Handicapping the Grammys: Expect a fun night

4:03 PM, Feb 10, 2013   |    comments
(Picture courtesy of AP File)
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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.


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.


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.


Best new artist
Alabama Shakes
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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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