When the nominations for the 55th annual Grammy Awards are announced on Wednesday, Dec. 5, expect to hear a few names over and over.
This marks the second Grammy Awards since governing body NARAS scaled down the number of categories from 109 to 78, which means a lot more artists are competing for a lot fewer slots. For example, instead of separate male and female pop performance categories, there is now only a best pop solo performance category. In rock, best hard rock and best metal performance categories are now combined.
A number of nominations will be announced during the “Grammy Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night,” which airs at 10 P.M. ET, with the whole list of nominations online immediately after the hour-long special’s conclusion. LL Cool J and Taylor Swift will host the special. Among the performers are The Who, The Band Perry, Dierks Bentley Maroon 5, Ne-Yo, Luke Bryan and fun.
Here are a few things to look out for on Wednesday:
*It will be a shoot-out at the pop corral this year. As pure pop has come back into vogue over the last 18 months, expect the best pop solo performance and best pop vocal album categories to both be packed with huge names and with several worthy contenders left out. Between Pink’s “Blow Me (One Last Kiss),” Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake,” Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been” and/or “Diamonds,” Phillip Phillips’ “Home,” Ne-Yo’s “Let Me Love You,” and Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” it’s an embarrassment of riches in the best pop solo performance category alone.
*Some of the year’s biggest country albums, including Taylor Swift’s “Red” and Jason Aldean’s “Night Train,” came out after the eligibility period. The big country nominee on Dec. 5 will be Miranda Lambert. Look for “Four The Record” to snag a nod for country album of the year (and possibly album of the year), as well as best country solo performance and best country song for “Over You.”
*Frank Ocean will be one of the leading nominees: No, “Channel Orange” didn’t become a blockbuster seller, but it is an incredibly well-made and strong album that critics loved with a broad base of appeal spanning pop, rock, R&B and pop. Look for Ocean to walk away with at least five nominations, including album of the year and best new artist, as well as some potential R&B nods. Also keep an eye out for Florence & The Machine, who, if the wind's blowing right, could also snag five nominations, including album of the year for "Ceremonials."
*It hasn’t been a particularly strong year for rock groups: Coldplay’s “Mylo Xyloto” is eligible, but there’s nothing new from such standbys as U2 or Pearl Jam or the Foo Fighters. Look for Bruce Springsteen, The Black Keys and Mumford & Sons to dominate in the best rock performance, best rock song and best rock album categories.
*Expect potential surprises from Imagine Dragons, 2Chainz, Kendrick Lamar, fun., the Lumineers, Ellie Goulding and Miguel. Right now, I’m expecting each of these acts to get one or two nominations, but one of them could be a wild card and score up to four.
Check out my predictions for song of the year, record of the year, best new artist and album of the year.