Nowhere does it get more confusing than the Grammy's Best New Artist category. The Academy acknowledges artists when they chart. Or something like that. From the cheap seats where the logic doesn't reach, many of those who have been nominated through the years have often felt pretty old. But newness is in the eye of the beholder. To the nominees' parents, they've been around forever.
Here are the five!
1) The Band Perry: Consisting of siblings Kimberly, Reid and Neil Perry, The Band Perry are this year's country act to make the nomination. It's truly a wonder when you can find the best bandmates in your own family and their connection with Garth Brooks' manager has helped them establish a foothold with country audiences. But they weren't always a band. For years, Kimberly's younger brothers were her roadies and then her opening act. They had to work up to being in her band.
2) Bon Iver: Here's one of those weird ones. First album, For Emma, Forever Ago, came out in 2008. The band built a sizable following before releasing their self-titled second album in 2011. By Grammy standards, this is pretty quick. Just ask Shelby Lynne, who won Best New Artist with her I Am Shelby Lynne album, to which she remarked, "Thirteen years and six albums to get here."
3) J. Cole: Will the Academy suddenly embrace hip-hop? Signed to Jay-Z's Roc Nation label, Cole's got the firepower behind him. He gradated Magna Cum Laude from St. John's University, a Tier One University! So, he's used to getting what he works for.
4) Nicki Minaj: Nicki might have an edge here, since she is performing at the ceremony. But then maybe the Academy is just using her for ratings and will award a more conventional artist. The fact that this Trinidadian girl has the "rapper" title attached to her could hurt her standing. Or maybe not? Ever get the feeling I would make a great weatherman?
5) Skrillex: It sure seems, uh, random, when an American electronica producer who released an EP, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites (his third), that is up for the Best Dance / Electronica Album, shows up on the list of "Best New Artists." Sure, why not? But does anyone think he can win? Or is the Academy just padding the category?