houston whitney 263x300 Whitney, Mariah: Grammy Deadline LoomsWhitney Houston‘s new CD, her big comeback effort, is said to ‘near ready,’ ‘almost done,’ or ‘just about finished.’

I’d heard last week that Clive Davis was putting a September release date on it. But really, here’s the thing: the Grammy deadline is August 31st. That’s a month earlier than usual because the Grammy Awards are a week earlier this year, on January 31, 2010.

Yes, that’s right: a week, a month. It makes no sense, but that’s what they did at Grammy HQ. At the end of January 2010 they’re going to give out awards for music released between October 1, 2008 and August 31, 2009.

And Whitney’s comeback may not make that deadline. Of course, it’s possible a single could be released by then. But that’s always a tricky story. J Records tried that with Alicia Keys a couple of years ago, with ‘No One’ making the cut. A year later, her very good album, ‘As I Am,’ seemed old.

At the same time, Mariah Carey is buzzing away in the studio for her new CD, called ‘Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel.’ She’s been working with The-Dream and other producers putting together another collection of catchy pop songs. But will she be ready by August 31st? It doesn’t seem possible. But don’t count her out. Mariah tells me, ‘I feel it’s a special album and I want it to have a shot.’

Maybe the Grammys will have so few choices that they’ll have to acknowledge artists who usually get shunted aside. Elvis Costello‘s new CD, ‘Secret, Profane and Sugarcane,’ would be a good choice. The theme of the next Grammys could be albums that didn’t chart, weren’t promoted, or played on the radio.

So far 2009 hasn’t been that great. The big releases have come from U2, Bob Dylan, Kelly Clarkson, Eminem, and Kanye West. None of it is really superior quality stuff, though, compared even to those artists’ previous work. New albums by Rob Thomas and Black Eyed Peas should help. Of course, Adam Lambert might make the deadline with his release. We have that to look forward to.

But the idea of a Grammy show overwhelmed by Lady Gaga is enough to make you want to get out Daniel Faraday’s notebook from ‘Lost’ and travel back fast to 1972.

P.S. As I told you during the early days of this new column, Mariah is also working with Jermaine Dupri on a theme song for Lee Daniels‘ great movie, ‘Precious.’ It’s set to be called ‘100 Percent.’ At least Mariah will make the Oscar deadline!

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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