Making fun of the Grammys is sort of like making fun of U2 or Walmart or the Catholic Church — it’s almost too simple, because they’re easy targets: gigantic, slow-to-turn battleships of mass appeal, just floating there, awaiting a well-placed torpedo. Have you heard the one about Bono and the Pope walking into a Walmart in Sheboygan?
Once again it’s Grammy time, which means my job is easy this week. This is because the Grammys are like a joke that continually writes its own punch line — awards given out by Luddites for Luddites. (I used this exact same sentence in last year’s Grammy column . I’d like to thank the Academy.)
That said, this year’s awards could be different. It appears that members of the Recording Academy have discovered the Internet (or let their 12-year-old daughters cast all the ballots), which means that we have [artist id="510062"]Lil Wayne[/artist], [artist id="11111141"]Coldplay[/artist] and [artist id="1123"]Radiohead[/artist] duking it out for Album of the Year, [artist id="1803648"]M.I.A.[/artist] nominated for Record of the Year and [artist id="1916698"]Estelle[/artist] up against [artist id="2476941"]Adele[/artist] in the Song of the Year category. [artist id="2542022"]No Age[/artist] got a Grammy nomination. So did Robyn. And the freaking [artist id="1233888"]Kings of Leon[/artist] got two of them. Things appear to be looking up.
Of course, none of these people will probably win a Grammy (or at least not any of the big ones), which sort of goes to my point: The 2009 awards are the tipping point. They are the make-or-break Grammys. If Wayne or Radiohead somehow walk away with a boatload or awards, or a very pregnant M.I.A. waddles up onstage dressed like Winnie Mandela to accept Record of the Year, well, then the awards are cool again. They live and breathe and have a pulse.
But, if the story of this year’s awards is more like, “Plant and Krauss Clean Up!” (which is the more likely scenario), it’ll be the Grammys keeping on being the Grammys.
So clearly, this is a make-or-break year — which means, that while I could just joke my way through another Grammy-predictions piece, I’m simply not going to do it. The stakes are too high and I care about the future of the Grammys too much to do another hack job. So … in all seriousness and with a completely straight face, I’m pulling on my prognostication cap (it looks like this), and making my totally serious and 100 percent scientific 2009 Grammy Predictions.
Hopefully, for all of our sakes, we won’t screw this up.
Album of the Year
» Coldplay, Viva la Vida, or Death and All His Friends
» Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III
» [artist id="2002414"]Ne-Yo[/artist], Year of the Gentleman
» Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Raising Sand
» Radiohead, In Rainbows
In All Seriousness: I don’t even remember Ne-Yo’s album coming out last year, so check it off the list. Wayne had a great ’08, but him winning here could possibly cause the Earth to explode, and no one at the Academy wants that (also, something like 45 percent of voters probably think he’s the valet from out front of the Staples Center). So that means that there are three legitimate contenders here: Radiohead, Coldplay and Plant/Krauss. Conventional wisdom says give it to the old dude and the bluegrass girl. Still …
The Winner Is: Coldplay. They had the best-selling rock album of 2008 . They are nice, clean-cut guys. They are not Radiohead (too weird), or Plant/Krauss (too ancient), which means the Academy gets to at least appear sort of hip by giving them the night’s biggest award. Congrats on being semi-coherent, voters!
Record of the Year
» Adele, “Chasing Pavements”
» Coldplay, “Viva la Vida”
» [artist id="2490602"]Leona Lewis[/artist], “Bleeding Love”
» M.I.A., “Paper Planes”
» Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, “Please Read the Letter”
In All Seriousness: Thanks for playing, Leona, we’ll see you next time (or maybe not). You too, Adele. M.I.A.? We at the Academy generally frown on acceptance speeches that involve shout-outs to the “fourth-world democracy” and the Tamil Tigers, so, you’re out too (also, we don’t want you to have your baby onstage). Coldplay, old people? Hmmmm.
The Winner Is: Krauss and Plant, despite the fact that “Viva” sold a lot of iPods. “Letter” sold a lot of Hoverounds. (This ends the “Robert Plant and Alison Krauss are old” portion of my column). I don’t see them getting completely shut-out in the big categories and I suspect Coldplay wins elsewhere. Like …
Song of the Year
» Adele, “Chasing Pavements”
» Coldplay, “Viva la Vida”
» Estelle (featuring [artist id="1230523"]Kanye West[/artist]), “American Boy”
» [artist id="1231897"]Jason Mraz[/artist], “I’m Yours”
» [artist id="2005059"]Sara Bareilles[/artist], “Love Song”
In All Seriousness: I have never heard the Sara Bareilles song. I think I heard the Jason Mraz tune on “American Idol.” I sometimes get Adele and Estelle confused. I am not unlike the majority of Recording Academy voters.
The Winner Is: Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida.” It’s difficult thinking up a third joke to make about Coldplay, so let’s move on.
Best New Artist
» [artist id="2998905"]Duffy[/artist]
» [artist id="2088128"]Jonas Brothers[/artist]
» Lady Antebellum
» [artist id="1875398"]Jazmine Sullivan[/artist]
In All Seriousness: This is [artist id="1962774"]Katy Perry’s[/artist] category to lose. Oh, wait, she’s not even nominated. Good call, Academy! I am sort of certain Adele and Duffy are the same person, so they’ll probably cancel each other out. Lady Antebellum (who, it should be pointed out, is not an antiquated Southern belle, but rather a tanned-and-toned country duo) already won the equivalent at both the Academy of Country Music Awards and the CMAs, which should logically give them the edge, except we’re talking about the Grammys and logic doesn’t apply here. Jazmine Sullivan is a powerhouse, but I’m not sure anyone knows who she is outside the R&B world. Which leaves us with …
The Winner Is: The Jonas Brothers! Seriously! Stop screaming! Please! You’re scaring Kevin! Actually, there’s no way they win either. So let’s just give this to Duffdele or whoever.
Some Quick Picks
Best Rap Song: Lil Wayne, “Lollipop”
Best Rock Song: Radiohead, “House Of Cards”
Best Female Pop Vocal Performance: Katy Perry, “I Kissed a Girl”
Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group: [artist id="1225081"]T.I. ([/artist] featuring Kanye West and Lil Wayne), “Swagger Like Us”
Best Rap Album: Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III
Best Rock Album: [artist id="995"]Metallica[/artist], Death Magnetic
Best Polka Album: Polka Family Band, Hungry for More
Questions? Grammy predictions of your own? BTTS@MTVStaff.com