by Albert Rodriguez -
SGN A&E Writer
From Quincy Jones to Nirvana, the Emerald City has seen its share of musicians win Grammy Awards. Pearl Jam and Soundgarden also belong to this exclusive club. This year, Seattle's hopes for Grammy gold rest on the shoulders of hip-hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, who went from local club act to internationally known artists in a matter of months. The Capitol Hill-based pair should fare well in the rap field, where they'll undoubtedly pick up one or two nominations, but they're also strong contenders for all four top prizes: Album, Record, and Song of the Year, plus Best New Artist. It's quite possible they'll nab one of the Best Music Video slots as well, for 'Thrift Shop,' filmed partially at Value Village and Unicorn. Macklemore and Lewis are slated to perform at next Friday night's Grammy Nominations Concert (CBS, December 6, 10 p.m. PT), which nearly guarantees them a trip to the awards ceremony in late January. Robin Thicke, Keith Urban, and Drake are also slated to appear, along with several not-yet-announced artists. Here's a brief guide to who's in the running this year for music's highest honor.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
The October-through-September eligibility period benefits two albums released late in 2012, Taylor Swift's Red and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' The Heist. Both have solid chances at making the final cut, especially since Grammy voters love this category to have multi-genre representation. Justin Timberlake is pretty much assured a spot for The 20/20 Experience, as is perennial nominee Bruno Mars for Unorthodox Jukebox. A pair of critical favorites, Kanye West's Yeezus and Daft Punk's Random Access Memories, are boosted by their mainstream appeal, and both artists are previous Grammy winners. That's not the case for Kendrick Lamar, whose breakthrough release good kid, m.A.A.d city earned rave reviews across the board, but who is still relatively new and doesn't have the superstar status of West and another potential nominee, Jay-Z (for Magna Carta Holy Grail). One other rapper has a shot - Drake, for Nothing Was the Same, who is owed an opportunity to compete for AOTY after being rudely omitted last year for Take Care. Legendary folk-country artists Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell could snag an underdog nomination for their collaborative project Old Yellow Moon, although the Grammys now seem to reward bigger commercial recordings, such as Alicia Keys' Girl on Fire, also in the running. Surprises might include Janelle Monae's The Electric Lady, The Civil Wars' The Civil Wars, Lorde's Pure Heroine, and Blake Shelton's Based on a True Story.
RECORD OF THE YEAR
There are a lot of possibilities here, but near the very top are Timberlake's 'Mirrors,' Daft Punk's 'Get Lucky,' featuring Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines,' and Swift's 'I Knew You Were Trouble.' Then comes a list of strong candidates, including P!nk and Nate Ruess' 'Just Give Me a Reason,' Mars' 'Locked Out of Heaven,' Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' 'Thrift Shop' or 'Can't Hold Us,' and Lorde's 'Royals.' But don't count out Imagine Dragons' 'Radioactive,' Rihanna's 'Diamonds,' Drake's 'Started From the Bottom,' and Katy Perry's 'Roar.' A longshot possibility is Miley Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball.'
SONG OF THE YEAR
Usually tougher to predict than ROTY, the heavy hitters here are some of the above, including 'Mirrors,' 'Get Lucky,' 'Blurred Lines,' 'I Knew You Were Trouble,' 'Locked Out of Heaven,' 'Just Give Me a Reason,' and 'Diamonds.' Macklemore and Lewis have two songs that could land a nomination, 'Can't Hold Us' and 'Same Love' ('Thrift Shop' wasn't entered in this race). Meanwhile, newcomer Kacey Musgraves has a decent shot with 'Merry Go Round' as well as Adele and Paul Epworth's Oscar-winning 'Skyfall,' and Florida Georgia Line's 'Cruise,' and two dark horses, 'Wrecking Ball' and Tegan and Sara's 'Closer.'
BEST NEW ARTIST
With so many breakthroughs in 2012 and 2013, the question isn't who will be nominated - it's who's going to be left out. Let's start with the frontrunners: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Lorde, and Imagine Dragons. Then, let's add in the next batch of tough competitors: Kacey Musgraves, Florida Georgia Line, Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, and Icona Pop. Then, a list of maybes: Phillip Phillips, Tamar Braxton, Rene Marie, Pentatonix, Haim, Gary Clark Jr., Avicii, and Disclosure.
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