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The Statesman

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    A Grammy Year for West

    I am going mix things up a little bit. Instead of a regular review, I would like to offer my own predictions for this year’s Grammy awards. This year is bound to be an interesting one because Kanye West has truly come back, Amy Winehouse has really stepped it up and even the Canadians have managed to make a mark.

    This year is also special in that it is the 50th one. West’s Graduation holds an incredible chance at taking Album of the Year, and I am not even factoring the sympathy votes he will get from his mother’s death.

    The one serious contender to West is Winehouse’s Back to Black, which is has the numbers and the critics backing it up. It’s funny how the same kind of publicity that might help West, might be the downfall of Winehouse. Her drug problems leave a bitter taste to what could have been not just the Album of the Year, but also the Song of the Year.

    There is pretty much one reason why West deserves to win Album of the Year. He has managed to combine hip-hop with techno and pop, even paying homage to the pop legend Joni Mitchell. He has done what Cascada did with the The Rascall Flatts’ acclaimed “What Hurts the Most,” except made it much better. It would also be interesting to see him win because only one other set of hip-hop artists have been successful, OutKast.

    My pick for Record of the Year is Justin Timberlake’s “What Goes Around … Comes Around.” I know what everyone’s thinking, but I know that you are secretly rooting for this crooning falsetto singer and break dancer. On a purely commercial basis, Timberlake might have competition from Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable.” This happens to be a third time nomination for both Beyonce and Timberlake. Although Beyonce’s hit was on the billboard for much longer than Timberlake, this just might be his year.

    I am a little disappointed with this year’s nominees for Song of the Year. I would like to see Carrie Underwood make it with “Before He Cheats,” but my enthusiasm for it is just as light as “Hey There Delilah” by the Plain White T’s. Both songs fail to go the depth that Winehouse’s “Rehab” does. But “Rehab” cuts in a little too deep for the conservative voters at the Grammys.

    My recommendation for Best New Artist is undoubtedly Feist. The spunky Canadian’s The Reminder really captured our attention when “1234” flashed across iPod Nano commercials. But the album offers an even better taste of what could only be described as vocal pop. The song also stands a good chance at Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, with the only real competition being Fergie’s chart-topping “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” Although Christina Aguilera has been a veteran of this category, her entry this year (“Candyman”) fails to itch.

    While we are on the subject of Pop Vocal Performance, Best Male will probably go to my man, Timberlake. If he could do it for “Cry Me a River” four years ago, I don’t see why he couldn’t pull it off again. As for Best Pop Performance By a Duo or Group with Vocals, it is a safe bet that Maroon 5 will repeat “This Love” with “Makes Me Wonder.” With only the Plain White T’s and Daughtry as serious competition, Maroon 5 is probably the front runner.

    This year the Grammys will present awards in a record 110 categories, so chances are most artists will snag something somewhere. Even if it’s not a winner takes all, this year’s Grammys will not cease to surprise.

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