Predicting Grammy nominations: Lady Gaga, Eminem and … ?
It's difficult to foresee the Grammy nominees that will be announced Wednesday for best album of the year. They're chosen by a small, secret committee of music honchos who powwow in a hotel over a weekend and choose among works that receive the top 20 most votes from the 20,000 members of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. Since we don't know who's on the committee, it's hard to get into their heads.
But a distinct voting pattern has emerged over the years that helps us to make predictions. In the race for best album, for example, the panel tends to pick a stand-out disc from each major music genre. Eminem's "Recovery" will probably represent rap since it was the top-selling album of the year, but it's possible that "The Blueprint 3" could squeeze in too. Jay-Z is overdue for his first nomination.
Lady Antebellum had the second-biggest-selling album of the year, so it'll probably represent the country field — that is, if the band can fend off a challenge by Miranda Lambert ("Revolution"). Since Lady Gaga was queen of 2010, her "The Fame Monster" will surely rule in the best-album category too, representing pop music. That makes three definite nominees plus a few maybes (Jay-Z, Lambert). Who else is in the running?
Since this category is usually dominated by veterans (Herbie Hancock, U2, Ray Charles won in recent years), it's a good bet that notable geezers will make the cut. Cue the arrival of James Taylor and Carole King's "Live at the Troubadour."
Top candidates for the fifth slot in this category: "The Suburbs" (Arcade Fire), "Soldier of Love" (Sade) and "Teenage Dream" (Katy Perry).
-- Tom O'Neil
Photos: Lady Gaga (Interscope), Sade (Sony), Lady Antebellum (Capitol), Arcade Fire (Merge)