I asked our Grammy forums moderators David Schnelwar ("Guru") and Darrin Dortch ("Double D") to duke it out over who they expect will be nominated for record of the year when Grammy bids are unveiled on Dec. 7.
Looks like they're in sync on three tunes: James Blunt's "You're Beautiful," Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" and Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie." David expects the last two nominee slots to be filled by the Dixie Chicks' "Not Ready to Make Nice" (I hope he's right) and Madonna's "Hung Up" (I hope he's wrong). Darrin foresees the inclusion of Mary J. Blige's "Be Without You" (she's overdue for her first bid in this category — this tune's fine by me) and Justin Timberlake's "SexyBack" (I hope he's wrong — that thang ain't even a song!)
Below are each of their views on the top race. First, David since his predix arrived before Darrin's:
RECORD OF THE YEAR
James Blunt - "You're Beautiful"
Dixie Chicks - "Not Ready To Make Nice"
Gnarls Barkley - "Crazy"
Madonna - "Hung Up"
Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean - "Hips Don't Lie"
Nelly Furtado featuring Timbaland - "Promiscuous"
Justin Timberlake featuring Timbaland - "SexyBack"
Corinne Bailey Rae - "Put Your Records On"
Snow Patrol - "Chasing Cars"
KT Tunstall - "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree"
"You're Beautiful," "Crazy" and "Hips Don't Lie" were released in the first half of this year and have been ubiquitous and universally praised throughout the year.
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Photo: Shakira shakes those hips, James Blunt rests his and Gnarls Barkley shakes up reality to prove how crazy they are!
(Sony/ Atlantic/ Wea)
I have often referred to a parallel between the Grammys and VH1. If "Not Ready to Make Nice" receives nominations in the General Field, it will once again show the impact of that music channel, since VH1 was the only outlet playing this song.
Madonna opened the 2005 Grammy Awards telecast performing "Hung Up" with Gorillaz. This song was not yet eligible in 2005. Previously, both Celine Dion ("My Heart Will Go On") and Alan Jackson ("Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning") performed those songs a year before they were eligible. The following year they were nominated in the General Field. In the past 10 years, Madonna has been nominated for record of the year for "Ray of Light" and "Music."
"SexyBack" is the #1 song of 2006, but I would be surprised if a song with such repetitive lyrics gets nominated.
The Grammys love singer/songwriters like KT Tunstall and Corinne Bailey Rae. They are both from the UK. Will that help them or hurt them?
Will Nelly Furtado's "Promiscuous" be this year's "Hollaback Girl"? Could Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars" be this year's "Clocks"? Unfortunately there is no big Hip-Hop record this year that will make the cut.
Now Darrin's predix:
RECORD OF THE YEAR
"Be Without You," Mary J. Blige
"You're Beautiful," James Blunt
"Crazy," Gnarls Barkley
"Hips Don't Lie," Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean
"SexyBack," Justin Timberlake
"How to Save A Life," or "Over My Head," The Fray
"Promiscuous," Nelly Furtado featuring Timbaland
"Hung Up," Madonna
"Bad Day," Daniel Powter
"Chasing Cars," Snow Patrol
"Black Horse and the Cherry Tree," KT Tunstall
Record of the year is usually a doozy to predict, but I feel confident that Blige, Blunt, Gnarls Barkley, Shakira and JT will be our final five. Last year, NARAS only threw one wrench into the nominations (the Gorillaz's "Feel Good Inc."), but otherwise the best-record nominees were very predictable. Unless the blue-ribbon panel decides to snub mainstream hits, this year shouldn't be much different. R&B and hip-hop music were fairly low-key this year, but I can't imagine NARAS totally snubbing the genres in the general field; I'd be surprised if Blige isn't nominated for the biggest R&B hit of the year. Blunt is one of those singer-songwriters that NARAS loves and, unless "You're Beautiful" splits votes with Powter's equally successful "Bad Day," then Blunt should easily make it in here. "Hips Don't Lie" and "SexyBack" are the two biggest songs of the year and Shakira and Timberlake are two of the biggest pop stars on the planet this year, so they're in. Gnarls Barkley will get the indie/rock slot.