This is a unique year at the Grammy Awards, because there’s not a single lock for the 2013 Album of the Year category. No critical favorite Adele record or multiplatinum Lady Gaga album that is guaranteed to score a nomination.
Rather than simply nominating the five best albums of the year, the Recording Academy typically likes to make sure that every genre is represented, so we’re likely to have at least nominee from rock, rap and country music.
Let’s start with the critical favorite, Frank Ocean. His Channel Orange will probably sit stop most year-end lists, and it’s the closest thing to a lock in terms of scoring a nomination, although the Academy could look at its poor sales (relative to the other contenders) and pass it over.
While Ocean’s record would fulfill the R&B field, it doesn’t Take Care of the hip hop slot, so pencil in Drake’s album there, since hip hop really doesn’t have much else to choose from this year (aside from maybe Nicki Minaj.)
As for the rock nominee, we like Babel by Mumford & Sons, based on the love they’ve received from the Grammys in the past. Coldplay, Jack White and the Black Keys are also solid contenders, but their albums came out several months ago and that’s often a negative factor when it comes to voting. Or, the Academy could follow-up on its hip Arcade Fire nom from a couple years back and go with an alternative-leaning band like Fun. or Gotye.
As for country music, we only see a handful of possibilities. Miranda Lambert has had an Album of the Year nod coming for some time now, so we like the reigning three-time CMA Female Vocalist of the Year to get recognized for Four the Record. Others on the slim list of country contenders are Carrie Underwood and Eric Church. The Academy could decide to skip country music in the category this year.
Now onto pop music. In recent years, dance-pop acts like Gaga, Rihanna, Beyonce and the Black Eyed Peas have taken nominations. RiRi is a possibility again, but we think voters may look towards Florence & the Machine, Pink and Maroon 5, three mainstream acts with solid record sales. Expect Flo to get the nod, though that could be wishful thinking since we loved Ceremonials.
Longer shots include Lionel Richie, Bruce Springsteen, Justin Bieber and Kelly Clarkson. And to put a few names to rest: One Direction, Fiona Apple, the Lumineers and Madonna have zero chance.
Here’s our final prediction list. It’s lighter on star power than the Academy would prefer, which could encourage them to sneak in Coldplay, Minaj, Maroon 5 or Pink instead of Lambert or Florence.
2013 Grammy Awards: Album of the Year nomination predictions
Take Care, Drake
Ceremonials, Florence + the Machine
Four the Record, Miranda Lambert
Babel, Mumford & Sons
Channel Orange, Frank Ocean
Who do you think will get nominated for Album of the Year at the 2013 Grammy Awards?