Grammys may disappoint again
When a risqu dress generates the biggest hoopla at a music award show, the ceremony's credibility begins to come into question. Such was the case at last year's Grammy telecast when Jennifer Lopez's revealing ensemble managed to overwhelm even Carlos Santana's multiple victory evening.
But drab festivities are nothing new to the Grammys. Despite such "breakthroughs" as the inception of The Best Native American Album award and the inclusion, for the first time ever, of a female nominee in the polka category, this year's program will once again suffer from the frustrating assortment of lackluster nominees that has plagued the show for decades.
The focus of tonight's telecast of the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards, however, was determined back in January, when controversial rapper Eminem received four nods, including one for Best Album. It'll take a lot more than a partially exposed chest to veer the attention away from Em's multiple nominations, multiple protesters against his misogynistic and homophobic lyrics and highly anticipated duet with openly gay pop legend Elton John.
Hopefully the night's MC, "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart, can turn comic gold into music parody much to the same effect he successfully satirized last year's presidential race. At least following in the footsteps of Rosie O' Donnell should be a simple feat.
Here are some predictions for this year's most prestigious categories:
Album of the year
Who should win: Experimentation can often go awry, but for Radiohead, their ground-breaking effort, "Kid A," is a mesmerizing, highly distinctive accomplishment that was far and away the greatest musical achievement in 2000.
Who will win: "Midnight Vultures." Beck's long awaited, but uninspiring follow-up to "Odelay" is merely a "poser" nod, a way for voters to say "I'm hip" a few years too late. Equally undeserved is Paul Simon's appearance in this category, which just goes to show that big-named stalwarts have a free ticket to Grammy nominations. "Kid A" lies too far removed from the mainstream, leaving Eminem and Steely Dan to duke it out for the night's top honors. Expect sympathy and nostalgia to give "Two Against Nature" the victory.
Record of the year
Who should win: While Britney and Christina continued to battle for teen-pop diva bragging rights, Madonna quietly rose to Billboard's top slot with her electro-Euro dance thumper, "Music." With the release of "Music," Madonna proved her ability to reinvent herself once again, showing that it takes jaw-dropping visionary genius in sound, not just appearance, to remain in the public's eye.
Who will win: Out of all the singles to come off "Writing's on the Wall" last year, "Say My Name" was arguably the lamest. Personally, I'm a "Bugaboo" kind of guy. This will come down to an epic battle of the veterans. Ultimately, "Music" will make the voters come together and give Madonna the gold.
Song of the year
Who should win: It's hard to believe that this category, supposedly meant to recognize achievements in songwriting, is cluttered with trite top 40 pop hits. U2 wins by default.
Who will win: After watching the oh-so-endearing Faith Hill "Behind the Music," it's hard not to fall head over heels for the country turned pop bombshell. Too bad her music is as bland as the Food Court flank steak. Nevertheless, Hill's mass appeal will earn her the Grammy.
Best new artist
Who should win: The future looks bright for the world of R&B with Philadelphia's Jill Scott on the scene. Her debut effort "Who Is Jill Scott?" is more or less inappropriately titled at this point, having earned universal critical praise and gradual commercial success.
Who will win: The future looks bleak for the world of R&B -- and the music industry in general -- when a tribute to thongs can single-handily earn an artist a Grammy nomination, let alone a victory. Expect Sisqo to become yet another "Best New Artist" who you won't hear from five years from now.