Metro Fm's Dj's Azania and Unathi at the Metro Fm nominees held in Rivonia,north of Johannesburg. Picture: Paballo Thekiso

This year’s Metro FM Awards are the most hyped in their 13-year history. They are certainly being more hyped than last year’s awards – mostly because there were no awards in 2012.

The radio station’s reasoning behind moving the event from November 2012 to February 2013 was to include the festive releases, thereby making the awards more current. Why it took 11 years to come to that decision is one of those mysteries that will stay hidden deep in the bowels of the national broadcaster.

Obviously SABC would not admit that the awards did not take place in 2012 because a general malaise of incompetence engulfs the tall building in Auckland Park.

The MMAs have also moved back to Durban, from where Metro FM is broadcasting for the week.

The station has done a great job promoting the awards with an aggressive marketing campaign across SABC’s three channels as well as a print campaign. It also has street lamp posters in Durban, which is buzzing with excitement over the ceremony which takes place on Saturday night at the Durban ICC.

On air, the radio station mentions the awards every few minutes, while adverts encourage listeners to vote for their favourite artist in each of the categories.

It is also the first time that the awards will be broadcast live on television. SABC1 is expecting a large viewership for the show, which goes live from 8pm.

The production team behind the live broadcast are Skhonyane Productions, who are responsible for Selimathunzi and SABC1’s Cum Duze. Blue Moon, who have been behind some of the best SAMA productions, have been tasked with putting the show together.

Hosts on the black carpet between 6pm and 8pm are Minnie Dlamini and Metro FM’s William Lehong. They will also conduct backstage interviews.

The hosts for the awards are the insanely popular Robert Marawa and Metro FM favourite, the beautiful Azania. While they score zero for rock ’n’ roll cred, their vast experience dictates that the two will be more than capable of hosting a live television show.

Of all the Metro FM DJs, Marawa is the most equipped to handle live television. Plus Marawa is a good, solid KZN boy.

Deana Heslop-Mthembu, executive director of events at Blue Moon, said: “Viewers can expect an exciting show well held together by Robert and Azania, who are experienced and who will also give that Metro FM flavour.”

It will be interesting to see whether they will hide Marawa’s increasing girth behind a table as they do on Supersport or merely let everyone see just how chunky our favourite sports presenter has become.

In keeping with international trends, Heslop-Mthembu says, performances will be largely collaborations – both obvious and unusual.

Donald is on a high with six nominations for his successful Train of Love. That this is a house album reflects the popularity of this genre.

Another interesting fact is that The Muffinz are the only nominees who are in a band and play real musical instruments, as opposed to the computer-generated music of the other nominees. Sad but true.

Donald has been nominated for the all-important Best Male Album award, as have Kabomo, Khuli Chana, Professor and Zakwe.

My preference is for Professor’s fantastic new album, titled The Orientation. However, Donald is sure to take the trophy.

He has also been nominated in the Best Dance Album category, but has strong competition from DJ Tira and Glen Lewis, who is also a DJ on the radio station.

My money is on Tira scooping the award.

In the Best Hit Single category, Donald and his big hit, Deserve, go up against AKA with Jealousy, DJ Vetkuk vs Mahoota with Stokvel, HHP with Bosso and Fistaz Mixwell with Hade Mabebeza. Fistaz will probably take it as the track is the most current in this category and the public’s memory is short.

In the Best Female Album category, Zonke’s album stands out as a clear winner, followed closely by that of her sister, Lulu Dikana, and newcomer Moneoa. Metro FM’s drive time DJ, Unathi, has also been nominated in this category, as has Toya Delazy.

Delazy has been nominated in four categories, including Best Newcomer and Best-Styled Artist/ Group. She will no doubt win something as this overexposed singer has managed to convince many fans that she has talent and can hold a note.

For her sake, let’s hope that if she is asked to perform on the night of the event there is a backing tape lurking somewhere so that she may continue to perpetuate the myth of her vocal abilities.

When it comes to Best Newcomer, The Muffinz have my vote over Moneoa, who is brilliant, as well as Idols winner Khaya, Zakwe and Delazy.

In the Best Kwaito category, which is also difficult, TKZee’s Tokollo and Kabelo are competing against each other. The other three are L’Vovo, fellow Durbanite Professor, and Brickz. The winner in that category is a toss-up between Professor and Tokollo (aka Magesh).

The Best Hip Hop vote two years back went to AKA, who went on to win the Album of the Year award at the MTN Samas. This year the competition is between Khuli Chana, Shugasmakx, Zakwe, Teargas and PRO.

The winner will probably be Teargas as they have yet to release an album that hasn’t picked up an award. Khuli Chana is their stiffest competition.

These predictions are in all likelihood a far stretch from what will happen on the night as the winners are decided by public voting and humans are a fickle bunch. Each vote is restricted to 50 votes per number. Voting closed on Sunday, February 17.