The big winners, in terms of nominations, are known already. Sensitive R&B newcomer Frank Ocean, producer-rocker Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, British crescendo-folk specialists Mumford & Sons, the indie-anthem singers who call themselves “fun.” and the throne-watching rap heavyweights Jay-Z and Kanye West are each up for six Grammy Awards. But who heads home with the golden gramophones on Sunday night?
Record of the Year
Who’s nominated: Lonely Boy by Black Keys, Stronger by Kelly Clarkson, We Are Young by fun. (featuring Janelle Monae), Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye, Thinkin Bout You by Frank Ocean, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift.
Who should win: Call Me Maybe, from Carly Rae Jepsen, deserves the prize. But thanks to nomination shenanigans, the deserving record by Vancouver’s twirpy 27-year-old was left off the ballot. That leaves the fist-pumping sing-along We Are Young, a song for the ages (but not all ages).
Who will win: A confused and overconfident Swift flashes her false-modesty shock face when We Are Young takes the trophy. Stunningly embarrassed, the serial-dating pop star breaks up with her dress on the spot.
(Owen Sweeney / Rex Features/Rex Feature Ltd.)
Album of the Year
Who’s nominated: El Camino by the Black Keys, Some Nights by fun., Babel by Mumford & Sons, Channel Orange by Frank Ocean, Blunderbuss by Jack White.
Who should win: Channel Orange landed at the top of critics’ lists for 2012’s best album, but some of that endorsement was a result of a narrative involving a heartfelt Tumblr post. Still, the genre-bending disc is the one people will be talking about 10, 20, 30 years down the road.
Who will win: Nothing wrong with Babel at all, but it’s not much of a departure from Mumford’s Sigh No More debut, which earned six nominations but no victories. Fun. is a singles band, and White’s Blunderbuss just fills out the field. Channel Orange barely broke gold, which leaves El Camino, by the funky, bluesy duo adored by Grammy, who wants everyone to know that they “like the rock and the roll.”
Song of the Year
Who’s nominated: The A Team by Ed Sheeran, Adorn by Miguel, Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen (co-written with Tavish Crowe and Josh Ramsay), Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) by Kelly Clarkson (written by Jorgen Elofsson, David Gamson, Greg Kurstin and Ali Tamposi), We Are Young by fun.
Who should win: Call me crazy, but if we look at the song of the year as the tune most likely to be covered, the clear choice is Call Me Maybe. And if you don’t believe me, ask Clarkson and fun., both of whom have already rendered versions of the smartphone summer-song classic.
Who will win: Most of the voting members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences will remember awarding two Grammys to Marvin Gaye in 1983, so there’s no reason now to honour Miguel’s Adorn, a Sexual Healing knockoff. Song of the year is always a toughie to predict, but the furiously churning Stronger will be the winner this time.
Best New Artist
Who’s nominated: Alabama Shakes, fun., Hunter Hayes, the Lumineers and Frank Ocean.
Who should win: Ocean. A strong field, but his transcendent debut disc predicts the brightest future among the contenders. (Who is Hunter Hayes, anyway?)
Who will win: You’ll know it’s Ocean when Chris Brown tosses his flat screen through his condo’s plate-glass window. (Conversely, but not likely, you’ll know if Ocean loses when riots erupt outside the Staples Center in protest.)