After weighing in with what will and should win in seven genres, Gold Derby's music experts David Schnelwar and Darrin Dortch turn to the four top races in the General Field.
BEST NEW ARTIST
Florence & the Machine
Mumford & Sons
David's take: Esperanza Spalding is not a crossover artist and became well known the day the Grammy nominations were announced; we have seen the same scenario previously with Susan Tedeschi (1999) and Ledisi (2008). Florence and the Machine only received one nomination; the last time an artist won with one nomination was Shelby Lynne in 2000 and before that it was Milli Vanilli in 1989. A non-American act has not won since the 1980s (Men At Work, Culture Club and Sade). This hurts Mumford and Sons' chances.
This race is between Drake and Justin Bieber. Bigger rap solo artists that Drake have lost this category: Puff Daddy (1997), 50 Cent (2003) and Kanye West (2004). Lauryn Hill won in this category but she was more R&B than Rap. Drake is nominated for three Grammys in the Rap field and could win if the Grammys honor Rap in the General field. A teen pop act aimed at girls has yet to win Best New Artist. Hanson (1997), Backstreet Boys (1998) and Jonas Brothers (2008) all lost. Bieber won Best New Artist at both the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards and the American Music Awards. He is the most well known and best-selling of the the five nominees. And he received a surprise bid for Best Pop Vocal Album. I am going out on a limb and predicting Justin Bieber for Best New Artist.
Will win: Justin Bieber
Should win: Drake
Darrin's take: In the past 20 years, Shelby Lynne is the only artist to win this category without any other corresponding nominations so it’d be a huge shock if Florence or Spalding managed to win here. Mumford & Sons are dark horses. Their album is quietly selling and their song “Little Lion Man” has done well on the radio. However, Mumford & Sons missed out on some key nominations in the rock field aside from their Best Rock Song nod.
A male solo rapper has never won here so a Drake win is unlikely, too. 50 Cent and Kanye West had bigger buzz and bigger sales and still lost. Many teen pop acts, including the Backstreet Boys, Hanson and Britney Spears, have been nominated here but few have won. In recent times, Christina Aguilera is the only bubblegum act to win here and that was over a decade ago. However, Bieber’s buzz, album sales, heavy campaigning and visibility during the voting period will likely hand him a win here. Bieber’s previous Best New Artist wins at the MTV Video Music Awards and American Music Awards are probably still fresh in voters’ minds as well.
Will Win: Justin Bieber
Should Win: Drake
Spoiler: Mumford & Sons
PREDICTIONS IN OTHER FIELDS
MUSIC VIDEO: Best Short Form
COUNTRY: Best Country Album, Best Country Song, Best Country Collaboration with Vocals, Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, Best Male Country Vocal Performance and Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
ALTERNATIVE: Best Alternative Music Album
POP: Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals, Best Pop Performance By A Duo or Group with Vocals, Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance