by Albert Rodriguez -
SGN A&E Writer
Even though 2011 belonged to Adele, the year was also good to Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Jason Aldean, Nicki Minaj, Lady Antebellum, Skrillex, Fleet Foxes, and Kanye West. Already, 2012 is looking to be an exciting 12 months in music - I can hardly wait to see Ricky Martin and Gloria Estefan on Glee. But here are five better things to keep an eye and ear out for in the New Year.
1) Madonna gets into the groove again
The year of the Material Girl? Could be. Our favorite 'lucky star' opens 2012 with a bang, appearing on the Super Bowl halftime show in early February. Though not confirmed, Madonna might squeeze 'Gimme All Your Luvin' (with M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj), 'Holiday,' 'Vogue,' 'Music,' and 'Ray of Light' into the 15-20 minute performance. The pop icon's new album is set to drop in the spring with the leadoff single 'Gimme All Your Luvin' hitting airwaves shortly before the big game. Other songs on Madge's latest CD (part of a $40 million contract with Interscope Records) include 'Masterpiece,' 'Girls Gone Wild,' and 'Turn Up the Radio.' Madonna is expected to tour in 2012, and though a faux itinerary went viral months ago, it's still rumored she'll play Seattle this summer. If not, pack your bags and I'll meet you at the airport.
2) Adele sweeps the Grammys
Who will reign at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards? This queen. Adele is expected to win an armful of hardware on music's biggest night, taking place February 12 in Los Angeles. Throat complications aside, she'll perform on the telecast as well. Adele could snag a rare triple - Album, Record, and Song of the Year - a feat not achieved by a female artist since Norah Jones did it in 2003 (although, technically, Jones didn't write 'Don't Know Why'). The British singer-songwriter is a heavy favorite to also capture Best Pop Solo, Best Pop Vocal Album, and quite possibly, Best Short Form Music Video. Adele could triumph in all six categories that she's nominated in, which would be historical.
3) Mary J. Blige, meet Oscar
R&B diva Mary J. Blige is the frontrunner to win her first Academy Award, co-writing 'The Living Proof' for the Oscar-contending film The Help. The track, which plays during the end credits, has made the short list for Best Original Song with the final nominees being announced January 24. Aside from Blige, entries from Elton John and Lady Gaga ('Hello Hello' from Gnomeo and Juliet), Zooey Deschanel ('So Long' from Winnie the Pooh, a Grammy nominee), The National ('Think You Can Win' from Win Win), Jonsi ('Gathering Stories' from We Bought a Zoo), Will.i.am or Sergio Mendez ('Hot Wings' or 'Rio,' respectively, from Rio), Sinead O'Connor ('Lay Your Head Down' from Albert Nobbs), and Chris Cornell ('The Keeper' from Machine Gun Preacher) are also vying for a coveted nomination. Blige recently released My Life II: The Journey Continues (Act I), a new album featuring collaborations with Beyoncé, Drake, and Lil Wayne.
4) Huge tours, from Diamond to Coldplay to Peppers
If you're an avid concertgoer, have those credit cards paid off, because everyone's touring in the New Year. Neil Diamond, a 2011 Kennedy Center Honors inductee, kicks off his 26-city itinerary February 16 in Honolulu and reaches Seattle's Key Arena on July 23. Coldplay launches their tour April 17 and lands in Seattle just seven days later, and the event is expected to sell out well in advance. And while the Red Hot Chili Peppers haven't announced a Puget Sound tour date yet, they have a three-month break on their road schedule that could allow for extra shows or festivals in the months of March, April, and May (Sasquatch, perhaps?). Other artists touring in 2012 include Radiohead, Van Halen, Bjork, Bruce Springsteen, The Black Keys, Foo Fighters, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Kelly Clarkson, Sleigh Bells, Young The Giant, Florence + the Machine, and of course, Madonna.
5) Adam Lambert, Amy Ray, Ani DiFranco come out with new albums
Is it a coincidence that Adam Lambert's sophomore album is called Trespassing and he just got busted for going too far in a dispute with his boyfriend? The American Idol alum was sent to the slammer in Finland after a confrontation with sweetie pie Sauli Koskinen, but the pair is reportedly blaming it on the alcohol now that they're back in the U.S. Anywho, Lambert's new CD hits store shelves March 20 and enough can't be said about the timing of his holiday shenanigans and the release of the album's first single. Lesbian singer-songwriter Amy Ray (one half of the Indigo Girls) delivers her newest solo work, Lung of Love, to fans on February 28. She'll support the album with solo dates the first two months of the year, and then joins Emily Saliers for Indigo Girls' tour dates in March and April. Bisexual artist Ani DiFranco drops her latest work, Which Side Are You On, January 17 and will also be hitting the road this spring.
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