Why should you care about the Grammy Awards? Very valid question. But let’s face it: as the Writer’s Strike threatens to shut down more and more red carpet events, the 50th Annual Grammies may be the only constant in this year’s lagging awards season. In that light, the following is the eighteenth installment in my three-week countdown to February 10. Read below for my picks & pans in one of ’08’s many Grammy categories.
The award: Best New Artist
Past five winners: Carrie Underwood; John Legend; Maroon 5; Evanescence; Norah Jones
Who’s Missing: The American Idol crowd. Grammy voters left both Chris Daughtry and Elliot “Now I Can Buy Teeth” Yamin off of this list, both of whom had banner years in ’07 and proved the viability of AmIdol artists who finish outside the Top Two. I understand the Yamin snub, but ignoring Daughtry is more than quizzical — especially considering his four nominations in other categories. This is Paramore’s only nod.
Who Shouldn’t Be There: Ledisi. Grammy voters haven’t dropped a “who-the-fuck-is-that?!?” nominee in this category for awhile — not since Heather Headley’s nom back in 2004. (Also a modestly-successful R&B singer). Headley didn’t win that year, nor will Ledisi win this year. But both will see increased record sales in the future because of that “Grammy-nominated artist” sticker they can throw on the front of their CDs.
Who Should Win: Taylor Swift. Trust me, I’m no fan of giving the big Grammy awards to country artists. (Last year was particularly horrible, as the three big Grammies went to the Dixie Chicks and this category went to Carrie Underwood.) But I’m even less a fan of the nomination rules for Best New Artist, which allow any musician to be nominated in the year that “first establishes [their] public identity.” This explains the ’08 nods for Feist and Amy Winehouse — both of whom have been around for years. So I say give the award to Swift, a true new artist who sold more than two million records before she turned 18.
Who Will Win: Amy Winehouse. Amy’s visa problems will keep her from attending the Grammies this Sunday, but she’ll most likely be able to acknowledge her many wins via satellite. She’s a near guarantee in this category, unless Grammy voters have a change of heart and award a less deserving artist at the last minute (see 2005: Maroon 5 wins over Kanye West). Otherwise, expect a rare moment from an accepting Winehouse when she gives a speech that isn’t slurred.