Will a controversial rap star make a huge comeback? Does a Canadian indie rock band have a shot at gold? What will Lady Gaga wear?
With days to go before the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards, there’s plenty of speculation about what the big night will bring. In preparation for this Sunday’s show, CBSNewYork spoke to local music expert David Marchese, Associate Editor of SPIN Magazine, for his predictions on who can expect to win big.
Album Of The Year
Over a decade ago, a controversial rap newcomer introduced himself with the dangerously catchy track, My Name Is. In 2010, Marshall Mathers, better known as Eminem, reintroduced himself.
“It was a comeback year for Eminem,” Marchese said of the rapper, who earned a number one single for his collaboration with Rihanna on Love The Way You Lie. “Grammy voters like to reward comebacks.”
This is evident just by looking at the nomination list. With the Detroit rapper up for 10 awards, it’s hard to believe he’ll go home empty-handed – at least in the Album Of The Year category, where his biggest competition might come from a band you hadn’t heard of until a few months ago.
Arcade Fire, a Canadian-based multi-instrumentalist band, is up for the honor for their album The Suburbs.
“They went from being pop- indie band to a popular, big rock band,” said Marchese. According to the SPIN Magazine writer, this is a kind of successful move Grammy voters like to reward.
But when it comes down to it?
“There’s a strong relationship between album sales and fame and who ends up winning,” said Marchese. And with Eminem’s Recovery ranking as the best selling album of 2010, he’ll certainly be tough to beat.
Best New Artist
The Best New Artist nominees are a diverse set, featuring a teen heartthrob, a rapper and a folk rock band.
Justin Bieber, Drake and Mumford & Sons are all up for the award – along with jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding and indie pop singer Florence & The Machine.
Marchese was quick with his prediction. And while New York Knicks fans showed their disapproval of the 16-year-old nominee last week, this expert predicts Grammy voters will show nothing but love for Justin Bieber come awards night.
“He is sort of this pop cultural explosion,” said Marchese. “I think [the voters] usually do a good job of determining who was popular and making moves.”
And while he admitted that rapper Drake also “had a big year,” Bieber’s got the best shot.
“If only to get the army of young girls excited about the Grammys,” he joked.
What About Lady Gaga?
The Fame Monster has the potential to be a Grammy Monster this year. Lady Gaga is up for six awards, including Album of the Year, after she was beat out by teen country queen Taylor Swift in the same category back in 2010.
Marchese explained why the eccentric pop star may have seen the snub last year – and it could have something to do with her wardrobe choices.
“Lady Gaga was new and strange, people didn’t know how to make sense of her,” Marchese said. “Taylor Swift is easy to understand.”
But, the Paparazzi singer – who kicked off her career on the Lower East Side – may have a better chance this year, and it’s not just because Swift wasn’t nominated.
“Voters have had another year to understand what she is, and what she’s doing at this point.”
Record Of The Year
And what about the hometown favorite, the rap collaboration about the concrete jungle where dreams are made of?
Empire State of Mind was the theme for the latest Sex & The City movie, as well as A-Rod’s “at-bat” jam for all of last baseball season – and New Yorkers love it. Now, it’s up for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, Best Rap Song and Record Of The Year.
Does it have a shot at winning one – or all – of the categories?
“Sure,” said Marchese. “It’s a great song. There’s not much more to it than that.”