The Grammy Awards are, like the Oscars, the Emmys and the Tonys, the one award show that really matters in its field. You can bet that the majority of the nominated acts will attend, and even though people love to talk shit about it (hey, it’s been done since the Seventies-at least, there’s nothing even remotely novel about slagging the ceremony) people watch. Most importantly, to record companies and music retailers, performing or winning Grammys generally results in a nice sales bump-as artists from Bonnie Raitt to Amy Winehouse and Adele to Ricky Martin can attest to.

Over the past couple of years, the nomination ceremony has (at least partially) turned into a televised event, and another chance for artists to get exposure for their latest project. The Grammy nominations will be announced tonight in Nashville. Co hosts of the special? Grammy darling Taylor Swift (whose Red album is ineligible for nominations due to being released after the deadline) and 2-time Grammy winner LL Cool J, who hosted last year’s ceremony.

Most pundits are already saying that Frank Ocean will be the breakout star of this ceremony, but there are plenty of artists who could potentially scoop up tons of nominations. Check out our predictions for the three major categories and check back tomorrow to see how well we did!

Expect to hear Frank Ocean’s name a LOT when they announce the Grammy nominees.












Record of the Year: “Someone That I Used To Know” by Gotye featuring Kimbra, “We Are Young” by Fun. featuring Janelle Monae, “Thinkin’ ‘Bout You” by Frank Ocean, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift, “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen

The Record of the Year category has been super-pop the last couple of years, so I think they’re going to continue in that vein. Four of these five songs were among 2012’s biggest hits (and they’re reasonably good pop songs, besides,) and while Frank Ocean might not have Top 40 cred, his critical cred is pretty high and he seems to be the consensus pick among music industry insiders to clean up in nominations this year. That said, there’s a lengthy list of songs that could wind up in this category. Adele’s 21 still has a single available, “Set Fire To The Rain,” so that could make it in, as could either of Maroon 5’s big records from this year (“One More Night” and “Payphone.”) Train’s “Drive By” was a big hit this spring and could sneak in, as could a trio of songs by American Idol winners: Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You,”) Carrie Underwood’s “Good Girl” and Phillip Phillips’ “Home.” And lest you forget that the band “Home” rips off made a record this year, too-you can count Mumford & Sons’ “I Will Wait” as a hopeful, too. The old-boy network has diminished over the last couple of years, but don’t count out Bruce Springsteen’s “We Take Care Of Our Own” (almost a lock for a Song of the Year nomination) either.

Album of the Year: Babel by Mumford & Sons, Channel ORANGE by Frank Ocean, Believe by Justin Bieber, El Camino by The Black Keys, Blunderbuss by Jack White

Only a handful of albums have sold over a million copies this year. Of those, Adele is ineligible because…duh…she won last year. Taylor Swift’s Red can’t be nominated because it came out too late.   OneDirection is probably a little too poppy to get nominated for an award this prestigious. If Simon Cowell had a little more pull with voters, he would’ve got Susan Boyle nominated for a shit ton of awards a couple of years ago. Biebs will get his nomination by virtue of sticking around for another year, so that leaves Lionel Richie’s Tuskegee and Carrie Underwood’s Blown Away, two albums that have a chance, but probably won’t make the cut (although, of the two, I would say Underwood has the better chance.)  The only other million sellers this year so far? Whitney’s Greatest Hits, which is obviously ineligible, and Mumford & Sons’ Babel, which will almost certainly be nominated. From there? Beyond Bieber and Mumford…The Black Keys are ready for a jump into the big leagues, although El Camino might suffer by virtue of having been released at the very beginning of the Grammy nomination cycle. Jack White’s also a Grammy favorite, and his Blunderbuss album is one of the year’s best reviewed pieces of work. I’ll give the final slot to up and comer Frank Ocean, although that last slot could go to Maroon 5 (although they’ve become much more known as a singles band than an albums band,) former Best New Artists the Zac Brown Band, Rihanna’s Talk That Talk,  Drake’s Take Care (which has very quietly sold two million copies, outselling his debut Thank Me Later,)Bob Dylan’s Tempest, Paul McCartney’s Kisses on the Bottom, or Bruce Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball. Grammy has moved away from their habit of honoring older artists, which is why those three aren’t as sure things as they would’ve been three or four years ago, but anything can happen.

Best New Artist: Gotye, Fun., Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, OneDirection (OneDirection scratched from the list during the editing process and replaced by Lumineers.)

Frank Ocean may end up being this year’s Grammy prince. He’s young, has critical cred, street cred, industry connections, and an interesting backstory. I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t WIN the Best New Artist award. I’ll fall off my chair if he’s not nominated. From there, things get kinda dicey. Fun. isn’t a new act, but nominations and wins by the likes of Amy Winehouse, Fountains of Wayne and Shelby Lynne have proven that “new” really means “new to most of the public.” Most people who bought Some Nights still think it’s the band’s debut album. They’ll be nominated, as will Gotye (and for older artists who had their commercial breakthrough this year, The Robert Glasper Experiment could be the Esperanza Spalding of this year’s nominations list.) Their two songs were the biggest hits of the first half of 2012. OneDirection’s nomination will come by virtue of their being the biggest-selling act of the year with a penis, and Kendrick Lamar’s album has been too critically acclaimed to be ignored. If J. Cole got nominated last year, then it’s crazy to think Lamar won’t get a nod this year. A couple of wildcards exist, though. Can the ubuquitousness of “Call Me Maybe” plus the support of Justin Bieber and his management team be enough to garner Carly Rae Jepsen a nomination? Will the blinding support of the blogosphere (and respectable sales) give Alabama Shakes a nod? What about Lana Del Ray? How about Elle Varner? The Weeknd? Emeli Sande? Phillip Phillips? The field is wide open. I’d say Ocean, Gotye and Fun are gimmes. The final two nominations could be anyone’s. Oh crap-and then there’s The Lumineers! I say they actually bounce OneDirection out of a nod.

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