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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 3 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 31
Grammy contenders: just four months to go
Arts & Entertainment
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Grammy contenders: just four months to go

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Remember how Adele swept the Grammys in February? Look for a similar scenario early next year - this time with breakout pop star Gotye, who'll perform at Bumbershoot on Labor Day weekend.

Although the nominations for music's biggest prize are four months away from being revealed, we're actually in the home stretch of the eligibility period. September 30, 2012, is the deadline for recordings to be released in order for them to be considered for recognition, which means a slew of albums are set to come out in the upcoming weeks just to make the cut.

Strong contenders have emerged already, and here's an early look at who's going for the gold in the four biggest categories.

BEST NEW ARTIST
Gotye is a definite, unless it's determined that he peaked sooner than 2012. Lana Del Rey got off to a shaky start this year with an unfortunate performance on Saturday Night Live, which has kept her under the radar since then. But she remains a fan favorite and might nab one of the five slots. Fun, the NYC band behind the massive hit single 'We Are Young,' seems destined to compete for Best New Artist on the strength of their popularity alone. There's always a reserved space for a country performer and Brantley Gilbert has two chart-topping singles under his belt, 'Country Must Be Country Wide' and 'You Don't Know Her Like I Do,' to state his case. From the bubblegum field, One Direction and Carly Rae Jepsen are in the running. And, without a doubt, Frank Ocean is in perfect shape to be included in this prestigious category, especially after securing three MTV Video Music Award nods a week ago. Other possibilities are Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding, Sia, The Lumineers, Of Monsters and Men, Alabama Shakes, and local singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile.

SONG OF THE YEAR
A songwriters' award, this category often features ballads and mid-tempo entries. 'Somebody That I Used to Know' is automatic - it's the song of 2012. Kelly Clarkson's 'Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)' is another strong competitor, as is Fun's 'We Are Young,' Florence + the Machine's 'Shake It Out,' Adele's 'Turning Tables,' The Wanted's 'Glad You Came,' Nicki Minaj's 'Starships,' Katy Perry's 'Part of Me' or 'Wide Awake,' Madonna's 'Masterpiece,' and Lana Del Rey's 'Born to Die.' The toss up is Frank Ocean's 'Novacane,' initially released in May 2011 but peaking later in the year. If it's determined eligible, it'll definitely be in the mix. Other possibilities are Justin Bieber's 'Boyfriend,' One Direction's 'What Makes You Beautiful,' Ellie Goulding's 'Lights,' Young the Giant's 'Cough Syrup,' and John Mayer's 'Shadow Days.'

RECORD OF THE YEAR
Awarded to the best single, this usually boasts a more exciting field than Song of the Year. Again, a shoo-in is Gotye's 'Somebody That I Used to Know,' which is also the frontrunner as of now. 'Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)' is another lock, and will be Clarkson's first-ever in a major category; she's won two Grammys in her career. 'We Are Young' has a solid chance, as does 'Boyfriend' and Perry's 'Part of Me,' which she debuted at this year's telecast. Rihanna and Calvin Harris' 'We Found Love' could sneak through, as could 'Turning Tables' and 'Starships.' The Black Keys might slip in with 'Lonely Boy,' while Maroon 5 and Wiz Khalifa have a shot with 'Payphone.' Lady Gaga is another contender with 'Edge of Glory,' and so is Madonna with 'Girl Gone Wild.' Pink's 'Blow Me (One Last Kiss)' also has potential - ditto for 'Swim Good' or 'Novacane' by Ocean. Other possibilities are Del Rey's 'Born to Die,' Train's 'Drive By,' and 'Titanium' by Sia featuring David Guetta.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
This is the big daddy - the award everyone wants. The Black Keys should get in for El Camino, released late in 2011 and therefore eligible this time around. Gotye, yet again, is a contender for Making Mirrors. Bonnie Raitt, who won this prize for 1989's Nick of Time, has her best opportunity since then with Slipstream. Rihanna, who somehow was nominated here for Loud last year, could repeat for a better record, Talk That Talk. Florence + the Machine's Ceremonials has two smash singles and a lot of support from critics and fans. Meanwhile, Ocean's Channel Orange is the hottest R&B album thus far and looks primed to snag one of the five spots. Other possibilities are Mayer's Born and Raised, Carrie Underwood's Blown Away, Fiona Apple's The Idler Wheel ..., Neil Young's Americana, Bruce Springsteen's Wrecking Ball, and Pink's The Truth About Love.

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