It's not exactly breaking news to fans of Bigger Than the Sound (hi, Mom!) that I fancy myself quite the prognosticator, particularly when it comes to awards shows. This is partially because I consider myself an expert on these kinds of things, but also because I have a huge gambling problem.
In previous years, I've tried my hand at picking the winners of the MTV Video Music Awards and predicting the Grammy nominees, with varying degrees of success (who among us can forget my triumphant 3-for-8 turn at the 2008 VMAs? Or, conversely, my dismal 2-for-2,000 run at the 2009 Grammys?) And so, buoyed by my successes — and fueled by my failures — I've decided to continue the tradition with this year's Grammy noms, which will be announced Wednesday night (December 2) at 9 p.m. in a live telecast/concert on CBS.
Will it be another big year for yours truly? Who knows — but it will certainly be different. For the first time in years, the Recording Academy (the nebulous brain trust that runs the show) has changed things up a bit, moving the Grammy telecast from the last Sunday in January to the first Sunday in February, a decision which led to a shortening of the eligibility period — to be nominated for a 2010 Grammy, an album must have been released between September 30, 2008, and August 31, 2009, which means albums by heavy hitters like Jay-Z or Mariah Carey are out of the running for this year's show. And, in a move of sheer brutality, they've decided to eliminate the polka category altogether, which means I'm out at least one surefire punch line this year.
And yet, despite all that, I've decided to press on. In an admitted attempt at saving myself from total humiliation, I've only decided to tackle the so-called "Big Four" (Record, Album and Song of the Year, plus Best New Artist) categories — and really, who cares who wins Best Historical Album? So here, for your wagering pleasure, are my predictions for the 2010 Grammy nominees.
Record of the Year
This is the Grammy for song of the year (in olden tymes, songs used to be called "records") and, in keeping with that sepia-tinged spirit, Academy voters gave it to Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' "Please Read the Letter" at last year's show. But this year, things could be different. The predictions:
» Beyoncé, "Halo"
» The Black Eyed Peas, "I Gotta Feeling"
» Green Day, "21 Guns"
» The Kings of Leon, "Use Somebody"
» Lady Gaga, "Poker Face"
See, a decidedly hip field. An interesting side note here is that, according to the Los Angeles Times' Pop & Hiss blog, Beyoncé's label apparently decided to push "Halo" over the more ubiquitous "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" in this category, which is why I have it as the nom. Also, don't discount something from Grammy faves like Taylor Swift or U2 (or even Pink) to take the place of the Kings or Green Day. Oh, and Jay-Z's "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)" is eligible here (it was released in June), which makes it a sneaky pick too.
Album of the Year
This one is given to the actual album of the year. Plant and Krauss won this category last year too, and in the previous year, Herbie Hancock knocked off Kanye West's Graduation. So really, anything can happen here. Both West's 808s & Heartbreak and Beyoncé's I Am ... Sasha Fierce missed the eligibility period for last year's awards, which all but makes them shoo-ins for this year's show. Anyway, my picks are:
» Beyoncé, I Am ... Sasha Fierce
» Taylor Swift, Fearless
» Alain Toussaint, The Bright Mississippi
» Kanye West, 808s & Heartbreak
» U2, No Line on the Horizon
So, two (semi) sure things in Bey and Yeezy (plus a third in Toussaint's album of early jazz standards) and really, who knows what else? I could easily see Green Day's 21st Century Breakdown sneaking in here, or even Lady Gaga's The Fame (too big to ignore), and don't forget Whitney Houston's I Look to You, which was released on the very last day of Grammy eligibility and seems tailor-made for a nomination or two.
Song of the Year
This one is given to the composer, not the performer. At last year's Grammys, Coldplay's "Viva la Vida" won, besting the likes of Adele, Estelle and Jason Mraz. The previous year, Amy Winehouse won, so Academy voters have a bit of the Anglo fever when it comes to this category. So, my picks:
» Lily Allen, "Not Fair"
» Beyoncé, "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)"
» Whitney Houston, "I Look to You" (or "Million Dollar Bill")
» Taylor Swift, "You Belong With Me"
» Kanye West, "Heartless"
There are probably about a million songs I'm forgetting here — Pink's "Sober," Green Day's "21 Guns," anything from Lady Gaga — so I wouldn't be surprised if I go one-for-the-entire-category ("Single Ladies" is a mortal lock). And wouldn't it be great if Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You" or "I Do Not Hook Up" managed to score a nom?
Best New Artist
Last year's winner? Adele. The previous two? Amy Winehouse and Carrie Underwood. The Academy loves the ladies here, but since we already know Lady Gaga was ruled ineligible for the award, it leaves the field wide open. So, with a blindfold and a dartboard, here's who I've selected:
» Diane Birch
» Zac Brown Band
» Kid Cudi
» Owl City
I don't know much about Diane Birch, but I do know that she's plenty soulful and pretty (thanks, official bio!), so let's just pencil her in for a nomination. The Zac Brown Band are this year's Nashville entry. MGMT give the Academy some of that sweet, sweet credibility. I'm not actually sure if Cudi is technically eligible here, but if he's not, you can just slide Wale into his spot. Owl City is the wild card here, and it wouldn't be difficult to see him replaced by someone like, say, the Silversun Pickups. But as is the case with all things Grammy — and, really, wagering — who knows?
Questions? Predictions of your own? Hit me at BTTS@MTVStaff.com.