It's no secret — particularly to various employees at Gambleversity.com, MyBookie.org and/or BetOnAnythingThatMoves.net — that we here at MTV News enjoy the occasional foray into the exhilarating world of wagering.
Of course, the key word here is occasional. But with Sunday's Grammy Awards on the horizon, we convened the MTV News Bet-ological Braintrust — which is really nothing more than a couple of writers and "Hammerin' " Hank Goldberg on speakerphone — and determined just which of the Grammy's 108 categories are most ripe for some sweet speculation (see "Mary J. Blige, Chili Peppers Top Grammy Nominations List" and "Reunited Police To Kick Off Grammy Awards").
While there are plenty of intriguing possibilities — the battle between Eddie Blazonczyk's Versatones' Batteries Not Included and Lenny Gomulka & the Chicago Push's As Sweet as Candy for Best Polka Album should be a barn-burner — we decided to focus on the Best New Artist category.
After all, since Best New Artist debuted way back in 1960, no other Grammy category has been so perplexing, so spotty and so downright hit-or-miss. To wit: Past Best New Artists include A Taste of Honey (chosen over Elvis Costello), Christopher Cross (over the Pretenders) and — most famously — Milli Vanilli (over people who actually sang on their records), along with more lasting artists like the Beatles, Bobby Darin and Mariah Carey.
As such, it's a difficult field to handicap, but we like a challenge — especially one that involves someone named Imogen.
So after crunching the numbers and weighing the odds, here is our take on who will be hoisting the Best New Artist award on Grammy night:
Corinne Bailey Rae
Why She'll Win: History. From 1997-2003, a solo female artist took home the Best New Artist award each year, including coffee-shop idols Paula Cole and Norah Jones. And even before that run, the Recording Academy had shown an infatuation with girls-with-guitars (see past winners like Tracy Chapman and Sheryl Crow). Also, Rae penned "Put Your Records On," a nominee for Song of the Year and one of the year's most ubiquitous tracks on Adult Contemporary radio — which is important, considering that the nominees for this entire category seem to have been selected by fans of Adult Contemporary radio.
Why She Won't: Again, history: Since 2003, the award has gone to a hard-rockin' Goth quintet (Evanescence), a not-rockin' Cali quintet (Maroon 5) and John Legend.
Why She'll Win: Well, she's sold nearly 5 million copies of her debut album, Some Hearts; won both the Horizon Award (roughly, the country version of the Best New Artist) and Female Vocalist of the Year at the 2006 CMA Awards; and was named Oklahoman of the Year by Oklahoma Today magazine. Oh yeah, and in 2005, she won a little show called "American Idol." With all that on her side, it's difficult to think of reasons why Underwood won't win Best New Artist. Except ...
Why She Won't: ... she's a country artist, and this ain't the CMAs. In the past 20 years, only two country singers have won the Best New Artist Grammy, though given the whole "Idol" thing, it's entirely possible that voters will overlook that. Add to that the fact that she's sold a lot of records, and she's a very good bet — but not as good as Corinne Bailey Rae.
Why He'll Win: He's kind of a male version of Bailey Rae: a good looking, soccer-mom approved purveyor of light, breezy balladry — but with a penchant for dating models. His "You're Beautiful" was the ubiquitous song of 2005, which Grammy logic dictates would make him an obvious choice for Best New Artist award in 2007 (remember, common sense doesn't always apply). Plus, it doesn't hurt that the tune is also nominated for both Record and Song of the year.
Why He Won't: Perhaps growing tired of the kind of snarky commentary about the Best New Artist Award you've been reading right here, Academy voters have seemingly shied away from bestowing the award on one-hit-wonder candidates in recent years — and if Blunt doesn't have all the markings of a one-and-done guy, well, then we'll eat our Vegas-approved gambling visors.
Why He'll Win: If Academy voters are looking to cast their stamp of approval on a rising star, then Brown is clearly their guy. Not yet 18, he's already recorded a platinum-plus album and starred in a certified box-office blockbuster ("Stomp The Yard"), plus, we hear he's quite popular with the young ladies. If he did win Best New Artist, he wouldn't be the first multi-platform guy to do so, but he would be the first in quite a while: way back in 1961 comic/TV star Bob Newhart took home the BNA trophy for his stand-up album Button Down Mind. (Incidentally, this is probably the first paragraph in the history of the written word to find parallels between Chris Brown and Bob Newhart.)
Why He Won't: He's very young — after all, we're talking about the Grammys here, not the Kid's Choice Awards. Plus, it's scientifically proven that Academy members react to throngs of squealing girls like Dracula reacts to sunlight.
Why She'll Win: A betting person would say there's no way Heap wins. It's debatable whether even half of the American record-buying public has heard of her, let alone her music. Still, crazier things have been known to happen ...
Why She Won't: Without resorting to the Internet, can you name three Imogen Heap songs?
The show's over but there's plenty of Grammy hotness here on MTVNews.com. Check out photos of the hottest red-carpet and onstage action; join our reporters as they hit all the Grammy week parties; and let us know what you think about the performers, winners and losers. Plus see videos of all the nominees on MTV.com and check out exclusive video footage from the big night right here.