Handicapping the Billboard Music Awards

In Vegas, we gamble on everything.

(Odds that you’ll keep reading this article: 2 to 1.)

For instance, we just doubled our money thanks to your eyes still being on this page.

(Odds that you’re currently getting annoyed by parentheticals: 4 to 1.)

And we’re just getting started.

With the Billboard Music Awards returning to town this weekend with a nationally televised production on ABC featuring performances by Carrie Underwood, Justin Bieber, Linkin Park and more, we’re assessing the odds of various categories.

Here’s how we handicap some of the show’s top awards:

Top Artist

Adele: Imagine a malnourished wolf left alone with a pile of cute, cuddly, bacon-wrapped kittens. Those cats have a better chance of survival than Adele’s competition here.

Odds: Even

Lady Gaga: Gaga had a big year in 2011, with her second disc, “Born This Way,” selling more than a million copies its first week out, so she’s not going anywhere – especially onstage, to accept this award.

Odds: 20 to 1

Rihanna: On her latest disc, “Talk That Talk,” Rihanna scored her biggest hit yet with the dance-floor bubble gum of “We Found Love,” a big, sweet and sticky hunk of house music Hubba Bubba. Too bad the rest of “Talk” is mostly idle chatter.

Odds: 100 to 1.

Katy Perry: Seeing as how she last released an album in 2010, Perry’s inclusion here is as much a mystery as, well, her inclusion in any other year. We’re not saying she’s boring or anything, but her records are what Ambien uses to fall asleep.

Odds: 500 to 1

Lil Wayne: The lone dude among the nominees, Weezy’s lucky to even be here after his slapdash latest disc, “Tha Carter IV.” The Minnesota Timberwolves have a more serious shot at winning the NBA championship this year. And they didn’t even make the playoffs.

Odds: The population of China multiplied by the number of times Katherine Heigl has starred in a crappy romantic comedy to 1.

Top Hot 100 Song

Adele, “Rolling in the Deep”: This is the biggest crossover hit in decades and the top-selling digital song by a female artist ever. Seriously, “Stairway to Heaven” thinks this tune has been overplayed. It has to win. Then it can retire, sit on the porch, yell at the neighbor kids to keep off the lawn and then refuse to give them their Frisbee back when it lands in the yard.

Odds: 1½ to 1

LMFAO, “Party Rock Anthem”: “Anthem” is like a funky, pastel-clad tapeworm with questionable taste in eyewear: It just sticks with you. You know all those pictures on Facebook of drunken chicks in clubs making duck face into the camera? This song was playing in the background every time.

Odds: 4 to 1

Katy Perry, “E.T.”: “Infect me with your loving” Perry commands of a “futuristic lover” on this ubiquitous hit. Somewhere, a robot with the clap is smiling. Perry won’t be, however, after another crushing defeat.

Odds: 50 to 1

Maroon 5, “Moves Like Jagger”: “And now, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the stage, the headliners of the 2012 Toledo Rib Burn-Off!” That’s how Maroon 5 would be getting greeted right about now if this song hadn’t resuscitated their career. Forget about this award, that’s victory enough.

Odds: 100 to 1

Pitbull, “Give Me Everything”: OK, Mr. Pitbull, you can have everything. Except for a chance of winning here.

Odds: The Gross National Product of Uganda to 1

Top Billboard 200 Album

Adele, “21”: “21” set a record for staying in the top five for 39 consecutive weeks, has moved close to 9 million copies and is the top-selling digital album of all time. Adele puts another category in a headlock and then smacks it upside the head with its own hand while taunting “Stop hitting yourself! Stop hitting yourself!”

Odds: Even

Lady Gaga, “Born this Way”: Gaga avoided the sophomore slump with her second disc, but she won’t be able to elude defeat here.

Odds: 50 to 1

Michael Buble, “Christmas”: “Christmas” was the second-best-selling disc of 2011, moving more than 2.5 million units. That’s an impressive number, especially for a holiday-themed album, though even Santa can’t bring Buble a victory here – instead, ol’ St. Nick uses the crooner’s stocking as an air-sickness bag.

Odds: 75 to 1

Drake, “Take Care”: “Can’t you see that I made it?” Drake asks on “Shot for Me” off his “Take Care,” one of the better hip-hop discs of 2011. He might have a chance here, but we doubt that the show’s organizers will want to have the MGM Grand Garden arena doors widened so that Drake’s ego can fit in the venue.

Odds: 150 to 1

Lil Wayne, “Tha Carter IV”: Hard to figure out why this was even nominated, but easy to assess its chances of winning: zilch

Odds: The number of mixed metaphors on “Tha Carter IV” to 1

Top Duo/Group

LMFAO: All these dudes do is party. Can you imagine how they’ll celebrate if they win here? Their livers are going to be signing restraining orders.

Odds: 5 to 1

Lady Antebellum: Is this where the Billboard Awards go country? Not that Lady Antebellum really qualifies as such – this is adult contemporary pop, a coed Air Supply with a couple of Shania Twain records in their collection. Still, this could be a tip of the Stetson to Nashville.

Odds: 7 to 1

Maroon 5: With Maroon 5’s career prospects rejuvenated, maybe frontman Adam Levine can now afford to buy a shirt. Your girlfriend hopes not.

Odds: 15 to 1

Coldplay: “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall,” huh? Bust out the galoshes, then, because plenty of them will be shed by these blustery Brits when they come up short here in wake of their so-so “Mylo Xyloto.”

Odds: 20 to 1

The Black Eyed Peas: The Peas are huge, but the most notable thing they did in 2011 was turn in one of the more pointedly ridiculous Super Bowl halftime show performances ever. Janet Jackson’s right booby is breathing a sigh of relief.

Odds: A Sumo wrestler’s daily caloric intake to 1

Top New Artist

Foster the People: “Pumped Up Kicks” made this bunch semifamous. Now the trick is to stay in vogue longer than said shoes.

Odds: 10 to 1

Scotty McCreery: The kid is only 18, but his voice is so deep, Chilean miners have to be careful not to get trapped in it, only to later emerge heroically in a life-affirming display of hope and perseverance. Don’t think McCreery’s story is going to be so inspiring on Sunday though, as he’s probably going to lose.

Odds: 30 to 1

Wiz Khalifa: This sensimilla-scented rapper is an outspoken Pittsburgh Steelers fan, so he’s not going to win. Nobody likes Pittsburgh Steelers fans.

Odds: 40 to 1

Big Sean: Anyone who self-applies a handle like “big” to himself deserves a little humbling. This MC is going get it here.

Odds: 100 to 1

Bad Meets Evil: And now, Bad meets bitter defeat.

Odds: The number of lame punch lines in this story to 1

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476.

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