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It's gonna be a big night for Coldplay, Plant/Krauss, and Lil Wayne.

Handicapping The Grammys: Predictions 2009

Fasten your seat belts, kids. It's Grammy time.

Whether you love the Grammys or hate them, one thing's for sure. You can't beat the entertainment they've got lined up this year. Were talking McCartney, U2, Coldplay, and Radiohead, for starters. So even if the choices of the historically stodgy Academy make you want to throw things at your TV, at least you know you're going to get some quality music.

But the Grammys don't exactly have a very good track record when it comes to making forward-looking choices. Eventually they'll generally get it right, handing out awards to the people who deserve them, but it's usually years after the fact. Just ask Dylan or the Rolling Stones.

Frustratingly, the Academy will more often get it wrong, though, and sometimes wildly so. Past honorees for Best New Artist, for example, include such one-hit wonders as the Starland Vocal Band (remember "Afternoon Delight"?) and the most famous lip-synching group of all time, Milli Vanilli. Also, the first year that the Academy decided to honor heavy metal in a category, they awarded those mosh-pit favorites Jethro Tull over Metallica.

Still, the beat goes on at the Grammys. What follows is my own predictions for how I expect things to go down tonight. I base these on gut more than anything else, and the list should by no means be considered in any way scientific or something you'd want to bet the house and the kids on.

Record Of The Year

Chasing Pavements — Adele
Viva La Vida — Coldplay
Bleeding Love — Leona Lewis
Paper Planes — M.I.A
Please Read The Letter — Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

SHOULD WIN: Coldplay
WILL WIN: Coldplay

It should be a big night for Coldplay.

Album Of The Year

Viva La Vida — Coldplay
Tha Carter III — Lil Wayne
Year Of The Gentleman — Ne-Yo
Raising Sand — Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
In Rainbows — Radiohead

SHOULD WIN: Radiohead
WILL WIN: Plant/Krauss

Radiohead's album set a new standard for music distribution that turned the record industry on it's ear, but Plant and Krauss are a safer choice because Coldplay and Radiohead are going to split the rock vote, and Radiohead is just a bit too experimental to take home one of the big three. Besides, Grammy loves all that O' Brother Where Art Thou kind of shit, right? I'd call Coldplay a dark horse here, but I also wouldn't be betting on that Led Zeppelin reunion tour happening anytime soon after tonight.

Song Of The Year

American Boy — William Adams, Keith Harris, Josh Lopez, Caleb Speir, John Stephens, Estelle Swaray & Kanye West, songwriters
Chasing Pavements — Adele Adkins, songwriter
I’m Yours — Jason Mraz, songwriter
Love Song — Sara Bareilles, songwriter
Viva La Vida — Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion & Chris Martin, songwriters

SHOULD WIN: Coldplay
WILL WIN: Coldplay

Splits on Record and Song of the Year are very rare.

Best New Artist

Adele
Duffy
Jonas Brothers
Lady Antebellum
Jazmine Sullivan

SHOULD WIN: Duffy
WILL WIN: Jonas Brothers

Duffy's album was by far the most interesting of all of the nominees here, but the Jo-Bros have the most name familiarity.

Best Female Pop Vocal Performance

Chasing Pavements — Adele
Love Song — Sara Bareilles
Mercy — Duffy
Bleeding Love — Leona Lewis
I Kissed A Girl — Katy Perry
So What — P!nk

SHOULD WIN: Duffy
WILL WIN: Pink

This is a tough one this year. Katy Perry's song was by far the biggest of the lot, but I just don't see Grammy honoring a song about lesbianism. My gut tells me the Grammy goes with the familiar here, which is why I'm going with Pink.

Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals

Rock And Roll Train — AC/DC
Violet Hill — Coldplay
Long Road Out Of Eden — The Eagles
Sex On Fire — Kings of Leon
House of Cards — Radiohead

SHOULD WIN: Kings Of Leon
WILL WIN: Coldplay

Kings of Leon had a huge breakthrough this year, but if the Grammys do what they usually do, it'll be a few more years before they catch up to them. The Eagles are a dark horse here for pretty much the same reason, but once again I think this is gonna be a big night for Coldplay.

Best Rock Album

Viva La Vida — Coldplay
Rock n Roll Jesus — Kid Rock
Only By The Night — Kings of Leon
Death Magnetic — Metallica
Consolers of the Lonely — The Raconteurs

SHOULD WIN: Coldplay
WILL WIN: Coldplay

The Raconteurs are my personal favorites in this category. Kid Rock's "All Summer Long" was arguably the song of the summer. But once again, I'm really smelling that Coldplay sweep.

Best Alternative Album

In Rainbows — Radiohead
Evil Urges — My Morning Jacket
Modern Guilt — Beck
Narrow Stairs — Death Cab For Cutie
The Odd Couple — Gnarls Barkley

SHOULD WIN: Radiohead
WILL WIN: Radiohead

As the only album here also nominated for Album of the Year, Radiohead is a shoo-in. Although, a win for My Morning Jacket would also be a nice surprise.

Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Female

Me Myself and I — Beyonce
Heaven Sent — Keyshia Cole
Spotlight — Jennifer Hudson
Superwoman — Alicia Keys
Need U Bad — Jazmine Sullivan

SHOULD WIN: Alicia Keys
WILL WIN: Alicia Keys

The Grammys love Alicia Keys.

Best Contemporary R&B Album:

Growing Pains — Mary J. Blige
Back of My Lac — J Holiday
First Love — Karina
Year Of The Gentleman — Ne-Yo
Fearless — Jazmine Sullivan

SHOULD WIN: Mary J. Blige
WILL WIN:: Mary J. Blige

I was really tempted to say Ne-Yo wins this one. But my gut tells me it's Mary J.

Best Rap Album:

American Gangster — Jay Z
Tha Carter III — Lil Wayne
The Cool — Lupe Fiasco
Nas — Nas
Paper Trail — T.I.

SHOULD WIN: Nas
WILL WIN: Lil' Wayne

Nas' album was the most artistically bold, but Lil' Wayne had the biggest seller of 2008, period. Lil' Wayne will sweep the rap categories.

Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance

Gravity — John Mayer
I Saw Her Standing There — Paul McCartney
Girls In Their Summer Clothes — Bruce Springsteen
Rise — Eddie Vedder
No Hidden Path — Neil Young

SHOULD WIN: Bruce Springsteen
WILL WIN: Bruce Springsteen

I'm not sure why a song from a 2007 release is even here, but Bruce's song is by far the most recognizable here (well, outside of the nearly fifty year old Beatles song, anyway). The fact that Macca is actually performing at the show makes him a dark horse, and Neil Young is certainly overdue. But I say Springsteen takes this.

Best Rock Song

Girls In Their Summer Clothes — Bruce Springsteen
House Of Cards — Radiohead
I Will Possess Your Heart — Death Cab For Cutie
Sex On Fire — Kings Of Leon
Violet Hill — Coldplay

SHOULD WIN: Bruce Springsteen
WILL WIN: Coldplay

Even the Boss won't be able to stop Coldplay's momentum tonight.

About Glen Boyd

Glen Boyd is the author of Neil Young FAQ, released in May 2012 by Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard Publishing. He is a former BC Music Editor and current contributor, whose work has also appeared in SPIN, Ultimate Classic Rock, The Rocket, The Source and other publications. You can read more of Glen's work at the official Neil Young FAQ site. Follow Glen on Twitter and on Facebook.

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