A lot of submissions that could have gone into contemporary R&B or dance categories ended up here, making pop more competitive this year than I expected. Pop album in particular is a doozy--358 submissions, vs. only 27 for contemporary R&B album and 72 for electronic/dance album.
Carole King and James Taylor are the frontrunners in the pop category this year for Live at the Troubadour. Their album is a strong contender for Album of the Year and thus the strongest contender for pop album as well. Plus, the combination makes for lots of potential nods--female, male and collaboration. Lady GaGa is also, of course, a very strong contender. Glee submitted songs in female, male, and collaboration, plus two in duo/group.
Pop Vocal Album
Frontunners: Carole King and James Taylor have this in the bag. They'll probably win. Their strongest competition is Lady GaGa, who submitted The Fame Monster--despite The Fame having been submitted in dance last year instead of pop. John Mayer, a perennial Grammy favorite, will probably get a nod for his Battle Studies.
Potential contenders: I'd love to see a nod for Corinne Bailey Rae's The Sea, which ended up here and not in an R&B category. Same goes for Rihanna's Rated R, which doesn't have as much buzz as a strong contender as I'd hoped. Maroon 5, Adam Lambert, Jack Johnson, Paul McCartney, OneRepublic, Susan Boyle, Norah Jones, Sara Bareilles and Sheryl Cole should all have a legitimate shot at this. Katy Perry was submitted, but despite having some great singles, it's a poor album. I really hope it wouldn't get nominated here.
Of note: Kylie Minogue and Mark Ronson submitted here instead of in dance/electronic. I think this was a particular error for Kylie. No way Aphrodite's getting a pop album nod, but it might have had a shot over in dance. Two Door Cinema Club (not really a contender, but a group I like) submitted here instead of alternative. No Glee submissions for pop album (Volume 1 was submitted in the soundtracks category)
Frontrunners: Lady GaGa's "Bad Romance" has to be the hands down frontrunner at this point. Other's that I imagine are strong are Rihanna's "Rude Boy," Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream," Ke$ha's "Tik Tok," and Carole King's "So Far Away" (a contender mostly because the album will be).
Potential contenders: Corinne's Bailey Rae's soulful "I'd Do It All Again" and Britney Spears' "3," both of which could have ended up in R&B and dance categories, respectively. Also Sara Bareilles for "King of Anything" and Sheryl Cole (a Grammy favorite) for "Summer Day." A nostalgic nod could go to Carly Simon, who submitted "You Belong to Me" and "Let the River Run." If Susan Boyle is still generating interest, her "Wild Horses" could be a possibility. Same goes with Norah Jones' "Chasing Pirates."
Of note: Kylie Minogue submitted "Get Outta My Way" and Beyonce submitted two songs--"Fever" and a live version of "Halo." Also, Christina Aguilera's "You Lost Me" was submitted. Some people think she a shot--I do not. Same goes for a live version of Pink's "Glitter in the Air." Nice to see Glee's Lea Michele submitted for "Rain on My Parade."
Frontrunners: As usual, there are more strong female choices than male ones (although there was actually 1 more submission in the male category than in the female one). I think the most obvious choice has to be Michael Buble's "Haven't Met You Yet," which I think is also a contender for ROTY. I also think Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are" is strong contender, and it's peaking at the perfect time to possibly also be a good cotender for ROTY. After those, I imagine it will be a mix of AC-leaning, R&B-leaning and legacy nominees. The AC choice would probably be John Mayer for "Half of My Heart," the R&Bish one should be Taio Cruz's "Dynamite" (although it could as easily be Jason DeRulo's "Whatcha Say"), and the legacy nod will probably go to James Taylor for "Carolina in My Mind."
Potential contenders: Jack Johnson for "You and Your Heart," Adam Lambert for "Whataya Want from Me," Jason Mraz for "A Beautiful Mess," Seal for "Secret," Robert Plant for "Harm's Swift Way," Rob Thomas for "Someday," Sting for "Roxanne" or "Soul Cake," and Paul McCartney for "My Love."
Of note: Glee's nod in this category was Mark Salling's great rendition of "Sweet Caroline." Also, can Grammy folks resist giving one last nomination to Michael Jackson, submitted here for "This Is It?"
Frontrunners: This category is kind of snooze this year. The thing is that the two songs that most people would probably consider frontrunners weren't eligible: Train's "Hey, Soul Sister" and La Roux's "Bulletproof"....However, rather sneakily they actually were submitted since "live" versions were recorded and released within the eligibility window. So will Grammy be enticed to nominate live versions of the actual songs it wants to nominate? It worked in the past for Maroon 5, who was nominated for a live version of "This Love," after the original was no longer eligible (and it won too). Speaking of which, their "Misery" is probably a strong contender, as is Paramore's "The Only Exception." Also would expect a strong showing for The Script's "Breakeven" or Sade's "Babyfather," the only pop submission for Sade this time around.
Potential contenders: A love for Ryan Tedder could boost OneRepublic's "Secrets," submitted over "All the Right Moves." Also Bon Jovi, who's been nominated a few times in recent years, submitted "What Do You Got?" and Lifehouse did "Halfway Gone."
Of Note: Two Glee songs were submitted, the regionals version of "Don't Stop Believin'" and "Defying Gravity." It doesn't have a shot in hell, but it's nice to see Scissor Sisters' "Fire with Fire" submitted. MGMT's "Congratulations" is an odd choice. No submissions from Black Eyed Peas--I think songs like "Meet Me Halfway" and "Imma Be" would be ineligible, since The E.N.D. won an award last year.
Frontrunners: Four songs look pretty good here: Lady GaGa and Beyonce's "Telephone," Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg's "California Gurls," Usher and Will.I.Am's "OMG," and Carole King and James Taylor's "You've Got a Friend."
Potential contenders: B.o.B. submitted "Airplanes II," the version of the song with Eminem and Hayley Williams, rather than just Hayley. This seems like an odd choice, since it's not the popular version, but nevertheless, it's probably a good contender, although if this odd choice counts against it, perhaps Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars' "Billionaire" could get the nod instead.
Of note: Mary J. Blige and Andrea Bocelli submitted their "Bridge Over Troubled Waters," while Glee submitted the Kristin Chenoweth collaboration of "Alone." Gorillaz submitted "Stylo."