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>This Sunday, the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards will be telecast via CBS.

The biggest night in music, and as always I’m definitely interested to see who picks up one of those beloved trophies. The nominations came out at the end of 2009, and they were pretty odd. Grammy has steadily been trying to change their image over the past 10 years, so it’s become less about a critical success, or even just honoring established artists. It seems that the Grammy’s are more about who has sold the most and who is more popular overall. Hence the Album of the Year race, which (imo) is one of the weakest in Grammy history. There are also some very odd happenings in the races for Song of the Year, Record of the Year and New Artist. And certain artists seem to be misplaced, for instance Black Eyed Peas nominated for Pop Album and not Dance album. The nominations are very odd, but like I do every year I’m going to try to make sense of all the nominees and make some sound predictions and Hope that I can maintain my near-flawless record.

Album of the Year:

Beyoncé, I Am… Sasha Fierce
Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D.
Lady GaGa, The Fame
Dave Matthews Band, Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King
Taylor Swift, Fearless

There have been some very questionable Albums up for this award in recent history, but they always lose out to classic artists (Robert Plant and Alison Krauss last year, Herbie Hancock in 2008 and Ray Charles in 2005). This year, the only act you can consider Classic is Dave Matthews Band. And for that reason I think they will win. Though when I look at Metacritic, the album got a really average rating. The album was a #1 hit and managed to sell a million copies, but I’m not quite sure it’s their year. Black Eyed Peas and Lady GaGa are pretty much out of this race, and I would say the same about Beyoncé and Taylor Swift. These four acts and their music are too young and contemporary for older members to vote for them. However both Taylor and Beyoncé have a shot because they are both insanely popular and well-respected in the industry. This is a hard call, but…
Will Win: Dave Matthews Band. Classic and well -respected band. Enough said
Should Win: Taylor Swift. And I’ve not heard this album, but she writes her own songs and was a huge phenomenon this year and she’s only 17. Though what’s going to hurt her most in this category is the fact she’ll most likely sweep all the Country categories she’s up for.

Record of the Year:

Beyoncé, Halo
Black Eyed Peas, I Gotta Feeling
Kings of Leon, Use Somebody
Lady GaGa, Poker Face
Taylor Swift, You Belong with Me

Song of the Year:

Lady GaGa, Poker Face
Maxwell, Pretty Wings
Beyoncé, Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)
Kings of Leon, Use Somebody
Taylor Swift, You Belong with Me

Even though I think it’s one of their worst songs, Kings of Leon have a really great shot at winning both of these awards for “Use Somebody”. They emerged as the Hot Rock Group of the year thanks to their far superior single “Sex of Fire” (and last years Grammy winner for best Rock Vocal, Duo or Group). “Use Somebody” became their first Top 5 US Hit, and completely assaulted Pop radio this summer. I wouldn’t be surprised, and I wouldn’t even mind if they won both of these categories. They’ve been working hard and it took them their fourth album to successfully cross over to the mainstream.

However, “Poker Face” and “Single Ladies” were HUGE this past year. And this is where things get odd. Generally Record of the Year goes to the song that was most popular that year, and Song of the Year goes to the more critically lauded single. “Single Ladies” would have been a natural in the Record of the Year race, but it’s not there and lyrically, I don’t think the song was as critically acclaimed so it will probably lose the Song of the Year race. Which leaves “Poker Face”, nominated in both categories. This addictive hit basically put GaGa on the map, so for that reason I think it has a good shot at Record of the Year.

Record of the Year
Will Win: Lady GaGa. Insanely popular and catchy, a natural for the category.
Should Win: Black Eyed Peas. Guetta’s production and the Peas’ energetic delivery make this song a clear 10.

Song of the Year
Will Win: Kings of Leon. An inspirational A/C leaning Rock Ballad. Total Grammy bait.
Should Win: Maxwell. This is probably the best and most authentic R&B song in a long while, plus Maxwell’s gotta win something this year.

New Artist:

Zac Brown Band
Keri Hilson
MGMT
Silversun Pickups
The Ting Tings

Also very odd. This category is always odd though. Like when Lauryn Hill was nominated and won in 1998, although she had previously won multiple Grammy’s as a member of Fugees. And this year we have Lady GaGa out of the running because she was nominated for a Grammy last year, but MGMT and Ting Tings who released their debuts in 2008 are up for new artists this year. And worst than that Silversun Pickups released their first album 4 years ago. Very Very odd, but I think this race comes down to Silversun Pickups and Zac Brown Band, the two acts I know the least about. I do know that the Zac Brown Band are the only country acts up for the award. In the past 10 years only one country act has won this award (Carrie Underwood in 2007), but this race is so wide open it might go to the most popular act and Zac Brown Band might be that act, with over a million in sales and a #1 Country single.
Will Win: Zac Brown Band. Only because I don’t see any other act winning.
Should Win: MGMT. “Oracular Spectacular” was one of the most talked about and critically acclaimed albums of that year. And more important than that, they brought a fresh new sound more so than anybody else nominated.

Female Pop Vocal Performance:

Adele, Hometown Glory
Beyoncé, Halo
Katy Perry, Hot N Cold
Pink, Sober
Taylor Swift, You Belong with Me

Off the top we can cancel out Katy Perry and Taylor Swift. Their nominated singles are no doubt fun, but not in the same league vocally as the rest. Pink has a good shot, but Beyoncé will probably take this one home.

Will Win: Beyoncé. A Heartfelt Emotional and Intense vocal on a really popular song.
Should Win: Adele. Because this song is one of the best vocal performances of the decade.

Male Pop Vocal Performance:

John Legend, This Time
Maxwell, Love You
Jason Mraz, Make it Mine
Seal, If You Don’t Know Me By Now
Stevie Wonder, All About the Love Again

Will Win: Jason Mraz. Sometimes Grammy’s give an artist an award one year because they lost the previous year. Mraz should have gotten Grammy gold for his now Record Breaking hit “I’m Yours” but went home empty handed. This award might be his redemption.
Should Win: John Legend. Just for an amazing song which is pretty much the definition of this category.

Pop Vocal Album:

Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D.
Colbie Caillat, Breakthrough
Kelly Clarkson, All I Ever Wanted
The Fray, The Fray
Pink, Funhouse

Will Win: Black Eyed Peas or Colbie Caillat. Even though they were one of the nominee leaders, I don’t see Black Eyed Peas winning a bunch of awards this year. So this may be their category. Although Caillat is becoming a rising star in the pop world, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she pulled the win on this one.
Should Win: Pink. Only because I consider “The E.N.D.” to be more of a Dance album, while “Funhouse” is a really good mix of different Pop sounds.

Dance Recording:

Black Eyed Peas, Boom Boom Pow
David Guetta and Kelly Rowland, When Love Takes Over
Lady GaGa, Poker Face
Madonna, Celebration
Britney Spears, Womanizer

Will Win: Lady GaGa. If she only gets one award on Sunday, this will be it. It has her name written all over it. Her only real competition is the equally successful “Boom Boom Pow”.
Should Win: Madonna. Since “Sexy Bitch” by Guetta and Akon isn’t in the running, this song is the only one with a straight up and genuine Dance sound. And it’s one of her best singles in years.

Electronic/Dance Album:

The Crystal Method, Divided by Night
David Guetta, One Love
Lady GaGa, The Fame
LMFAO, Party Rock
Pet Shop Boys, Yes

Will Win: Pet Shop Boys. Only because they are Classic artists, and classic artists in this specific genre too. GaGa is their biggest competition, but I think they have a really good chance here.
Should Win: David Guetta. For getting some really top name acts, and giving them some real dance music to sing over.

Rock Performance, Duo or Group:

Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood, Can’t Find My Way Home
Coldplay, Life in Technicolor II
Green Day, 21 Guns
Kings of Leon, Use Somebody
U2, I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight

Will Win: Kings of Leon. No Brainer. I talked them up for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, so there’s no reason they can’t take this.
Should Win: Green Day. Because I’m not going to give the award to a Live recording (Clapton and Winwood) or a Remix (Coldplay) or a song from an album that completely sucked (U2). And this song is another instant classic like their Record of the Year winning “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”.

Rock Song:

Pearl Jam, The Fixer
U2, I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight
Green Day, 21 Guns
Kings of Leon, Use Somebody
Bruce Springsteen, Working on a Dream

Will Win: I would say Kings of Leon, but Bruce Springsteen has won this award Two years in a row (and Four times total) and it looks likely that he’ll win for a third.
Should Win: Green Day. See previous category.

Alternative Album:
David Byrne & Brian Eno, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today
Death Cab for Cutie, The Open Door
Depeche Mode, Sounds of the Universe
Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It’s Blitz!

I was so extremely happy to see Phoenix and Yeah Yeah Yeah’s nominated in this category. They are two very worthy competitors (and my #3 and #6 Top Albums of 2009), but unfortunately I feel like they are going to lose out.

Will Win: David Byrne & Brian Eno. Simply because they really are the orchestrators of the Alternative (back than No-Wave and New Wave) sound. In fact, I’m 100% sure all of the acts nominated were heavily influenced by either Byrne or Eno at some point in their careers.
Should Win: Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Although I ranked Phoenix higher, I think “It’s Blitz” is closer to the Alternative sound, and the production value is Loud, Punk and Rock but also very polished.
Female R&B Vocal:

Beyoncé, Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)
Melanie Fiona, It Kills Me
Lalah Hathaway, That Was Then
Ledisi, Goin’ Thru Changes
Jazmine Sullivan, Lions Tigers and Bears

Will Win: No Brainer. Beyoncé. In fact it looks like they nominated lesser known acts and songs just so Beyoncé would have no problem winning this. Slight upset possibility with Melanie Fiona, but I don’t think Mrs. Carter has anything to worry about here.
Should Win: Beyoncé. “Whu-Uh oh, oh oh oh oh oh ooh, oh oh oh, Whu-Uh oh!” how can lyrics that great NOT win? =P
Male R&B Vocal:

Anthony Hamilton, The Point of it All
Maxwell, Pretty Wings
Musiq Soulchild, Sobeautiful
Pleasure P, Under
Charlie Wilson, There Goes My Baby

Will Win: Another No Brainer. Maxwell. And this seems to be the same case with Female R&B Vocal, nobody else even comes close.
Should Win: Maxwell. but Anthony Hamilton’s nominated song is just as flawless as Maxwell’s hit.
R&B Song:

Jamie Foxx, Blame It
Jazmine Sullivan, Lions Tigers and Bears
Maxwell, Pretty Wings
Beyoncé, Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)
Pleasure P, Under

Will Win: Maxwell. Like I said before, this song is Pure and Classic R&B.
Should Win: Maxwell. For the very same reason.

R&B Album:

Anthony Hamilton, The Point of it All
India.Arie, Testimony: Vol. 2 Love & Politics
Ledisi, Turn Me Loose
Maxwell, Blacksummers’night
Charlie Wilson, Uncle Charlie

Will Win: Maxwell. His first album in 8 years, it debuts at #1 and has a #1 single. No way he won’t win.

Should Win: Anthony Hamilton. Maxwell’s album had 8 songs on it, Anthony Hamilton put together a FULL album with very few flaws.

Contemporary R&B Album:

Beyoncé, I Am… Sasha Fierce
Jamie Foxx, Intuition
Pleasure P, The Introduction of Marcus Cooper
Trey Songz, Ready
T-Pain, Thr33 Ringz

Now first I want to get on a little tangent. Where is The-Dream!? And in fact where was he last year when J. Holiday’s inferior album “Back of my ‘Lac” (even the title sucks) was nominated in place of The-Dream’s “Love/Hate”. Can’t cry over spilled milk, but than this year comes along and The-Dream’s “Love vs Money” is excluded, but under performing and nearly forgotten T-Pain and Pleasure P (WHO?) are nominated instead. I don’t understand what they are doing, but it might be similar to the Female R&B Vocal where they are just giving this award away to Beyoncé.

Will Win: Beyoncé. Although I consider this album a POP album, this should be the clear winner.

Should Win: Beyoncé. Sure go ahead and give it to her. The only albums that could upset are Trey Songz and Jamie Foxx, but I doubt many voters would pass her over for these two guys.

Rap Solo Performance:

Drake, Best I Ever Had
Eminem, Beautiful
Jay-Z, D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)
Kid Cudi, Day n Nite
Mos Def, Casa Bey

Will Win: Drake. That was clearly the most popular song of the 5, and the rap categories are always less about the quality and more about who has the most recognizable name and which song was most memorable.

Should Win: Mos Def or Kid Cudi. “Casa Bey” might be too short of a song, but Mos Def’s flow on the song definitely trumps everybody else nominated. Cudi because his hit “Day n Nite” was the most different, it didn’t sound like a typical Hip Hop/Rap song. In fact, Cudi might be next in line to win.

Rap Song:

Drake, Best I Ever Had
Kid Cudi, Day n Nite
T.I., Dead and Gone
Jay-Z, D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)
Jay-Z, Run this Town

Will Win: I actually have no idea who is the favorite here. I could say Jay-Z cancels himself out, but “Run this Town” was a pretty big hit for him and he’s bound to win at least one award on Sunday. Cudi and Drake also have great chances of winning this. I’m gonna just take a wild guess and say Kid Cudi “Day n Nite” will take the prize.

Should Win: Jay-Z, D.O.A. This single marked a true return to form for Jigga. It’s agressive and hectic, and he’s actually saying something worthwhile. However, Cudi also Should win (now that I think of it, why wasn’t he nominated for best New Artist??)

Rap Album:

Common, Universal Mind Control
Eminem, Relapse
Flo Rida, R.O.O.T.S.
Mos Def, The Ecstatic
Q-Tip, The Renaissance

Just like I was very happy to see Phoenix and Yeah Yeah Yeahs up for Alternative Album, I was VERY happy to see Mos Def Q-Tip and Common up in this category. Unfortunately they won’t win. All of those very classic and very original Hip Hop albums didn’t make any noise sales wise, or even singles wise. I just pray that Flo Rida doesn’t come in and get the Popularity vote (I doubt he will, he hasn’t been very relevant since “Right Round” finally fell off the charts after an impressive run.

Will Win: Eminem. His album was a major disappointment, but in this race he’s the most popular and most successful name. So unfortunately this goes to him.

Should Win: Q-Tip. Common and Mos put together some fantastic albums, but Q-Tip is the one that had the clearer message and the most consistent sequencing of material.

Alright that’s it. There’s like, 22 Million categories but these are the ones I feel I’m more qualified to have an opinion on. Looking through the nominations I did see a bunch of stuff I need to actually listen to. Maybe if I can listen to everything by Sunday my predictions may change. I doubt it though, the quality doesn’t really matter at the Grammy’s. And that’s not really a bad thing I suppose, The Grammy’s do mean a lot. They just basically mean your peers respect you, maybe just for one album or just one song, but I’m certain it means a lot to artists who were inspired by Music Legends and their peers. To be inspired by them, and than being awarded by them has to be Awesome.

So watch the Grammy’s on Sunday. Among the performers are Bon Jovi, Maxwell, Pink, Green Day, Lady Antebellum, Beyoncé. Mary J Blige and Andrea Boccelli are going to duet (Whoa!). And the obligatory Michael Jackson tribute performance, which I read somewhere was going to be in 3D (probably a terrible rumor). Most importantly, watch to see how Awesome I am at predicting the winners!

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