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Handicapping the Grammys: Expect a fun night

4:03 PM, Feb 10, 2013   |    comments
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Edna Gundersen, USA TODAY

Who will win? Who should win? USA TODAY music critic Edna Gundersen predicts the winners in key categories for the 55th Grammy Awards (CBS, Sunday, 8 p.m. ET/tape delay PT).

Album of the year
El Camino,The Black Keys
Some Nights, fun.
Babel, Mumford & Sons
Channel Orange, Frank Ocean
Blunderbuss, Jack White

Will win: Babel
Should win:Channel Orange
Babel has broader appeal but lacks Orange's audacity and bold strokes.

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Record
Lonely Boy, The Black Keys
Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You), Kelly Clarkson
We Are Young, fun. featuring Janelle Monáe
Somebody That I Used to Know, Gotye featuring Kimbra
Thinkin Bout You, Frank Ocean
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, Taylor Swift

Will/should win:Somebody That I Used to Know
Nothing in hit-packed 2012 sounded as fresh as this haunting, elegant slice of pop perfection.

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Song (goes to writer)
The A Team (performed by Ed Sheeran)
Adorn (Miguel)
Call Me Maybe (Carly Rae Jepsen)
Stronger (Kelly Clarkson)
We Are Young (fun.)

Will win: We Are Young
Should win: Adorn
All, including Jepsen's novelty, have merit, but Adorn is a sensual, melodic modern classic.

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Best new artist
Alabama Shakes
fun.
Hunter Hayes
The Lumineers
Frank Ocean

Will win: fun.
Should win: Ocean
In an unpredictable category, fun. has the big profile, Ocean has a big future.

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Pop vocal album
Stronger, Kelly Clarkson
Ceremonials, Florence + The Machine
Some Nights, fun.
Overexposed, Maroon 5
The Truth About Love, Pink

Will win:Some Nights
Should win: The Truth About Love
If "vocal" is the criterion, the honor belongs to the ambitious, diverse and sassy Truth.

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Dance/electronica album
Wonderland, Steve Aoki
Don't Think, The Chemical Brothers
> Album Title Goes Here <, Deadmau5
Fire & Ice, Kaskade
Bangarang, Skrillex

Will/should win: Bangarang
The DJ's thumping metallic dubstep should augment the three trophies he took home last year.

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Rock album
El Camino, The Black Keys
Mylo Xyloto, Coldplay
The 2nd Law, Muse
Wrecking Ball, Bruce Springsteen
Blunderbuss, Jack White

Will win: Wrecking Ball
Should win: El Camino
Both are strong candidates, but voters tend to champion Bruuuuuuce.

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Alternative album
The Idler Wheel Is Wiser ..., Fiona Apple
Biophilia, Björk
Making Mirrors, Gotye
Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, M83
Bad As Me, Tom Waits

Will/should win: Making Mirrors
Apple's widely acclaimed set could pluck this if Gotye's eclectic pop fails to.

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R&B album
Black Radio, Robert Glasper Experiment
Back to Love, Anthony Hamilton
Write Me Back, R. Kelly
Beautiful Surprise, Tamia
Open Invitation, Tyrese

Will win: Write Me Back
Should win: Black Radio
The underdog collective's inventive blend of jazz, soul, rock and hip-hop bests the rest.

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Rap album
Take Care, Drake
Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Pt. 1, Lupe Fiasco
Life Is Good, Nas
Undun, The Roots
God Forgives, I Don't, Rick Ross
Based On A T.r.u. Story, 2 Chainz

Will/should win: Take Care
Drake edges the noteworthy Nas and Fiasco discs with sharper vision and intensity.

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Country album
Uncaged, Zac Brown Band
Hunter Hayes, Hunter Hayes
Living for A Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran, Jamey Johnson
Four the Record, Miranda Lambert
The Time Jumpers, The Time Jumpers

Will/should win: Four the Record
Lambert's depth and versatility should foil Zac Brown.

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Americana album
The Carpenter, The Avett Brothers
From the Ground Up, John Fullbright
The Lumineers, The Lumineers
Babel, Mumford & Sons
Slipstream, Bonnie Raitt

Will win: Babel
Should win: Slipstream
The blues vet's tough and graceful take on loss trumps the competition

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