OFFSTAGE: Analyzing Grammy Winners and Losers

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

The Grammys are coming! The Grammys are coming! So there’s nothing I like more than to analyze Grammys past to determine whether or not the way they voted swayed an artist’s career. This year, Entertainment Weekly has done most of the hard work for me.

In their story about the Grammy Awards winners for best new artist , it’s easy to see which country stars have taken home that coveted prize. And, sadly, which country artists did not. So, take for example, the year 1993. Billy Ray Cyrus and his “Achy Breaky Heart” were all anyone could talk about. Alas, Arrested Development beat him that year. Then another big shocker — no offense to Darius Rucker — was in 1996 when Hootie & the Blowfish won over Shania Twain.

Finally, in 1997, a country artist took that gramophone trophy home: LeAnn Rimes. She has since released 14 albums, so I’d say that was a good call. But in 1999, how anyone could beat the Dixie Chicks is beyond me. But that was the year Lauryn Hill won. And just two years later, again country was on the list but did not win the award. Shelby Lynne beat out Brad Paisley. In 2005, Maroon 5 beat out Gretchen Wilson. In 2006, John Legend beat out Sugarland. In 2008, Amy Winehouse beat out Taylor Swift. And in 2009, Adele beat out Lady Antebellum.

But we did have some recent big victories. In 2007, Carrie Underwood won the Grammy for best new artist, and then in 2010, the Zac Brown Band did. So when you look at how far country has come in this category in the past five years, I think The Band Perry has a very good shot at a win. I know I’ll be crossing my fingers for them when the 54th annual Grammy Awards air on Feb. 12.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.