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GRAMMY PREDICTIONS: Justin Bieber or Drake for Best New Artist?

Justin Bieber promotes his new book

Justin Bieber promotes his new book "First Step 2 Forever" at Barnes & Noble on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. (Nov. 26, 2010) Photo Credit: Getty Images

    This year's Grammy nominations come out Wednesday night (which we'll be live-blogging here, by the way) and are sure to offer some surprises thanks to a wonky 13-month eligibility year.
     But there's one sure thing: Eminem is going to rack up a ton of nominations. Not only was his “Recovery” album a commercial success, but it was a critical one, too. Throw in his comeback story and a Grammy desire to make up for past slights due to his previous controversial behavior and he's a sure thing for some Grammy love.
     We'll roll out our predictions for the top categories through Wednesday, but let's start with one of the biggest battles: Best New Artist.

     Will it be Justin Bieber or Drake? Hard to say, but they are locks to land nominations in the category. Bieber will even perform on the CBS show Wednesday night, so that pretty much insures a big nomination, with both “My World” and “My World 2.0” falling within the eligibility year. Even though he swept the fan-voted American Music Awards, his standing among the music industry is strong, but not rock solid.
    Drake only became eligible after a Grammys rule change this year that allowed previously nominated artists to still be eligible for Best New Artist when their debut album is released. (It's nicknamed “the Lady Gaga” rule because Ga was ineligble for Best New Artist this year because of a nomination for her single.) Drizzy got two nominations last year for the single “The Best I Ever Had,” while his debut “Thank Me Later” didn't arrive until June.
     Will Susan Boyle's incredible success make her a spoiler for the youngsters? Probably not, because her singles haven't made anywhere near the impact that her albums have. She could make it interesting, though.
     The other two spots will likely go to Ke$ha (sorry, America) and rapper B.o.B. because of their singles' success. I think Ke$ha could have been a force to reckon with this year if it wasn't for her disastrous “Saturday Night Live” performance that called into question her singing skills (and taste). If she falters, Adam Lambert may be able to snag a nomination.
     Because of eligibility rules, both Bruno Mars, who might have given the Beeb and Drizzy a serious challenge, and the stunning Nicki Minaj, who could have created a Young Money face-off, won't get a shot in the category until next year. Both of their debuts arrived after the Sept. 30 deadline.


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