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Here are EW's picks for tonight's MTV Video Music Awards

Will Korn or Backstreet Boys take home a Moon Man? EW Online says who will — and should — win

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Ricky Martin
Kelly A. Swift/Retna

After weeks of endless promotion, the suspense of who’s the most camera-ready rocker will be ended at tonight’s MTV Video Music Awards (airing live at 8 p.m. EST), and all the burning questions will be answered: Out of Korn’s nine nominations, how many moon men will the band actually land? Will MTV golden boy Will Smith be rewarded out of habit, or is the memory of ”Wild Wild West” too distasteful for even the Big Willie network? And will the Metropolitan Opera House actually cave in on itself in rebellion when Kid Rock performs?

EW Online can’t answer all of these mysteries, of course, so we did the next best thing: We asked EW’s music writers to predict who will — and should — win in six of tonight’s major categories.

BEST ROCK VIDEO
Limp Bizkit, ”Nookie”
Korn, ”Freak on a Leash”
Kid Rock, ”Bawitdaba”
Lenny Kravitz, ”Fly Away”
The Offspring, ”Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)”

Who Will Win The Offspring. ”They think it’s a lot more clever than it is, but the song was huge, and it got that way from the video,” says correspondent Rob Brunner. Who Should Win Kid Rock. ”It’s totally over the top,” Brunner says. ”It’s just things exploding and complete rock excess — which I like.”

BEST HIP-HOP VIDEO
Beastie Boys, ”Intergalactic”
Busta Rhymes (with Janet Jackson), ”What’s It Gonna Be”
Lauryn Hill, ”Doo Wop (That Thing)”
TLC, ”No Scrubs”

Will & Should Win TLC. ”Visually, ‘No Scrubs’ is very seductive, and of course, it’s a great song,” says staff writer Tom Sinclair. ”It has a lot of special effects, but unlike other big-budget videos, that’s not a turn-off — it seems to match TLC’s level of stardom.”

BEST POP VIDEO
Backstreet Boys, ”I Want It That Way”
Jennifer Lopez, ”If You Had My Love”
Ricky Martin, ”Livin’ La Vida Loca”
‘N Sync, ”Tearin’ Up My Heart”
Britney Spears, ”…. Baby One More Time”

Will Win Britney Spears. Never underestimate the power of a naughty schoolgirl. ”If it weren’t for that video,” says staff writer Dave Karger, ”she wouldn’t be as big as she is now.” Should Win Ricky Martin. ”It’s an electrifying song,” says Sinclair, ”and it’s given the most razzle-dazzle treatment.”

BEST NEW ARTIST IN A VIDEO
Eminem, ”My Name Is”
Kid Rock, ”Bawitdaba”
Jennifer Lopez, ”If You Had My Love”
Orgy, ”Blue Monday”

Will Win Kid Rock. But only because by tonight Eminem’s name is tardy. ”If Kid Rock weren’t so happening right now, Eminem would win,” says Brunner. Should Win Eminem. ”No matter what you think of his lyrics, Eminem is a very talented rapper who’s worthy of the hype,” says Sinclair. ”With all those allusions to the Clinton/Lewinsky thing, and an appearance by Robert Culp, of all people, it’s an attention-getter visually and musically.”

BEST GROUP VIDEO
Backstreet Boys, ”I Want It That Way”
Limp Bizkit, ”Nookie”
‘N Sync, ”Tearin’ Up My Heart”
Sugar Ray, ”Every Morning”
TLC, ”No Scrubs”

Will Win Backstreet Boys. ”They’ll win because they’ll be shut out of their other three categories,” says Karger. ”This is their best opportunity of the night.” Should Win TLC. ”The technology’s cool, and the ladies look great,” Karger says. ”Wow, I sound like I’m on ‘Total Request Live.”’

VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Backstreet Boys, ”I Want It That Way”
Lauryn Hill, ”Doo Wop (That Thing)”
Korn, ”Freak on a Leash”
Ricky Martin, ”Livin’ La Vida Loca”
Will Smith (featuring Dru Hill & Kool Moe Dee), ”Wild Wild West”

Will Win Ricky Martin. ”It’s a coming-out party for the guy,” says Sinclair. ”It’s splashy and fun. If the song doesn’t get you, the images will.” Should Win Lauryn Hill. ”She deserves it,” says Sinclair. ”The video is such a simpatico match of story line to song.”

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