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Poll: Will Justin Bieber win the Grammy for best new artist?

February 4, 2011 | 12:05 pm

The Envelope's forum moderators Darrin "DoubleD" Dortch and David "Guru" Schnelwar both foresee a shocking result in the Grammy race for best new artist -- Justin Bieber, they say, will win. That's a jaw-dropper considering they concede such a victory would defy a longstanding voter bias here. Bubblegum acts don't prevail because they're not taken seriously. Dortch notes that Christina Aguilera squeaked through in the past. OK, but at least she had some small measure of something Bieber lacks utterly: critical respect. Instead, he's considered a laughingstock.

Justin Bieber Drake Grammys newsAs a result, I scoff at making such a prediction in favor of making another that's probably just as laughable: Drake. Yeah, yeah, Dortch and Schnelwar note that rap artists never win here either. True. But I agree with their assessment that the other three nominees in this category can't win for all of the reasons they cite below. This race is between Bieber and Drake. Only one has artistic credibility. Thus, he wins, I decree.

Now that I've grandstanded, let's hear what Dortch and Schnelwar have to say. Words below are their own. Then tell us what you think in our poll. Also check out our Grammy predix and polls for record of the year and  album of the year.

David "Guru" Schnelwar's Commentary: Whoever wins this year will be a first.

Esperanza Spalding is not a crossover artist and became more well-known the day the Grammy nominations were announced. We have seen the same scenario previously with Susan Tedeschi (1999) and Ledisi (2008).

Florence and the Machine received only one nomination. The last time an artist won best new artist with one nomination was in 2000 with Shelby Lynne. Before that was Milli Vanilli in 1989. It is possible, but tough odds to overcome.

A non-U.S. band has not won best new artist since the '80s (Men at Work, Culture Club and Sade). This hurts Mumford and Sons' chances.

This race is between Drake and Justin Bieber.

Bigger named rap solo artists have lost in this category: Puff Daddy (1997), 50 Cent (2003) and Kanye West (2004). Lauryn Hill won in this category, but she was more R&B than rap. Drake is nominated for three Grammys in the rap field. He could win if the Grammys honor rap in the general field.

A teen pop act aimed at girls has yet to win best new artist. Hanson (1997), Backstreet Boys (1998) and Jonas Brothers (2008) all lost in this category. Justin Bieber won best new artist at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards and the American Music Awards. Bieber is the most well-known and best selling of the five nominees. His album surprisingly received a nomination for best pop vocal album. I am going out on a limb and predicting Justin Bieber for best new artist.

Will win: Justin Bieber
Should win: Drake
Spoiler: Drake


Darrin "DoubleD" Dortch's Commentary: In the last 20 years, Shelby Lynne is the only artist to win this category without any other corresponding nominations, so it'd be a huge shock if Florence and Spalding managed to win here.

Mumford & Sons are dark horses; their album is quietly selling and their song, "Little Lion Man," has done well on radio. However, Mumford & Sons missed out on some key nominations in the rock field aside from their best rock song nod. A male solo rapper has never won here so a Drake win is unlikely too. 50 Cent and Kanye West had bigger buzz and bigger sales and still lost here.

Many teen pop acts, including the Backstreet Boys, Hanson and Britney Spears, have been nominated here but few have won. In recent times, Christina Aguilera is the only bubblegum act to win here and that was over a decade ago. However, Bieber's buzz, album sales, heavy campaigning and visibility during the voting period will likely hand him a win here. Bieber's previous best new artist wins at the MTV Video Music Awards and American Music Awards are probably still fresh in voters' minds as well.

Will win: Justin Bieber
Should win: Drake
Spoiler: Mumford & Sons


Poll: What will win the Grammy for album of the year?

Poll: What will win the Grammy for record of the year?

-- Tom O'Neil

Top photo: Justin Bieber. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Bottom photo: Drake. Credit: Cash money / Universal Motown