Grammy Preview: Who'll Win?

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Green Day's Billy Joe / Taylor Swift
WRITTEN BY
Steve Kandell

The 52nd annual Grammy Awards feature an amazing roster of performers, including Green Day, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, and many more. (Watch the show Sunday, Jan.31, at 8 p.m. on CBS.) And, it turns out, the Recording Academy is also giving out a few shiny awards.

Below, read our predictions for who should win and who will win. Then post your comment.

  • ALBUM OF THE YEAR

    Beyonce, I Am Sasha Fierce
    Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D.
    Lady Gaga, The Fame
    Dave Matthews Band, Big Whiskey...
    Taylor Swift, Fearless

    Who Will Win: Taylor Swift. The only thing Grammy voters love as much as very old people is very young people. But don't count out Lady Gaga -- her Best New Artist snub may meet with gaudy overcompensation.

    Who Should Win: Though it is somewhat shocking to us at SPIN to see a Grammy best-album discussion that doesn't involve Animal Collective (not really), the backlash against America's sweetheart will not begin in this space.

  • SONG OF THE YEAR

    "Poker Face," Lady Gaga
    "Pretty Wings," Maxwell
    "Single Ladies," Beyonce
    "Use Somebody," Kings of Leon
    "You Belong With Me," Taylor Swift

    Who Will Win: Beyonce. Finally, the year's most irresistible single gets its due.

    Who Should Win: Those shaggy Followill boys with their tight jeans might still be a little too edgy for the big awards.But if we're talking ubiquity, "Use Somebody" has gotta be up there, right?

  • RECORD OF THE YEAR

    "Halo," Beyonce
    "I Gotta Feeling," Black Eyed Peas
    "Use Somebody," Kings of Leon
    "Poker Face," Lady Gaga
    "You Belong With Me," Taylor Swift

    Who Will Win: Still not sure how this is different from Song of the Year, but since three of the five songs are nominated in both, it stands to be one of those. So...Taylor? "Hey grandpa, what's a 'record?'"

    Who Should Win: Gaga. Fingers crossed for a gown comprised solely of diamond-studded Fozzie Bears.

  • BEST NEW ARTIST

    Zac Brown Band
    Keri Hilson
    MGMT
    Silversun Pickups
    The Ting Tings

    Who Will Win: Keri Hilson has all the right guest appearances and all the right support, but have you ever heard anyone sound truly excited about her? Exactly -- meet your 2010 Best New Artist.

    Who Should Win: Although the album came out more than two years ago, MGMT are the closest thing on this list to a burgeoning young rock band that might have their most interesting work in front of them. And as long as we're nominating acts on their second album -- hello, Silversun Pickups -- Bat For Lashes and Grizzly Bear deserve an apology letter on NARAS letterhead for the snub. And that Lady Gaga character seems pretty new -- it's too bad she flopped so badly.

  • BEST ROCK ALBUM

    AC/DC, Black Ice
    Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood, Live From Madison Square Garden
    Green Day, 21st Century Breakdown
    Dave Matthews Band, Big Whiskey...
    U2, No Line on the Horizon

    Who Will Win: Green Day, barely nudging U2 in the Battle of Underperforming Megastars Who Are Bound By Law To Be Nominated Anyway.

    Who Should Win: A year after its release, the U2 album is better than you remember it. Although an Angus Young acceptance speech would be way more fun than a Bono one. Shame that not a single album made by someone under the age of 41 could get the nod over an Eric Clapton/Steve Winwood live album. Bowing to Grammy reverse-ageism, certainly Wilco could have been thrown a bone. They're over 40 and put out an album that isn't one of their best, so this should be their moment.

  • BEST HARD ROCK PERFORMANCE

    "War Machine," AC/DC
    "Check My Brain," Alice In Chains
    "What I've Done," Linkin Park
    "The Unforgiven III," Metallica
    "Burn It to the Ground, Nickelback

    Who Will Win: Nickelback. Because God is probably Canadian.

    Who Should Win: You know, that's not a bad AC/DC song. (NB: Pretty sure "war machine" = "penis.") More importantly, we'd put Metallica in the metal category, as their name is not friggin' Hardrockica. The Them Crooked Vultures album must have come past the deadline, but mark your calendars: That sorta pedigree seems a mortal lock for 2011.

  • BEST METAL PERFORMANCE

    "Dissident Aggressor," Judas Priest
    "Set to Fail," Lamb of God
    "Head Crusher," Megadeth
    "Senor Pellegro," Ministry
    "Hate Worldwide," Slayer

    Who Will Win: The Grammy voters are notoriously hard to predict in this category -- ladies and gentlemen, Jethro Tull! -- so let's just go with Judas Priest 'cause they've got the Holy Shit They're Old thing going for them.

    Who Should Win: Who among us has not longed to hear the words, "And the winner is... 'Head Crusher!'" on national television? But whose ass did Mastodon not properly kiss this year? Also, what do they mean by performance? How is that different from an album or a song?

  • BEST ALTERNATIVE MUSIC 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!

    Who Will Win: Byrne and Eno. Just 'cause this category's throwing around the A-word doesn't mean the olds won't win. (Also, The Open Door is an EP, not an album, but who's counting?)

    Who Should Win: Whatever criteria go into determining what "alternative" is to a Grammy voter, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs album probably meets most of them. NARAS, draft another apology letter.

  • BEST RAP ALBUM

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

    Who Will Win: Eminem. Out of sheer force of habit and little else. Also, Grammy voters love their pills.

    Who Should Win: Mos Def may never sell gaudy Jay-Z or Eminem numbers, but he's a lifer who's managing to put out some of his best work at a point in his career when he could be coasting off movie roles. And we're sure there's a good reason that The Blueprint III can have two singles in the Best Rap Song category, but the album isn't nominated, but we couldn't tell you what it is.

  • BEST RAP SONG

    "Best I Ever Had," Drake
    "Day N Nite," Kid Cudi
    "Dead and Gone," TI and JT
    "D.O.A.," Jay-Z
    "Run This Town," Jay-Z

    Who Will Win: "Run This Town" -- although the two Jay-Z songs should ostensibly cancel one another out, this one will get the nod over the more gimmicky "D.O.A." Which we will all forget about until next year, when "Empire State of Mind" somehow wins this category despite being from the same album.

    Who Should Win: "Best I Ever Had" felt like the opening gambit in what could be a long, intriguing career, so why not mark it with a trophy? But Kid Cudi feels like a rare progressive inclusion. T-Pain must be pissed.

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