The Nominees Are In!

Dave Iannacone

The nominees for the 2011 Grammy awards are out! As per usual, this year’s list includes the usual combination of great nominees and total surprises. With 109 different categories covering pretty much everything imaginable, the night’s biggest awards come in the form of four general categories: Record, Song, and Album of the Year and Best New Artist. This year, as predicted, Eminem leads the nominee count with 10, followed (surprisingly) by Bruno Mars with 7, and Jay-Z, Lady Antebellum and Lady Gaga with 6.

Arguably the night’s biggest award, Album of the Year, is a predictable battle between Eminem’s Recovery and Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now, with Lady Gaga’s acclaimed almost-EP, almost-LP, The Fame Monster and Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs getting nods as well. The category’s biggest surprise comes in the form of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream. Despite being a successful album, this prestigious category rarely sees trendy pop with minimal critical acclaim being nominated. I don’t think this will win, but it’s more than obviously that some strings were pulled by Ms. Perry’s label to get this a nod. This award without a doubt should go to Eminem, but I think Lady Antebellum has just as good of a shot; I’m picking Lady Gaga as the dark horse.

There is usually much confusion as to the difference between Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Quite simply, Record of the Year is an award for the recorded song, and is given to the artist, producer, engineer, and mixer while Song of the Year is a songwriter’s award and is not award to the artist unless they wrote or co-wrote it. This year’s Record of the Year category should really be called “The Battle of the Rap/Sung Duets.” As the academy usually like to span many genres within each category, I originally predicted that only one rap/sung duet would be nominated out of the three big ones that were released over the past year. However, to my surprise, all three are being pinned against each other: B.o.B. and Bruno Mars’ “Nothin’ On You,” Eminem and Rihanna’s “Love The Way You Lie,” and Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State Of Mind.” While any of these songs could walk away with it, the other two nominees, predictably Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” and surprisingly Cee Lo Green’s “F*** You,” have just as good of a chance. I, personally think this one is going to “Empire State Of Mind” with, again, “Need You Now” as my runner up. While the other rap/sung duets still have a great chance of winning, my dark horse has to be (as the presenters at the Nomination ceremony put it) “The song otherwise known as ‘Forget You.’”

For Song of the Year, Cee Lo’s “F*** You” (written by Green, Bruno Mars, and Phillip Lawrence,) Em and Ri’s “Love The Way You Lie” (written by Mr. Mathers himself with Alexander Grant and Holly Hafferman), and Lady A’s “Need You Now” (written by the band and Josh Gear) all received nominations again. They are joined by Country star Miranda Lambert’s song “The House That Built Me” (written by Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin) and the completely left field “Bed Steal or Borrow” by singer/songwriter Ray LaMontagne. This one is a tough call, but I think this one’s going to “Need You Now” if it doesn’t win Record of the Year, and “Love The Way You Lie” if it does. (I can’t imagine it taking both home, but stranger things have happened!) My dark horse once again has to be Cee Lo Green, but Ray LaMontagne could easily shock the pants off of everyone and walk away with it.

Despite having gone to artists such as The Beatles, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, and Alicia Keys, the award for Best New Artist is infamous for going to acts who run out of commercial success before the next award ceremony even takes place (see Starland Vocal Band, Debby Boone, A Taste of Honey, etc.) This year’s nominees once again show a mix of both popular and acclaimed artists whose careers can go on for many years to come, or possibly already be on the road to Overville. Both teenage heartthrob Justin Bieber and rapper Drake are pretty obvious nominees for this award. They are joined by three well-deserved acts, Florence + The Machine (who found overnight American success after their amazing VMA performance,) folk rockers Mumford and Sons, and the amazingly talented jazz artist Esperanza Spalding. As much as it pains me to say it, this one’s going to come down to Biebs and Drake, with the latter most likely taking home the award. My dark horse is gonna have to be Florence, but Ms. Spalding really deserves this one.

Strangely absent from the list of nominees is Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” which was widely pegged as a sure-fire Song and/or Record of the Year nod (although it is up for other awards.) Also, Sade’s come-back album Soldier of Love (and its title track) as well as Carole King and James Taylor’s Live At The Troubadour are strangely missing from the major categories, although the former is up for a handful of other awards. Probably the most glaringly obvious exclusion on this year’s nominee list would have to be Ke$ha, who isn’t up for a single award.

The 2011 Grammy Awards air on February 13, 2011 on CBS, with performers and presenters still to be confirmed. This will be a nail-biter of a year for many categories, so don’t forget to tune in!