By Chuck Cox
On one of my all-time favorite episodes of “The Simpsons,” Homer is part of a barbershop quartet called the Be Sharps in a flashback to 1985. In that episode, the group wins a Grammy for Outstanding Soul, Spoken Word, or Barbershop Album of the Year. As if those two jokes weren’t awesome enough, Homer is talking to a much younger Lisa on the phone when she says to him, “You beat Dexys Midnight Runners.” Homer replies, “Well, you haven’t heard the last of them.” Genius.
That brings us to Sunday night. The 55th Annual Grammy Awards will air at 7 p.m. on CBS. And while there are too many categories to go through, although I’m pretty sure Outstanding Soul, Spoken Word, or Barbershop Album of the Year is not one of them, I thought I’d go over my picks in a few categories I’m interested in. Humor me.
Record of the Year: Nominees: the Black Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Fun., Gotye, Frank Ocean and Taylor Swift. I’d really like to see the Black Keys’ “Lonely Boy” come away with the win. That’s possible, but I would lean toward either Fun., Frank Ocean or Kelly Clarkson winning. Pick: Fun. “We Are Young.”
Album of the Year: Nominees: the Black Keys, Fun., Mumford and Sons, Frank Ocean and Jack White. I kind of think that Mumford and Sons could take this one home, but it’s a strong group of competitors. Although “Blunderbuss” is a solid album, White is really the only nominee I have a hard time seeing win. Pick: Mumford and Sons “Babel.”
Song of the Year: Nominees: Ed Sheeran, Miguel Pimentel, Carly Rae Jepsen, Kelly Clarkson and Fun.. If this goes to the song that seemed to play non stop, on a loop, everywhere across the country, Jepsen’s maddeningly catchy “Call Me Maybe” would be the hands-down winner. However, the field is extremely strong. Pick: Ed Sheeran “The A Team.”
Best New Artist: Nominees: Alabama Shakes, Fun., Hunter Hayes, the Lumineers and Frank Ocean. Another really tough call. I would love to see Alabama Shakes (who will be in Dallas next month, by the way) walk away with the win, but it will probably come down to Fun., the Lumineers and Ocean. Pick: Fun..
Best Pop Solo Performance: Nominees: Adele, Kelly Clarkson, Carly Rae Jepsen, Katy Perry, Rihanna. Adele dominated the Grammys last year with six awards. She’s also the only performer in this category with a live version of a song nominated. I expect her “Set Fire to the Rain” to win. Pick: Adele.
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: Nominees: Florence & the Machine, Fun., Gotye, LMFAO, Maroon 5 & Wiz Khalifa. Man, is Fun. nominated for everything? I really dig Florence & the Machine’s “Shake it Out,” but I think either Fun. or Maroon 5 and Wiz Khalifa takes this one home. Pick: Fun. “We Are Young.”
Best Pop Vocal Album: Kelly Clarkson, Florence & the Machine, Fun., Maroon 5, Pink. Even though there are a couple of strong contenders, this one is also Fun.’s to lose. Pick: Fun. “Some Nights.”
Best Rock Performance: Nominees: Alabama Shakes, the Black Keys, Coldplay, Mumford and Sons, Bruce Springsteen. Springsteen is obviously a strong contender any time he’s nominated for a Grammy. This one is a total toss-up, as far as I’m concerned: Pick: The Black Keys “Lonely Boy.”
Best Rock Song: Nominees: Jack White, Mumford and Sons, the Black Keys, Muse, Bruce Springsteen. If I got a vote in this category, it would be a no-brainer. Muse’s “Madness” is probably my favorite song from 2012. Sounding like it came straight from the 1980s, “Madness” is sheer joy to listen to. Pick: Muse “Madness” (Songwriter: Matthew Bellamy).
Best Rock Album: Nominees: The Black Keys, Coldplay, Muse, Bruce Springsteen, Jack White. I have a hard time seeing “the Boss” get shut out at the Grammys, but I think Coldplay and the Black Keys will do battle for supremacy in this one. Pick: Coldplay “Mylo Xyloto.”
Best Rap Performance: Nominees: Drake Featuring Lil’ Wayne, Jay-Z and Kanye West, Nas, Kanye West Featuring Big Sean, Pusha T and 2 Chainz,Young Jeezy Featuring Jay-Z and Andre 3000. This also falls into the no-brainer category. Pick: Jay-Z and Kanye West “N****s in Paris.”
Best Rap Album: Nominees: Drake, Lupe Fiasco, Nas, the Roots, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz. I don’t have a strong feeling one way or another in this category. Pick: Rick Ross “Undun.”
Best Country Album: Zac Brown Band, Hunter Hayes, Jamey Johnson, Miranda Lambert, the Time Jumpers. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t keep up with the country scene like I used to. I really like Jamey Johnson and Miranda Lambert. Hard to say who comes away a winner here. Pick: Hunter Hayes “Hunter Hayes.”
Those are just a few of the categories I’ll be most interested in on Sunday. We also have live performances from Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, Carrie Undewood, Fun., the Lumineers, the Black Keys, Jack White, Ed Sheeran and Elton John, Bruno Mars, Rihanna and Sting, and several others.