grammy Awards Nomination Concert, a splashy special co-hosted by Taylor Swift (whose album Red, despite having come out in 2012, won’t be recognized this year due to the eligibility calendar). So who will be nominated? We have a few minimally educated guesses:
Album of the Year
- Babel, Mumford and Sons
- El Camino, The Black Keys
- Kisses on the Bottom, Paul McCartney
- Take Care, Drake
- Talk That Talk, Rihanna
Mumford and Sons and the Black Keys, in varying ways, tie the Grammys into historically popular and nostalgic genres, while the kids are served by nods to Drake and Rihanna. Rihanna, whose album Loud also took what’s become the pure-pop spot occupied previously by Katy Perry, seems like the safest way to honor the EDM vogue (and, yes, we know she’s released an album since Talk That Talk). Drake is a young, sensitive rapper getting a nomination that could also go to young, sensitive R&B singer Frank Ocean for his risky Channel Orange, but it seems likely Mr. Ocean will get his due in the New Artist category. And, finally, you may have forgotten or never known perennial nominee Paul McCartney released an album called (ew) Kisses on the Bottom, but his Olympics performance and the fact that it’s an album of standards (Grammy’s favorite thing!) mean he could end up at the ceremony.
Record of the Year
- “Diamonds,” Rihanna
- “I Will Wait,” Mumford and Sons
- “Somebody That I Used to Know,” Gotye feat. Kimbra
- “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” Taylor Swift
- “We Are Young,” fun. feat. Janelle Monaé
Taylor Swift and Rihanna both scored #1 Hot 100 hits within the eligibility, and both sound pretty vanguard-y (Ms. Swift’s record is as palatable for a non-country audience as anything she’s ever recorded). Meanwhile, Gotye and fun. both came out of nowhere with comparable Billboard hits–inescapable through the summer months and yet seemingly more accessible to the fuddy-duddy Grammy voter than the airy (and perfectly so) “Call Me Maybe.” And Mumford and Sons, given their commercial success and appeal to a traditional aesthetic that sounds nothing like EDM, will likely be the Adele of this year’s Grammys once nods to Calvin Harris et al. are dispensed with. For Song of the Year, a category honoring songwriters, sub out “Diamonds” for Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain.”
Best New Artist
- Ellie Goulding
- Frank Ocean
- One Direction
Much as we hope the year’s most forcefully debated singer, dead-eyed semiotic student Lana Del Rey, could snag a nod, this race is between fun. and Frank Ocean, with Gotye inducted for his inescapability, Ellie Goulding for her persistence (she was a “new artist” several years ago but only now getting her due), and One Direction because Justin Bieber and the Backstreet Boys were once nominated in this category, too.
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