October 18, 2008
The Grammy nominations are a little less surprising when you see the first ballot. The Grammys allow potential nominees to submit what they consider their best work of the year for consideration. After a panel judges that it meets the category’s criteria, the submitted work is placed on the first ballot, from which an eventual five nominees will be chosen.
Now that the first ballots have been released, we have a window into the strategies of different artists. Some choose just to submit one performance for consideration, while others risk vote-splitting by submitting two or more.
Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll take a look at the different categories and ask which five nominees you would select for a given category from the possibilities on the first ballot. Just remember the rule that an artist cannot be nominated twice in a performance category, even if they earn enough votes to place two records in the top five. So even if you think Taylor Swift’s three entries are among the five best female performances this year, you’ll have to pick one.
Since it’s the first category on the Country Ballot, we’ll start with Best Female Country Vocal Performance. The biggest surprise here is the choice made by the camp of Carrie Underwood, who has won this race for the past two years. They’ve submitted two singles that were about equally successful, “All American Girl” and “Last Name.” This may have been a mistake, as there doesn’t seem a compelling reason to vote for one over the other if you’re looking to acknowledge Underwood, which voters certainly will be wanting to do.
It would’ve been a safer bet to just submit one, or put up “Just a Dream” instead, which is a much stronger performance overall. I still expect Underwood to land a nomination, but she’s not the sure bet she could be. On much shakier ground is Taylor Swift, who hasn’t yet demonstrated appeal among the country voting bloc of the Grammys and has submitted three different singles to boot. Big Machine’s other female star, Trisha Yearwood, is also present with two singles, but “This Is Me You’re Talking To” is the only one that had a real impact, so she should be good.
This thread is about picking our favorites, not just handicapping the race. I count about twelve worthy performances, but here’s who I would choose to be the five nominees this year:
- Emmylou Harris, “Gold”
- Miranda Lambert, “Gunpowder & Lead”
- LeAnn Rimes, “What I Cannot Change”
- Lee Ann Womack, “Last Call”
- Trisha Yearwood, “This is Me You’re Talking To”
What are your opinions of the submissions in this category? What would your five nominees be?