My old Examiner posts – Grammy beat

Skrillex surprises with five Grammy nominations
November 2011

Dubstep phenom Skrillex was not expected to be among the most-nominated artists for the 2012 Grammys, but with five nods, he’s just below Kanye West and Adele in overall nominations.

Skrillex beat out the likes of Foster the People, Wiz Khalifa, Thompson Square, Il Volo and Fitz & the Tantrums to earn a Best New Artist nomination. The honor is proof that the Recording Academy has recognized the work Skrillex has put in to bring dubstep to the masses.

Skrillex is often derided by hardcore electronic music fans, who feel his version of dubstep is bastardized, but his five nominations prove that he has even more backers on his side.

“Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” is up for Best Dance Recording, a nomination that became possible when Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and other pop artists were booted out of the category. The album of the same name is up for Best Dance/Electronica Album.

Skrillex is also up for Best Remixed Recording for his remix of Benny Benassi’s “Cinema,” and his latest video, “First of the Year (Equinox),” made the cut for Best Music Video, among a weird batch of nominees that also includes Adele, Radiohead, OK Go and Weird Al Yankovic.

Will Skrillex win a Grammy? We’ll be making our official predictions in a few weeks, but at first glance, we wouldn’t count him out of any of these categories.

Why did Lady Gaga only earn three Grammy nominations?
December 2011

One of the biggest surprises to come out of the nominations for the 2012 Grammy Awards was that Lady Gaga only snagged three nods, fewer than Bon Iver, fewer than Skrillex.

Yet, this wasn’t such a big surprise when you stop and take all factors into account. In fact, in our Record of the Year predictions, we suggested that Gaga might only get two or three nods.

Three major factors contributed to Gaga’s somewhat lackluster showing.

1) Her label failed
First and foremost, Gaga got screwed over by her record label. As we reported last month, Gaga’s label opted not to submit her two biggest hits, “Born This Way” and “The Edge of Glory,” to the biggest categories, submitting instead “You and I” and “Judas.”

“Born This Way” probably would have scored a Song of the Year nom, if not a Record of the Year nom, had it been eligible.

2) The Academy’s new dance rules
We also noted that the Recording Academy decided to kick Gaga, Britney, Kesha and other pop stars out of the Dance field. Gaga has been nominated for three years in a row for Best Dance Recording (winning in 2010 for “Poker Face”), and she surely would have been nominated again if not for that change.

3) “Born This Way” wasn’t as huge a smash like “The Fame”
This is the toughest to quantify. Though Gaga’s latest album has sold well, critics and fans seem to think it’s so-so. Whereas in the past, everything Gaga touched turned to Grammy gold, this year they made her really earn her nominations. (The same was true, by the way, for Taylor Swift, who also picked up three nods, but none in major categories.)

By far the most embarrassing result for Gaga was not getting recognized for Best Music Video. Though “Born This Way” probably deserved a nod, the Academy instead chose Weird Al Yankovic’s “Perform This Way,” the video that spoofs Gaga’s. Ouch!

How many 2012 Grammy Awards will Lady Gaga win?
This question is easy – zero. Gaga is up against Adele in every category, and (virtually) no one’s beating Adele this year. That means Gaga goes home emptyhanded.

Lady Gaga’s 2012 Grammy Awards nominations:
-Album of the Year, “Born This Way”
-Pop Vocal Album, “Born This Way”
-Pop Solo Performance, “You and I”

Arcade Fire, Esperanza Spalding shocking wins cap a memorable Grammy night
February 2011
Lady Antebellum won five awards and Lady Gaga won three, but the 2011 Grammy Awards will be remembered for the shocking wins by Arcade Fire and Esperanza Spalding for Album of the Year and Best New Artist, respectively.

In retrospect, neither win should have been that shocking. Let’s analyze these two upsets.

Just as we predicted, Lady Antebellum won five of their six nominations, including Record and Song of the Year. Their only loss was to Arcade Fire for Album of the Year. Eminem had been the big favorite, but any time a single rock act is nominated in one of the big categories, that act always has a chance.

As we noted in our Album of the Year preview, the Arcade Fire were dark horses who might prevail if the entire rock contingent within the Recording Academy banded together to support them. Evidently, that’s what happened.

The Album of the Year win was even more surprising because Arcade Fire lost both of their rock nominations to the Black Keys. Given that, there seemed to be no way the Canadian troupe could take the evening’s biggest prize.

Spalding’s win for Best New Artist was one of the biggest shocks in Grammy history, simply because she was completely unknown. Most people seemed to think either Justin Bieber or Drake would take that award. We correctly ruled out both of them in our Best New Artist analysis.

We knew the award would go to a woman, and therefore picked Florence & the Machine as the likely victor. It never occured to us that Spalding could have enough widespread support to win. But there are a ton of niche genres within the Academy – jazz, classical, world music, and so forth, and it’s likely that those folks admired Spalding’s musicianship and therefore voted for her.

Overall, despite a dreadful 1 for 9 start that had us panicking, our predictions turned out just fine, as we nailed 17 of 31 categories, a 55% success rate.

Hardcore fan alert: Here are some links if you’re interested in visiting Freddie Mercury’s birth house or Michael Jackson’s birth house.

Last Updated on July 26, 2019