1) Seth MacFarlane: The 'Family Guy' creator was nominated in not one but TWO categories: Best Song Written For Visual Media for the cartoon's "Christmastime Is Killing Us" and, more surprisingly, Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for his album 'Music is Better Than Words'. In the latter category, the man of a million voices will compete against legit singers like Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand, and Susan Boyle. That's even more unbelievable than a talking, boozing dog and a murderous baby with a British accent.
2) A Tribe Called Quest: The much-loved hip-hop group haven't released any new music since 1998's 'The Love Movement', but here they are with a nomination in the Best Long Form Music Video category for the documentary 'Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest'. Even stranger than an ATCQ nod: The film's director was actor Michael Rapaport, so now he's a potential Grammy winner as well.
3) Val Kilmer, 4) Tina Fey, and 5) Betty White
Val Kilmer! Up for a Grammy! And it has nothing to do with Oliver Stone's 'The Doors' soundtrack! In what could be the strangest batch of nominees this side of the 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls, the 'Batman Forever' actor, the '30 Rock' comedian, and the foul-mouthed octogenarian are all competing against one another in the Best Spoken Word category. Fey and White are nominated for their audiobooks, while Kilmer was honored for his three-hour-long narration of 'The Mark of Zorro'. If he were to win, Val's acceptance speech would easily be the highlight of Grammy night.
6) Eddie Vedder: It's not odd that Vedder was nominated, since Pearl Jam have been nominated for 14 Grammys in their 20-year career -- they've only won once though, and it was for "Spin the Black Circle" — and Vedder the solo artist was had two Grammy nods for 'Into the Wild' tracks. What's odd is where Vedder was nominated: Best Folk Album. Vedder's 'Ukulele Songs' will compete against Fleet Foxes, the Civil Wars and Steve Earle to win a Grammy previously awarded to Bob Dylan, John Prine, and Indigo Girls. How grunge is that!
7) Amy Winehouse: The singer was a Grammy favorite when she was alive, and her presence was going to be felt during the memorial section of the 2012 ceremony. However, considering Winehouse hadn't released any music since 'Back to Black', it's surprising that she was nominated so quickly after her death, and it's not even for her upcoming posthumous album 'Lioness', which missed the Grammy cut-off. Instead, Amy is up for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for her "Body and Soul" duet with Tony Bennett. It'll be a moving tribute if she wins the award posthumously, but she'll have to beat out "Pumped Up Kicks," the Black Keys, Coldplay, and "Moves Like Jagger."
8) Mumford & Sons' "The Cave": Grammy voters have had a crush on Mumford & Son ever since the band's performance with Bob Dylan at 2011 ceremony. Nods in both Song and Record of the Year were surprising though, especially since "The Cave" shouldn't have been nominated at all. VH1's Mark Graham noted on Twitter, "The Cave" was eligible for the 2011 Grammys, since the song was released on an album that came out way back in February 2010. In fact, Mumford played "The Cave" at the 2011 Grammys. So why was it nominated for next year's show? "The Cave" was released a single stateside on October 25th, 2010, just after the 2011 cut-off, which made it eligible for the 2012 ceremony. A tad unfair since "The Cave" will be two years old by the time it learns its Grammy fate, but we're reserving the use of the word "unfair" to explain Kanye West's snub in the Album of the Year category.
9) The entire Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance category: Earlier this year, the Grammys downsized the number of rock categories and fused together the metal and hard rock categories, and the results are downright comical: Prog-rock mainstays Dream Theater versus heavy metal gods Megadeth versus Canadian punks Sum-41 versus neo-metal icons Mastodon. It's like the groups were picked out of a hat! It doesn't matter anyway, because all four will lose to Foo Fighters, but this hodgepodge mix of rockers is a perfect example of why the Grammys needs to reinstate their rock categories.
10) Dr. Dre: The Doctor is now being rewarded for albums that he refuses to release. "I Need a Doctor" with Eminem was the latest in a long line of comeback singles trumpeting the arrival of Dre's long-delayed album 'Detox'. Of course, the disc was never released, and "I Need a Doctor" became yet another one-off single from the G-Funk pioneer. Yet, even though the song isn't even that good -- that chorus still gnaws at us, like it was written for a Dr. Pepper commercial -- it's up for two awards: Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Not releasing 'Detox' was the best career move Dre ever made.
- Eddie Vedder
- Val Kilmer