Best New Artist Grammy nominee Justin Bieber is coming to Tampa on Sunday. Who's next?
A couple of weeks ago, the Grammy nominations were announced, including the five artists up for the coveted title of Best New Artist.
The big surprise on our end? One of the nominees is already coming to Tampa.
On Sunday, teen pop sensation Justin Bieber brings his moppy lil' top to the St. Pete Times Forum for what's sure to be a massive squealathon, and probably an early Christmas present for about 20,000 very good little girls.
This isn't Bieber's first performance in Tampa Bay -- he performed at Last Damn Show '09 -- but things are different now. The Best New Artist Grammy is like an official coronation, something that introduces much of the world to hot new acts. And many hot new acts often skip Tampa Bay, or Florida altogether, on tour.
Last year we placed odds on which of the five Best New Artists nominees would come to Tampa in 2010. Turns out Silversun Pickups and MGMT came through here, the Ting Tings and Keri Hilson did not, and winners the Zac Brown Band departed on a cruise from Tampa, but didn't play a show here. (They're scheduled to come to Raymond James Stadium with Kenny Chesney in March.)
So we know Bieber is coming to Tampa. What about the other four nominees? Let's dish out some odds.
Mumford and Sons: These passionate folk rockers are English, which is strike one. They're still somewhat below the radar in the mainstream, which is strike two. And they're awesome, which is strike three. We do think there's a chance they'll come to Tampa next year -- maybe they'll open for someone like Coldplay -- but we're not holding our breath on a headlining show. ODDS: 25-1.
Florence and the Machine: Other Soundcheck contributors may disagree, but we're not totally buying into the Florence and the Machine hype (and don't even get us started on the name "Florence + the Machine," which we simply refuse to acknowledge). But after performances on the MTV VMAs and Saturday Night Live, Florence Welch and her British cohorts seem intent on American superstardom. To attain it, they're going to need to keep playing U.S. gigs, and that could mean a tour through the Southeast. As a matter of fact, they already have one Miami gig planned for 2011, opening for some Irish band. ODDS: 12-1.
Drake: A tricky one. On the one hand, the Canadian rapper was just in Tampa in September. On the other, doesn't it just seem like a Drake-Lil Wayne tour would be the hottest summer show of 2011? We bet it'll happen, and you know Weezy isn't about to bypass Tampa now that he's out of the joint. Failing that, Drake isn't a bad bet to headline, say, Last Damn Show 2011. ODDS: 8-1.
Esperanza Spalding: This bass-playing jazz ingenue is this year's token "Huh?" nominee, which means she's gone from complete obscurity to a semi-household name overnight. It's only a matter of time before she comes to Ruth Eckerd Hall or the Straz Center. She's already got a gig in Jacksonville in March. ODDS: 5-1.
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*. Photo: AP.