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Who will win, who should win Grammys predictions

The Grammys remain harder to predict than any other major set of awards, thanks to an increasingly huge and diversifying voter base, not to mention the ongoing fragmentation of America’s musical tastes. But who can resist trying to “Get Lucky” anyway by predicting how the Recording Academy might go?
One thing is for sure: any Adele-style “sweep” headlines the day after are out of the question, since the likeliest candidate for across-the-board trophies, Lorde, failed to get recognized by the committees controlling the Album and New Artist categories.

Album of the Year
“The Blessed Unrest,” Sara Bareilles; “Random Access Memories,” Daft Punk; “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City,” Kendrick Lamar; “The Heist,” Macklemore & Ryan Lewis; “Red,” Taylor Swift
It’s easy to rule out Bareilles and Lamar, who did first-rate work - but who were clearly thrown in by the nominating committee to stylistically diversify the category’s ranks, not because of massive support bases. Macklemore & Lewis will get their due elsewhere, and Grammy voters may feel iffy about giving their most prestigious honor to a disco album, however ubiquitous Daft Punk’s was. That leaves Swift, pop’s most reliable seller and a critics’ favorite to boot. The only reason to question that is how her previous album wasn’t even nominated after the one preceding it won, but that was likely more a peculiarity of the nominating committee than the overall votership.
Should win: Swift
Will win: Swift

Record of the Year
“Get Lucky,” Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers; “Radioactive,” Imagine Dragons; “Royals,” Lorde; “Locked Out of Heaven,” Bruno Mars; “Blurred Lines,” Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell and T.I.
The Thicke song is video-driven piffle, the Mars song feels older than a moon rock, and Imagine Dragons are truly radioactive when it comes to rock cred. So the contest is a nail-biter between Lorde and Daft Punk. The Grammys have a history of honoring young women for acclaimed freshman projects, so voters might rather see her at the podium than a couple of guys in masks.
Should win: Lorde
Will win: Lorde
 

Song of the Year
“Just Give Me a Reason,” Jeff Bhasker, Pink & Nate Ruess (Pink) “Locked Out of Heaven,” Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine & Bruno Mars (Bruno Mars); “Roar,” Lukasz Gottwald, Max Martin, Bonnie McKee, Katy Perry & Henry Walter (Katy Perry); “Royals,” Joel Little and Ella Yelich O’Connor (Lorde); “Same Love,” Ben Haggerty, Mary Lambert and Ryan Lewis (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis)
Should win: “Just Give Me a Reason”
Will win: “Same Love”
Best New Artist
James Blake; Kendrick Lamar; Macklemore & Ryan Lewis; Kacey Musgraves and Ed Sheeran
The obvious winner: Lorde! Wait - she’s really not listed here? Almost two months after the announcement, we still can’t quite believe it either. As for previous Grammy nominee Sheeran, isn’t he 40 by now, or does it only feel like it? This feels like Macklemore & Lewis’s to lose, although either Lamar or Musgraves could pull off an upset if their critical support is deemed more important than their genre boundaries.
Should win: Kacey Musgraves
Will win: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
 

Pop Solo Performance
“Brave,” Sara Bareilles; “Royals,” Lorde; “When I Was Your Man,” Bruno Mars; “Roar,” Katy Perry; “Mirrors,” Justin Timberlake
The irony of “Roar” being nominated alongside “Brave,” the song it’s been accused of ripping off, won’t be lost on many, and it won’t help Perry. Lorde is likely to win a lot of awards as partial consolation for not having been even nominated for new artist or album, and this should be one of them.
Should win: Sara Bareilles
Will win: Lorde
Pop Duo/Group Performance
“Get Lucky,” “Draft Punk & Pharrell Williams; “Just Give Me a Reason,” Pink Featuring Nate Ruess;; “Stay,”  Rihanna Featuring Mikky Ekko; “Blurred Lines,” “Robin Thicke Featuring T.I. & Pharrell; “Suit & Tie,” Justin Timberlake & Jay Z
A consolation prize for “Get Lucky” if it fails as record of the year... or part of a sweep if we underrated its potential in the top category.
Should win: Daft Punk
Will win: Daft Punk
 

Rock Album
“13,” Black Sabbath; “The Next Day,” David Bowie; “Mechanical Bull,” Kings of Leon; “Celebration Day,” Led Zeppelin; “... Like Clockwork,” Queens of the Stone Age; “Psychedelic Pill,” Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Grammy voters like their veterans, but hardly anyone heard the Young or Sabbath albums, and Led Zep would have a better shot if they hadn’t immediately re-retired as a group after one live performance and album. With only the widely beloved QOTSA for serious competition, Bowie is the Thin White Dominator here, and voters won’t even mind that he won’t show up.
Should win: David Bowie
Will win: David Bowie
Best Alternative Music Album
“The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You,” “Neko Case; “Trouble Will Find Me,” The National; “Hesitation Marks,” “Nine Inch Nails; “Lonerism,” Tame Impala; “Modern Vampires of the City,” Vampire Weekend
At a time in their career when they should be falling off the radar, Vampire Weekend’s album came in second in the Village Voice critics’ poll, trailing only Kanye West’s. That doesn’t mean many voters won’t automatically click on relative elder statesman Trent Reznor, but the trend favors incisors over nails.
Should win: Vampire Weekend
Will win: Vampire Weekend
 

R&B Album
“R&B Divas,” Faith Evans; “Girl On Fire,” Alicia Keys; “Love In The Future,” John Legend; “Better,” Chrisette Michele; “Three Kings,” “TGT”
Keys’ days as the Grammys’ newcomer queen are less remembered now than her credit-card commercials, but she’s still got the cache to dominate a field like this.
Should win: Chrisette Michele
Will win: Alicia Keys
Rap Album
“Nothing Was the Same,” Drake; “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” Jay Z; “good kid, m.A.A.d city,” Kendrick Lamar; “The Heist,” Macklemore & Ryan Lewis; “Yeezus,” Kanye West
Talk about up for grabs: This could go almost any way... except, probably, poor Jay-Z’s. Drake could easily add this to “well-liked SNL double-threat” on his list of 2014 accomplishments. But his rival, West, did just top the Village Voice critics’ poll with Yeezus - and he’s not the only one angered it didn’t get a nod in the top album category. On the other hand, even some of Kanye’s own fans disliked the record’s nasty mood and misogynistic lyrics. Less hardcore rap fans will go for the obvious feel-good choice and continue the Macklemore semi-sweep.
Should win: Kanye West
Will win: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
 

Country Album
“Night Train,” Jason Aldean; “Two Lanes of Freedom,” Tim McGraw; “Same Trailer Different Park,” Kacey Musgraves; “Based on a True Story,” Blake Shelton; “Red,” Taylor Swift
If we’re saying “Red” has the best bet at taking the cross-genre Album of the Year trophy, it only goes to stand that we’d predict it for Country Album, too. And we are. And yet... There will be those who will gripe that Swift’s album contains almost no music that is clearly stylistically identifiable as country, which could cause the slightest of backlashes here. If so, the beneficiary might be not one of the three in-the-pocket hunks in the category, but Musgraves, who had one of the most critically hailed albums of any genre in 2013 and could be an easy check-off for voters who aren’t into either Swift’s pop glam or the Nashville bro-country mainstream.
Should win: Musgraves or Swift (a tie)
Will win: Swift

Dance/Electronica Album
“Random Access Memories,” Daft Punk; “Settle,” Disclosure; “18 Months,” Calvin Harris; “Atmosphere,” Kaskade; “A Color Map of the Sun,” Pretty Lights
Let’s see: Will it be the most ubiquitous cross-genre party album of the year... or one of four other albums that 99 percent of Grammy voters haven’t heard of? This category exists this year just to ensure that, whatever other embarrassments occur in your betting pool, you’ll be able to claim at least one correct.
Should win: Daft Punk
Will win: Daft Punk (RTRS)
 

By Chris Willman


By: Chris Willman

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