Depending on who you are, winning a Best New Artist Grammy is either a stepping stone to superstardom or a catalyst for one-and-done status. For every Beatles (1965 winner) and Mariah Carey (1991), there's a Starland Vocal Band and Christopher Cross. For this year's award, Alabama Shakes, fun., Hunter Hayes, the Lumineers and Frank Ocean are all vying for the prize.
Before you watch the Grammy awards this Sunday, we've broken down each artist, giving Pro and Con reasons for why they'll thank their family on the podium or stay in their seat pretending to be happy for the winner. Take a look at each nominee and when you're done, head over to Fuse's 2013 Grammy poll and cast your vote for Best New Artist and other categories.
Album: Boys & Girls
Why They Could Win: Frontwoman Brittany Howard's booming, bourbon-soaked rasp mixed with the group's traditional Southern rock/Americana sound may appeal to many of the Academy's older voters who worship at the altar of Springsteen and Neil Young.
Why They Could Lose: The Shakes aren't as well known as Frank Ocean and fun. and their indie status may make them long shots.
Album: Some Nights
Why They Could Win: The entire world has heard "We Are Young" at least once whether they wanted to or not. Recognizability may help the band with voters who may not be familiar with the other nominees.
Why They Could Lose: The band was nominated and lost for best new band at the MTV Video Music Awards, MTV Europe Music Awards and People's Choice Awards. Is that a bad omen for the Grammys?
Album: Hunter Hayes
Why He Could Win: Ask Taylor Swift: Country music ingenues are still having their moment in the bigger pop national consciousness. The 21-year-old Hayes' debut album went gold and was immediately a critical darling.
Why He Could Lose: Hayes' album is also nominated for Best Country Album, so the Academy may decide to crown him king in that category instead.
Album: The Lumineers
Why They Could Win: The indie-folk trio have become this year's Mumford & Sons, transforming from relatively unknown band to the Little Indie That Could. "Ho Hey," their breakout song, may be the most ubiquitous track among the nominees without "We," "Are" or "Young" in the title.
Why They Could Lose: Bon Iver won for Best New Artist last year. Will the Academy be hesitant to bestow the prize on another indie folk rock group?
Album: Channel Orange
Why He Could Win: The R&B singer’s proper debut after 2011’s mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra topped countless critics’ Best Albums lists and his bold admission last summer that he was involved in a relationship with a man may endear him to members of the academy.
Why He Could Lose: Ocean shares none of the brash, aggressive traits as other members of his Odd Future crew, but will the singer be guilty by association?