Final Grammy Picks

Predicting who the loopy Grammy voters will announce this year for its increasingly irrelevant awards. But it’s still fun to play the guessing game. So here’s what I think will get a slot in the four biggest categories and the only one that matters: Best Alternative Music Album.


Last year’s winner: Fearless, Taylor Swift

This year’s predictions:
· The Suburbs, Arcade Fire
· Recovery, Eminem
· Wake Up, John Legend and the Roots
· MOJO, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
· Soldier of Love, Sade

The skinny: After the shocking victory of Taylor Swift (I still hold that the voters let their granddaughters pick the winner), pretty much anything could happen when the award is handed out months from now. But for now, these are all safe bets. The Suburbs is chart-topping indie favorite and Eminem’s sequel to Relapse is the only behemoth that might out-sell Susan Boyle. Sade also seems to be a lock. The ultra chill act released its first album in years and will be one of 2010’s biggest sellers. The other two are tough calls but the kind of albums the Academy loves: an aging rocker’s return to form (which could give John Mellencamp’s No Better Than This a boost) and a socially conscious but soulless album (which could help out 2008 winner Herbie Hancock’s The Imagine Project).


Last year’s winner: “Use Somebody,” Kings of Leon

This year’s predictions:
· “Love the Way You Lie,” Eminem feat. Rihanna
· “Need You Now,” Lady Antebellum
· “Bad Romance,” Lady Gaga
· “Empire State of Mind,” Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys
· “California Girls,” Katy Perry

The skinny: With so many radio smashes, it’ll be hard to know exactly which terrible singles the Academy will nominate, but the money is on “Bad Romance” and the New York love letter “Empire State of Mind.” Katy Perry will get the popular whore vote (though don’t count out Ke$ha in that category) so that leaves two tainted love hits. Eminem is on a serious hot streak and it’ll be hard to ignore such a potent No. 1 hit. Lady Antebellum’s drunken lament is a sure-fire contender for Song of the Year, which usually goes to the sappiest song of the fiscal year. If it doesn’t make it here, expect Florence + the Machine’s left-field hit “Dog Days are Over” to be announced.


Last year’s winner: “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” Beyoncé (written by C. Stewart, T. Nash, K. Harrell, B. Knowles)

This year’s predictions:
· “Love the Way You Lie,” Eminem feat. Rihanna
Written by M. Mathers, A. Grant, H. Hafferman, M. Riddick
· “Need You Now,” Lady Antebellum
Written by D. Haywood, J. Kear, C. Kelley, H. Scott
· “Bad Romance,” Lady Gaga
Written by S. Germanotta, N. Khayat
· “Teenage Dream,” Katy Perry
Written by K. Perry, B. McKee, B. Levin, M. Martin, L. Gottwald
· “Just the Way You Are,” Bruno Mars
Written by P. Hernandez, P. Lawrence, A. Levine, K. Whalton, K. Cain

The skinny: There may be some issue’s with Bruno Mars’ eligibility, so his gooey ballad may not make it. Lady Gaga, Lady Antebellum and Eminem are all locks so the only question is whether Katy Perry’s virginity-losing summer anthem is bad enough to get nominated.


Last year’s winner: Zac Brown Band

This year’s predictions:
· Justin Bieber
· B.O.B.
· Drake
· Florence + the Machine
· Ke$ha

The skinny: This is a jam-packed year for “new” artists. The Academy likes to spread the love across genres, so it may not be as pop- and R&B-heavy as I think. Mumford & Sons are the real wild cards here. They’re not nearly as popular as the contenders listed but they have a revivalist sound the Academy loves to reward (see: Adele, Amy Winehouse, Norah Jones). Still, it’s hard to see them ousting any of the above, with Drake and Justin Bieber duking it out for who will be more irrelevant in five years.


Last year’s winner: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, Phoenix

This year’s predictions:
· The Suburbs, Arcade Fire
· Dark Night of the Soul, Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse
· Embryonic, The Flaming Lips
· This is Happening, LCD Soundsystem
· Contra, Vampire Weekend

The skinny: Grammy stupidity isn’t spared in this category, which failed to see Animal Collective’s much-lauded–and basically flawless–Merriweather Post Pavilion secure a nomination last year. Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend are the only sure things. So expect to see competition from Spoon, Julian Casablancas, the Swell Season and OK Go.

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