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R&B; SONG: “Best of Me,” Anthony Hamilton; “Love and War,” Tamar Braxton; “Only One,” PJ Morton featuring Stevie Wonder; “Pusher Love Girl,” Justin Timberlake; “Without Me,” Fantasia featuring Missy Elliott and Kelly Rowland.

FEKADU: If Stevie Wonder had a writing credit for “Only One,” PJ Morton - the keyboardist for Maroon 5 - would win this. And while Tamar Braxton had an impressive year thanks to her reality show, we all know this will go to the former N’Sync frontman.

TALBOTT: The Recording Academy sent Timberlake mixed messages with his large nomination total but lack of a major nod. Here’s where voters make nice.


RAP ALBUM: “Nothing Was the Same,” Drake; “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” Jay Z; “good kid, m.A.A.d city,” Kendrick Lamar; “The Heist,” Macklemore & Ryan Lewis; “Yeezus,” Kanye West.

TALBOTT: On the surface this is a cutthroat category, but it’s really a two-rapper race. Drake, winner of last year’s Grammy in this category, Jay Z and West have all been saluted before. And Macklemore and Lewis will figure in the overall categories, leaving the bedrock hip-hop voters free to go with their hearts. Lamar spent a good portion of the year proclaiming himself the greatest, and we agree.

FEKADU: Kendrick’s verse on “Control” foreshadowed his win here. Maybe next year, Kanye?


COUNTRY SONG: “Begin Again,” Taylor Swift; “I Drive Your Truck,” Lee Brice; “Mama’s Broken Heart,” Miranda Lambert; “Merry Go ‘Round,” Kacey Musgraves; “Mine Would Be You,” Blake Shelton.

FEKADU: Musgraves is a bright newcomer nominated twice in this category since she co-wrote Miranda Lambert’s hit. However, she’ll win the gold for her own song Sunday night.

TALBOTT: Here’s where I go all Nate Silver on you, Mesfin. Looking at the records, a blonde has won this award every year since 2005 (if you count Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley and Rascal Flatts’ Gary LeVox, and we certainly do). So let’s narrow that field right on down to Swift and Miranda Lambert. Now, add in the fact that Lambert and Musgraves have been splitting votes in the country song categories of other awards show - I see no reason that trend will change - and that leaves Swift an easy winner. Maybe the night’s top winner - if Mesfin and I are wrong. Nobody around here’s predicting that, though.


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