12 Grammy Races To Watch
We all know that Adele is going to sweep the Grammys on Feb. 12. She's nominated for six awards, and has a good chance of winning them all. That would enable her to tie Beyonce's record for most Grammys won in one night by a female artist and Eric Clapton's record for most Grammys won in one night by a British artist.
Adele is heading into Grammy night with the same combination of blockbuster sales, critical acclaim and industry respect that has fueled previous Grammy sweeps by such artists as Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. (I wrote a blog last week about previous Grammy sweeps. If you missed it, here's a link.)
So does this mean that Grammy night is going to be completely devoid of suspense? No. There are 72 categories in which Adele isn't nominated, and which, as a result, remain competitive. Here are 12 that you should keep your eye on. They're listed in the order that they appear on the ballot.
1. Best New Artist. Will Grammy voters' inclination to vote for female solo artists in this category outweigh their tendency to vote against rap artists in this and other "General Field" categories? If it does, Nicki Minaj will win.
Female solo artists have won in this category in 13 of the last 20 years. But only one rap act, Arrested Development, has won, and that was way back in 1993. (Lauryn Hill won in 1999, but her album was slotted in R&B rather than rap. That indicates that the academy saw her on the R&B side of hip-hop, rather than the rap side.)
Grammy voters' antipathy for rap kept Drake from winning last year. The winner was classical artist Esperanza Spalding, who 99% of the TV audience had probably never heard of before (and probably hasn't heard from since.) Such top rap stars as Puff Daddy, 50 Cent and Kanye West have also been nominated in this category, only to come up short on Grammy night.
Minaj's chief rivals are country sibling trio The Band Perry (which won New Artist of the Year at the Country Music Assn. Awards) and alternative band Bon Iver. (The panelists who determine the final nominations in the top categories put the band's "Holocene" in the finals for Record and Song of the Year). The other nominees are hot dance producer/DJ Skrillex and rapper J. Cole.
My call: Despite the academy's aversion to rap, I think Minaj will win.