PREVIEW | Grammy Awards Cheat Sheet

5:14 PM, Feb 10, 2013   |    comments
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Critics' favorite Frank Ocean may lose out in both album of the year and best new artist
  • 'Somebody That I Used to Know' is close to a sure thing for best record
  • Drake's 'Take Care' has the edge for rap album

Who will win? Who should win? USA TODAY music critic Edna Gundersen predicts the winners in key categories for the 55th Grammy Awards (CBS, Sunday, 8 p.m. ET/tape delay PT).

Album of the year
  • El Camino,The Black Keys
  • Some Nights, fun.
  • Babel, Mumford & Sons
  • Channel Orange, Frank Ocean
  • Blunderbuss, Jack White
Will win: Babel

Should win: Channel Orange

Babel has broader appeal but lacks Orange's audacity and bold strokes.

Record

  • Lonely Boy, The Black Keys
  • Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You), Kelly Clarkson
  • We Are Young, fun. featuring Janelle Monáe
  • Somebody That I Used to Know, Gotye featuring Kimbra
  • Thinkin Bout You, Frank Ocean
  • We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, Taylor Swift

Will/should win: Somebody That I Used to Know

Nothing in hit-packed 2012 sounded as fresh as this haunting, elegant slice of pop perfection.

Song (goes to writer)

  • The A Team (performed by Ed Sheeran)
  • Adorn (Miguel)
  • Call Me Maybe (Carly Rae Jepsen)
  • Stronger (Kelly Clarkson)
  • We Are Young (fun.)

Will win: We Are Young

Should win: Adorn

All, including Jepsen's novelty, have merit, but Adorn is a sensual, melodic modern classic.

Best new artist

  • Alabama Shakes
  • fun.
  • Hunter Hayes
  • The Lumineers
  • Frank Ocean

Will win: fun.

Should win: Ocean

In an unpredictable category, fun. has the big profile, Ocean has a big future.

Pop vocal album

  • Stronger, Kelly Clarkson
  • Ceremonials, Florence + The Machine
  • Some Nights, fun.
  • Overexposed, Maroon 5
  • The Truth About Love, Pink

Will win: Some Nights

Should win: The Truth About Love

If "vocal" is the criterion, the honor belongs to the ambitious, diverse and sassy Truth.

Dance/electronica album

  • Wonderland, Steve Aoki
  • Don't Think, The Chemical Brothers
  • > Album Title Goes Here <, Deadmau5
  • Fire & Ice, Kaskade
  • Bangarang, Skrillex

Will/should win: Bangarang

The DJ's thumping metallic dubstep should augment the three trophies he took home last year.

Rock album

  • El Camino, The Black Keys
  • Mylo Xyloto, Coldplay
  • The 2nd Law, Muse
  • Wrecking Ball, Bruce Springsteen
  • Blunderbuss, Jack White

Will win: Wrecking Ball

Should win: El Camino

Both are strong candidates, but voters tend to champion Bruuuuuuce.

Alternative album

  • The Idler Wheel Is Wiser ..., Fiona Apple
  • Biophilia, Björk
  • Making Mirrors, Gotye
  • Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, M83
  • Bad As Me, Tom Waits

Will/should win: Making Mirrors

Apple's widely acclaimed set could pluck this if Gotye's eclectic pop fails to.

R&B album

  • Black Radio, Robert Glasper Experiment
  • Back to Love, Anthony Hamilton
  • Write Me Back, R. Kelly
  • Beautiful Surprise, Tamia
  • Open Invitation, Tyrese

Will win: Write Me Back

Should win: Black Radio

The underdog collective's inventive blend of jazz, soul, rock and hip-hop bests the rest.

Rap album

  • Take Care, Drake
  • Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Pt. 1, Lupe Fiasco
  • Life Is Good, Nas
  • Undun, The Roots
  • God Forgives, I Don't, Rick Ross
  • Based On A T.r.u. Story, 2 Chainz

Will/should win: Take Care

Drake edges the noteworthy Nas and Fiasco discs with sharper vision and intensity.

Country album

  • Uncaged, Zac Brown Band
  • Hunter Hayes, Hunter Hayes
  • Living for A Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran, Jamey Johnson
  • Four the Record, Miranda Lambert
  • The Time Jumpers, The Time Jumpers

Will/should win: Four the Record

Lambert's depth and versatility should foil Zac Brown.

Americana album

  • The Carpenter, The Avett Brothers
  • From the Ground Up, John Fullbright
  • The Lumineers, The Lumineers
  • Babel, Mumford & Sons
  • Slipstream, Bonnie Raitt

Will win: Babel

Should win: Slipstream

The blues vet's tough and graceful take on loss trumps the competition.

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