Of all the Grammy Awards, the one that artists covet the most is the Album of the Year prize. The nominees for the 54th annual ceremony are being released live tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS, and a number of artists, producers and record label executives are currently feeling a rush of butterflies go through their stomachs. Thanks to the confusing timeline in the Grammys universe, this year’s Album Of The Year nominees will be LPs that were released between October 1, 2010 and September 30, 2011. With that in mind, here are some of the frontrunners:
If there’s one shoo-in for this year’s Album Of The Year prize, it’s 21. Debuting at Number One on both the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200 Chart, 21 took on the number one chart position in a total of 19 countries across the world, which was good enough for a spot in the Guinness Book Of World Records. With two Grammys already under her belt (taking the awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 2009 Grammys), Adele is a fan and industry favorite.
Tony Bennett, Duets II
The sequel to Tony Bennett’s Duets: An American Classic, Duets II also debuted at Number One on the Billboard 200 Chart, becoming Bennett’s first ever Number One album. Add to that collaborations with the late Amy Winehouse and fellow possible Grammy nominee Lady Gaga and Duets II is a likely contender.
Paul Simon, So Beautiful Or So What
As we have alluded to before, there are a significant number of baby boomers who have Grammy votes. History has demonstrated that this contingent isn’t always very “experimental” in their listening patterns, so a release by a familiar favorite is likely to pick up some votes along the way. Oh, it doesn’t hurt that this is arguably Simon’s best album since Graceland.
Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
This was the consensus critical choice for the Best Album of 2010, but thanks to those weird Grammy rules, it wasn’t eligible for last year’s awards. Grammy voters haven’t forgotten Mr. West … or have they?
Taylor Swift, Speak Now
Another 2010 release that will only now get the recognition it probably deserved at last year’s Grammys. If the Oscars have figured out this whole calendar year thing, why can’t the Grammys?
Lady Gaga, Born This Way
Born This Way is only Lady Gaga‘s second studio album, but it has been met with soaring success, selling over 1 million copies in its first week, the highest first week sales of any album in 5 years. Gaga herself co-produced every song on the album, which has sold over 8 million copies worldwide.
[Photos: Amazon.com; Getty Images]