Music Monday: My Year in Concerts

As a music fan, I’ve always loved going to concerts. There’s just something about hearing music live that just makes me so happy and feels like everything is right in the world, if only for a couple hours. So for this Music Monday, I thought I’d feature the concerts I went to this year.

1. Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience Tour

JT 2020 Tour

I wrote about my thoughts on this tour back when I saw it, but let me repeat – my dancer’s heart loved every single minute of it.

2. Lady AntebellumTake Me Downtown Tour

Lady Antebellum Take Me Downtown Tour

I’m very limited in my tastes when it comes to country music. Country pop I can deal with to an extent; I can’t handle real southern country twang. When I first heard Lady Antebellum, it was when they released ‘Need You Now’ and I remember thinking these guys are really cool and sound really great. I quickly became a fan, to say the least. After missing out on their Own the Night tour (which I’m still kinda bummed about because I absolutely LOVED that album), I had to make sure I got to see them the next time they were in town, which was for this tour. Though to be honest, I felt really out of place at the concert. Being a minority and a generally awkward person, I’m typically used to feeling out of place. For some reason, I felt VERY odd being one of few Asians at a country music concert (and not wearing plaid – believe me, there was A LOT of plaid). My being-out-of-place aside, Lady A are wonderful live and it was a great concert overall.

3. Gavin DeGraw

Gavin DeGraw

For years, a friend and I had complained about Gavin not doing a show in Toronto. Lucky us this year, he did 2 separate shows. This first show he did was a solo show in support of his Make A Move album. I remember still being sick/jet-lagged from my trip, but I still had so much fun seeing Gavin perform. His opening acts were Rozzi Crane (signed to Adam Levine’s label) and Parachute (a pop-rock band I’ve followed for some time now), both of whom were really solid.

4. Justin Nozuka

Justin Nozuka

It had been years since I’d last seen Justin Nozuka in concert and when I found out he was releasing a new album and coming back to Toronto, I jumped right on it. Personally, I don’t really like the new album; it’s a little too mellow for my tastes. And most of the concert was comprised of the new material so I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more of the old stuff. I still cherished him performing ‘After Tonight’ midway through the show; it was quite a pick-me-up that got everybody grooving and singing along. I just wish there was a little more of it.

5. Michael Buble – To Be Loved Tour

Michael Buble To Be Loved Tour

I love seeing Michael Buble in concert. I always say this but when you go see him, you get a little bit of a comedy show as well. It’s his natural sense of humour and self-deprecation. Once again, he brought out Naturally 7 (a very cool acapella group) as his opening act, and who later returned to do a couple songs acapella with Michael. And one of my favourites parts of the show was actually when Michael performed part of a song by himself, with no accompaniment and no mic – a feat all in itself considering he was playing in a huge arena.

6. Matt Nathanson & Gavin DeGraw

Matt Nathanson Gavin DeGraw

 

I always love seeing Matt Nathanson in concert (this was my 5th time seeing him) and add to that, getting to see Gavin for a second time within 3 months? Yeah, it was a no brainer. Despite the fact that the show was at the Sound Academy, a venue in Toronto I have associated with bad memories. Even so, I had to go see this double headlining tour of two of my favourites. My friend and I actually got lucky and received a VIP upgrade when we got there, allowing us to go to the second floor of the club. But after about 20 minutes upstairs, we made our way back down to stand with the masses; it just felt weird standing up top and what’s the point of VIP if you don’t even get to meet the artists? Regardless of that, it was a fantastic show!

7. Tyler Hilton

Tyler Hilton

It wasn’t that long ago that my friends and I complained about Tyler never playing a show in Toronto, despite the fact that he was constantly in the area (his now fiancé, Megan Park, is from London, Ontario). Since seeing him in 2012 for the first time, this was show number 5. I remember Tyler was actually battling a bit of a cold and kinda losing his voice, but he powered through his (albeit shortened) set. AND to make up for the fact that he didn’t do as long a set as he normally does, he agreed to do a meet and greet, taking pictures with fans.

8. Jason Mraz and Raining Jane

Jason Mraz & Raining Jane

For his new album Yes!, Jason Mraz worked exclusively with a wonderfully talented female band, Raining Jane. It was more a collaborative album than a simple Jason Mraz album. That being said, the two took the album on the road, and I got the chance to see them at the historic Massey Hall. Massey Hall is a venue that is known for its amazing acoustics and ended up being a fantastic place for Jason and Jane.

9. Kris Allen and Boyce Avenue

Kris AllenTechnically, it was Boyce Avenue’s show, with Kris Allen supporting, but I was there to go see Kris since I had yet to see him live in concert. Plus, I wasn’t going to say no to a $30 concert ticket. Kris’ set was a short 45 minutes but he managed to squeeze quite a number of songs from all three albums, plus a couple cover songs (Sia’s ‘Chandelier’ and Sam Smith’s ‘Stay With Me’). ‘Monster’, a song from his 2nd album, is one of my favourites from Kris, but man, to hear it live? Kris and his band took it to another level. I even went so far as to compare it to hearing Maroon 5 perform ‘Sweetest Goodbye’ (my absolute favourite M5 song) live. Pure perfection. As for Boyce Avenue, I was familiar with their cover songs but not their original material. Honestly, I thought their originals were a little blah, and I actually got a little bored hearing them perform. Talented guys, just not into them.

10. Justin TimberlakeThe 20/20 Experience Tour (again!)

JT 20/20 TourIt only seemed appropriate that I end my concert year the same way I started it – seeing JT. The guy never ceases to amaze me and I always have SO much fun at his shows. I feel like I’m just gushing at this point, but what can I say, I’m a dancer at heart and loved singing/dancing along.

With 10 concerts, I feel like that’s the most shows I’ve ever been to in a year, and that’s not even including theatre shows, plus TIFF and SDCC. At this point, concert-going is like my life, so I can’t even keep track anymore. Here’s to another fun-filled, musical year in 2015!

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54th Grammy Award Winners

It was only yesterday that I realized that I never actually wrote a post about the nominees (mostly due to the fact that I was on vacation when they were announced). Oh well, I’ll just post my comments that I would have in the previous post here, along with the winners.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Winner: Adele, 21
Bruno Mars, Doo Wops and Hooligans
Foo Fighters, Wasting Light
Lady Gaga, Born This Way
Rihanna, Loud

I was awfully surprised at the inclusion of Rihanna’s album. Personally, I didn’t think much of it. I would much rather have had Lady Antebellum’s Own the Night or Jay-Z & Kanye West’s Watch the Throne been nominated instead of Rihanna and Lady Gaga but that’s just me. Regardless, Adele won and deservedly so. 21 was without a doubt THE BEST ALBUM of the year.

RECORD OF THE YEAR
Winner: Adele “Rolling in the Deep”
Bon Iver “Holocene”
Bruno Mars “Grenade”
Katy Perry “Firework”
Mumford and Sons “The Cave”

Adele won for the biggest song of the year, that was a given. But I was a little surprised that Katy Perry was nominated, especially when songs like Jason Aldean & Kelly Clarkson’s “Don’t You Wanna Stay”, Lady Antebellum’s “Just A Kiss” and Jay-Z & Kanye West’s “Otis” were around released in the past year.

SONG OF THE YEAR
Winner: Adele “Rolling in the Deep”
Kanye West ft. Rihanna, Fergie & Kid Cudi “All of the Lights”
Mumford and Sons “The Cave”
Bruno Mars “Grenade”
Bon Iver “Holocene”

Again, I don’t think it would have mattered who was nominated because no question, Adele was going to win…and she did.

BEST NEW ARTIST
Winner: Bon Iver
The Band Perry
J. Cole
Nicki Minaj
Skrillex

To me, this was a ‘meh’ group of artists nominated for this category. I mean this was really the best new artists of the past year? If he hadn’t won a Grammy last year, I’m sure Bruno Mars would’ve been nominated here (under the latest Grammy rule for the category) and won. Others who should have been nominated? Christina Perri, The Civil Wars, Jessie J…any or all 3 would’ve been great. Alas, Bon Iver ended up winning the award, a surprise to many but not much to me. Granted, I haven’t really listened to their music but unlike many others, I really didn’t think Nicki Minaj was going to win. If Drake couldn’t win last year, there was no way Nicki was going to.

BEST POP SOLO PERFORMANCE
Winner: Adele “Someone Like You”
Bruno Mars “Grenade”
Katy Perry “Firework”
Lady Gaga “You and I”
Pink “Fuckin’ Perfect”

For this year’s Grammys, the male and female performance categories were shrunk into one, which I actually don’t mind because over the years we’ve been getting nominees that weren’t quite pop. That being said, I guess there weren’t any real issues with the nominees. All the songs were some of the biggest pop songs of the year. I do think though that Jessie J’s “Price Tag” should’ve been in contention or (longshot) Matt Nathanson’s “Modern Love.” But like it mattered anyways because Adele won.

BEST POP DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE
Winner: Tony Bennett & Amy Winehouse “Body and Soul”
The Black Keys “Dearest”
Coldplay “Paradise”
Foster the People “Pumped Up Kicks”
Maroon 5 & Christina Aguilera “Moves Like Jagger”

What I said before about nominees not quite being pop, totally applies here. I thought Black Keys were considered alternative and Coldplay are also nominated under rock, so there’s that. Would’ve liked to see The Script nominated for “For the First Time” but I was happy enough with Maroon 5’s nod. I was obviously pulling for M5 to win but there was no way you were gonna bet against Tony Bennett & Amy Winehouse.

BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM
Winner: Adele, 21
Bruno Mars, Doo-Wops and Hooligans
Cee Lo Green, The Lady Killer
Lady Gaga, Born This Way
Rihanna, Loud

No problems here except for maybe the fact that most of the Album of the Year nominees were from this category. Again, there was no betting against Adele.

BEST COUNTRY DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE
Winner: The Civil Wars “Barton Hollow”
Jason Aldean & Kelly Clarkson “Don’t You Wanna Stay”
Kenny Chesney ft. Grace Potter “You and Tequila”
Thompson Square “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not”

I normally wouldn’t care about country all that much but Kelly Clarkson for her song with Jason Aldean was nominated! Unfortunately, they lost but they lost to The Civil Wars who were just as deserving of the award. My one surprise in this category was Lady Antebellum’s lack of a nomination for “Just A Kiss”.

BEST COUNTRY ALBUM
Winner: Lady Antebellum, Own the Night
Blake Shelton, Red River Blue
Eric Church, Chief
George Strait, Here for a Good Time
Jason Aldean, My Kinda Party
Taylor Swift, Speak Now

Didn’t really care about this category that much. I thought Taylor Swift was going to win, but I was so happy when Lady Antebellum won instead. I am totally in love with “Own the Night”, it’s just such a great album and totally deserved to win.

BEST RAP PERFORMANCE: Jay-Z & Kanye West “Otis” – Honestly, I’m just happy this song won.

BEST SCORE SOUNDTRACK: The King’s Speech – I get it, it was good. But when I re-read the nominations for this category and realized that the score for “The Social Network” wasn’t nominated, I was astonished. HOW? Reznor and Ross’s score was amazing, that’s why they won an Oscar for it.

As for the performances, Adele and Jennifer Hudson’s respective performances were spectacular. Taylor Swift has never sounded better live. Jason Aldean & Kelly Clarkson were great until there was a mic problem near the end of the song. The Beach Boys reunion, with assistance by Maroon 5 and Foster the People was cool. Foo Fighters continue to amaze me with their live performances (I’ve never really listened to them so they’re successfully converting me into a fan).

All in all, not a bad night for music.

Favourites of 2011

It is December 31st, last day of 2011 – I’d say it’s about time I do my favourites list for the year.

FAVOURITE ALBUMS

  • Adele – 21: This was Adele’s year, you can’t argue with that. I had already liked her from her debut album, but her sophomore effort made me a bonafide fan. Not to mention, hearing her perform live is absolutely INCREDIBLE.
  • Kelly Clarkson – Stronger: Right, because Kelly Clarkson comes out with a new album and I wasn’t going to put it among my favourites? HA! I don’t know what to really say about Kelly Clarkson. She has always been one of my favourite artists, and with each album she releases, there’s a quality about them that makes you connect to it. ‘Stronger’ is no exception; I’ll be listening to it well into 2012.
  • Matt Nathanson – Modern Love: Funny thing about Matt Nathanson, I didn’t really listen to his music before. I mean I had his music on my hard drive but I didn’t listen to it all that often to consider myself a fan. Then I went to see him in concert before his new album got released and now I listen to him all the time. And I saw him in concert a 2nd time, and hopefully a 3rd time in 2012 when he opens up for Kelly Clarkson’s tour. ‘Modern Love’ is just a really good album, with great songs and lots of memories.
  • Lady Antebellum – Own the Night: Last year, I talked about how I loved Lady Antebellum’s song “Need You Now.” This year, my appreciation for them went up another level with their latest album. I’ve never been a big country music fan, but I really love ‘Own the Night.’ It’s an album that definitely has that crossover appeal, but not so much where it’s like Taylor Swift (not that there’s anything wrong with Swift.)
  • The Script – Science and Faith: Technically, this album got released in late 2010 but that was only in Europe. Us North Americans didn’t get the album  until early 2011, so it makes the cut. They pretty much took what was great about their first album and did it again, with bigger hooks.
  • James Morrison – The Awakening: A three-year wait for this follow-up of ‘Songs for You, Truths for Me’ seemed like AGES, but totally worth it. James Morrison just does not disappoint.

FAVOURITE MOVIES

Admittedly, I didn’t see that many movies this year, especially in theatres, and so I’ve been catching up as they’ve gotten released on DVD (or I watched it on the plane during my vacation). I’m sure this list would’ve been more extensive had I seen more movie, but this will do.

  • Crazy Stupid Love: Cast alone – Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone – I’m pretty sure we were guaranteed a good movie experience. Also, let’s not forget the line that hooked us all – “It’s like you’re photoshopped!” What could’ve easily been a cliche-filled chick flick, ‘Crazy Stupid Love’ was everything a romantic comedy should be –  a comedy about love with a lot of heart.
  • Like Crazy: Saw this at the Toronto International Film Festival, and absolutely loved it. It’s a heartbreaking story about 2 people who are trying to keep a long-distance relationship alive, and all these obstacles that come with their situation. You might’ve seen something like this portrayed in other movies, but not in the same way that it was done here. Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin made you believe every moment, every struggle. It felt so real, you forgot you were watching a movie.
  • Midnight in Paris: A Woody Allen movie that seemed to appeal to a much wider audience. I myself can’t even pinpoint exactly why I liked the movie so much. It could’ve been the whole modern look at the 1920s and the culture of the 1920s, mixed along with the fact that it was set in Paris, which has its own magical quality to it.
  • Martha Marcy May Marlene: After hearing such great things about it from Sundance, when I found out they were playing it at TIFF, I knew I had to go see it. I remember after seeing the movie, not knowing exactly how I felt about, which I think is what makes it such a good movie. It’s a different kind of movie. It’s sort of a psychological thriller but not. It kept you on edge. Also, Elizabeth Olsen is a wonder playing the title character(s). She’s definitely got a bright future ahead of her.
  • The Adjustment Bureau: A smart sci-fi type of thriller. From beginning to end, the movie hooks you. Although I must admit from time to time, I did compare the movie to a mix of ‘Fringe’ and ‘Monsters, Inc. ‘ (the Bureau is like the Fringe Observers, and get around town using doors like the monsters from Monsters, Inc.).
  • X-Men First Class: With the exception of January Jones, the rest of the cast was great. Going back to the beginning of the X-Men storyline was a breath of fresh air in the series.
  • Super 8: J.J. Abrams. Steven Spielberg. Alien invasion type movie. Do you really need more? Yes? Well, how about the fact that the movie is carried by a group of kids and it works? Kids acting that well at that age just make the rest of us look bad. Oh well, still a really good movie.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2: This list wouldn’t be complete without Harry Potter. It’s the end of an era! And there’s nothing else to say about it.

FAVOURITE TV SHOWS

  • Nikita: The show was good when it started and slowly found its footing getting to its winter finale in 2010. When 2011 came, the show came back kicking ass. I was already a fan, but I became an obsessive nerd about the show, always on the lookout for where they were filming in hopes of meeting Maggie Q and Shane West. I hope that despite its Friday timeslot, the show continues to thrive and be picked up for another season because I can’t imagine a Nikita-less TV world.
  • Once Upon A Time: They got me hooked at the mention of fairy-tales. Fairy-tale characters cursed to live their lives as normal people, with no recollection of their other life? Genius. Obviously, the trick is balancing the fairy-tale world with the real world, and so far it’s working.
  • Revenge: I figured I would like this show when I first heard about it/saw previews, I didn’t realize how much I would love it. ABC bringing back the primetime soap? Good call. Emily Van Camp is wonderful in her role as Emily Thorne, out to get payback for her father. Madeleine Stowe as Victoria Grayson is flat out perfect. Twists, turns, backstabbings, cliffhangers – the show’s got it all.
  • Happy Endings: So many shows have come and gone, trying to do the whole comedy about a group of friends, which inevitably lead to being compared to ‘Friends,’ yet somehow ‘Happy Endings’ stood out. The hook of the show was that 2 within the group were getting married but then Dave gets left at the altar by Alex, and the friends trying to deal with having to pick sides. But the show’s grown so much from that. They still bring up the Dave-Alex relationship here and there, but the show is now really about this group of friends. Also, they have endless amounts of pop culture references which is really all I need to stay tuned!
  • Hart of Dixie: Regardless of the fact of whether you believe Rachel Bilson as a doctor or not, this show is so full of charm. With a cast that includes Rachel, Scott Porter, Wilson Bethel, Jaime King, and Cress Williams, the chemistry is endless. Once you start watching, you can’t help but like it.
  • How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, Fringe, Community, So You Think You Can Dance, Modern Family, The Vampire Diaries: Because I still really love these shows, and there’s nothing else to say about it.

53rd Grammy Award Winners

Better late than never right? So the biggest night in music came and went, and two days later, I’m still not entirely sure how I felt about it. I mean I love the Grammys – I love award shows in general – but this year’s show just seemed like such a mix bag, not just with the actual winners but the performances as well.

WINNERS

Album of the Year: Arcade Fire, “The Suburbs” – Shocker! Their win was surprising for two reasons. First, they beat Eminem and Lady Antebellum. I was almost certain Eminem was gonna take it, and then with the night Lady A was having, I thought maybe they were gonna sweep it all. Second, Arcade Fire didn’t even win in the Best Alternative Album category (that went to The Black Keys). Through the years that I’ve actually followed the Grammys, the AOTY winner didn’t win in their own category?

Record of the Year/Song of the Year: Lady Antebellum, “Need You Now” – They totally deserved it. I’ve said this many times before, but I fell in love with this song when they performed it at last year’s Grammys. One year later, I’m still not tired of it! (Except for maybe the dance remix that our local radio station insists on playing – that’s just annoying). Also, I totally called that Lady A would win ROTY purely because they were up against 4 hip-hop/rap songs which were all amazing, and it would’ve been hard to choose one.

Best New Artist: Esperanza Spalding – I’m sorry, but who are you? I’m happy Beiber didn’t win, but I was pulling for Drake all the way!

Best Female Pop Vocal Performance: Lady Gaga, “Bad Romance” – I was hoping for Sara Bareilles to win, but with Gaga nominated, I knew it wasn’t happening. Sara’s Grammy win will come one day.

Best Male Pop Vocal Performance: Bruno Mars, “Just the Way You Are” – I feel conflicted with Bruno Mars’ win. On the one side, he totally deserves it. It’s a great song. On the other side, now that he’s won a Grammy, he’s not eligible for Best New Artist next year.

Best Pop Performance by a Duo/Group: Train, “Hey Soul Sister (Live)” – I admit it, I’m biased, I wanted Maroon 5 to win. I always want my favs to win, so sue me. But “Hey Soul Sister” was undeniably EVERYWHERE in the past year or two so I guess they deserved to win. I’m gonna call it now though, Maroon 5 will at the very least be nominated next year for “Never Gonna Leave This Bed” (but then again, that’s me being biased.)

Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals: Herbie Hancock and others, “Imagine” – I knew it! Throw a handful of artists together on one song, and nobody else stands a chance.

Best Pop Vocal Album: Lady Gaga, “The Fame Monster” – Was it really that much of a surprise? Nope.

Best Rock Album: Muse, “The Resistance” – Awesome album. Granted, that was the only album nominated in the category that I actually listened to.

Best Rap Album: Eminem, “Recovery” – At least Eminem won this one. He really should’ve won more Grammys though. Shame.

Best Urban/Alternative Performance: Cee-Lo Green, “Fuck You” – Happy he won something for this song. Although the one thing I’ve got to say is how hilarious it was seeing how they handled the song title. The Grammys had to go the long route and call it “The song otherwise known as Forget You”. Too funny.

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys, “Empire State of Mind” – It really was between this song and “Love the Way You Lie”. Don’t think there’s much else to say about it.

PERFORMANCES

Aretha Franklin Tribute – Not sure how I felt about it, which should’ve been an indication of how the rest of the night went. On paper, it should’ve been CRAZY AMAZING with all the voices involved (Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Yolanda Adams, Martina McBride, and Florence Welch). But with everyone trying to outdo one another with the vocal runs, it just seemed like overkill.

Lady Gaga – I’m not a Gaga fan so I really could’ve cared less. But “Born This Way” with its completely obvious similarities to Madonna’s “Express Yourself” and “Vogue” were so distracting.

B.o.B., Bruno Mars, and Janelle Monae – Their performance was, without a doubt, one of the best of the night. I definitely love it when artists change up their songs for award shows or televised performances because it gives us a fresher take on songs we hear all the time on radio.

Lady Antebellum – Some people may not have liked their stripped-down set, but it was a nice contrast to the flash of some of the other performances.

Cee-Lo Green, Gwyneth Paltrow, and the Muppets – It was just a great performance!  I kinda noticed when Gwyneth didn’t sing part of a line while she was getting up to stand on the piano, but hey, she got up on the piano with KILLER HEELS! Why there is some hate towards Gwyneth is unbelievable. She’s mad talented.

Eminem, Dr. Dre, with Rihanna, Adam Levine, and Skylar Grey – First thing’s first, I got totally excited when the Grammys announced that Adam was performing with Eminem and Dre. I mean how random but awesome is that?! Consider me disappointed when Adam was relegated to just accompanying Rihanna on “Love the Way You Lie (Part II).” I mean what a wasted opportunity. It reminds me of a few years back when John Mayer and John Legend only accompanied Alicia Keys and Fergie, on their respective songs. Anyways, the rest of the performance was awesome – like how could it not?

Katy Perry – I applaud her for starting off with “Not Like the Movies” but then she went into “Teenage Dream” which wasn’t really all that spectacular. We’ve heard her do this before. She could’ve changed it up a little. Heck, all she really needed to do was bring in Darren Criss.

Rihanna & Drake – Uhmmm, why did Rihanna get to perform twice? Rihanna was really only nominated for “Love the Way You Lie” (I know she was nominated and won for “Only Girl” but that was for Best Dance Recording…) and she got to perform it. I didn’t really see a need for her to come out again and perform “What’s My Name?”. They should’ve just let Drake do his own performance. Or you know, give Esperanza Spalding a chance to perform (outside of the Grammy Jazz Ensemble thing), so people would’ve sort of known who she was when she won?

So that’s all I’ve got. Here’s hoping next year’s show is better. Oh, and also, maybe let’s get a couple more awards handed out DURING the show? It is called the Grammy AWARDS, not Grammy CONCERT. Just puttin’ it out there.

53rd Annual Grammy Award Nominations

It’s that time of year again! Award season is upon us, with nominations for some of the biggest names in movies and music are slowly announced. Last night, with the official live nomination concert, we found out the nominees for this year’s Grammy Awards. And as usual, here comes the accompanying rave/rant blog post!

RECORD OF THE YEAR

  • B.o.B. ft. Bruno Mars – Nothin’ On You
  • Eminem ft. Rihanna – Love the Way You Lie
  • Cee-Lo Green – F**k You
  • Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind
  • Lady Antebellum – Need You Now

I absolutely love how rap & hip-hop is so dominant in this category. All these songs are without a doubt some of the best and most well-received songs of the year. This is gonna be a tough category, but if I had to choose which will win, I think I’m gonna have to give the edge to Eminem & Rihanna. This is Eminem’s year. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Lady Antebellum won because of the number of rap & hip-hop songs nominated alongside them, and voters could be split.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

  • Arcade Fire “The Suburbs”
  • Eminem “Recovery”
  • Lady Antebellum “Need You Now”
  • Lady Gaga “The Fame Monster”
  • Katy Perry “Teenage Dream”

I’m surprised that Jay-Z’s “The Blueprint Vol. 3” didn’t get nominated, but there’s no doubt whatsoever that Eminem is winning this.

SONG OF THE YEAR

  • Ray LaMontagne – Beg Steal or Borrow
  • Cee-Lo Green – F**k You
  • Miranda Lambert – The House That Built Me
  • Eminem ft. Rihanna – Love the Way You Lie
  • Lady Antebellum – Need You Now

As always, this category is not to be confused with Record of the Year. This category awards the songwriters for any given song, while ROTY awards the artist and producers of a song. If Lady Antebellum does not win for Record, they’ll win here. The song was just so damn good. I remember them performing this song at last year’s Grammys, and that was it, I became a fan after that performance.

BEST NEW ARTIST

  • Justin Beiber
  • Drake
  • Florence and the Machine
  • Mumford and Sons
  • Esperanza Spalding

Drake is taking this, hands down. If for some reason he does not win, I sure as hell hope that Florence and the Machine win. Justin Beiber? Really? And I don’t even know who the other 2 are. I’ve heard the name Mumford and Sons in passing, but that’s about it. I really don’t know who Esperanza Spalding is. You know what would’ve been great? If Matt Morris or Ry Cuming got nominated, although granted, they were longshots. I would’ve even taken Kris Allen or Adam Lambert, but the only Idol to have been nominated in this category was Carrie Underwood, and that was because she was a lock to win (which she did).

BEST FEMALE POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE

  • Sara Bareilles – King of Anything
  • Beyonce – Halo (Live)
  • Norah Jones – Chasing Pirates
  • Lady Gaga – Bad Romance
  • Katy Perry – Teenage Dream

Because I’m a big fan, I want Sara Bareilles to win. However, her chances are a little on the low side, due to Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.

BEST MALE POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE

  • Michael Buble – Haven’t Met You Yet
  • Michael Jackson – This Is It
  • Adam Lambert – Whataya Want From Me
  • Bruno Mars – Just the Way You Are
  • John Mayer – Half of My Heart

If we base it on previous years, John Mayer practically has it in the bag. But he’s got serious competition this year. Personally, if I had to choose, as much as I love “Just the Way You Are”, I love “Haven’t Met You Yet” more.

BEST POP PERFORMANCE BY A DUO OR GROUP WITH VOCALS

  • Glee Cast – Don’t Stop Believin’ [Regionals Version]
  • Maroon 5 – Misery
  • Paramore – The Only Exception
  • Sade – Babyfather
  • Train – Hey Soul Sister (Live)

First of all, GLEE IS NOMINATED?! Not just for a compilation soundtrack (which they are nominated for), but for an actual song. I mean, don’t get me wrong I love Glee, it’s just a little surprising, that’s all. Secondly, why is it the live version of “Hey Soul Sister”? Regardless, Maroon 5 HAS TO WIN! Chalk it up to me being biased, I don’t care, I just want them to win.

BEST POP COLLABORATION WITH VOCALS

  • B.o.B. ft. Eminem & Hayley Williams – Airplanes, Part II
  • Herbie Hancock, Pink, India.Arie, Seal, Konono No 1, Jeff Beck & Oumou Sangare – Imagine
  • Elton John & Leon Russell – If It Wasn’t for Bad
  • Lady Gaga & Beyonce – Telephone
  • Katy Perry ft. Snoop Dogg – California Gurls

I have a strong feeling that Herbie Hancock and co. will take this. Never underestimate the veterans, not to mention that’s a lot of people in one song. Otherwise, I would think that Lady Gaga and Beyonce would take it.

BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM

  • Justin Beiber “My World 2.0”
  • Susan Boyle “I Dreamed A Dream”
  • Lady Gaga “The Fame Monster”
  • John Mayer “Battle Studies”
  • Katy Perry “Teenage Dream”

I can’t believe Beiber is nominated here. SERIOUSLY? You’re telling me that his album is better than Maroon 5’s “Hands All Over,” Sara Bareilles’ “Kaleidoscope Heart” or Florence and the Machine’s “Lungs”? REALLY? I’ll take Susan Boyle’s nom because it sold a ridiculous number of albums, Gaga because it’s Gaga. But Beiber? COME ON! I hate to go against John Mayer in terms of his music, but I’m pretty sure Katy Perry’s gonna win.

BEST RAP/SUNG COLLABORATION

  • B.o.B ft. Bruno Mars – Nothin’ On You
  • Chris Brown, Tyga, Kevin McCall – Deuces
  • Eminem ft. Rihanna – Love the Way You Lie
  • Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind
  • John Legend, The Roots, Melanie Fiona & Common – Wake Up! Everybody

Another tough one to call, but ultimately will be down to Eminem & Rihanna vs. Jay-Z & Alicia Keys.

And that’s all from me. Most of my comments are with the Pop categories anyways. What can I say? I’m a pop music fan first, everything else second. Overall, Eminem received 10 nominations, followed by Bruno Mars (for performing/producing/songwriting) with 7, and Jay-Z, Lady Antebellum & Lady Gaga each with 6 nominations. The Grammy Awards will air on CBS, February 13th, 2011.