By Leah Greenblatt
Updated July 30, 2020 at 06:24 PM EDT
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Credit: Peter Lindbergh

The Dave Matthews Band can raise a glass of Big Whiskey to their Groo Grux honor, and the Black Eyed Peas do have members who are not Fergie (will.i.am, dude with weird hair, other dude with weird hair). But the real battle for Album of the Year is clearly between three powerhouse female nominees: Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, and Beyonce (watch the Grammys live on CBS on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010 at 8 p.m. ET/PT).

If this were a numbers game, Beyonce would take it—she’s got 10 nominations total to Taylor’s eight and Gaga’s five. It’s also, arguably, the pinnacle achievement of her recording career. But (Imma not even finish this tired-ass meme) we’ve all seen how a certain country-pop kewpie managed to grab Beowulf’s seemingly sure thing once before; voters and consumers alike seem hypnotized by Taylor’s ringleted everygirl charms.

And Gaga? She sort of owned the pop-culture conversation in 2009; her currency here shouldn’t be underestimated, though her strenuously outre style may turn off the Academy’s notoriously stodgy voters (remember these?). What’s also interesting is who’s not on the list: Green Day and U2 (who took the prize in 2006) got multiple noms in Rock categories, but were shut out of the top honor. (Bono: you’re fiRED!)

And there are also no showings for the sort of indie powerhouse—Radiohead last year, Gnarls Barkley in 2007, the White Stripes in 2004—that gives the race at least a little frisson of cool. Then again, no grey-ponytail party either (Plant & Krauss last year, Herbie Hancock the one before that); typical geezer catnip like the Clapton/Winwood live CD will have to settle for its Rock nods.

What do you think, readers—any horrible injustices here, or is it all just about right? And out of the final five, whose ballot box would you be checking? No bluffin’ with your muffin allowed.

More from EW.com’s Music Mix:

Susan Boyle scores year’s biggest sales week by far; Andrea Bocelli, Adam Lambert, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna sell well

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