A spin on the Grammys

A spin on the Grammys

WHAT: The live television broadcast of the 58th annual Grammy Awards, featuring performances by, among others, Adele, The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar, Carrie Underwood, Sam Hunt, Little Big Town, TheMavericks, Joey Alexander, Highly Suspect and The Takacs Quartet, plus the cast of the Broadway hit "Hamilton." Comedian Jay Mohr hosts. WHEN: 7 p.m. Monday on CBS.


An air-shifter at WEFT, Todd Durnil hosts the show "Bleecker Street" from 10 p.m. to midnight Thursdays. He also is owner of Nightjar Promotions and Management, marketing shows and producing showcases for local performers, among them a weekly one for the Champaign-Urbana Singer-Songwriter Collective, which he co-founded. Here he predicts and comments on some of the categories in the 58th annual Grammy Awards:

To be honest, 2015 was a weak year for great music to be recognized by the Grammy Awards. My favorites, including Ezra Furman, Melody Gardot, Father John Misty, Hozier and breakthrough artist Nathaniel Rateliff, were totally ignored.

So, in reality, this year's list does not truly represent the best of 2015, which is quite sad. At any rate, here's how I would pick from this year's top nominees and maybe even drop what I feel is missing from the list:

Album of the Year

Alabama Shakes, "Sound and Color"

Kendrick Lamar, "To Pimp a Butterfly"

Chris Stapleton, "Traveller"

Taylor Swift, "1989"

The Weeknd, "Beauty Behind the Madness"

Top category, though in the last couple of years they have stuck this award in the middle of the broadcast for some odd reason. At any rate, there's a lot going on in this category. It would easily appear on popularity to be Taylor Swift's to lose but the Grammy's have already given her this award previously and I feel they may go with critical favorites Alabama Shakes or even break the mold and go with rapper Kendrick Lamar, who would be the first rap artist to win since OutKast's 2004 opus "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below." I feel Chris Stapleton and The Weeknd will not go away empty-handed on Grammy night but this will not be the award either will win.

OVERLOOKED: I honestly thought this would be Hozier's award. No other album, in my opinion, was as consistent. But, apparently, despite the fact that it didn't really take off on the charts until 2015, the Sept. 19, 2014, release date might have been too early for eligibility in 2015 (despite the fact that its impact was more felt in 2015). Also highly overlooked was Father John Misty's "I Love You, Honeybear."

Song of the Year

Kendrick Lamar, "Alright"

Taylor Swift, "Blank Space"

Little Big Town, "Girl Crush"

Wiz Kahifa feat. Charlie Puth, "See You Again"

Ed Sheeran, "Thinking Out Loud"

And yet while Hozier might have been too early, why, then is Ed Sheeran on here? The song was released in June 2014 on his album "X," and as its third single on Sept. 24, 2014. Despite all of this, I feel that this is the strongest chance to win here. NONE of the other songs have made a lasting impression to represent such a category.

OVERLOOKED: Just about every great song released this year. There were so many fantastic songs that were passed by including Melody Gardot's "Preacherman" and, more importantly, Father John Misty's mesmerizing "Bored in the U.S.A." Also, of all the songs that were nominated for Record of the Year, how could they pass up "Uptown Funk" for Song of the Year?

Record of the Year

D'Angelo and the Vanguard, "Really Love"

Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, "Uptown Funk"

Ed Sheeran, "Thinking Out Loud"

Taylor Swift, "Blank Space"

The Weeknd, "Can't Feel my Face"

The winner, hands down, is the infectious "Uptown Funk." It's just an amazing record, and one of the biggest hits of last year.

OVERLOOKED: Once again, I'd say Father John Misty's "Bored in the U.S.A." — complete with the canned laughter.

Best New Artist

Courtney Barnett

James Bay

Sam Hunt

Tori Kelly

Meghan Trainor

I really wish James Bay stood a chance but I assume the award is already inscribed with Meghan Trainor's name. NONE of the others have made a lasting impact.

OVERLOOKED: Hozier. I know, he was up for Song of the Year last year but so was Trainor. This should have been his award. Also, where is Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats? "S.O.B." was one of the best songs of the year. Where is Leon Bridges? Where is Audra Day?? This whole category is missed opportunities.

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

Florence + The Machine, "Ship to Wreck"

Maroon 5, "Sugar"

Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, "Uptown Funk"

Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar, "Bad Blood"

Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth, "See You Again"

This one WILL go to Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars. Don't believe me? Just watch.

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album

Tony Bennett & Bill Charlap, "The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern"

Bob Dylan, "Shadows in the Night"

Josh Groban, "Stages"

Seth MacFarlane, "No One Ever Tells You"

Barry Manilow (& Various Artists), "My Dream Duets"

Tony Bennett & Bill Charlap will be the ones to beat here.

Best Pop Vocal Album

Kelly Clarkson, "Piece by Piece"

Florence + The Machine, "How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful"

Mark Ronson, "Uptown Special"

Taylor Swift, "1989"

James Taylor, "Before This World"

I feel they are going to throw this to James Taylor, who earned his first No. 1 album with "Before This World."

Best Rock Performance

Alabama Shakes, "Don't Wanna Fight"

Florence + The Machine,"What Kind Of Man"

Foo Fighters, "Something From Nothing"

Elle King, "Ex's & Oh's"

Wolf Alice, "Moaning Lisa Smile"

This is yet another weird category. Is "Ex's & Oh's" a rock song? Sounds like a pop song to me. Alabama Shakes is too funky to be rock, but it's the best on here and will probably win, unless they give it to perennial favorite Foo Fighters.

OVERLOOKED: My favorite was Ezra Furman's "Restless Year" — and Ezra is pure ROCK.

Best Alternative Music Album

Alabama Shakes, "Sound & Color"

Bjrk, "Vulnicura"

My Morning Jacket, "The Waterfall"

Tame Impala, "Currents"

Wilco, "Star Wars"

The ONLY "Alternative" album listed here is Bjrk's "Vulnicura." I have a feeling that they will give it to Alabama Shakes, though.

OVERLOOKED: Father John Misty's "I Love You, Honeybear" and Ezra Furman's "Perpetual Motion People."

Best Urban Contemporary Album

The Internet, "Ego Death"

Kehlani, "You Should Be Here"

Lianne La Havas, "Blood"

Miguel, "Wildheart"

The Weeknd, "Beauty Behind the Madness"

This is The Weeknd's to lose. He won't.

Best Rap Album

J. Cole, "2014 Forest Hills Drive"

Dr. Dre, "Compton"

Drake, "If You're Reading This It's Too Late"

Kendrick Lamar, "To Pimp a Butterfly"

Nicki Minaj, "The Pinkprint"

Despite the popularity of Drake and Minaj, this one will go to Kendrick Lamar.

Best Country Album

Sam Hunt, "Montevallo"

Little Big Town, "Pain Killer"

Ashley Monroe, "The Blade"

Kacey Musgraves, "Pageant Material"

Chris Stapleton, "Traveller"

Perhaps the most sure bet of the night, Chris Stapleton has this one hands down.

Best Americana Album

Brandi Carlile, "The Firewatcher's Daughter"

Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, "The Traveling Kind"

Jason Isbell, "Something More Than Free"

The Mavericks, "Mono"

Punch Brothers, "The Phosphorescent Blues"

I think it's time for Jason Isbell to collect his Grammy — or maybe even two.

Best American Roots Song

The Mavericks, "All Night Long"

Don Henley & Merle Haggard, "The Cost of Living"

Punch Brothers, "Julep"

Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, "The Traveling Kind"

Jason Isbell, "24 Frames"

And here's Isbell's second win.

Best Rock Song

Alabama Shakes, "Don't Wanna Fight"

Elle King, "Ex's & Oh's"

James Bay, "Hold Back the River"

Highly Suspect, "Lydia"

Florence + the Machine, "What Kind of Man"

Such a mess of a category. I'd say Alabama Shakes has it but I'd give it to James Bay.

Best Rock Album

James Bay, "Chaos and the Calm"

Death Cab for Cutie, "Kintsugi"

Highly Suspect, "Mister Asylum"

Muse, "Drones"

Slipknot, ".5: The Gray Chapter"

How are Alabama Shakes not in this category? Considering they are up for Album of the Year and Rock Song, it doesn't make sense. This is another mess of a category — Slipknot vs. Muse vs. James Bay? Really? I'd give it to Bay but then Slipknot fans would eat him for dinner. So, the award will go to Muse. Why? No reason at all.

Best R&B Performance

Tamar Braxton, "If I Don't Have You"

Andra Day, "Rise Up"

Hiatus Kaiyote, "Breathing Underwater"

Jeremih feat. J. Cole, "Planes"

The Weeknd, "Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)"

I'm rooting for Audra Day here because she didn't get many other noms. She should have been nominated for New Artists, at least.

Best R&B Song

Miguel, "Coffee"

The Weeknd, "Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)"

Jazmine Sullivan, "Let It Burn"

D'Angelo and The Vanguard, "Really Love"

Tyrese, "Shame"

D'Angelo made a great comeback last year. This one is his.

Best R&B Album

Leon Bridges, "Coming Home"

D'Angelo and the Vanguard, "Black Messiah"

Andra Day, "Cheers to the Fall"

Jazmine Sullivan, "Reality Show"

Charlie Wilson, "Forever Charlie"

Once again, I'm giving it to D'Angelo. But I'm shocked that Audra Day and Leon Bridges are up here and NOT up for Best New Artist.

Best Rap Performance

J. Cole, "Apparently"

Drake, "Back to Back"

Fetty Wap, "Trap Queen"

Kendrick Lamar, "Alright"

Nicki Minaj featuring Drake & Lil Wayne, "Truffle Butter"

Kanye West featuring Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom & Paul McCartney, "All Day"

Despite Drake's popularity and Lamar's acclaim, this one is going to Kanye for the McCartney factor.

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration

Big Sean featuring Kanye West & John Legend, "One Man Can Change the World"

Common & John Legend, "Glory"

Jidenna featuring Roman GianArthur, "Classic Man"

Kendrick Lamar featuring Bilal, Anna Wise & Thundercat, "These Walls"

Nicki Minaj featuring Drake, Lil Wayne & Chris Brown, "Only"

This one is going to Oscar-winner "Glory" from the movie "Selma."

Best Rap Song

Kanye West featuring. Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom & Paul McCartney, "All Day"

Kendrick Lamar, "Alright"

Drake, "Energy"

Common & John Legend, "Glory"

Fetty Wap, "Trap Queen"

Once again, it's hard to pass up "Glory."

Best Country Song

Lee Ann Womack, "Chances Are"

Tim McGraw, "Diamond Rings And Old Barstools"

Little Big Town, "Girl Crush"

Brandy Clark, "Hold My Hand"

Chris Stapleton, "Traveller"

Best Country Solo Performance

Cam, "Burning House"

Chris Stapleton, "Traveller"

Carrie Underwood, "Little Toy Guns"

Keith Urban, "John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16"

Lee Ann Womack, "Chances Are"

Both are going to Stapleton, who made the biggest impact on country music this year.

Best Pop Solo Performance

Kelly Clarkson, "Heartbeat Song"

Ellie Goulding, "Love Me Like You Do"

Ed Sheeran, "Thinking Out Loud"

Taylor Swift, "Blank Space"

The Weeknd, "Can't Feel My Face"

I'm thinking this could be where The Weeknd scores Grammy gold — if Ed Sheeran doesn't have it tied down.


Topics (2):Music, People