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Predicting the next big hits

Radio programmers across the country tell us about the songs — from big stars and new names alike — you’ll be loving this year

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Julie Pilat, KIIS AND KYSR Los Angeles
Calvin Harris
”He produced Rihanna’s ‘We Found Love,’ but I think this is going to be his breakout year as an artist. ‘Feels So Close,’ from his upcoming third album, is great. He could be the next David Guetta.”

Azealia Banks
”I loved her [late-2011 viral hit] ‘212.’ Everyone who hears it does — Kanye follows her on Twitter. There was just a major-label bidding war, and now she’s in the studio. I can’t wait to hear more.”

Christina Aguilera
”She’s coming off all this momentum from The Voice, and I think her next single is going to be the biggest she’s had in a decade.”

B.o.B
”He’s just an amazing rapper. I love ‘So Good,’ which he did with Ryan Tedder. Plus, his new album has one track with a huge, huge female star that I can’t name right now — sorry! — but it’ll be big.”

Andy Langer, KGSR Austin
Walk the Moon
”They’re part Foster the People, part Phoenix, which is a pretty sweet spot to be in. ‘Anna Sun’ has this huge, soaring chorus.”

Michael Kiwanuka
”He was an opener on the Adele tour that got canceled. The Sam Cooke and Otis Redding comparisons may be hard to live up to, but he has the kind of voice that makes people stop and go, ‘Who is that?’ And the songs, like ‘Home Again,’ are sharp.”

Alabama Shakes
”They’re going to be playing a lot of the big festivals this year, and there’s been a considerable amount of hype around these guys, so you try to find holes to poke into it. But they’re really that good, and [frontwoman] Brittany Howard’s voice really is that dynamic — go ahead and listen to ‘Hold On.’

Sharon Datsur, Z100 New York
Gotye
”The more I tell people about ‘Somebody That I Used to Know,’ the more they tell me they’re becoming obsessed with it. It’s a total sleeper hit.”

K’naan
”There’s his new single ‘Is Anybody Out There’ with Nelly Furtado, and I’ve heard other ones that are just as good and maybe even better — there’s a song with Ryan Tedder, and he’s working with will.i.am, even with Bono.”

The Wanted and One Direction
”They’re both from the U.K., and I think that 2012 is going to see the return of the boy band. These guys have good songs; they’re not just for kids. And when there are four or five cute guys in the band, that doesn’t hurt.”

Gym Class Heroes
‘The Fighter’ has Ryan Tedder singing the hook, and it’s just so melodic. I don’t think Gym Class gets the credit they deserve. Neither does Ryan; he’s had such a huge thumbprint on so many hits these last few years.”

Jon Anthony, WSIX Nashville
Rascal Flatts
‘Banjo’ has a driving beat, toe-tapping rhythm, and smooth harmonies. They’ve had crossover success, but this really brings them back to their country roots.”

Jake Owen
”It’s hard to follow his ‘Barefoot Blue Jean Night,’ which was a huge hit. But he’s going on tour with Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw this summer, and ‘Alone With You’ is the one that stadiums full of people will be singing back to him.”