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 Who's going to win at the Grammys?

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PostSubject: Who's going to win at the Grammys?   Sat Feb 10, 2007 12:45 pm

POSTED: 8:23 a.m. EST, February 10, 2007

Story Highlights

Mary J. Blige tops Grammy nominees with eight nods
Dixie Chicks nominated for album, song, record of year
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Timberlake, Mayer also favorites

(AP) -- Mary J. Blige has a leading eight Grammy nominations and her triumphant comeback was the feel-good story of the 2006. So it seems as if her coronation on Grammy night is all but assured.

But as another bleached-blond comeback queen can attest, leading in Grammy nominations and leading in Grammy wins are two different things. Last year, Mariah Carey had the year's top-selling album, its most popular song, and eight Grammy nominations, and yet left the ceremony as an afterthought instead of the main story.

Whether that happens this year is anyone's guess. But Associated Press writers Nekesa Mumbi Moody and David Bauder have taken their best guesses at how the fickle Recording Academy will spread the Grammy love this year.

Record of the year

NOMINEES: "Be Without You," Mary J. Blige; "You're Beautiful," James Blunt; "Not Ready to Make Nice," Dixie Chicks; "Crazy," Gnarls Barkley; "Put Your Records On," Corinne Bailey Rae.

MOODY: "Crazy" was the most adventurous, daring, irresistible song of the year, blending old psychedelic soul and rock for a spectacular song that appealed to just about everyone. It was clearly the record of the year. Which is why it won't win. For the past few years, the Grammys have inexplicably rejected the obvious, radio success in favor of the "artistic" choice. That could be Rae's sweet "Records," but that would be too obscure, even for Grammy voters. So I say the Dixie Chicks' angry tune takes it -- it's still a great song, even if it didn't define 2006.

BAUDER: Well, you sold me, Nekesa. I'm picking "Crazy." Mind you, I think it's going to be a big night for the Dixie Chicks. But Gnarls Barkley was everywhere with that song, and even the Grammys can't ignore it was a cut above the rest. Can they?

Album of the year

NOMINEES: "Taking the Long Way," Dixie Chicks; "St. Elsewhere," Gnarls Barkley; "Continuum," John Mayer; "Stadium Arcadium," Red Hot Chili Peppers; "FutureSex/LoveSounds," Justin Timberlake.

BAUDER: I can't understand the appeal of John Mayer, frankly, and I think it's because I'm male. "Continuum" doesn't deserve a nomination, let alone a win. Good discs by the Chilis and Timberlake, both deserving. Not to discount the music, because it's good, but I think Grammy voters won't resist making a political statement and pick the Chicks.

MOODY: Chicks rule! ... at least in this category. The Grammys have made it a point to honor those outside of country's mainstream of late, and honoring country's darlings-turned-pariahs will be another way to stick to them.

Song of the year

NOMINEES: "Be Without You," Johnta Austin, Mary J. Blige, Bryan-Michael Cox and Jason Perry (Mary J. Blige); "Jesus, Take the Wheel," Brett James, Hillary Lindsey and Gordie Sampson (Carrie Underwood); "Not Ready to Make Nice," Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines, Emily Robison and Dan Wilson (Dixie Chicks); "Put Your Records On," John Beck, Steve Chrisanthou and Corinne Bailey Rae (Corinne Bailey Rae); "You're Beautiful," James Blunt, Amanda Ghost and Sacha Skarbek (James Blunt).

MOODY: Blige may have had a triumphant comeback on the strength of "Be Without You," but I don't see it winning here; the song is decent enough, but it's really Blige's performance that takes it to the next level. "You're Beautiful" is the kind of safe, saccharine ballad the Recording Academy seems to love, but this is one of the few categories where merit seems to win out over everything else: choosing the lesser-known but lovely "Put Your Records On" gives the Academy some artistic cred.

BAUDER: Yes, it's lovely. And boring. Both "Put Your Records On" and "Be Without You" are serviceable soul, good without being distinctive. "You're Beautiful" seems destined to be the most inappropriate wedding song since "Every Breath You Take." I wince at the title "Jesus, Take the Wheel" but the song is actually well-written and inspirational. That said, I think the Chicks will win.

Best new artist

NOMINEES: James Blunt; Chris Brown; Imogen Heap; Corinne Bailey Rae; Carrie Underwood.

BAUDER: Pretty amazing testament to what "American Idol" has become that Carrie Underwood is a nominee here, and one with a serious chance of winning. Rae seems to have the buzz right now, though, so I'm picking her.

MOODY: Rae may have been recently anointed by St. Oprah, but even Winfrey's magic isn't enough to combat the power of "American Idol" and the stunning success of Underwood.

Best rock album

NOMINEES: "Try," John Mayer Trio; "Highway Companion," Tom Petty; "Broken Boy Soldiers," The Raconteurs; "Stadium Arcadium," Red Hot Chili Peppers; "Living With War," Neil Young.

MOODY: A lot of rock snobs cringe at the name, but they'll hear John Mayer being announced for this category, because 1) like Jessica Simpson, Grammy voters can't get enough of him; 2) his blues foray "Try" was actually good; and 3) rock legends like Petty and Young, along with the Peppers, will split the vote, allowing Mayer to sneak by.

BAUDER: Consider me a snob and, I'll bet, so are a lot of Grammy voters. Among the veterans, Petty's album was terrific and sank without a trace. Young got a lot of attention but it was an uneven work. The Chilis had more to offer than the Raconteurs and I think will be deserved winners.

Pop vocal album

NOMINEES: "Back to Basics," Christina Aguilera; "Back to Bedlam," James Blunt; "The River in Reverse," Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint; "Continuum," John Mayer; "FutureSex/LoveSounds," Justin Timberlake.

BAUDER: I love, and admire, "The River in Reverse." I just don't think it has enough juice to beat Timberlake's state-of-the-art disc.

MOODY: Justin Timberlake may have brought sexy back, but when have the Grammys ever been sexy or hip? I hate to sound like a broken record, but ... Grammy voters love them some Johnny Mayer. "Continuum" wins.

R&B album

NOMINEES: "The Breakthrough," Mary J. Blige; "Unpredictable," Jamie Foxx; "Testimony: Vol. 1, Life and Relationship," India.Arie; "3121," Prince; "Coming Home," Lionel Richie.

MOODY: Blige, the queen of Grammy nominations this year, will get a deserved win here, chiefly because she won't get it in the major categories: It's become a disturbing trend, actually, where R&B and rap stars get a lion's share of nominations, only to lose in the "mainstream" categories.

BAUDER: Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called a dead career. Seriously, Prince deserves serious props for the savvy way he's brought his career back to life, capped with his masterful Super Bowl show. But not, you'll notice, capped with a Grammy. I think Nekesa's right about Mary J. Blige.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

~If you want do anything worthwhile today, 'do it' with a woman.~
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