Today we kick things off by taking a closer look at the nominees up for the title of Best New Artist. Unlike last year, when it was all Americans in the category, three of the five artists who stand to win are from outside US soil. Blame it on the latest British pop invasion — and one Canadian who’s been waiting around by the phone for a long time.
BEST NEW ARTIST NOMINEES:
fun. featuring Janelle Monae — “We Are Young”
Carly Rae Jepsen — “Call Me Maybe”
Frank Ocean — “Swim Good”
One Direction — “What Makes You Beautiful”
The Wanted — “Glad You Came”
THOUGHTS ON THE NOMINEES: There are several phenoms at play here in the Best New Artist category, not the least of which is the continued battle between UK boy band rivals The Wanted and One Direction. Each arrived these shores early in 2012, buoyed by a monster hit. But so far, the quintets’ follow-up singles — The Wanted’s “Chasing The Sun” and 1D’s “One Thing” — have failed to make the same impact.
On the other hand, fun. broke through thanks to “We Are Young” featuring in both a December Glee episode and a Chevy Sonic commercial that aired during the Super Bowl in February, and their follow-up single “Some Nights” is currently riding high in the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.
That brings us to Frank Ocean, whose debut LP Channel Orange received rather glowing reviews upon its release in July. The not-small-matter of him coming out — as gay? bisexual? (has this been determined yet?) — just ahead of the album’s release garnered him added attention across the board.
And that leaves us with Canada’s (and now America’s) sweetheart, Carly Rae Jepsen, the only artist nominated here who has yet to put out their first album in the States. (Kiss arrives September 18, two weeks after the VMAs.) “Call Me Maybe” was a juggernaut, and it spent the most weeks (nine) at #1 on the Hot 100 so far this year. With follow-up “Good Time” now her second Top 10 hit, Carly might just soon be able to lose the “Rae Jepsen” and join the ranks of Beyonce, Gaga, Britney and Christina.
WHO WILL WIN: We’re saying it’s a coin toss between Frank Ocean and One Direction. Logic says that voters who want to aim for the “credibility” factor will pick Frank. But there’s no denying 1D fever has gripped the nation. Then again, Carly Rae Jepsen could emerge victorious if the other two split the vote. Hell, let’s just say she’ll win it.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Yeah, we get it — Frank Ocean is what you want us to say. But screw it. The economy’s in the can. Mother nature and mankind are doing ugly things across the globe. And sometimes we just want a happy, mindless distraction. Give it to One Direction.