The Best New Artist prize is one of the more divisive categories at the annual Grammy Awards. The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS) has been famously hit or miss with their selections, which include a healthy dose of monster talents (Adele, Alicia Keys, Sade) as well as a startling number of embarrassing, wholly forgettable choices (Milli Vanilli, Arrested Development, Starland Vocal Band).
Well, while it’s still a few hours until we learn who the 2012 Grammy nominees for Best New Artist are going to be—we’ll have the nominees for you tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT—we thought we’d pull together a few of the most likely contenders for you. This year, they include:
It’s been Nicki Minaj‘s year to shine, as the young star has been party to high profile collaborations with superstars like Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Birdman, Drake and Britney Spears. Not only does she got that boom-ba-doo-doom, boom-ba-doo-doom super bass, this melding of Lady Gaga, Lil Kim and an anime princess is the most exciting thing to happen to hip hop this year.
Foster The People
From “Pumped Up Kicks” to “Helena Beat,” Foster The People have had toes tapping across the globe this year. Bringing electro-pop to the masses, Foster The People have successfully democratized what before was largely a sub-culture, shedding light on dance-oriented, synth-led beats. And oh yeah, we saw them first — VH1 featured Foster The People as one of our You Oughta Know artists. Let’s hope the Grammys agree!
Dub-step producer James Blake cut out on his own in 2011 for a solo career with his critically acclaimed eponymous solo album. A game changer, Blake’s impressive production experience can be read in the dark beats and dynamic aural layering of his debut solo album.
The Band Perry
The biggest new crossover country act since Lady Antebellum, The Band Perry transcends genres. Their hit single, “If I Die Young,” was one of the hottest songs this summer (pardon the pun) and saw them take home two prizes at the Country Music Awards earlier this month.
The Civil Wars
Another contender from VH1′s You Oughta Know ranks, The Civil Wars have put the spotlight back on singer/songwriters with their brand of romantic melancholia. Their folk sounds have been recieved with open arms in the US and the UK, and the band have been touted as champions of their genre, being awarded the Vanguard Award earlier this month at the CMAs.
The esoteric Jessie J has been a roaring success in the UK this year, and her infectiousness is quickly spreading across the globe. Playing as the house band at this year’s VMAs and scoring a huge hit with “Price Tag,” we’re excited to see what the girl has up her sleeves for 2012.
[Photos: Getty Images]