21 Days of Grammies: Part 19

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 nineteenth 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: Song of the Year

Past five winners: The Dixie Chicks (“Not Ready to Make Nice”); U2 (“Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own”); John Mayer (“Daughters”); Luther Vandross (“Dance With My Father”); Norah Jones (“Don’t Know Why”)

2008 Nominees
“Before He Cheats,” Carrie Underwood
“Hey There Delilah,” Plain White T’s
“Like A Star,” Corinne Bailey Rae
“Rehab,” Amy Winehouse
“Umbrella,” Rihanna

Who’s Missing: There are always countless omissions in this category, as literally any pop song written in 2007 is eligible for a nomination. But Grammy voters heavily favor singer-songwriters in this category, so leaving off Colbie Callait (“Bubbly”) and Pink (“Who Knew”) is surprising.

Who Shouldn’t Be There: Corinne Bailey Rae. Grammy voters most likely feel guilty for overlooking Corinne not once, not twice, but three times in 2007 — so “Like A Star” is in the category out of pity. But it went nowhere on the charts in ’07, while everything else in this category was a major hit.

Who Should Win: Carrie Underwood. Last year, a country song took this category — “Not Ready to Make Nice” by the Dixie Chicks. That song had no crossover appeal and very little commercial pop success; “Before He Cheats” has both of those things in spades. Statistically, it was the top Billboard Hot 100 song of last year, spending all but the last four weeks of ’07 in the Top 50. It’s also a great track and vocal, and it comes from a Grammy favorite: Underwood took home Best New Artist last year.

Who Will Win: Most critics think this is a two-dog race between “Umbrella” and “Rehab.” I agree that it’s a two-dog race, by my contenders are “Rehab” and “Before He Cheats” — and it’s a very tough call. I’ll go with Carrie, only because Grammy Voters have a trend of awarding a song in this category that’s not up for Record of the Year, and “Before” is not a Best Record contender. I also would much rather see Carrie Underwood on TV than Amy Winehouse, but that’s just icing on the cake.

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