Annual grumble: The Grammys refuse to nominate anything that's not already widely popular. Why? Why?!!
OK, now that that's out of my system, I still have plenty of favorites and artists I root against, aside from the built-in interest of the show's many performances (the reason most people tune in to begin with). Here are 10 things I'd like to see this Sunday, none of them involving Chris Brown.
1. Frank Ocean wins Best New Artist
What a stunning spectrum of quality in this category: Ocean's brilliant "Channel Orange" should make him a slam dunk when compared to the live-dynamos-who-are-just-OK-on-record Alabama Shakes, the hit-and-miss Fun and the excruciatingly cute The Lumineers. (Really, "Ho Hey" is one of the worst songs of the year.) I would be lying if I said I knew much about country singer Hunter Hayes, so he gets a pass.
2. A big revelation from Taylor Swift
Her latest album "Red" isn't as bad as you think, and perhaps the Grammy performer will use her time on stage to announce which 12 people she actually is dating (contrary to the 45 others she's only rumored to be seeing). I'm betting on, I don't know, John Stamos.
3. Fun's "We Are Young" loses Song of the Year
Obviously, "Song of the Year" is a songwriting award (as opposed to Record of the Year), and "We Are Young" is simply an atrocious song. Choppy and shamelessly vapid, it's a track that blatantly was written to be a sing-along hit, and we all know how that turned out. (For the record, I like "Some Nights" and much of Fun's first album.)
4. Justin Timberlake's highly anticipated performance sets every TV on fire (figuratively)
With that much excitement and plenty of viewers breathing heavily, televisions just might not be able to contain all that heat. Though anyone else think new track "Suit and Tie" is just OK?
5. Rihanna shocks the world with a quiet, restrained performance while wearing an extremely conservative dress. At this point, the over-the-top stuff is exactly what we expect.
6. Many people discover R&B singer/multiple nominee Miguel
His "Kaleidoscope Dream" is one of the best 2012 albums you probably don't have.
7. The concept of a "special performance" by Alicia Keys and Maroon 5 proves to be quite the exaggeration. Adam Levine's voice will mesh with Keys like mustard on cake.
8. Leading up to his performance, Jack White spends days at a tanning salon to ensure that his name and paleness no longer serve as a bitter irony.
9. LL Cool J, who is hosting for the second consecutive year, will make sure to identify himself as a formerly relevant musical artist, not just the star of "NCIS: Los Angeles" and "Deep Blue Sea." Though he should definitely mention that last one too.
10. In her acceptance speech for Best Alternative Music Album, Fiona Apple (whom I love, don't get me wrong) admits that she's finally happy and excited to make her next album of sunny songs about love and bunnies. Fans worldwide plot ways to depress her again.
Watch Matt on "You & Me This Morning," Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U