Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
Tony Bennett & Amy Winehouse, “Body And Soul”
The Black Keys, “Dearest”
Foster the People, “Pumped Up Kicks”
Maroon 5 & Christina Aguilera, “Moves Like Jagger”
Who Will Win: Tony Bennett & Amy Winehouse, “Body And Soul”
The Academy will be aching to honor the recently deceased Winehouse for what sadly wound up being her final recording.
Who Should Win: The Black Keys, “Dearest”
The Black Keys’ minimalist take on this track from Rave On: Buddy Holly strays just far enough from the original without getting too caught up in itself. It’s simple, passionate and to the point.
Who Really Should Win: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., “Nothing But Our Love”
Detroit’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. manages to layer electronics over a steady, processed beat to achieve a dream-like effect for It’s a Corporate World’s “Nothing But Our Love.” The music and lyrics meld together until the track ends, and like waking up from a great dream, you feel somewhat refreshed.—Nicole Anegon
Best Pop Vocal Album
Cee Lo Green, The Lady Killer
Lady Gaga, Born This Way
Bruno Mars, Doo Wops & Hooligans
Who Will Win: Adele, 21
In an interesting turn, the lady behind the biggest single of 2011 will have to face off against the man whose album contained the most memorable track of 2010. But Cee Lo had his Grammy moment last year (complete with Muppets, a peacock suit and—for some inexplicable reason, Gwyneth Paltrow), and this year it’s Adele’s turn.
Who Should Win: Adele, 21
On 21, she sounds refreshed and poised to attack. There’s no change in style—this is still the stuff of a sensual modern pop-noir landscape, heavy on retro textures and relationship drama. But she’s sacrificed some of her debut’s sparse moodiness, resulting in a more cohesive, immediate batch, littered with knock-outs.—Ryan Reed
Who Really Should Win: tUnE-yArDs, w h o k i l l
At times, Merrill Garbus is Annie Lennox, and at others, she’s Prince. One thing’s for sure though—she’s always entertaining, and her powerhouse voice makes W H O K I L L one of the year’s must-listens. Although she can do ethereal and understated better than most, Garbus is truly in her element when she’s belting, her hurricane of a voice ripping through a uniquely layered soundscape of ukulele, bass, saxophone and percussion. On “Killa,” she proudly declares, “I’m a new kind of woman, I’m a new kind of woman, I’m a don’t-take-shit-from-you kind of woman.” It’s nearly impossible to listen to a tUnE-yArDs track and not feel empowered.
Best Dance Recording
Deadmau5 & Greta Svabo Bech, “Raise Your Weapon”
Duck Sauce, “Barbra Streisand”
David Guetta & Avicii, “Sunshine”
Robyn, “Call Your Girlfriend”
Skrillex, “Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites”
Who Will Win: Skrillex, “Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites”
This is likely where the Grammys will try to show that they’re down with the kids by rewarding the reigning king of dubstep.
Who Should Win: Robyn, “Call Your Girlfriend”
Hey, if it’s good enough for SNL’s Taran Killam to bust a move to, it’s good enough for us.
Who Really Should Win: M83, “Midnight City”
The lead single off of M83’s monster double album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming sees Anthony Gonzalez at his spacey, dramatic best. “Midnight City” paints a vivid picture of neon-lit drives through dark cityscapes, capturing both the beauty and isolation of modern urban life.—Kyle Smith
Best Dance/Electronica Album
David Guetta, Nothing But The Beat
Robyn, Body Talk Pt. 3
Skrillex, Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites
Who Will Win: Skrillex, Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites
Once again the Academy will try to appear in the know and select the trendy dubstep artist in this category.
Who Should Win: Cut/Copy, Zonoscope
The Australian quartet’s third full-length studio album, is their most impressive balancing act yet, walking a fragile tightrope to either a world where pop radio is a hell of a lot weirder or one where the freaks are DJing the school dances. With Cut Copy, you never know for sure what’s going to happen, but you do know with a fair degree of certainty that it’ll be beautiful.—Ryan Reed
Who Really Should Win: M83, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
For his ambitious double-album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, Gonzalez digs even deeper into the ‘80s and even the late ‘70s, channeling Simple Minds here (“Reunion”) and Kraftwerk there (“Raconte-Moi Une Histoire”). As with everything the Frenchman’s done so far, the album is lush and ably produced, crescendo after crescendo.—Austin L. Ray