MGF Presents The 50th Annual Grammy Awards Roundtable

RECORD OF THE YEAR

Beyoncé – “Irreplaceable”
Foo Fighters – “The Pretender”
Rihanna (f/Jay-Z) – “Umbrella”
Justin Timberlake – “What Goes Around… Comes Around”
Amy Winehouse – “Rehab”

Mathan Erhardt: Despite my digging Amy Winehouse, I never thought “Rehab” was all that great, and it’s even less so now that it’s ironic. Like the FCC, the Super Bowl Halftime incident lingers in my memory, which means JT will forever have my scorn. I wasn’t all that impressed with the last two Foo offerings and I’m just not feeling Beyonce.
Prediction: Rihanna (f/Jay-Z) – “Umbrella”

J. R. Fernandez: This is one of six nominations that Amy Winehouse has for these awards, and I’m expecting her to win at least half of them. I wonder if she’ll show up, though. I almost don’t want to see her because she’ll probably be all emaciated and will flip over the podium and try to claw out Carrie Underwood’s eyeballs. Even if Carrie Underwood’s not there, Amy Winehouse will end up clawing out Michael Bublé’s eyes, as the hallucinogens will cause her to think that it’s Carrie Underwood. That’s what he gets for trying to cover “Save the Last Dance for Me”. Even though “Umbrella” was a huge hit at the American Music Awards, I’m expecting “Rehab” to get the win here, as a bit of a testament to Amy Winehouse to finally go and get cleaned the fcuk up.
Prediction: Amy Winehouse – “Rehab”

Bambi Weavil: Interesting and pretty hard category. I have to give this one to Rihanna’s “Umbrella”—it had such a life of its own and could potentially sweep.
Prediction: Rihanna (f/Jay-Z) – “Umbrella”

Aaron Coats: I think that Justin is gonna take it, only because he seems to be nominated for any pop category and is invited to perform at every award show even though they occur every two weeks. Plus, Beyoncé fell on her face that one time.
Prediction: Justin Timberlake – “What Goes Around… Comes Around”

Jean-Woo Deaux: Well, I’ve heard all these songs at least once, so that’s gotta count for something. Nothing here rises above “eh” for me, so I’ll vote for Rihanna, since she’s the one I’d most like to… well, you know.
Prediction: Rihanna (f/Jay-Z) – “Umbrella”

Heather McCann-Sorenson: “Irreplaceable”, “Umbrella” and “What Goes Around…” might as well all be the same song.  Yes, they’re infectious songs with lyrics that creep their way into your subconscious at the most unusual times, but that doesn’t mean that they should be worthy of Record of the Year.  That just means that the mediocre top-40 radio stations have played the shit out of them until they’ve brainwashed you into liking them.  Or, is that how it works?  In my book, the Foo Fighters song is a winner, but I think it’s going to be taken by Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab.”  Yes, another song that has been shoved down our throats relentlessly, but at least it’s distinguishable from the rest.
Prediction: Amy Winehouse – “Rehab”

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Foo Fighters – Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
Vince Gill – These Days
Herbie Hancock – River: The Joni Letters
Kanye West – Graduation
Amy Winehouse – Back to Black

Mathan: I’ve already said my piece about Foo Fighters. Vince Gill’s not really my cup of tea and neither is Herbie. It’s really a two person race between West and Winehouse. Either way we’re guaranteed an entertaining acceptance speech, except Kanye’s will include Mom, Jesus and Jay-Z, and not necessarily in that order, which is a mark off. Plus I really liked Back to Black.
Prediction: Amy Winehouse – Back to Black

Fernandez: Wow, I knew that the latest Foo Fighters album was good (D’Errico had some really good things to say about it when it came out), but I had no idea that it was that good. While I’d really like to see either them or Herbie Hancock take this one, I have a feeling it’s going to come down to the last two on that list, and if the latter does win, expect the former to throw some form of shit fit, perhaps storming onto the stage as she’s giving her acceptance speech, and she will proceed to pull a whiskey bottle out of her beehive and break it over his head.
Prediction: Amy Winehouse – Back to Black

Bambi: I own none of these records and I’m impressed that Vince Gill is the country representation of this category. I really don’t care who wins this category as long as it’s not Amy Winehouse. So I’m going to say it’s going to Kanye West which is going to give him a emotional moment since he seems to get slighted often.
Prediction: Kanye West – Graduation

Coats: Kanye should get it because he’ll throw a tantrum if he doesn’t win, and there may actually be some added possibility because of the loss of his mother.
Prediction: Kanye West – Graduation

Jean-Woo: Kanye seems to be the frontrunner, and the tragic passing of his mother has even made him a sympathy choice in some circles. Too bad, because Graduation deserves the win on its own merits. Great frickin’ album.
Prediction: Kanye West – Graduation

Heather: [Singing] “One of these things is not like the other.  One of these things just doesn’t belong.”  How the hell did Vince Gill get in there?  I refuse to accept the fact that there are that many people that like country music.  Can you really compare Kanye West and Vince Gill?  I can’t even deal with that one.  She may not be sober enough to make two acceptance speeches, but I think Amy’s going to take this trophy home too. (Vince Gill, REALLY?)
Prediction: Amy Winehouse – Back to Black

SONG OF THE YEAR

Carrie Underwood – “Before He Cheats” (written by Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins)
Plain White T’s – “Hey There Delilah” (written by Tom Higgenson)
Corinne Bailey Rae – “Like a Star” (written by herself)
Amy Winehouse – “Rehab” (written by herself)
Rihanna (f/Jay-z) – “Umbrella” (written by Shawn Carter, Kuk Harrell, Terius “Dream” Nash and Christopher Stewart)

Mathan: Wow, this is tough; two songs I’ve never heard, two songs I didn’t dig and Rihanna. I really hope no one is surprised how I’m voting.
Prediction: Rihanna (f/Jay-z) – “Umbrella” (written by Shawn Carter, Kuk Harrell, Terius “Dream” Nash and Christopher Stewart)

Fernandez: Since this is a songwriting award, it’s essentially based on the lyricism more so than the actual song as a whole. While “Umbrella” was a damn catchy song that garnered a huge fan base and a shitload of awards, it’s sort of difficult for me to imagine a song where a pair of syllables is muttered repeatedly snagging a songwriting award. As a result, I’m going to go with my default because it’s not only a great song, but it’s also a lesson in cruel irony, and plus, she wrote it herself.
Prediction: Amy Winehouse – “Rehab” (written by herself)

Bambi: I think this is between Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” and Plain White Ts’ “Hey There Delilah”. I’m thinking this will go to Plain White T’s because I’m sure Carrie will get something else.
Prediction: Plain White T’s – “Hey There Delilah” (written by Tom Higgenson)

Coats: Corinne because she wrote the song herself and doesn’t seem to be spiraling into a drug-induced, self-loathing toilet of controversy because of it, even though I heard “Umbrella” whether it was raining or not. Plus, Beyoncé fell on her face that one time.
Prediction: Corinne Bailey Rae – “Like a Star” (written by herself)

Jean-Woo: Let’s go with Carrie Underwood, since I’m not quite as sick of her as I am of Rihanna and Carrie’s latent “heat index” is surprisingly high. Hey, you have your criteria; I have mine.
Prediction: Carrie Underwood – “Before He Cheats” (written by Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins)

Heather: I totally would have voted for the Plain White T’s had they not played the song to death on every frickin’ radio station in America.  It started out as a really cool song, but now I can’t listen to it without it triggering that annoying twitch that I’ve learned to hide so well.  Usually, you hear a popular song every 20 minutes on the top-40 stations, but at one point, you could hit the scan button on your car stereo and probably hear The Plain White T’s on every station. They managed to infiltrate everything from the alternative radio waves to the adult contemporary realm, and everything in between.  Didn’t Carrie Underwood already have her night at the CMT Awards?  Can she really compare to the studio-enhanced R&B modulation of a Rihanna or the sweet resonance of a Corinne Bailey Rae?  I think not.  However, I think Amy Winehouse, in all of her drunken, coke-headed splendor, will take this award home too.
Prediction: Amy Winehouse – “Rehab” (written by herself)

BEST NEW ARTIST

Feist
Ledisi
Paramore
Taylor Swift
Amy Winehouse

Mathan: Really, Taylor Swift is considered an “artist”? That just makes me sad. Well despite my being bitter that everyone know who she is, I’m pulling for Feist, even though she’s hardly “new.” Wait, is this the one with the curse? Should I go for someone that I wouldn’t mind seeing disappear? Man, now I’m torn. But I’m going with my gut.
Prediction: Feist

Fernandez: As always, this is a joke. Feist has been recording since 1999, Ledisi has been around for over ten years, and her first album came out in 2000, Amy Winehouse’s first album came out five years ago and Paramore has been around since 2002. By these standards, Taylor Swift should win by default just because she’s the only real “new” artist. But since we’re nominating all of these people anyway, if Amy Winehouse doesn’t take this, I will eat a shoe. Chances are high that she will, but if somehow Taylor Swift happens to pull off an upset, said shoe will actually be a shoe-shaped ice cream cake.
Prediction: Amy Winehouse

Bambi: I believe this will come down between Ledisi and Taylor Swift. Both are incredibly talented artists, and I wish it would go to Ledisi because I have reviewed her album and I enjoyed it—it’s something you don’t hear every day. Taylor Swift is a force in her own right and I think they are going to give it to her.
Prediction: Taylor Swift

Coats: Feist. Hands down. She got a contract with Apple. Nuff said.
Prediction: Feist

Jean-Woo: There’s no way Grammy rewards Amy Winehouse, despite being the only real deserving winner here. Lost in all the mental, emotional and sobriety breakdown conversation is that fact that she had some kind of buzz even before she fell off a cliff.
Prediction: NOT Amy Winehouse

Heather: I’ve only heard of two out the five on this list.  To be a best new artist, shouldn’t people have heard of you before?  Or, does that just mean that they’re that little hidden gem? I admit, I had to look up Ledisi, Paramore and Taylor Swift before responding to this category.  Ledisi has a pretty voice, but no different from Jill Scott or Mary J. Blige.  Paramore sounds like all of the other alt-rock bands that have come out in the past two years, except they added a chick to the mix (à la Avril Lavigne), and Taylor Swift has a song called “Teardrops on My Guitar” and another one called “Tim McGraw”—I couldn’t even listen to her when I saw that.  I think this one’s going to Amy Winehouse or Feist.  I’ll say Feist, just to mix it up a little bit.
Prediction: Feist

BEST FEMALE POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE

Christina Aguilera – “Candyman”
Feist – “1234”
Fergie – “Big Girls Don’t Cry”
Nelly Furtado – “Say It Right”
Amy Winehouse – “Rehab”

Mathan: Seriously, as if I wasn’t sick enough of “Rehab” before it became a punchline, now it’s the only thing Winehouse is recognized for. I could never live with myself if I supported Fergie. And while I appreciated Furtado’s attempt to get smutted out, I can’t say I’m familar with the song in question. X-tina never should have bowed to her handlers and I’ll never forgive her for it. Thus I’m going for that song that got played out in a commericial.
Prediction: Feist – “1234”

Fernandez: As satisfied as I would be if it were the case, I don’t think the suits are going to be able to hand Amy Winehouse every single award for which she’s nominated. Ergo, I’m going to go with AMERICA’S HOTTEST POP SINGER in what seemed to be an incredibly popular song over the past year. Seriously, I don’t think I met a single female over the course of the past year that didn’t like this song, proving that I need to find some new females with whom to socialize. In winning this award, Fergie gives hope to all of those little girls out there who dream of having a career in singing and look like a mix between Jessica Simpson and a baseball mitt.
Prediction: Fergie – “Big Girls Don’t Cry”

Bambi: This is a really tough category: Fergie had a strong hit here while Christina Augilera had a strong record with “Candyman” on it. I also love Nelly Furtado but she never seems to win the awards. I’m going with Fergie on this one because of the constant airplay.
Prediction: Fergie – “Big Girls Don’t Cry”

Coats: Apple, I say!
Prediction: Feist – “1234”

Jean-Woo: It might get my IP Membership revoked, but I kind of like Fergie. She is what she is, but baby girl can make a room move and her disposable brand of cheesy-pop that no one dares call pop makes for a fun listen. I’ll show myself out, Fernandez.
Prediction: Fergie – “Big Girls Don’t Cry”

Heather: I hate that Nelly Furtado has gone glam and is doing the same kind of shit that Fergie and Gwen Stefani are doing.  If the formula works once in the music biz, they have to ride that horse out until it’s dead.  There are still a few singers remaining out there that haven’t gotten a Timbaland beat yet, so the trend will persist, I’m sure. I’m actually surprised to see Christina Aguilera’s “Candyman” on this list, because it is a good song, but I don’t think it had quite the radio play as the rest of the songs on this list.  Feist has come at us from all angles, most notably in 30- and 60-second blasts in-between our favorite TV shows where the industry knows they’ve got our full and undivided attention (even if we get up to get a drink and go to the bathroom during that time). “1234” completely seeps into your brain and refuses go away.  I think Feist will take this award.
Prediction: Feist – “1234”

BEST MALE POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE

Michael Bublé – “Everything”
John Mayer – “Belief”
Paul McCartney – “Dance Tonight”
Seal – “Amazing”
Justin Timberlake – “What Goes Around… Comes Around”

Mathan: Wow. I don’t think I’ve heard any of these songs. But that’s not going to stop me from adding my two cents. I’m pulling for Seal, not because he’s black, but because 2008 is the year facial scars become huge. You hear about that kid I went to high school with who had pox scars all over his face?
Prediction: Seal – “Amazing”

Fernandez: Yikes. Is it just me, or does it seem like Paul McCartney is nominated every single year? Same with Timberlake. Didn’t his album come out in 2006? In any event, I’m going to go with John Mayer because he’s the only one here (besides Seal) that I actually sort of like. Seal already has his trophy in the form of his wife, so this one goes to Mayer, even though he did bang Jessica Simpson. Screw all of these guys.
Prediction: John Mayer – “Belief”

Bambi: I really am a huge fan of Seal’s “Amazing” because it really is an uplifting pop song. However, I’ll be shocked if Justin doesn’t bag this one.
Prediction: Justin Timberlake – “What Goes Around… Comes Around”

Coats: What? No Justin Timber… oh, crap. Nevermind. There he is. Crumbs.
Prediction: Justin Timberlake – “What Goes Around… Comes Around”

Jean-Woo: Seal’s entry is the only one that I can remember listening to more than once and for good reason. He hasn’t sounded this good since the days when he was the featured performer on soundtracks to superhero movies. We should all hook up with white girls!
Prediction: Seal – “Amazing”

Heather: This category is much more balanced, which actually makes it a bit difficult to predict who might win.  Bubble (as my friends affectionately call Michael Bublé) has a great voice and charming swagger, but I don’t think he has enough mass appeal.  Plus, I can’t quite look at him the same way after hearing about his lecherous actions after a benefit concert in the stairwell with the daughter of one of the big wigs. And, with all due respect, Sir Paul is amazing and incredibly talented, and the fact that he’s still putting out music after all these years is incredible, but I don’t think anything quite compares to that stuff he wrote back in the day with a little-known group called The Beatles (my Mom would argue with me on this point as she thinks Paul McCartney is still one of the greatest things since sliced bread).  Seal has a great voice and awesome tribal scarring and all, and John Mayer has pretty much solidified his position as a cool MoFo, but I have a feeling this award is going to go to Justin Timberlake just because he’s had girls of all ages creaming their pants for the last year.
Prediction: Justin Timberlake – “What Goes Around… Comes Around”

BEST POP PERFORMANCE BY A DUO OR GROUP WITH VOCALS

Bon Jovi – “(You Want to) Make a Memory”
Daughtry – “Home”
Maroon 5 – “Makes Me Wonder”
Plain White T’s – “Hey There Delilah”
U2 – “Window in the Skies”

Mathan: Hmm, now this is tough. Maroon 5 make total douche music. Daughtry didn’t even win American Idol. Bon Jovi is problematic because which hurts worse: bad music or bad movies? Getting this award might encourage more music making, while losing the award might push him in the direction of acting again. And U2 is so full of itself, as a group that and Imax flick could barely capture everything. And while all the wrong people seemed to like “Delilah” I think those guys would be genuinely happy to win.
Prediction: Plain White T’s – “Hey There Delilah”

Fernandez: That Plain White T’s song is a load of crap. Seriously, and Maroon 5 is just terrible. Jesus H., I wish Widro would let me use other swear words besides shit and ass to describe them, but he doesn’t want to lose advertising clients, so I’ll just say that better shit has fallen out of my ass than Maroon 5. That doesn’t really make much sense… you see what happens when I can’t drop my F-bombs, Widro? CHAOS! Even though Bon Jovi and U2 are always safe bets, I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict a win for Nickelback Jr.
Prediction: Daughtry – “Home”

Bambi: Daughtry. I think he’s going to surprise people, but at the same time, I can’t imagine anyone else getting this award. He’s had a amazing year.
Prediction: Daughtry – “Home”

Coats: U2 cuz they got that 3D thing going. I’m not actually a fan, though.
Prediction: U2 – “Window in the Skies”

Jean-Woo: Since it’s an election year here in the States, let’s give it to U2 so we can marvel at Bono’s insufferable political message/acceptance speech. Can he even vote in this country?
Prediction: U2 – “Window in the Skies”

BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM

Bon Jovi – Lost Highway
Feist – The Reminder
Maroon 5 – It Won’t Be Soon Before Long
Paul McCartney – Memory Almost Full
Amy Winehouse – Back to Black

Mathan: Ugh. I really loved both Back to Black and The Reminder—I had both albums in heavy rotation for the better part of last year. But I was already looking forward to Feist, and Winehouse lived up to the hype. And to me that seems like the harder thing to do.
Prediction: Amy Winehouse – Back to Black

Fernandez: Again with the Maroon 5 and the Bon Jovi… neither one’s going to get this one. Screw Adam Levine. I hope he knocks up a fat chick and she sues him for a shitload of money. When you compare the raw vocal prowesses of all of these artists (not getting biased by McCartney’s legacy with The Band That I Can’t Stand Because of The Yogurt Raisin Effect), the lone one who stands out is the cokehead.
Prediction: Amy Winehouse – Back to Black

Bambi: Maroon 5 is my pick, but this is one strange category.
Prediction: Maroon 5 – It Won’t Be Soon Before Long

Coats: Maroon 5. I’d been reading some good things about them recently. They may upset Amy, though (unfortunately sending her further into the ridiculous commode that has become her life).
Prediction: Maroon 5 – It Won’t Be Soon Before Long

Jean-Woo: I want Paul McCartney to win this one, just so someone will come up to him at a post-show press conference and ask if he’s ever touched a computer in his life. There’s no way he came up with the title for that album.
Prediction: Paul McCartney – Memory Almost Full

BEST DANCE/ELECTRONIC ALBUM

The Chemical Brothers – We Are the Night
Justice –
LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver
Shiny Toy Guns – We Are Pilots
Tiësto – Elements of Life

Mathan: Confession time… I’ve only ever heard of Justice and LCD Soundsystem. And given everything I’ve read I’m more apt to try out the latter than the former.
Prediction: LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver

Fernandez: Earlier in the year, I wrote a review for the LCD album, and said, “Barring some unforeseen developments, Sound of Silver should easily edge out Erasure and three other non-factors in next year’s Grammys for ‘Best Electronic Album’. I predict it. You heard it here first.” So, I didn’t get the thing about Erasure right, and I wasn’t quite right about the three other non-factors thing, but I was right about that album being nominated. That puts me right about on par with one Kenny Williams, who makes an awful lot more money than I do. The only long shot here would be (the artist formerly known as DJ) Tiësto, as the other four are all viable contenders for this. Shiny Toy Guns had a nice amount of exposure for selling out to some cell phone company, while Justice was one of the artists responsible for one of the best Kanye West meltdowns of all time. I’d personally like to see either The Chemicals or LCD Soundsystem take this one, but I’m going to contradict myself from earlier in the year and give this one to Justice, who is one the “unforeseen developments.”
Prediction: Justice –

Bambi: Shiny Toy Guns! Yes, yes, yes, yes! “Hello little boys, little toys…”
Prediction: Shiny Toy Guns – We Are Pilots

Coats: I have no idea who these people are. I choose Shiny Toy Guns because they seem like they have small children and will raise them well.
Prediction: Shiny Toy Guns – We Are Pilots

BEST SOLO ROCK VOCAL PERFORMANCE

Beck – “Timebomb”
Paul McCartney – “Only Mama Knows”
John Mellencamp – “Our Country”
Bruce Springsteen – “Radio Nowhere”
Lucinda Williams – “Come On”

Mathan: For me this is about who would make the better acceptance speech:Johnny Cougar, who is sure to make a strong political statement, or Beck who I’d hope would try to convert us all to the ways of LRH and warn us about SPs. Blue State Mentality vs. Scientology? It’s time for the coin to decide.
Prediction: John Mellencamp – “Our Country”

Fernandez: Hoo boy… a category that features three old guys trying to get their heat back (two of whom are doing it politically). Lucinda Williams would be the long shot, here, followed by Beck. The Mellencamp song is probably the most well-known because of his selling it Chevrolet to shill pickup trucks. I’m surprised that Nickelback Jr. isn’t involved in this one, though, as Lucinda Williams is more folk than rock. Screw this noise… I’m going with Mellencamp, and so the terrorists win, via the Stone Cold Stunner, at 2:13. *1/2
Prediction: John Mellencamp – “Our Country”

Bambi: Beck or The Boss? None of these are majorly strong to me as choices, though.
Prediction: Beck – “Timebomb”

Coats: Paul McCartney is still making music, huh? He’ll probably get a senior discount win. Can’t knock the old folks, though. Tom Petty did make the Super Bowl more fun to watch than Strahan making Tom Brady eat cleat rubber.
Prediction: Paul McCartney – “Only Mama Knows”

Jean-Woo: Way to stay the voice of today’s generation, Grammy Awards. John Mellencamp winning would be the perfect ending to one of the most ubiquitously obnoxious ad campaigns in history. I will never buy a pick-up truck because of you and your damn song, John. And, I might move back to Canada.
Prediction: John Mellencamp – “Our Country”

BEST ROCK PERFORMANCE BY A DUO OR GROUP WITH VOCALS

Daughtry – “It’s Not Over”
Green Day – “Working Class Hero”
Nickelback – “If Everyone Cared”
U2 – “Instant Karma”
The White Stripes – “Icky Thump”

Mathan: I would totally say Nickelback, but Jeff would instinctually strike a killing blow, not realizing I was just joking.
Prediction: The White Stripes – “Icky Thump”

Fernandez: Uh-oh… what have we here? Nickelback Jr. and Nickelback Sr. against each other? If Jr. wins he had better sarcastically thank Sr. for the inspiration, and they had better then show the members of Sr. pouting in the audience, especially that fcuking giant poodle Chad Kroeger. I’d love to see The White Stripes take this award since their song is hands-down the best of the bunch, but my gut is telling me that this awards show wouldn’t be complete without a self-righteous acceptance speech from Bono, broadcast LIVE VIA SATELLITE from a mud hut in Darfur as young children comb his flowing hair and feed him grubs.
Prediction: U2 – “Instant Karma”

Bambi: Nickelback or Daughtry… strong years for both. Daughtry I think
has the popular edge, though Nickelback is already established.
Prediction: Nickelback – “If Everyone Cared”

Coats: U2. 3D is coming back with a vengeance, baby. I… AM… BEOWULF!!!
Prediction: U2 – “Instant Karma”

Jean-Woo: Green Day? U2? Hey, since we’re bringing back 1994, why not exhume Tupac and drive to the pog shop? I’ll take The White Stripes here, if only because that’s a song that needs to be part of a major ad campaign. Viagra, Cialis, step up.
Prediction: The White Stripes – “Icky Thump”

BEST HARD ROCK PERFORMANCE

Evanescence – “Sweet Sacrifice”
Foo Fighters – “The Pretender”
Ozzy Osbourne – “I Don’t Wanna Stop”
Queens of the Stone Age – “Sick, Sick, Sick”
Tool – “The Pot”

Mathan: Who did the Foo Fighters pay off to be nominated here? Even though I didn’t love the QOTSA last album I did dig the song.
Prediction: Queens of the Stone Age – “Sick, Sick, Sick”

Fernandez: Funny as it would be to see him mumble his way through an acceptance speech, Ozzy’s the long shot. As for the rest of them, they’re all decent tracks (even the one by Fake Goth Band), and as much as I’d love to see Amy Lee, the Foo FIghters are considerably better, and should take this one, otherwise my name isn’t Warren Woo.
Prediction: Foo Fighters – “The Pretender”

Bambi: Foo Fighters, mostly because I’m surprised they got so many nominations. It’s nice to see Ozzy nominated, though.
Prediction: Foo Fighters – “The Pretender”

Coats: I actually like Evanescence, so I choose them to take a crown from Ozzy. Not that he’ll ever be sober enough to know if he’s wearing shoes let alone a crown.
Prediction: Evanescence – “Sweet Sacrifice”

BEST METAL PERFORMANCE

As I Lay Dying – “Nothing Left”
King Diamond – “Never Ending Hill”
Machine Head – “Aesthetics of Hate”
Shadows Fall – “Redemption”
Slayer – “Final Six”

Mathan: WWTD’ED?
Prediction: Machine Head – “Aesthetics of Hate”

Fernandez: There used to be a time when I was always up on all of the current metal, but those days are long gone, so luckily we have Tom D’Errico to cover that stuff. But it appears that he won’t be coming to this party, so I’m lost. In all honesty, while I’m familiar with all of these artists except the fourth one, I haven’t heard any of these songs. So, as a result, I am going to take a stab in the dark and say that As I Lay Dying will win, because I don’t know. However, it would be pretty cool to see King Diamond’s acceptance speech.
Prediction: As I Lay Dying – “Nothing Left”

Bambi: As I Lay Dying or Machine Head.

Coats: Don’t know these people. “Aesthetics of Hate” sounds like a nice bedtime story about face-melting acid-spitting goblins that hunt children in after-school programs for the gifted and wheelchair bound.
Prediction: Machine Head – “Aesthetics of Hate”

BEST ROCK ALBUM

Daughtry – Daughtry
John Fogerty – Revival
Foo Fighters – Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
Bruce Springsteen – Magic
Wilco – Blue Sky Blue

Mathan: Man, are those first four unappealing. I’m really confused as to how Foo Fighters are both “Rock” and “Hard Rock.” I’m also not getting how Daughtry is both “Pop” and “Rock.” Are the lines really that blurry? I’m so confused.
Prediction: Wilco – Blue Sky Blue

Fernandez: Eric S. said that the John Fogerty album was really awesome, but something tells me that either the Foo Fighters or Nickelback Jr. is going to take this one. As much as Dave Grohl and Co. deserve it, I’m going to have to go with Nickelback Jr., and I hope they show Nickelback Sr. pouting again in the audience. Stupid Chad Kroeger.
Prediction: Daughtry – Daughtry

Bambi: Daughtry… maybe he’s the sweeper of the Grammys more so than Rihanna.
Prediction: Daughtry – Daughtry

Coats: The Boss is back… apparently… just like McCartney… apparently.
Prediction: Bruce Springsteen – Magic

Heather: I have heard so many people talk about how Wilco’s album is the best album of the year.  I find it kind of depressing, myself.  I’m glad to see The Boss is back and doing his thing as well as he ever has, but I think this one is a toss up between Daughtry and Foo Fighters (sorry Dave Grohl, but yes, the former American Idol contestant has a pretty damn good band!).  I think I’m going to give this one to Daughtry.
Prediction: Daughtry – Daughtry

BEST ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM

Lily Allen – Alright, Still…
Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
Björk – Volta
The Shins – Wincing the Night Away
The White Stripes – Icky Thump

Mathan: Wait a minute, now the White Stripes are both “Rock” and “Alternative”? I demand the voting board explain themselves. This is complete and utter malarkey. As for who I’d like to win, once again it’s a two-group race. And as much as I liked The White Stripes, impressive first impressions trumps continued dependability.
Prediction: The White Stripes – Icky Thump

Fernandez: As fantastic as the Arcade Fire are, this one’s going to come down to Lily Allen and The White Stripes. Assuming that the people who award these awards actually listen to the albums, The White Stripes will win, because Icky Thump kicked all shades of ass. For those of you who haven’t seen it, here‘s that supposed Meg White sex tape that’s not really her. I’ve been looking for a place to throw that in for a while now, so enjoy.
Prediction: The White Stripes – Icky Thump

Bambi: Lily Allen… just love her.
Prediction: Lily Allen – Alright, Still…

Coats: No clue.

Heather: This is a tough category, and I think it could be a really close race because they’re all pretty awesome.  I’m a huge fan of Arcade Fire, and I’ve loved Björk since her days with The Sugarcubes, but I don’t think either one of them gets enough radio play or respect; the only time you’ve really seen Björk in the news was when everyone was fixated on her swan dress that she wore to the Grammys a few years back.  Lily Allen is fun and fresh with her quirky debutante/punk style and perky lyrics, but I think The White Stripes are going to win this one.  Not only do I think they’re going to win, but I think they actually deserve it too.
Prediction: The White Stripes – Icky Thump

BEST FEMALE R&B VOCAL PERFORMANCE

Mary J. Blige – “Just Fine”
Fantasia – “When I See You”
Alicia Keys – “No One”
Chrisette Michele – “If I Have My Way”
Jill Scott – “Hate on Me”

Mathan: I’m voting the way I’m voting purely on wanting to see her walk up and accept her award. I want to see what she’s wearing and marvel at her feminine thickness. But honestly, the song is dope, too.
Prediction: Alicia Keys – “No One”

Fernandez: This isn’t fair. Even to have Mary J. in there, it’s just not fair. “No One” wasn’t just a MASSIVE hit, but it was actually very, very good. It was epic. Seriously. Let’s hope that Alicia Keys gives an acceptance speech while wearing something incredibly tight, and they then show Chad Kroeger in the audience pouting because none of the chicks that he’s ever sung about banging have even come close to Alicia Keys.
Prediction: Alicia Keys – “No One”

Bambi: Mary J. Blige = the queen, the queen, the queen
Prediction: Mary J. Blige – “Just Fine”

Coats: I like Chrisette, but she’ll probably lose to Mary.
Prediction: Mary J. Blige – “Just Fine”

Heather: The only song with which I’m familiar on this list is Alicia Keys’ “No One”.  It’s played on the radio, at the clubs, on several friends’ MySpace pages—it’s pretty much everywhere.  And, it’s a really good song, no matter which version of it you’re listening to, so I think Alicia Keys will take this award home.
Prediction: Alicia Keys – “No One”

BEST MALE R&B VOCAL PERFORMANCE

Raheem DeVaughn – “Woman”
Musiq Soulchild – “B.U.D.D.Y.”
Ne-Yo – “Because of You”
Prince – “Future Baby Mama”
Tank – “Please Don’t Go”

Mathan: Wait, Tank is still making music? I bet he has fans that don’t even know this. Someone really needs to get the word out about that. I thought he faded into obscurity after the slightly more successful Jaheim fell off the face of the planet. Sampling is always good so I’m going for Musiq. Plus, being in front of those lights would give him an excuse for wearing dark glasses; I mean, other than hiding his insanely lazy eye.
Prediction: Musiq Soulchild – “B.U.D.D.Y.”

Fernandez: I have no frame of reference with any of these songs. Musiq’s album from like 6 or 7 years ago, was a good’un, but The Artist Formerly Known As The Artist Formerly Known As Prince But Currently Known Once Again As Just Prince has several good albums. That said, the hype machine has been running full-steam ahead on behalf of Ne-Yo and Chris Brown, who are essentially interchangeable, though thank the sweet lord that they’re not both nominated, here, otherwise it might cause a rift in the space-time continuum. As if it weren’t bad enough that the dollar has taken a shit, the last thing we need is a wrench thrown in the ol’ Lorentzian manifold.
Prediction: Ne-Yo – “Because of You”

Bambi: Ne-Yo’s my pick, and I’m surprised Prince is nominated this year with “Future Baby Mama.”
Prediction: Ne-Yo – “Because of You”

Coats: This is a toughy. I kinda like Raheem, but I haven’t heard the song. I actually like the Tank track a little bit (although his name is ridiculous). So I pick Prince… ass-out jeans and all. By the way, where’s his Academy Award for his wonderful acting in Purple Rain???
Prediction: Prince – “Future Baby Mama”

Heather: Of course I love the purple-heeled wonder, but I must admit that I wasn’t really feeling his new album.  I enjoy a moody, romantic evening with Musiq Soulchild playing in the background every now and again, but I’m thinking Ne-Yo is going to win this one.  He’s everywhere these days, including an appearance during a large corporate event I’m working on right now.  For corporate America to pay money to bring you in for an appearance at a conference, you know you’ve made it (or you’re washed up… it’s a glass half-full/half-empty kind of debate).
Prediction: Ne-Yo – “Because of You”

Jean-Woo: Hey, I’ve got a review of DeVaughn’s album coming next week, so I might as well keep the synergy alive. “Woman” is one of the better cuts, too, which isn’t saying much since… ah-ah-ah… you’ll have the read the review to find out why. Check back next week!
Prediction: Raheem DeVaughn – “Woman”

BEST R&B ALBUM

Chaka Khan – Funk This
Ledisi – Lost & Found
Musiq Soulchild – Luvanmusiq
Jill Scott – The Real Thing
Tank – Sex, Love & Pain

Mathan: Tank had a whole album? Man, I’ve got to move back to a brown town. I would go for Musiq again, but I just remembered why I don’t like him—his absurdly titled albums. Instead I’m going for the black woman with the white name.
Prediction: Chaka Khan – Funk This

Fernandez: Yes, I would like to see either Chaka Khan or Ledisi (she did some great stuff on the Naked Music deep house imprint) take this, but I’m not really too antipathetic to any of these save for Tank. Take him out and it’s kind of like the GOP race… Tank being Mitt Romney. Ledisi would be Ron Paul, Chaka would be Huckabee and Musiq would be McCain. And no, this isn’t the first time that McCain’s been tied in with music. Based on that footage (along with the fact that he’s not Hillary), he’ll be MY presidential nominee if Mr. Obama can’t complete the upset.
Prediction: Musiq Soulchild – Luvanmusiq

Bambi: Ledisi or Chaka Khan may be a surprise, but a well-deserved one. Funk This was a great album. too.
Prediction: Chaka Khan – Funk This

Coats: Jill Scott should take this off of sheer emotional turmoil that read on her face in the video I saw.
Prediction: Jill Scott – The Real Thing

Heather: Chaka Khan’s still making music???
Prediction: Chaka Khan – Funk This

BEST RAP SOLO PERFORMANCE

Common – “The People”
50 Cent – “I Get Money”
Jay-Z – “Show Me What You Got”
T.I. – “Big Things Poppin’ (Do It)”
Kanye West – “Stronger”

Mathan: Hmm… let’s pretend I’m trying to fill a job. First off, I’m excluding anyone with a major conviction. And that leaves two. Next up, I’m going to avoid the guy who looks like the troublemaker, which leaves one.
Prediction: Common – “The People”

Fernandez: 50 Cent and T.I. are both serving the purpose in this category of what is known as cannon fodder, while Common is a long shot (though it would be pretty cool for him to take it) and Jay-Z’s track is just a shameless ploy at nostalgia by imploring us to recall memories of Wreckx-N-Effect that we had (up until this point) successfully repressed. And speaking of shameless sampling, Kanye… So, let me get this straight… Daft Punk shamelessly apes Edwin Birdsong in 2000, then they subsequently get aped by Kanye in 2007, though he does give them a writing credit and lets them appear in the video. When artists sample songs that are still relatively fresh in our minds (in this case, “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” and “Stronger” were released as singles within 6 years of each other), it can get sort of choppy sometimes, though Kanye seemed to have executed this very well. We all know that his crates are deeper than mo-fo, but leave it to him to pull off something like this. And he’s even sort of got a win if Common takes it, too.
Prediction: Kanye West – “Stronger”

Bambi: I’m going with Kanye West’s “Stronger” because I really want him to get at least one award.
Prediction: Kanye West – “Stronger”

Coats: If 50 wins, I will assassinate a captive panda in protest. Kanye’s got it.
Prediction: Kanye West – “Stronger”

Jean-Woo: 50’s sample in “I Get Money” is, well, money. And, he’s so comically over the top with the braggadocio that, for a brief moment, you forget what a caricature he’s become.
Prediction: 50 Cent – “I Get Money”

Heather: Being married to a hip-hop DJ should qualify me to make a prediction on this category, but I have to just go with my gut instinct on this one and say Kanye West will walk away with this one.
Prediction: Kanye West – “Stronger”

BEST RAP PERFORMANCE BY A DUO OR GROUP

Common (f/Kanye West) – “Southside”
Fat Joe (f/Lil Wayne) – “Make It Rain”
Shop Boyz – “Party Like a Rockstar”
UGK (f/OutKast) – “Int’l Players Anthem”
Kanye West, Nas and KRS-One – “Classic (Better Than I’ve Ever Been)”

Mathan: And now Shop Boyz are officially “Grammy-Nominated.” That just makes me sad.
Prediction: Common (f/Kanye West) – “Southside”

Fernandez: If the “Classic (Better Than I’ve Ever Been)” version being nominated were the DJ Premier version, I’d give it the nod on principle alone; however, it appears that this version is the inferior (though still halfway decent) Rick Rubin mix. I refuse to acknowledge Shop Boys being nominated for anything except Sucking at Life for the Year, though I think Soulja Boy probably has that one on lock-down. And speaking of which… has anyone else noticed that all of the categories are devoid of Soulja Boy? This means that while there were millions of choads out there that liked the track and made it a runaway hit last summer, the people in charge of these awards may actually have a modicum of actual appreciation of the conservation of music as a viable art form. Big ups to The Academy for this one… or The Grammy… or what they call themselves. As for the award, I’m going out on a limb and predicting one for the hometown boys. Lord knows that Common has earned it.
Prediction: Common (f/Kanye West) – “Southside”

Bambi: “Party Like a Rockstar” is eligible? That’s a surprise. Kanye should get this one with Nas and KRS-One.
Prediction: Kanye West, Nas and KRS-One – “Classic (Better Than I’ve Ever Been)”

Coats: Even though on probability alone Kanye should get it, “Party Like a Rockstar” was played in the club more so by default…
Prediction: Shop Boyz – “Party Like a Rockstar”

Jean-Woo: I’m OK with “Party Like a Rockstar” here. For 2007 kiddie rap, it’s about as entertaining as it gets. A UGK upset wouldn’t shock me, though, once someone tells the voters that Pimp C died. You’re “free” now, Pimp C. You’re finally free.
Prediction: UGK (f/OutKast) – “Int’l Players Anthem”

BEST RAP/SUNG COLLABORATION

Akon (f/Snoop Dogg) – “I Wanna Love You”
Chris Brown (f/T-Pain) – “Kiss, Kiss”
Keyshia Cole (f/Missy Elliott, Lil Kim) – “Let It Go”
Rihanna (f/Jay-Z) – “Umbrella”
Kanye West (f/T-Pain) – “Good Life”

Mathan: Clearly, I’m not going for T-Pain or Akon. And wait, I already said Rihanna was Record of the Year; she can’t get beaten here, or else my integrity would be questioned.
Prediction: Rihanna (f/Jay-Z) – “Umbrella”

Fernandez: T-Pain… look, the jig is up. You had your forty-five minutes of fame; now it’s time for you to crawl back under that rock from whence you came and take your godforsaken auto-tune effect with you, too. That or give it back to Cher; just get it away from hip-hop. Even if he’s paired with the beat-making prowess of one Kanye West, T-Pain is not worthy of going down in the annals as Grammy Award Winner T-Pain. While “Let It Go” has become a guilty pleasure of mine (even despite its shameless aping of Biggie), I’m calling it for Rihanna just because it’s mathematically and physically impossible for someone to make such a huge splash at the American Music Awards without nabbing at least a few Grammys.
Prediction: Rihanna (f/Jay-Z) – “Umbrella”

Bambi: “I Wanna Love You” with Akon would be my choice since I expect Kanye and Rihanna to get other categories.
Prediction: Akon (f/Snoop Dogg) – “I Wanna Love You”

Coats: Damn it, T-Pain… how’d you get nominated for anything? And TWICE, no less. Rihanna will win, but Jay-Z won’t be happy about it… cuz Beyoncé fell on her face that one time.
Prediction: Rihanna (f/Jay-Z) – “Umbrella”

Jean-Woo: That Keyshia Cole song is actually pretty damn nice, but there’s no way Kanye leaves empty-handed here. T-Pain’s annoying techno-voice actually works with the production and Kanye’s grade-school lyricism isn’t a hindrance, either. Hey, backhanded praise is still praise.
Prediction: Kanye West (f/T-Pain) – “Good Life”

BEST RAP ALBUM

Common – Finding Forever
Jay-Z – Kingdom Come
Nas – Hip Hop Is Dead
T.I. – T.I. vs. T.I.P.
Kanye West – Graduation

Mathan: I didn’t think that Kingdom Come or Hip Hop Is Dead were all that bad, but for me it’s really between Finding Forever and Graduation. And while I had my qualms with Graduation, it had more to do with the lack of a theme for the album, and nothing sonically. I’d be happy if Common won but I think Kanye’s earned it.
Prediction: Kanye West – Graduation

Fernandez: If the Jay-Z album in question were American Gangster, then that would dramatically change the dynamic of this race. However, alas, it’s the considerably inferior Kingdom Come, which, while good, doesn’t hold a flame to Kanye West. At least he’ll get one sure award, thus diffusing the possibility of a grandiose shit-fit in front of the largest and most prestigious audience yet.
Prediction: Kanye West – Graduation

Bambi: Kanye West.
Prediction: Kanye West – Graduation

Coats: Common will win. Like butta, baby… he’s on a roll.
Prediction: Common – Finding Forever

Jean-Woo: Let’s see, on my scorecard, I have them as: OK, OK, awful, awful and awesome. In that order. Go back, match the adjectives and you tell me who wins.
Prediction: Kanye West – Graduation

BEST COUNTRY ALBUM

Dierks Bentley – Long Trip Alone
Vince Gill – These Days
Tim McGraw – Let It Go
Brad Paisley – 5th Gear
George Strait – It Just Comes Natural

Mathan: Wow. What a surprise—white males have a complete stranglehold on the country category. Seriously, there aren’t any women that could have been nominated? Eh, I’ve got a coworker who digs Brad Paisley, so I’ll go for him.
Prediction: Brad Paisley – 5th Gear

Fernandez: Aw come on… no hot country chicks? Not even one? How the hell am I supposed to make my decision, here? I’m going to say that Vince Gill will get this because his album was apparently so good that it good nominated in one of the larger categories as well. Let’s just hope that when he goes up to accept his award that he reveals a zipper on his neck which he unzips to reveal a nubile, young, scantily clad Carrie Underwood and/or Kelly Pickler.
Prediction: Vince Gill – These Days

Bambi: Let’s give it up for Vince Gill; he’s the Bruce Springsteen of contemporary country.
Prediction: Vince Gill – These Days

Coats: I have no interest in country at all unless Jewel takes off her top and does a threesome with Colin Ferrell and the girl in his sex tape… or the girl in Ray-J’s sex tape. By the way, why wasn’t Ray-J nominated???

Jean-Woo: I am abstaining here—for the 12th straight year—until the Grammy Awards finally acknowledge Jeff Jarrett’s Ain’t I Great album with a retroactive honor. “With my Baby Tonight” was the jam back then.

BEST REGGAE ALBUM

Burning Spear – The Burning Spear Experience
Stephen Marley – Mind Control
Lee “Scratch” Perry – The End of the American Dream
Sly & Robbie and The Taxi Gang – Anniversary
Toots & The Maytals – Light Your Light

Mathan: Again, I turn to a coworker on this one and he told me that Stephen Marley’s album is the best of the bunch.
Prediction: Stephen Marley – Mind Control

Fernandez: While I would love nothing more than to see Lee “Scratch” Perry (with or without The Upsetters) or Toots & The Maytals nab this one, I think that the album’s going to go to Stephen Marley, because not only does he have name recognition, but he also happened to make a fairly good album. No, wait… I feel filthy doing this. Let’s hope that The Upsetters can rally a big upset for Scratch, and then a pouting Chad Kroeger is shown in the audience—not because he’s necessarily upset, but because he’s just really confused.
Prediction: Lee “Scratch” Perry – The End of the American Dream

Bambi: Stephen Marley.
Prediction: Stephen Marley – Mind Control

Coats: Couldn’t tell ya.

Jean-Woo: “Burning Spear”? Was every other covertly offensive name taken, guys? Well, if panda bears speaking pidgin English to each other can score ad time during the Super Bowl, then anything’s possible.
Prediction: Burning Spear – The Burning Spear Experience

Heather: How many Marleys are there?
Prediction: Stephen Marley – Mind Control

BEST SPOKEN WORD ALBUM

Barack Obama – The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream
Maya Angelou – Celebrations
Bill Clinton – Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World
Jimmy Carter – Sunday Mornings in Plains: Bringing Peace to a Changing World
Alan Alda – Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself

Mathan: I really want to know who bought these albums? Like, who had those release dates marked on their calendar? Are there even people who listen to strictly spoken word albums? Could you even imagine being on a road trip with them in charge of the “music.” I find this category completely fascinating and it’s opening up new avenues of thought for me. That said, I’m going for Obama so that he can look back on 2008 and think, “Well, at least I won a Grammy.”
Prediction: Barack Obama – The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

Fernandez: Good lord, almighty… I love the political implications in this one. And hey, it all becomes clear why Bill Clinton had been on a pretty big smack-talking campaign against Barack Obama a few weeks back; not because he was fighting dirty on behalf of his wife, but because he was actually just trying to get the nod for his Grammy nomination. Still, as much as I enjoyed your presidential run, Slick Willie, your wife is a twat, and you have become The Enemy by proxy. I’m going with Mr. Obama on this one, hoping that this will be part of a surge for his underdog victory. Maya Angelou will still get more delegates, though.
Prediction: Barack Obama – The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

Bambi: Wow, this is a really interesting political category, as it has both Bill Clinton and Obama, as well as Carter. And don’t forget the great poet Maya Angelou. Let’s give it up for Maya, though I feel it’s going to Obama or Clinton. I wonder if they will show and if this category will actually be on the live telecast!
Prediction: undecided

Coats: George Bush’s father, George.
Prediction: The Liberal Media

Jean-Woo: Ah, Maya Angelou… I could listen to you read names from the phone book. Plus, I think it’s hilarious that a generation of young adults only knows her from her unfortunate credit in Poetic Justice. I mean… the acting was so bad!
Prediction: Maya Angelou – Celebrations

Heather: Is this just a testament to the fact that not a lot of people are doing actual spoken word anymore?  Aren’t most of these really just books on tape, read by the author?  I’m going to say Barack Obama wins this one.  I think the trophy will look really nice on his desk in the Oval Office.
Prediction: Barack Obama – The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream