What can I say? I'm a sucker for the Grammys and the Oscars, and after a few years of real yawners, the Grammys in particular are back with a vengeance! The performances lineup is Coachella-esque impressive, with U2 and Coldplay joining the likes of Jonas Brothers, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne(!), Paul McCartney(!!) and Radiohead(!!!). But just as important as the performers are the award winners, and if you're in an office pool somewhere or on your way to Vegas and need a little help predicting the winners, you've come to the right place! (Well actually, if you're on your way to Vegas you should probably stop reading now so I won't be held responsible for you losing your life savings in these economic times. If I'm required to file my disclaimer, then there it is!) With each category are two winners, who should win (the artist vote) and who will win (based on factors that are further explained). So here we go:


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

Who should win: M.I.A.
Who will win: M.I.A.

There's a reason "Slumdog Millionaire" swept this year's Golden Globe Awards-everything about it was top notch. Throw in this awesome track during a particularly fun sequence in which adolescent misfits cause trouble, and you have a memorable sing-a-long going into 2009.


American Boy - Estelle ft. Kanye West
Chasing Pavements - Adele
I'm Yours - Jason Mraz
Love Song - Sara Bareilles
Viva La Vida - Coldplay

Who should win: Coldplay
Who will win: Estelle ft. Kanye West

Brewing legal troubles might end up costing England's darling soft rockers more than one Grammy given the controversy surrounding the originality of "Viva La Vida". By contrast, "American Boy" benefits because everyone knows dance and hip hop songs are sampled and ripped off. A perennial club hit this past year, it's amazing Estelle (who made a fantastic record by the way) didn't get more noms this year.


Jonas Brothers
Lady Antebellum
Jazmine Sullivan

Who should win: Jonas Brothers
Who will win: Jonas Brothers

Let's predict a national riot of teeny-boppers everywhere if this doesn't go the way everyone expects. Maybe middle schools across America should plan for one of those emergency weather closings just in case. Fathers, this would be a great category to step out to happy hour for, win or lose.


Chasing Pavements - Adele
Love Song - Sara Bareilles
Mercy - Duffy
Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis
I Kissed A Girl - Katy Perry
So What - Pink

Who should win: Adele
Who will win: Katy Perry

Here's saluting over 3 million single downloads-if that's not a record then it's close-for this year's "They Just Won't Go Away" award. At least Perry was willing to man up and milk the gravy train for everything it was worth. Quick! I'm seeing the ghost of Meredith Brooks!


All Summer Long - Kid Rock
Say - John Mayer
That Was Me - Paul McCartney
I'm Yours - Jason Mraz
Closer - Ne-Yo
Witchita Lineman - James Taylor

Who should win: Kid Rock
Who will win: Ne-Yo

Yeah, Kid Rock keeps on moving further south of rock, but you must admit he's totally committed. Like Katy Perry though, Ne-Yo is the odds-on favorite on account of his song being in rotation every 3.5 songs on Top 40 stations around the country. Gotta love Clear Channel-I hear that they conducted a study last summer that concluded that young girls really do flock to the radio and turn the volume way up when he comes on. Well, he and Britney Spears . . .


Viva La Vida - Coldplay
Waiting In the Weeds - Eagles
Going On - Gnarls Barkley
Won't Go Home Without You - Maroon 5
Apologize - OneRepublic

Who should win: OneRepublic
Who will win: OneRepublic

OneRepublic is simply the favorite here. This category looks like the Academy needed to fill the other slots.


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

Who should win: Kings of Leon
Who will win: Coldplay

Radiohead's "House of Cards" is an interesting selection, given there were two vastly superior songs of theirs ("Nude" and "Reckoner") that could've been chosen. If Coldplay is going to win at least one Grammy, here's betting that "Violet Hill" is it.


Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends - Coldplay
Rock N Roll Jesus - Kid Rock
Only By The Night - Kings Leon
Death Magnetic - Metallica
Consolers Of The Lonely - The Ranconteurs

Who should win: The Ranconteurs
Who will win: Push! (just joking . . . but seriously, Kings of Leon)

This one will be unbelievably tight! Coldplay as the feel good vote? Kings of Leon as the "Hey, at least its rock" vote? Metallica because they rock the hardest in this group? Does Kid Rock have something to say about that?? Remember though, that Metallica's album was released with a lot of bad controversy over the way it was mixed. The Ranconteurs' album was one of the earliest released in this category, and it's a damn fine record, but Kings of Leon made an album of FORMULA. Award shows LOVE formula.


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

Who should win: My Morning Jacket, just barely edging Radiohead
Who will win: Radiohead, just barely edging My Morning Jacket

Look, I'm not gonna lie; I love me some Radiohead, too. But c'mon, did you HEAR that My Morning Jacket album? It was brilliant. As a matter of fact, every album in this category was brilliant, but Radiohead wins on account of every non-musical thing that it stood for. And while I personally thought that Beck album was his best since "Sea Change", I know of a lot of critics who disagree with that. Looks like Radiohead are going to make it three in a row for this category.


Love & Life - Eric Benet
Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA - Boyz II Men
Lay It Down - Al Green
Jennifer Hudson - Jennifer Hudson
The Way I See It - Raphael Saadiq

Who should win: Push!
Who will win: Raphael Saadiq

I PUSH on who should win given what happened to Jennifer Hudson recently, as I'm sure this will have an impact on how things turn out. Raphael Saadiq has been garnering rave reviews though, perhaps the best since his days in Tony! Toni! Tone!


Lollipop - Lil Wayne
Low - Flo Rida ft. T-Pain
Sexual Eruption - Snoop Dogg
Superstar - Lupe Fiasco
Swagga Like Us - Jay-Z & T.I. ft. Kanye West & Lil Wayne

Who should win: Flo Rida ft. T-Pain
Who will win: Lil Wayne

Since Jay-Z and T.I. and Lil Wayne AND Kanye are set to perform "Swagga Like Us" at this year's Grammy's, they're odds-on to win. AND since Lil Wayne also performs on this track, should the song win, it means that I'm still technically correct. Gotta love technicalities.


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

Who should win: Lil Wayne
Who will win: Lil Wayne

This is going to be one of those Mike Tyson 'knock 'em out in ten seconds' categories. Wrap it up, it's over!


Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends - Coldplay
Tha Carter III - Lil Wayne
Year Of The Gentleman - Ne-Yo
Raising Sand - Robert Plant & Alison Kraus
In Rainbows - Radiohead

Who should win: Lil Wayne
Who will win: Robert Plant & Alison Kraus

While "In Rainbows" did much to save The Album, Lil Wayne's "Tha Carter III" absolutely saved The Rap Album from becoming extinct. That being said, the Academy of Recording Arts historically loves to give its best statue to old-timers. You might suspect its for political reasons (when Eminem's historic "Marshall Mathers LP" lost to Steely Dan) or because the club likes to view this as a lifetime achievement award (most people didn't even know Herbie Hancock had released an album last year!), but based on the winners' history in this category, you can just about take this prediction to the bank.

Story by Simbarashe

Starpulse contributing writer