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Grammy Awards 2010: Who will win?

Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and Beyonce are among those we think will walk away victorious

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Our handy ballot, complete with predictions for who’s gonna clean up on Music’s Biggest Night (and who truly deserves to)

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
– Beyoncé, I Am…Sasha Fierce
– The Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D.
[X] Dave Matthews Band, Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King
– Lady Gaga, The Fame
– Taylor Swift, Fearless
Who Will Win
Swift and Beyoncé both have a decent shot, but considering the Academy’s traditionally rock-friendly inclinations, the Dave Matthews Band seem like the front-runner in this category.
Who Should Win
There’s no shortage of quality material here, but Swift’s album holds up best as a start-to-finish listen more than a year after its release.

SONG OF THE YEAR
– Beyoncé, ”Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”
– Kings of Leon, ”Use Somebody”
– Lady Gaga, ‘Poker Face”
– Mazwell, ”Pretty Wings”
[X] Taylor Swift, ”You Belong With Me”
Who Will Win
The clever couplets of Swift’s megasuccessful tune will clinch this award (which recognizes songwriters, not performers).
Who Should Win
Maxwell and co-writer Hod David surely deserve to win for their timelessly elegant breakup song.

RECORD OF THE YEAR
– Beyoncé, ”Halo”
– The Black Eyed Peas, ”I Gotta Feeling”
– Kings of Leon, ”Use Somebody”
– Lady Gaga, ”Poker Face”
[X] Taylor Swift, ”You Belong With Me”
Who Will Win
The Academy’s stuffier members might balk at honoring empty-calorie pop trifles like the Peas and Gaga singles, making Swift’s more traditional girl-and-her-guitar sound the surest bet.
Who Should Win
The Peas’ irresistible sing-along was easily the biggest hit here, spending a walloping 14 weeks straight atop Billboard’s Hot 100. If that kind of ubiquity doesn’t qualify a song as Record of the Year, we don’t know what does.

BEST NEW ARTIST
– Keri Hilson
– MGMT
[X] Silversun Pickups
– The Ting Tings
– Zac Brown Band
Who Will Win
Given the Academy’s history of choosing artists who stretch the definition of ”new,” we’re going with the Silversun Pickups, who scored their first hit back in 2007.
Who Should Win
MGMT’s wild-eyed psychedelia connected with both indie kids and mainstream fans, and they have the most distinctive sound of any nominee.

BEST POP PERFORMANCE BY A DUO OR GROUP WITH VOCALS
[X] The Black Eyed Peas, ”I Gotta Feeling”
– Bon Jovi, ”We Weren’t Born to Follow”
– The Fray, ”Never Say Never”
– Hall & Oats, ”Sara Smile”
– MGMT, ”Kids”
Who Will Win
We’re betting on the Peas, since this is one category where a silly pop song might help rather than hurt.
Who Should Win
Hall & Oates forever! Okay, it’s just a live version of a hit from the ’70s, but that chorus has only gotten smoother with age.

BEST ROCK ALBUM
– AC/DC, Black Ice
[X] Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood, Live From Madison Square Garden
– Dave Matthews Band, Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King
– Green Day, 21st Century Breakdown
– U2, No Line on the Horizon
Who Will Win
Clapton and Winwood could surprise everyone by beating more obvious choices like U2 and DMB. Why? Two classic-rock heroes on one album will be too much for the Academy to resist.
Who Should Win
None of these releases were perfect, but we like Green Day’s bombastic concept album the best.

BEST RAP ALBUM
– Common, Universal Mind Control
[X] Eminem, Relapse
– Florida, R.O.O.T.S.
– Mos Def, The Ecstatic
– Q-Tip, The Renaissance
Who Will Win
Eminem has won this award three times in the past. Everyone else in this category? Zero.
Who Should Win
Q-Tip battled label drama for nine years before being allowed to release his brilliant sophomore solo effort. A trophy is the least he deserves in return.

BEST ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM
– David Byrne & Brian Eno, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today
[X] Death Cab for Cutie, The Open Door
– Depeche Mode, Sounds of the Universe
– Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
– Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It’s Blitz!
Who Will Win
An established major-label alt-rock act like Death Cab is likely to triumph, especially when you factor in the exposure they got from the New Moon soundtrack.
Who Should Win
A Grammy would be a very nice way to cap off the banner year Phoenix had in 2009, when their dapper Parisian pop finally broke through to a wider audience.

BEST CONTEMPORARY R&B ALBUM
[X] Beyonceé, I Am…Sasha Fierce
– Jamie Foxx, Intuition
– Pleasure P, The Introduction of Marcus Cooper
– T-Pain, Thr33 Ringz
– Trey Songz, Ready
Who Will Win
We anticipate a relatively easy victory for a universally adored queen of the genre like Beyoncé.
Who Should Win
Beyoncé, of course. Is there really any question?

BEST DANCE RECORDING
– The Black Eyed Peas, ”Boom Boom Pow”
– David Guetta & Kelly Rowland, ”When Love Takes Over”
[X] Lady Gaga, ”Poker Face”
– Madonna, ”Celebration”
– Britney Spears, ”Womanizer”
Who Will Win
Lady Gaga’s ”Poker Face” was jam-packed with more hooks than all the other nominees combined. This one is hers to lose.
Who Should Win
The Black Eyed Peas pretty much perfected party-all-night frivolity with their massive ”Boom Boom Pow,” but even those experts would probably have to admit that Lady Gaga owned the nation’s dance floors last year.

BEST SONG WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURE, TELEVISION, OR OTHER VISUAL MEDIA
– Beyoncé, ”Once in a Lifetime” (Cadillac Records)
– Karen O & the Kids, ”All Is Love” (Where the Wild Things Are)
– Paramore, ”Decode” (Twilight)
– A.R. Rahman, Sukhvinder Singh, Tanvi Shah, Mahalaxmi Iyer, Vijay Prakash, ”Jai Ho” (Slumdog Millionaire)
[X] Bruce Springsteen, ”The Wrestler” (The Wrestler)
Who Will Win
Odds are the Boss, who won in 1995 for ”Streets of Philadelphia,” will come out on top again.
Who Should Win
Springsteen’s poignant ballad was inexplicably shut out of the Oscars last year. A Grammy win would be poetic justice.

BEST AMERICANA ALBUM
[X] Bob Dylan, Together Through Life
– Levon Helm, Electric Dirt
– Willie Nelson & Asleep at the Wheel, Willie and the Wheel
– Wilco, Wilco (the album)
– Lucinda Williams, Little Honey
Who Will Win
Although Life wasn’t Dylan’s most warmly received album, a legend like Bob has the edge in this newly created category.
Who Should Win
It may not be strictly Americana, but we like Wilco’s latest studio adventure so much that we’d pick it anyway.

BEST SHORT FORM MUSIC VIDEO
– Beast, ”Mr. Hurricane”
– The Black Eyed Peas, ”Boom Boom Pow”
[X] Coldplay, ”Life in Technicolor II”
– Depeche Mode, ”Wrong”
– Oren Lavie, ”Her Morning Elegance”
Who Will Win
Coldplay + puppets = surefire Grammy bait.
Who Should Win
Depeche Mode’s awesomely creepy possessed-car clip still gives us the willies — in a good way!

BEST COUNTRY ALBUM
– George Strait, Twang
[X] Taylor Swift, Fearless
– Keith Urban, Defying Gravity
– Lee Ann Womack, Call Me Crazy
– Zac Brown Band, The Foundation
Who Will Win
This was Swift’s year. It’s pretty difficult to imagine this award going to anybody else.
Who Should Win
Womack’s long-awaited Call Me Crazy was a critical darling, even if it wasn’t a crossover smash like some others in the category.

BEST RAP/SUNG COLLABORATION
– Beyoncé and Kanye West, ”Ego”
– Keri Hilson, Kanye West and Ne-Yo, ”Knock You Down”
[X] Jay-Z, Rihanna, and Kanye West, ”Run This Town”
– The Lonely Island and T-Pain, ”I’m on a Boat”
– T.I. and Justin Timberlake, ”Dead and Gone”
Who Will Win
The combined star power of Jay-Z, Rihanna, and Kanye will probably sway voters to pick ”Run This Town.”
Who Should Win
Nothing would make us happier than to see the Lonely Island’s SNL parody win, if only for the copious laughs guaranteed by an Andy Samberg acceptance speech.