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Might win vs. Should win

THE BALTIMORE SUN

RECORD OF THE YEAR

"We Belong Together," Mariah Carey

"Feel Good Inc.," Gorillaz featuring De La Soul

"Boulevard of Broken Dreams," Green Day

"Hollaback Girl," Gwen Stefani

"Gold Digger," Kanye West

MY PICK / / "Boulevard of Broken Dreams." This is one of the few bright pop-rock tracks of last year with lyrical substance and a good groove. The blistering, dramatic ending is nice, too. But Mariah Carey may snag this one, because "We Belong Together" was such a massive smash with an easy melody that resides in your head. And it featured one of Carey's best vocal performances in years.

SONG OF THE YEAR

"Bless the Broken Road," Rascal Flatts

"Devils & Dust," Bruce Springsteen

"Ordinary People," John Legend

"Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own," U2

"We Belong Together," Mariah Carey

MY PICK / / "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own." The cut is one of the highlights on U2's strong album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. A gospel undercurrent runs through the lyrics: "Listen to me now / I need to let you know / You don't have to go it alone." The song feels like a classic. It deserves to win, and because U2 is a Grammy favorite, the band may get it.

BEST NEW ARTIST

Ciara, Fall Out Boy, Keane, John Legend, SugarLand

MY PICK / / This category is peculiar; several artists who have picked up the award in this slot have seemingly vanished. (Where's 1980's best new artist award recipient Christopher Cross? 1987's Jody Watley? 1997's Paula Cole?) Among the nominees this year, John Legend is perhaps the strongest contender. His debut, Get Lifted, was essentially solid (though underdeveloped in certain spots). But I wouldn't be surprised if the Grammy goes to Fall Out Boy, a good band though its music at times feels too conventional. Grammy voters tend to go for that.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

The Emancipation of Mimi, Mariah Carey

Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, Paul McCartney

Love. Angel. Music. Baby, Gwen Stefani

How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, U2

Late Registration, Kanye West

MY PICK / / The winner in this category also is difficult to predict. The real competition here is between Carey and West. The melismatic pop diva, Carey, is likely to win because her Lifetime-movie-style comeback was The Story in pop last year. However, West's album was far more nuanced and adventurous, even if his skills on the mike remain flat. The Chicago rapper-producer gets kudos for pushing the sonic boundaries of hip-hop. But because Grammy voters usually love up-from-the-ashes-type stories (remember Tina Turner's win in 1984 and Natalie Cole's in 1991?), the wailing '90s pop queen may sweep the show this year.

GRAMMY NOMINATIONS

Nominations in selected categories for the 48th-annual Grammy Awards (winners will be announced Wednesday). For a complete list of nominees, visit baltimoresun.com / grammys:

POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE

"It's Like That," Mariah Carey

"Since U Been Gone," Kelly Clarkson

"Good Is Good," Sheryl Crow

"I Will Not Be Broken," Bonnie Raitt

"Hollaback Girl," Gwen Stefani

BEST MALE POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE

"Sitting, Waiting, Wishing," Jack Johnson

"Fine Line," Paul McCartney

"Walk On By," Seal

"Lonely No More," Rob Thomas

"From the Bottom of My Heart,"

Stevie Wonder

POP PERFORMANCE BY A DUO

OR GROUP WITH VOCAL

"Don't Lie," The Black Eyed Peas

"Mr. Brightside," The Killers

"More Than Love," Los Lonely Boys

"This Love," Maroon 5

"My Doorbell," The White Stripes

DANCE RECORDING

"Galvanize," The Chemical Brothers

Featuring Q-Tip

"Say Hello," Deep Dish

"Wonderful Night," Fatboy Slim & Lateef

"Daft Punk Is Playing at My House,"

LCD Soundsystem

"I Believe in You," Kylie Minogue

"Guilt Is a Useless Emotion," New Order

ROCK PERFORMANCE BY A DUO OR GROUP WITH VOCAL

"Speed of Sound," Coldplay

"Best of You," Foo Fighters

"Do You Want To," Franz Ferdinand

"All These Things That I've Done," The Killers

"Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own," U2

ROCK ALBUM

X&Y;, Coldplay

In Your Honor, Foo Fighters

A Bigger Bang, The Rolling Stones

How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, U2

Prairie Wind, Neil Young

R&B; ALBUM

Illumination, Earth, Wind and Fire

Free Yourself, Fantasia

Unplugged, Alicia Keys

Get Lifted, John Legend

A Time to Love, Stevie Wonder

RAP SOLO PERFORMANCE

"Testify," Common

"Mockingbird," Eminem

"Disco Inferno," 50 Cent

"Number One Spot," Ludacris

"U Don't Know Me," T.I.

"Gold Digger," Kanye West

RAP ALBUM

Be, Common

The Cookbook, Missy Elliott

Encore, Eminem

The Massacre, 50 Cent

Late Registration, Kanye West

[SOURCE: GRAMMY.COM]

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