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Do the Grammys hate Justin Bieber and the Jonas Brothers?

By Tom O'Neil
By Tom O'Neil
Feb 07 2012 10:30 am
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"Wild!" Justin Bieber Tweeted when he heard the news that "Born to Be Somebody" from "Never Say Never" got nominated for a Grammy. It's in a rather obscure, unglamorous category -- Best Song Written for Visual Media - and he doesn't personally claim a trophy if it prevails, just songwriter Diane Warren. But at least his music is back in competition after Bieber suffered two high-profile, personal defeats last year: Best New Artist and Best Pop Vocal Album.

Losing Best New Artist was, to be blunt, humiliating because even though the Bieb was one of the Hottest Stars in All Musicdom, he got squashed by little-known jazz performer Esperanza Spalding. The reason: No doubt voters didn't believe he had the same artsy cred, but, come on, look at other past winners in the category -- Culture Club, Cyndi Lauper and Milli Vanilli.

"Born to Be Somebody" was entered for consideration in the top Grammy races for Best Record and Song of the Year and Bieber submitted "My Worlds Acoustic" for Best Album, but he and Diane Warren got skunked across the board. What gives? Bieber has won two MTV Video Music Awards (including Best New Artist of 2011), four American Music Awards (including 2011 Artist of the Year), six Billboard Awards, and enough Teen Choice Awards to fill a bubblegum factory, but his kudos hopes keep getting POPPED at the Grammys.

Bottom line: Bieber suffers from the same Grammy curse that's haunted the Jonas Brothers, New Kids on the Block and scores of other tween heartthrob music stars. Girls may scream, sales may soar, but Grammy voters (mostly older guys long established in the music industry) shrug and sigh, "Ho! Hum!"

At least Bieber got nominated in a major Grammy category outside Best New Artist (he lost Best Post Album to Lady Gaga's "The Fame Monster"). The JoBros were confined to the new star race where they lost to Adele three years ago. Similar acts nommed there in years past: Chris Brown got clobbered by Carrie Underwood (2007), Backstreet Boys lost to Lauryn Hill (1999), Hanson got trounced by Paula Cole (1998), Kriss Kross lost to Arrested Development (1993) and Boyz II Men got tripped up by Marc Cohn (1992).

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Similar acts not nominated in that category: Big Time Rush, 'N Sync, New Kids on the Block, 98 Degrees, Menudo and many solo crooners from Bobby Sherman to Mitchel Musso.
Miraculously, a few boy heartthrobs have burst into the pantheon of the top three Grammy races. The Backstreet Boys were nominated for Best Album ("Millennium") and Record ("I Want It That Way") in 2000, 'N Sync earned a bid for Best Record ("Bye Bye Bye") in 2001 and Hanson got nommed for Best Record too ("MmmBop") in 1998. All lost.

In addition, two former members of boy bands earned top bids. After quitting 'N Sync, Justin Timberlake was nommed twice for Best Album ("FutureSex/ LoveSounds" in 2007, "Justified" in 2004) and twice for Best Record ("What Goes Around ... Comes Around" in 2004 and "Where Is the Love" with Black Eyed Peas in 2004).

After exiting Menudo, Ricky Martin was nommed for Best Record ("Livin' La Vida Loca") in 2000, but both Martin and Timberlake lost those top races. Timberlake has received consolation prizes six times, however, in the second tier slots for dance and pop categories and Martin won once in the latin races.

So ... now getting back to Justin Bieber's song in the running this year, how will it do?
According to a poll at Gold Derby, "Born to Be Somebody" doesn't have a prayer. Two other nominees, "I See the Light" from "Tangled" and "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" from "Burlesque" received the most votes, tying at 43% each.

"'I See the Light' will win since it was an Oscar nominee," insists Gold Derby senior editor Darrin Dortch. "Oscar nominees/winners do well in this category." He does hold out some hope that "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" could prevail since it recently won the Golden Globe. Dortch dismisses the remaining nominees, "The other three songs are filler."

Another Gold Derby editor, David Schnelwar, agrees in part: "It is between the songs from 'Tangled' and "Burlesque.'  Both films are nominated for Soundtrack too.  Usually songs from kids' films win in this category. So Zooey Deschanel's 'Winnie The Pooh' is possible too. The 'Tangled' song is a safe bet but I am going with Zooey Deschanel's 'So Long' from 'Winnie the Pooh.'"

Whichever pundit turns out to be right, they agree that "Born to Be Somebody" won't be the winner.

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