Who will (and who should) win at music’s biggest night

Carly Rae Jepsen and her hit “Call Me, Maybe” are nominated for song of the year. Frank Ocean is up for a multitude of honors including record and album of the year.
Dana Edelson/NBC
Frank Ocean is up for a multitude of honors including record and album of the year.


Mike Coppola/Getty Images
Carly Rae Jepsen and her hit “Call Me, Maybe” are nominated for song of the year.

“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

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“Thinkin Bout You,” Frank Ocean

“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” Taylor Swift


Should win: This category exemplifies the “it’s anybody’s race” feeling of this year’s nominee pool. Despite/because of its saturation, I’d vote for Gotye. That level of earworminess is an accomplishment.

Will win: On the theory that there may be Swift-awards-show-fatigue, general fatigue with the Gotye ditty, and not enough recognition for Ocean, that leaves the Keys, Kelly, and Fun. If there is going to be any consensus tonight, I think it may be behind the New York popsters.



Should win: “Somebody That I Used to Know,” which was pretty much the only good song on an otherwise mediocre record.

Will win: Swift’s “Red” wasn’t released in the time frame for this year’s ceremony, but its first single was. And we all know how Swift cleans house at awards shows.


“El Camino,” The Black Keys

“Some Nights,” Fun.

“Babel,” Mumford & Sons


“Channel Orange,” Frank Ocean

“Blunderbuss,” Jack White


Should win: I’ma let Mumford & Sons finish but Jack White made one of the best records of the year.

Will win: Mumford & Sons, a classic Grammy band.


Should and will win: “Channel Orange,” for the right reasons: It was last year’s boldest debut and elevated the discourse about emotional honesty in pop music.


(award goes to the songwriter)

“The A Team,” Ed Sheeran

“Adorn,” Miguel

“Call Me Maybe,” Carly Rae Jepsen

“Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” Kelly Clarkson

“We Are Young,” Fun. featuring Janelle Monáe


Should win: Since this award goes to the songwriter I’d like to see the men of Fun. take this for their marriage of pop craftsmanship and quirky left turns.

Will win: Hey, this is crazy, but Jepsen just might take it, maybe.


Should and will win: Carly Rae’s got only one hit, but it was a doozy.


Alabama Shakes


Hunter Hayes

The Lumineers

Frank Ocean


Should win: Alabama Shakes, one of the most electric live acts of 2012

Will win: This is a tough one. The Lumineers, Shakes, and Ocean had the buzz. Fun. and Hayes had the hits. For sheer ubiquity, let’s go with Fun.


Should win: Ocean, though he might be too big for this one. He’s more likely to sweep the other categories where he’s nominated.

Will win: This award is particularly kind to the dark horse. (Justin Bieber fans are probably still poking their Esperanza Spalding voodoo dolls.) If Ocean dominates the album and record categories, underdogs like blues-rockers Alabama Shakes or country singer Hunter Hayes could swoop in.


“The Idler Wheel...” Fiona Apple

“Biophilia,” Björk

“Making Mirrors,” Gotye

“Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming,” M83

“Bad As Me,” Tom Waits


Should and will win: Although there would be something perversely pleasurable about Waits, a true alternative, winning in this category since it seems like such bizarre placement for his excellent return from hiatus, Apple’s nervy, and typically manically-titled, opus is aces. Let’s see if she shows up to accept.


Should win: “The Idler Wheel. . .,” which marked a compelling return to form for Apple. It’s amusing to see Waits here, but also kind of fitting: He’s still making music best described as alternative.

Will win: “Making Mirrors.” It’ll be a nice way for the academy to thank Gotye for all those record sales for “Somebody That I Used to Know.”


“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


Should and will win: The Roots, Jimmy Fallon’s house band, have justifiably reached rarefied status for their artistry, and “Undun” was another sharp arrow from their quiver. As crucially, in a race as tight as this, Questlove and the gang have reached a level of name recognition that is priceless in a competition where all the voters may not be familiar with all of the nominees.


Should win: A very close race, which probably explains why six albums got nominated. Nas might have a slight edge given his long and acclaimed career.

Will win: “Take Care,” which was probably the most familiar to Grammy voters.


“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


Should win: Johnson’s all-star tribute to one of the genre’s most beloved songwriters was one of the best albums of the year.

Will win: The higher profile, more commercially successful spitfire Lambert, whose album came out in late 2011, made a damn fine album herself and its hit status will help propel her to a victory.


Should and will win: You’ve got most every stripe of country covered here, from Johnson’s traditional-leaning salute to Cochran to Zac Brown Band’s brand of rowdy country rock to the Time Jumpers’ resurrection of western swing. But this will go to Lambert, whose “Four the Record” found the sweet spot among all those different factions.


“The Carpenter,” the Avett Brothers

“From the Ground Up,” John Fullbright

“The Lumineers,” the Lumineers

“Babel,” Mumford & Sons

“Slipstream,” Bonnie Raitt


Should win: Like many of the categories this one has some strong contenders but I’d like to see the Avett Brothers go home with the hardware.

Will win: Grammy favorite Raitt made a terrific album. That it isn’t really “Americana” won’t stop voters from giving her this award.


Should win: Fullbright is the least-known performer here, but his “From the Ground Up” was a graceful marriage of astute songwriting and understated vocals.

Will win: Mumford, the Lumineers, and the Avetts work in such a similar vein that they could cancel out one another, allowing veteran performer (and Grammy darling) Raitt to take it.

James Reed can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJamesReed. Sarah Rodman can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @GlobeRodman