Ocean Sprays the Competition as Grammy Noms Are Announced

Hosts Taylor Swift and LL Cool J speak onstage at The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!! held at Bridgestone Arena on December 5, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

THE NEWS:Last year’s Grammy Awards were all about Adele, who swept every category she was up for. This year’s 55th Annual honors appear to be anyone’s for the taking, but Frank Ocean is making a strong case for himself.

Ocean and L.A. funk-rock crossovers fun. lead the field, securing six nominations apiece, including three major nods in Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist, with the fun. guys adding Song of the Year for good measure.

Seven of the categories were announced during last night’s The Grammy Nominations Concert Live!, which aired on CBS from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena for the first time, with the rest released afterward. The Grammys themselves take place Feb. 10, 2013 at Staples Center, on CBS.

THE NUMBERS:Mumford and Sons along with Jay-Z and Kanye West also nabbed six nominations apiece, while the Black Keys, Chick Corea and Miguel each garnered five, with both the the banjo-strumming Mumfords’ Babel and the Keys’ El Camino going head to head in the Album of the Year category with fun., Ocean and Jack White.

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Ocean and fun. were joined in the Best New Artist race by The Lumineers, whose Americana smash “Ho Hey” is the first indie rock record to cross over to Top 40 in history; southern bluesmeisters Alabama Shakes and country newcomer Hunter Hayes.

Fun.’s “We Are Young,” their collaboration with Janelle Monae, and Ocean’s “Thinkin’ Bout You” will compete in the Record of the Year category with Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger,” Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know,” the Black Keys’ “Lonely Boy” and Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Swift’s Red came out after the deadline for Grammy consideration this year. What, no “Gangnam Style”?

Ed Sheeran’s “The A Team” is up for Song of the Year, a songwriters’ award, with Miguel’s “Adorn,” Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” and fun’s “We Are Young” vying for the honors.

THE ANALYSIS:It’s the kind of night when the Grammy hardware will certainly be spread around, although Frank Ocean, the L.A. hip-hop/R&B artist whose dramatic “coming-out” on the eve of the release of his critically acclaimed channel ORANGE album, could be the front-runner, since it’s the kind of socially relevant story the Grammys often love to reward. As both a critical and commercial success, it’s the kind of project the Recording Academy likes to give its seal of approval. Plus, expect Ocean to try to deliver yet another game-changing performance, much like the one he gave on Saturday Night Live earlier in the year.

Newcomers the Alabama Shakes go up against biggies Coldplay, Mumford & Sons, Bruce Springsteen and the Black Keys in the Best Rock Performance category, while The Keys, Coldplay and Springsteen repeat in the Best Rock Album category, along with Album of the Year nominee Jack White and Muse. Femme eccentrics Fiona Apple and Bjork duke it out for Best Alternative Music Album with Gotye, M83 and Tom Waits.

Other battles to watch for are in the Best Pop Solo Performance, where Adele dukes it out with fellow divas Kelly Clarkson, Carly Rae Jepsen, Katy Perry and Rihanna.

Drake’s Take Care leads the way in the Best Rap Album category, along with Lupe Fiasco’s Food and Liquor II, Nas’ Life is Good, the Roots’ Undun, Rick Ross’ God Forgives, I Don’t and 2 Chainz’ Based on a True Story.

Grammys will be handed out in a total of 81 categories, up from last year’s 78, and one thing’s for certain. Adele won’t be taking away the lion’s share this year.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.
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