It's the biggest day of the year for the music industry, the sonic version of the Academy Awards. That's right, it's the day of the Grammys, which will wisely feature Jon Stewart at the helm when the curtain goes up at Los Angeles' Staples Center. While there are no shoo-ins this year, no Santanas, Celine Dions or Lauryn Hills — unless you consider Eminem a sure thing — it can't hurt to take a look at several high-profile categories and find out where the contenders rank. Of course, big sales never guarantee a walk to the podium.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP is an unlikely favorite here but is by far and away the winner on the charts. Currently sitting at No. 62, the album has sold more than 8.1 million copies in the United States. But here's the amazing thing — not one of the other nominees has sold a million copies in the States. Really. The closest is Steely Dan's Two Against Nature, which isn't currently charting, with U.S. sales of just more than 800,000. Radiohead's Kid A, this week's No. 140, has sold 750,000. Beck's Midnite Vultures (also not in the Top 200) has sold just 615,000, while its predecessor, the Grammy-winning Odelay, sold more than two million. Lastly, Paul Simon's You're the One, occupying the No. 197 slot, has sold 393,000 copies.
RECORD OF THE YEAR: This field is considerably more competitive from a sales perspective, though again there's one nominee way out in front. That, of course, would be 'N Sync, which is nominated for "Bye, Bye, Bye," from No Strings Attached. The album, which has sold more than 10.2 million copies in the United States, is currently at No. 38. Destiny's Child's The Writing's on the Wall, which contains the nominated single "Say My Name," has sold more than 5.5 million copies and currently resides at No. 66. One of last year's Best New Artist nominees, Macy Gray's "I Try" appears on On How Life Is, which has sold more than 3 million copies and is the farthest down on the charts at Grammy time, sitting at No. 165. And neck and neck on the charts right now are Madonna's Music (nominated song: "Music") and U2's All That You Can't Leave Behind (nominated song: "Beautiful Day"), at No. 34 and No. 35, respectively. Madonna, who finally earned Grammy praise a year ago, has sold 2.1 million copies of her latest, while U2, no stranger to Grammy victories, has sold 1.9 copies of its new one.
SONG OF THE YEAR: Three of the above nominees are up for this one, too: Macy Gray, Destiny's Child, and U2. Destiny's Child has a slight sales edge over Faith Hill, who is nominated for the title track to Breathe, this week's No. 31, with total sales of more than 5.1 million. The title track to Lee Ann Womack's I Hope You Dance is also up for the award, having sold more than 1.1 million and currently sitting at No. 56.
BEST NEW ARTIST: Sisqo and Unleash the Dragon are the clear winners when it comes to sales. Though the album isn't in the Top 200 at the moment, it's sold more than 4 million copies. Papa Roach has sold 2.8 million copies of Infest, which resides at No. 105, while Jill Scott's debut album is about to cross the million sales mark at No. 22. Brad Paisley's Who Needs Pictures has sold 663,000 copies, and Shelby Lynne (hardly a new artist) has sold 165,000 copies of I Am Shelby Lynne.
We now return to your regularly scheduled Chart Watch.
TOP 10: Shaggy retains his hold on the No. 1 spot, selling another 293,000 copies of Hot Shot, while The Beatles sell another 200,000 copies of 1 at No. 2. Incidentally, Shaggy's album has now beaten The Beatles' sales mark in the year 2001, with Shaggy ratcheting up sales of 1.58 million (3.35 million total) to the Beatles' 1.42 million (6.5 million overall).
The Save the Last Dance soundtrack stays at No. 3, with sales of 162,000, while Dido's No Angel moves up two notches to No. 4, selling 131,000 copies. This bumps Jennifer Lopez's J.Lo down to No. 5, as it sells 130,000, followed by Sade's Lovers Rock, which sells 118,000. Lenny Kravitz's Greatest Hits comes in at No. 7 (113,000), Ja Rule's Rule 3:36 lands at No. 8 (102,000), and Gift of Game from Crazy Town spends its second week in the Top 10 at No. 9 (96,000). Ludacris' Back for the First Time rounds things out, selling 93,000 copies at No. 10.
ALMOST FAMOUS: It appears that Creed's Human Clay is on the verge of entering the Top 10 again. The album is now at No. 11, up from No. 13 last week, and missed the Top 10 by less than 50 copies. It's sold 9.3 million copies to date. Dream's debut, It Was All a Dream, started high, fell out of the Top 10, and appears to be on its way back. It remains at No. 14 for the second week in a row but sells more than 85,000 copies — an increase of almost 9,000 from a week ago. But perhaps the most surprising is the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, which currently sits, believe it or not, at No. 15, with sales of more than 80,000 copies.
BOTTOM FEEDING: This week's No. 200: The A-Teens Abba Generation, which sells 6,980 copies to earn the honor.