2012 was so Adele-centric that the British songstress won awards she wasn’t even nominated for! Okay, that’s not true. But it certainly seemed like her name was getting called every time someone pulled an envelope open. With Miss Adkins on hiatus this year, the field is wide open in the pop categories, of which there are now only three (not counting Best Pop Instrumental Performance, which no one gives a damn about.)
Also of note are the two “dance” categories. As “EDM” (spare me) becomes more of a thing, these two categories grow a little more of a cachet. At least they will until the next iteration of disco/house/techno/electronica comes along.
BEST POP SOLO PERFORMANCE
Set Fire To The Rain [Live] | Adele
Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) | Kelly Clarkson
Call Me Maybe | Carly Rae Jepsen
Wide Awake | Katy Perry
Where Have You Been | Rihanna
GRAMMY PICKS: The overrun from 2012 could favor Adele (represented here via a performance from a live DVD,) but I’m thinking this might be Kelly Clarkson’s year to shine. Since the award is performance based, and not necessarily song based, I guess that would rule out a win for Carly Rae Jepsen’s immortal earworm. Clarkson also has previous Grammy history, so I’d say she’s a pretty safe bet.
BIG MONEY PICKS: Clarkson and Adele are the only two powerhouse vocalists in this category, so they should rightfully be vying for this award. I wasn’t crazy about “Stronger,” but there’s no doubt that KC sang the everlasting shit out of it. She deserves a win here.
BEST POP PERFORMANCE BY A DUO OR GROUP
Shake It Out | Florence & The Machine
We Are Young | Fun. Featuring Janelle Monáe
Somebody That I Used To Know | Gotye Featuring Kimbra
Sexy And I Know It | LMFAO
Payphone | Maroon 5 & Wiz Khalifa
GRAMMY PICKS: A few worthy contenders here. I can’t imagine “Somebody That I Used To Know” not winning something, but Grammy voters might be a little gun-shy awarding a potential (and undeserved) one-hit wonder. Fun.’s smash is up for a lot of the bigger prizes, so an award here could be a sign of a potential sweep. That said, Maroon 5 has won in this category several times before. I’m gonna split the difference and say the trophy goes to…LMFAO. Psych. I’m leaning towards Fun. on this one.
BIG MONEY PICKS: Gotye and Kimbra sing their little hearts out. Nevertheless, I’m gonna go with…LMFAO. Psych again. Man, that never gets old. Seriously, though…someone give Gotye and Kimbra a Grammy. And another hit. Please.
BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM
Stronger | Kelly Clarkson
Ceremonials | Florence & The Machine
Some Nights | Fun.
Overexposed | Maroon 5
The Truth About Love | Pink
GRAMMY PICKS: Wow, all five of these nominees has a chance of winning. Clarkson’s won in the category before, Florence + the Machine could take it if Grammy wants to get a little artsy, Fun. has the added benefit of being recognized in the Album of the Year category, Maroon 5′s Overexposed was a commercial rebound after an underperforming album, and P!nk proved her staying power once and for all with her first #1 album. Can we make it a five-way tie? No? Let’s give it to Fun., then.
BIG MONEY PICKS: Sometimes artsy is the best, too. In my musical world, this category contains three OK albums, one slightly better than OK album (Overexposed,) and Florence + the Machine’s Ceremonials. The leather-lunged Brit deserves to take a golden gramophone back to the U.K.
BEST DANCE RECORDING
Levels | Avicii
Let’s Go | Calvin Harris Featuring Ne-Yo
Bangarang | Skrillex Featuring Sirah
Don’t You Worry Child | Swedish House Mafia Featuring John Martin
I Can’t Live Without You | Al Walser
GRAMMY PICKS: “Don’t You Worry Child” is a current hit and thus freshest in voters’ minds. This could help it or hurt it, as the voting sessions ended before the song really blew up. Skrillex is pretty much the poster boy for EDM right now, so this award could conceivably fall into his lap, but Calvin Harris and Ne-Yo could just as easily pull out a win here. Matter of fact, I’m going to say they pick it up.
BIG MONEY PICKS: Wouldn’t it be funny if Al Walser (who basically spammed himself into a nomination) actually turned out and won the fucking thing? That kinda reminds me of the old Eddie Murphy “Black President” skit where all the rednecks get drunk and vote for the black dude as a goof, then freak out when they find out he actually got elected.
BEST DANCE/ELECTRONICA ALBUM
Wonderland | Steve Aoki
Don’t Think | The Chemical Brothers
Album Title Goes Here | Deadmau5
Fire & Ice | Kaskade
Bangarang | Skrillex
GRAMMY PICKS: It’s all about the big names here. Either Skrillex or Deadmau5 has this one in hand. Since I reasoned him out of the last category, I’m gonna go with Skrillex here.
BIG MONEY PICKS: How do people listen to this stuff without getting a headache? I’m going to pass here.