Grammy Preview: Adele vs. Kelly–Battle On!
Can Adele squeeze out one more Grammy for a song from her blockbuster album 21? The British singer swept six awards last year, tying Beyonce’s record for the most Grammys won by a female artist in a single night. Adele is nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance this year for “Set Fire To The Rain,” which was the album’s third #1 single. (She’s nominated for the live version from her best-selling DVD Live At The Royal Albert Hall.)
Her chief rival for the award is Kelly Clarkson, who is nominated for her #1 single “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You).” The panel of Grammy insiders that determined the final nominations in the “Big Four” categories favored Clarkson. They put “Stronger” in the Record of the Year finals, but not “Set Fire To The Rain.” (“Stronger” is also a Song of the Year nominee, but “Set Fire To The Rain” wasn’t eligible in that contest).
Clarkson has said that she thinks Adele is out front. “I think Adele might take that one,” she opined in a Rolling Stone feature in which celebrity experts predict winners in key categories. “Any time you see her name in your category, it’s basically like being up against someone that’s just passed away—you know she’s totally going to win [laughs]. And she’s so cool!”
I think it could either way. The biggest point in Adele’s favor: She is universally respected. The biggest factor working against her: The voters know that she swept the awards last year, and they may decide (as the Grammy panel seems to have) to “give it a rest” for a year, especially since it was a year in which Adele was between albums. (Here’s a possible indication that Grammy voters don’t want to overdo it with Adele. The singer’s hit DVD Live At The Royal Albert Hall wasn’t nominated for Best Long-Form Music Video this year, even though it was eligible.)
The biggest points in Clarkson’s favor: Everybody likes her. She was even nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year at the CMA Awards in November. (That was remarkable because, um, she’s not a country singer (though she has more than held her own on teamings with such country stars as Reba McEntire and Jason Aldean.) Also, “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” is an anthem with a positive theme. Some Grammy voters will appreciate the fact that a song with a positive message got onto the radio amid all the songs that require asterisks in their titles.
Of course, one of the other finalists could pull an upset. They were Carly Rae Jepsen’s #1 smash “Call Me Maybe,” Katy Perry’s #2 hit “Wide Awake” and Rihanna’s #5 hit “Where Have You Been.”