Yup, it’s that time of year again: the 51st annual Grammy Awards are nigh. And while predicting the outcome is often a painfully useless exercise, simply because the Academy voters rarely use logic in choosing their winners — witness, if you will, Herbie Hancock’s w-t-f Album of the Year victory last year, to name just one bizarro choice — the Buzz has enough opinions about who should win the coveted trophies this year that I am willing to go out on a limb and try to guess who will win.


  • Coldplay Viva La Vida -or- Death and All His Friends
  • Lil Wayne Tha Carter III
  • Ne-Yo Year of the Gentleman
  • Robert Plant & Alison Krauss Raising Sand
  • Radiohead In Rainbows


If the night has one slam dunk, it’s this right here. The conventional wisdom is that Coldplay and Radiohead are gonna split the Brit-rock vote, and Ne-Yo and Lil Wayne are gonna split the R&B vote, leaving Plant and Krauss alone at the top. And while the CW meanders its way to the correct result, the reasoning is even simpler than that: Raising Sand was pre-ordained to win this award almost from the day it was released. The academy adores Alison Krauss — with 21 trophies, she is the most awarded female artist in Grammy history — and the fact that this seemingly incongruous collaboration was a left-field commercial smash only served to cement its status as the favorite. The only possible dark horse here is Coldplay, but don’t count on it.


SHOULD WIN: Kings of Leon‘s dynamite Only By the Night


SINCE IT WASN’T NOMINATED: it’s Raising Sand in a walk



  • Adele “Chasing Pavements”
  • Coldplay “Viva La Vida”
  • Leona Lewis “Bleeding Love”
  • M.I.A. “Paper Planes”
  • Robert Plant & Alison Krauss “Please Read the Letter”


A hodgepodge of a category: even though I quite like all of these songs, not one of them leaps out at me and proclaims, “I am the record to best represent the year just passed.” My feeling is the vote is gonna split five ways, and that whomever wins is gonna win by the razor-thinnest of margins. Since they slighted my divine Leona Lewis so egregiously elsewhere — more on that directly — I’d like to think they’d reward her here. (The fact that “Bleeding Love” was one of last year’s biggest and most inescapable hits certainly gives that theory an extra dash of oomph.) But my gut says this, like the one above, is a race between Plant & Krauss and Coldplay. And I’m telling you right now, Plant & Krauss seem pretty bulletproof this year.


SHOULD WIN: Jesse McCartney‘s impossibly sexy “Leavin'”


SINCE IT WASN’T NOMINATED: “Bleeding Love,” as fabulously fierce a diva-fest as has been released this decade


SINCE PLANT & KRAUSS ARE ALSO IN THIS CATEGORY: it’s “Please Read the Letter” by a nose over “Viva La Vida”


  • Estelle featuring Kanye West “American Boy”
  • Adele “Chasing Pavements”
  • Jason Mraz “I’m Yours”
  • Sara Bareilles “Love Song”
  • Coldplay “Viva La Vida”


The good news for all involved here: Plant & Krauss are nowhurr to be found. The bad news: This category would have benefited immeasurably from their imposing presence. Have you ever seen a more underwhelming lineup of tracks than this one? (Don’t flame me, Sherry Ann: I like “I’m Yours” as much as the next guy, but no way should it be in consideration for the year’s best song! And that goofy lightweight Sara Bareilles?!) Since it will get short shrift in the other major categories, this one should easily go to the ‘Play.


SHOULD WIN: Tift Merritt‘s devastating “Another Country”


SINCE IT WASN’T NOMINATED: “Viva La Vida,” the least of five evils


  • Adele
  • Duffy
  • The Jonas Brothers
  • Lady Antebellum
  • Jazmine Sullivan


This category is a complete trainwreck. No Leona Lewis? No OneRepublic? No Thriving Ivory? I’m hearing great buzz that The Jonas Brothers have this all locked up, since they’re the only one of these five artists with genuine name recognition. If that comes to pass, it’ll be the most embarrassing victory in this category since Milli Vanilli nearly twenty years ago. (And we all know how that one turned out.)


SHOULD WIN: OneRepublic


SINCE THEY WEREN’T NOMINATED: honestly, who gives a flying fuck?




  • The marvelous Cyndi Lauper is up for Best Electronic/Dance Album for her amazing Bring Ya to the Brink, against the likes of Moby, Kylie Minogue, Daft Punk, and Robyn.

  • Kings of Leon managed to nab three nods in the rock field: the riveting “Sex on Fire” is up for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance, and the ridiculously fine Only By the Night is up for Best Rock Album. Unfortunately, Coldplay is also present in all three of those categories.

  • Now that it’s the radio smash it has deserved to be for months, wouldn’t it be hilarious to see Lady GaGa‘s brilliant blast “Just Dance” beat out the likes of Madonna, Rihanna, and Daft Punk for Best Dance Recording?

  • Great news: The single finest piece of music anybody dared to commit to tape last year — Sugarland‘s ferociously bold cover (with invaluable help from Little Big Town and Jake Owen) of “Life in a Northern Town” — is front and center in the category of Best Country Collaboration with Vocals. Awful news: So are those bitches Plant & Krauss.


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