2013 Grammy Awards: Predictions + Full Coverage
Frank Ocean, fun., the Black Keys, Mumford & Sons dominated the 2013 Grammy nominations, but who came out on tops?
UPDATED: Sunday, February 11, 2013 / 2:15 a.m.
And it’s a wrap.
The 55th annual Grammys were decked with hot performances from a dapper Justin Timberlake in suit and tie, a Jimi Hendrix-possessed Jack White and a circus-themed sideshow led by country-pop star Taylor Swift. Lots of pretty good performances caught our ear. Bruno Mars and Sting united to show off their Bob Marley-inspired works (“Locked Out of Heaven,” “Walking on the Moon”) before teaming up with Rihanna, Ziggy Marley and Damian Marley for a real Marley tune (“Could You Be Loved”). That performance was full of funk, bad-ass rhythms and island love. One of the evening’s best.
Kelly Clarkson showed off her amazing pipes on an intimate medley of tributes to Patti Page (“Tennessee Waltz”) and Carole King (“You Make Me Feel Like (A Natural Woman)”), hitting notes that reminded us of her reign on the pop charts. Her reign was also felt during the show when she picked up her win for Best Pop Vocal Album.
Miguel teamed up with rapper Wiz Khalifa for “Adorn.” The moment ended up being a highlight for Clarkson, who mentioned it in her trophy acceptance speech: “Miguel, I don’t know who the hell you are, but we need to sing together,” she said. “I mean, good God. That was the sexiest dancing I’ve ever seen.”
Immediately after her win, she ran to her Twitter to post a photo of her with Miguel, who picked up his first Grammy for Best R&B Song.
Rihanna proved to the naysayers that she could be just as effective on a slow, intimate ballad as she is on her uptempo dance workouts. She performed “Stay” with Mikky Ekko. Word is already leaking out that “Stay” will be her next single off of her Diamonds album.
Some performances were marred with mediocre singing and the jitters. Alicia Keys‘s opening vocal on “Girl on Fire” was off-balanced, so was her drumming exercise. Her song immediately followed Maroon 5’s “Daylight” in medley mash style. Technically, her performance got in the way of the magic of Maroon 5’s performance. fun‘s performance of “Carry On” was also a bit uneasy on the ear, as Nate Ruess hollered throughout much of the performance. Frank Ocean, who racked up a hefty five nominations including a nod for New Artist of the Year, performed an uninspiring “Forrest Gump.” His vocals were all over, very pitchy and you can honestly tell a bout of nervousness was taking over the singer – particularly when he erupted into a moment of uncomfortable Andy Griffith whistling.
Ocean lost New Artist of the Year to fun., who actually went home with a win for Song of the Year (“We Are Young”).
If there was a big winner at this year’s ceremony, it was the Black Keys. The Akron, Ohio duo (now Nashville bound) racked up victories for Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song, Best Rock Album and Producer of the Year, Non-Classical (Dan Auerbach). Auerbach’s winning streak even leaked unto his production on Dr. John’s Locked Down, which won a Grammy for Best Blues Album.
EDM spinster Skrillex also had a very good night, winning Grammys for Best Dance Recording (“Bangarang”), Best Dance/Electronica Recording and Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical (“Promises”).
In the rap categories, Kanye West and Jay-Z proved to be unstoppable. The two amassed wins for Best Rap Performance, Best Rap/Sung Performance (“No Church in the Wild” feat. Frank Ocean) and Best Rap Song. Most of their wins were shown during the pre-Grammy cybercast, where NARSAS Chairman emeritus Jimmy Jam teased the song with his own bleeps of the “n” word.
A big night for experimental jazz musician Robert Glasper, who won a Grammy in a non-jazz category: Best R&B Album.
Big upset of the evening: Jack White and the Black Keys losing to Mumford & Sons in the category for Album of the Year. It was a tight category this year, but apparently the NARSAS voters are totally hip to the Americana folk revival.
Here’s a short list of this year’s big winners:
Record of the Year – “Somebody That I Used to Know” – Gotye feat. Kimbra
Album of the Year – Babel; Mumford & Sons
Song of the Year – “We Are Young;” fun. feat. Janelle Monáe
Best New Artist – fun.
Best Pop Solo Performance – “Set Fire to the Rain (Live);” Adele
Best Pop/Duo Group Performance – “Somebody That I Used to Know;” Gotye feat. Kimbra
Best Pop Vocal Performance – “Stronger;” Kelly Clarkson
Best Dance Recording – “Bangarang;” Skrillex feat. Sirah
Best Dance/Electronica Album – Bangarang; Skrillex
Best Tradtional Pop Album – Kisses on the Bottom; Paul McCartney
Best Rock Performance – “Lonely Boy;” The Black Keys
Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance – “Love Bites (So Do I);” Halestorm
Best Rock Song – “Lonely Boy;” The Black Keys
Best Rock Album – El Camino; The Black Keys
Best Alternative Music Album – Making Mirrors; Gotye
Best R&B Performance – “Climax;” Usher
Best Traditional R&B Performance – “Love on Top;” Beyoncé
Best R&B Song: “Adorn;” Miguel
Best Urban Contemporary Album – Channel Orange; Frank Ocean
Best R&B Album – Black Radio, Robert Glasper Experiement
Best R&B Performance – “N****s in Paris;” Jay-Z & Kayne West
Best Rap/Sung Performance: – “No Church in the Wild;” Jay Z & Kanye West feat. Frank Ocean and The-Dream
Best Rap Song – “N****s in Paris;” Jay-Z & Kanye West
Best Rap Album – Take Care; Drake
Best Country Solo Performance – “Blown Away;” Carrie Underwood
Best Country Duo/Group Performance – Pontoon; Little Big Town
Best Country Song – “Blown Away;” Carrie Underwood
Best Country Album – Uncaged; Zac Brown Band
Best Americana Album – Slipstream; Bonnie Raitt
Best Blues Album – Locked Down; Dr. John
Last year, Adele single-handedly dominated the 54th Grammy Awards with her awe-striking sophomore album, 21. There was no doubt that the best-selling album of the year would also take home the most prizes. And that it did. This year, things have changed. More male singers and male groups dominate the nomination list. Plus, lots of refreshing new talent are also present, including Gotye, fun., Frank Ocean and Alabama Shakes.
So what’s it gonna be?
Our guest forecasters predict their favorites and even some of the evening’s possible upsets. We’ve been wrong before, so don’t be placing any bets.
I think Jack White and the Black Keys will be fighting against one another, particularly in the album category. White is under-recognized, but of course we’ve seen Arcade Fire pull out a win for Album of the Year while losing in their own category, so anything is possible. The top three categories (Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year) truly could go a number of ways this time. Adele had it in the bag last year.
Record of the Year: Gotye, “Somebody That I Used To Know” (toss up)
Album of the Year: Frank Ocean, Channel Orange
Song of the Year: “We Are Young”, fun.
Best New Artist: Frank Ocean
Best Pop Solo: Kelly Clarkson, “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”
Best Pop Duo: Fun. “We Are Young”
Best Pop Album: Fun., Some Nights
Best Rock Performance: The Black Keys, “Lonely Boy”
Best Rock Song: Bruce Springsteen, “We Take Care Of Our Own”
Best Rock Album: The Black Keys, El Camino
Best Alternative Music Album: Gotye, Making Mirrors
Best R&B Performance: Miguel, “Adorn”
Best Traditional R&B Performance: Beyoncé “Love On Top”
Best Urban Contemporary Album: Frank Ocean, Channel Orange
Best R&B Album: Robert Glasper Experiment, Black Radio
Best Rap Performance: Jay-Z & Kanye West, “N—as in Paris”
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: Jay-Z & Kanye West feat. Frank Ocean & The Dream (“No Church in the Wild”)
Best Rap Song: Jay-Z & Kanye West, “N—as in Paris”
Best Rap Album: Drake, Take Care
Best Americana Album: Mumford & Sons, Babel
Brent Faulkner on Facebook
Best hard rock performance: Halestorm puts a lighting bolt’s worth of energy into each song they perform. Their concerts are famously enthusiastic, and that hard rock guts and grit is fully present in Love Bites.
Album of the Year: Jack White’s Blunderbuss stands a good chance to win it this year. The rock revivalist’s solo venture is sincere when it needs to be, lively when it should be, and start-to-finish loaded with the riffs and vocals that make White a champion of the genre.
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J MATTHEW COBB
Album of the Year: Of all the acts mentioned this year in the top categories, Frank Ocean needs a big win. It will be enough ice to cool down the slew of haters on his back and will give him the street cred he needs to morph into his generation’s version of Marvin Gaye. Plus, a big win here will nullify the lingering stench from last week’s brawl with Chris Brown.
Some believe Ocean’s rise to fame is all about his coming-of-age story about his bisexuality. Let’s get one thing straight (no pun intended): his rise to critical acclaim has nothing to do with his Ellen moment and had everything to do with his unique style of merging old-school soul with hip-hop’s rap-sung style, while also showcasing a lyrical intelligence that’s hardly heard in today’s R&B. I am already aware that he hasn’t proven himself to be a major presence on the live stage. But there’s more to Ocean than the premature hype.
Still, I don’t think Ocean stands a chance of winning in this category. Jack White’s Blunderbuss is a dynamic album all the way through, and the Black Keys’ El Camino deserves the trophy just as much as White does. I think the voters of the Academy are smart enough to put a sympathy vote above their obligatory deeds. I’m pulling for White, but I think the Black Keys might win the score.
Best New Artist: The Athens, Ala. band Alabama Shakes broke out the gate with their Southern rock revival style. And they probably are the wild cards in this very tight race. Of course, everyone knows about the curse of the Best New Artist award. The ones who usually win disappear in a matter of months. We don’t want Alabama Shakes to disappear from the scene. The Lumineers are good, but they remind us too much of Mumford & Sons, except they aren’t as polished. I’m believing this will be the category that fun. will find the most fun of the evening, unless the voters are rallying behind Ocean.
Best Rock Performance: The Black Keys’ “Lonely Boy” is at the top of my list, even though Bruce Springsteen‘s moving patriotic anthem, “We Take Care of Our Own” is a sweet slice of rock heaven.
Song of the Year: Carly Rae Jepsen‘s “Call Me Maybe” would’ve won this trophy, if this were the American Music Awards. fun.’s “We Are Young” or Kelly Clarkson‘s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You” will probably win.
The Academy has a sweet tooth for veterans. I’m sure Anita Baker will take home a win for Best Traditional R&B, even over Beyonce’. And Bruce Springsteen, this year’s MusicCares recipient will take home Best Rock Song for “We Take Care Of Our Own.”
Record of the Year: I’m banking on Taylor Swift‘s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” For some strange reason, Swift’s biggest single in 2013 shows off her newest allegiance to pop, while also showing off universal acclaim. But this is one heck of a tough category: Swift will be duking it out with Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know,” Frank Ocean’s “Thinkin’ Bout You,” fun. and the Black Keys.
Ocean’s best bets at winning: He easily eclipses the competition in the category for Best Urban Contemporary Album (he’s facing Miguel and Chris Brown).
Best Rap Performance: Hands down, Kanye & Jay-Z’s “N—-s in Paris”
Best Dance Recording of the Year: This is the year Skrillex deserves such a trophy. It certainly would give him bragging rights when he hits the next set of arenas this summer. And his “Bangarang” is one killer beast. I’m hoping I’m right on this one.
Best Alternative Music Album: Gosh, another tough category. We’ve reviewed albums by Gotye (Making Mirrors), M83 (Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming), Fiona Apple (The Idler Wheel…) and Björk’s (Biophilia) and have put them all on a high pedestal (check out the digital magazines at Issuu). If I were the Academy, I’d crowned Björk or Fiona Apple. Björk crafty experimental record and Fiona’s best record to date stands a better chance at winning.
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