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Volume 68, Issue 99, Wednesday, February 19, 2003 

Arts & Entertainment

Stiff competition getting ready for the grammys

By Mason Lerner
The Daily Cougar

If the last episode of Joe Millionaire didnit satisfy your thirst for vicarious excitement and suspense, donit worry, just make sure to tune into CBS Sunday evening. For the first time in several years the 2003 Grammy Awards, to be presented in New York, promises to be as unpredictable as Mike Tyson in a tattoo parlor.

The nominees range from legends like Bruce Springsteen (Album of the Year, The Rising) to Eartha (Female R&B Performance, Iim Still Standing), an artist so obscure that her last album sold only 52 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan. That only puts her about seven million albums behind the collective 2002 sales total of the artists that she is running against, Aaliyah, Ashanti and Mary J. Blige. The Album of the Year category is full of familiar faces, but two of the nominees, Nelly and the Dixie Chicks, are likely to be relegated to the sidelines as the Boss and Eminem slug it out for the top honor.

Springsteenis The Rising captured the heart of the nation after 9/11, but Eminemis latest offering, The Eminem Show, provided us with more of his biting commentary on pop culture as he continued to redefine it. Will the man that brought us 1000 Miles and Running be able to outdistance the competition and snag the trophy, or will the burgeoning legend from 8 Mile, Detroit once again make the Grammyis his personal playground? Springsteen is bound to be the sentimental favorite, but it is impossible to ever count Marshall Mathers out when the spotlight is shining its brightest. He tends to like that.

The early favorite for Best New Artist has got to be Avril Lavigne. She faces stiff competition in Ashanti, Michelle Branch and Norah Jones, so she is far from a lock. If she does manage to get the job done, air-guitaring skater-boys all around the world will know that they have finally arrived, or at least they will feel a little better when cheerleaders snub them.

Definintly a college favorite, the Alternative Music Album Category sets Beckis album Sea Change up against Clinicis Walking With Thee, Coldplayis A Rush of Blood to the Head, Elivis Costello and the Imposteris Cruel Smile and The Soundtrack of our Liveis Behind the Music. Beckis Sea Change, (aside from Mutations) is his most mature effort to date. Hopefully, the judges will realize the beauty of his heart-felt sentiments, and will allow him take home this much-deserved award.

A lot of eyes are also going to be glued to the screen waiting to see the results of the Male R&B Performance category. The much-maligned vocalist and alleged pedophile, R. Kelly, has a good shot at the brass ring for his song "The Worldis Greates." 

The other nominees in the category include Joe for "Letis Stay Home Tonight", Musiq, "Take A Message", and Remy Shand with "U Donit Have To Call." If Kelly wins, the other nominees can take solace in the fact that they wonit have to make their next album using a harmonica and a tin cup while funding its production with weekly withdrawals from their prison commissary.

The Record of the Year category might be the most hotly contested. History says that Eminem should be the favorite for the hit-single, "Without Me", but Nellyis "Dilemma" featuring Kelly Rowland will make it a tough decision for the judges. Thatis not to say that you should count out Vanessa Carltoni "A Thousand Miles" or Nicklebackis "How You Remind Me."

The Grammy Awards telecast will feature the most diverse array of performers in recent memory. No Doubt, James Taylor, Yo-Yo Ma Ashanti, Vanessa Carlton, Coldplay with members of the New York Philharmonic, the Dixie Chicks, Faith Hill, Norah Jones, Avril Lavigne, John Mayer, Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland, and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will all play.

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