Eminem seen as top contender in Grammy race
By Cortney Harding
NEW YORK (Billboard) - The nominees for the 53rd annual Grammy Awards won't officially be revealed until December 1. But with the eligibility period having closed on September 30, the contenders are now clear, with early favorites and intriguing storylines already emerging.
According to Billboard's survey of record executives and industry observers, the 2011 Grammys will likely field its strongest and most competitive collection of record and song of the year nominees in recent memory. While this may lead to a Grammy night filled with memorable, over-the-top performances, it's bittersweet news for the industry, as it mirrors the shift in the marketplace away from albums and toward the less profitable commodity of singles.
Many experts project Eminem as this year's potential across-the-board winner, as his album sales remained strong in 2010.
Here's a preview of possible nominees in the four main categories:
SONG AND RECORD OF THE YEAR
Nearly everyone surveyed agreed this was a superb year for singles, especially for pop. There was also consensus that four songs would face off on February 13, 2011, for song and record of the year: Eminem and Rihanna's collaboration, "Love the Way You Lie"; Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now"; Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind" and Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance." "These are all formidable singles," says Warner Bros. senior vice president of digital Jack Isquith, who hailed them as "meaty, impressive, career-defining records."
Other top tracks cited by multiple executives include Train's "Hey, Soul Sister" (eligible for record of the year but not for song), Katy Perry's "California Gurls," Usher's "OMG," Sade's "Soldier of Love," B.o.B's "Airplanes" and Florence & the Machine's "Dog Days of Summer."
Last year, Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" won song of the year, and Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody" took the record prize. Continued...