Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the third annual Popblerd Grammy Awards preview. This almost didn’t happen…after the nominees were announced a month or so ago, I felt a strange burst of apathy. However, I’m a glutton for punishment. So although I think these might be the least predictable Grammys in history, I’ll be predicting (obviously) and I will most likely be watching, as well.

One interesting recent wrinkle in Grammy-land is the legitimization of modern dance music. The “Best Disco Recording” category was introduced in 1979, and was gone a year later. Despite the fact that the ’80s was responsible for some timeless dance music (perhaps the most timeless dance music of all,) it was considered illegitimate by the “rock” establishment, and thus a “Best Dance Recording” category was not introduced again until 1998 (and rightfully delivered to pioneers Donna Summer & Giorgio Moroder.)

These days, EDM (a name I abhor) is a big thing, responsible for most of the sound on pop radio, even if album sales are hardly commensurate. One of 2013’s biggest acts, and possibly the most anticipated Grammy performers, are dance legends Daft Punk. Although their current sound has much more in common with the more analog elements of disco, soft rock and funk than the nonstop THUMP THUMP THUMP associated with much modern dance, the average music listener will conflate the two divergent styles-which is precisely what Grammy wants.

At any rate-let’s take a closer look at the nominees in the pop and dance categories.

Best Pop Solo Performance

“Brave”-Sara Bareilles


“When I Was Your Man”-Bruno Mars

“Roar”-Katy Perry

“Mirrors”-Justin Timberlake


SHOULD WIN: Bruno Mars


I can’t help feeling that Lorde is some kind of juggernaut this year. I guess I’m thinking back to Alanis Morissette’s somewhat surprising big win back in ’95 and thinking that the young New Zealander will follow suit. There’s obviously a precedent in regards to young “independent” women: in addition to Alanis, you’ve got Lauryn Hill, Adele, Beyonce and Taylor Swift as artists who have cleaned up at Grammys past. Although Bruno and Justin have both won versions of this category before (back when it was split up by gender,) I don’t think they’re gonna have the luck this year. Bruno’s piano ballad, though, deserves notice-particularly if we’re awarding performance. His searing vocals on “When I Was Your Man” wipe Lorde’s disaffected slur clear off the table.

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

“Get Lucky”-Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams

“Just Give Me A Reason”-P!nk & Nate Ruess

“Stay”-Rihanna & Mikky Ekko

“Blurred Lines”-Robin Thicke feat. Pharrell & T.I.

“Suit & Tie”-Justin Timberlake & Jay Z

WILL WIN: Daft Punk


WINNER: Daft Punk

Are there any actual groups left in pop music? We all know where they went in R&B. Wait. You know what? I’m not going to complain about all of the collaborations nominated, because we could be seeing OneRepublic in this category. At any rate, although each of the five songs nominated here was an absolute smash, there’s no way in hell I would vote against Daft Punk-either in this column or if I had a real life Grammy ballot. Rihanna’s gutsy vocal on “Stay” would tempt me, though. A little.

Best Pop Vocal Album

Paradise-Lana Del Rey

Pure Heroine-Lorde

Unorthodox Jukebox-Bruno Mars

Blurred Lines-Robin Thicke

The 20/20 Experience (The Complete Experience)-Justin Timberlake


SHOULD WIN: Justin Timberlake

WINNER: Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars will be a sleeper (and I almost want to give him the “Should Win” prize instead of Timberlake,) but Unorthodox Jukebox feels like it came out forever ago. JT’s shocking omission from the major categories could mean one of two things: either contrite voters will rush to give him more minor prizes, or he’s going to totally get shut out. I’m voting for the latter in this case. I love me some Robin Thicke, but the Blurred Lines album was definitely not up to his standard. And Lana Del Ray? Fuck a Lana Del Ray? The Lorde juggernaut continues…although this is probably the least confident I feel about a category she’s nominated in.

Best Dance Recording-

“Need U (100%)”-Duke Dumont feat. A*M*E* & MNEK

“Sweet Nothing”-Calvin Harris feat. Florence Welch


“This Is What It Feels Like”-Armin Van Buuren feat. Trevor Guthrie

“Clarity”-Zedd feat. Foxes

WILL WIN: Calvin Harris

SHOULD WIN: Calvin Harris

WINNER: Zedd feat. Foxes

Calvin Harris has been in the game for a long time, and he’s something of a household name now. Rihanna has had a couple of hits that have co-credited him (and has also won with him in this category.) Joined by another female superstar (Florence Welch) and armed with a song that actually has a melody in addition to all of the cool EDM tricks, this is a can’t lose.

Where the hell is “Wake Me Up” by Avicii, though??

Best Dance/Electronica Album

Random Access Memories– Daft Punk


18 Months-Calvin Harris


A Color Map Of The Sun-Pretty Lights

WILL WIN: Daft Punk


WINNER: Daft Punk

Oh, come on. Does anyone else even have a chance here? Not to say that the other nominees aren’t popular in the dance community (and in Harris’s case, he has a pretty big pop following,) but Daft Punk is the alpha and the omega of modern-day dance music. Plus, the fact of the matter is that a fairly good chunk of the voters are not as well-versed in dance music, and DP is the only name they’ll recognize. I’m cool with that. Although I didn’t think Random Access Memories was all that great, the only other album in this category that I even kinda dig is Disclosure’s. So they’d get my vote by default.

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