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The 45th Annual Grammy Awards: Winner Predictions
The 45th Annual Grammy Awards: Winner Predictions

It's been another tough year for the music biz. Piracy is at an all-time high, sales are down from last year, and now, as if things couldn't get any bleaker, Christina Aguilera's "Dirrty" has been nominated for a Grammy Award. But the former Best New Artist isn't the only one shaking things up on this year's list of nominees, announced January 7, 2003. Canadian newcomer Avril Lavigne racked up five nominations, including—insert snicker here—Best Female "Rock" Performance for "Sk8r Boi." The R&B categories are even more screwed up: a new category, Best Urban/Alternative Performance, has been added to complement the Best Traditional R&B Performance category, while the curious new Best Contemporary R&B Album complements absolutely nothing (the artists nominated in the old Best R&B Album category are just as "contemporary"). Other oddities include Lauryn Hill's nomination for her acoustic "Mystery of Iniquity" in the Best Female Rap Performance slot and Justin Timberlake's inclusion in the egregious Best Rap/Sung Collaboration category. That said, will 2003 be the year of the Boss, the jazz-pop chanteuse or will Marshall Mathers finally get his Grammy due? Check out Slant Magazine's predictions and watch the 45th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony on February 23rd to see if we're as clairvoyant as we were last year!

RECORD OF THE YEAR

Deemed the highest Grammy honor, Record of the Year is awarded to the artist and producer of the winning song. This year, three newcomers are vying to beat out hip-hop mainstays Eminem ("Without Me") and Nelly ("Dilemma"). Nickelback has the upper hand (their hit "How You Remind Me" was the biggest single of last year) but Vanessa Carlton's sweet "A Thousand Miles" could give them a run for their trophy. Also nominated: Norah Jones's "Don't Know Why."

Will Win: Nickelback "How You Remind Me"

Should Win: Vanessa Carlton "A Thousand Miles"

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Grammy voters sure do like to award adult-skewed releases in the Album of the Year category (Bob Dylan, Steely Dan, last year's O Brother, Where Art Thou?) so Bruce Springsteen's 9/11-themed The Rising should be a shoe-in. But don't count out Eminem, whose Marshall Mathers LP lost out to Steely Dan two years ago. 2002 was certainly Slim Shady's year and the less controversial The Eminem Show might just win him the coveted prize. As for the other nominees (Dixie Chicks, Norah Jones and Nelly), well, there's always the AMAs.

Will Win: Bruce Springsteen The Rising

Should Win: Eminem The Eminem Show

SONG OF THE YEAR

Norah Jones has a solid chance in the Song of the Year category, which is based more on songwriting merit than popularity. Conversely, Avril Lavigne's catchy "Complicated" would have fared better in the Record of the Year club. Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising" and Alan Jackson's "Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)" might be a bit too dour for the academy's tastes, especially so long after 9/11. Expect something less "complicated," like Vanessa Carlton's "A Thousand Miles," to nab the honor this year.

Will Win: Vanessa Carlton "A Thousand Miles"

Should Win: Vanessa Carlton "A Thousand Miles"

BEST NEW ARTIST

Historically, Grammy loves the ladies so Dave Matthews sound-alike John Mayer can go kiss the girls. Avril Lavigne and Ashanti will likely be deemed too commercial (yes, even for the Grammys) and their artistic integrity has been called into question too many times. Best New Artist is Norah Jones's award to lose and look for wild-card Michelle Branch to cause the upset.

Will Win: Michelle Branch

Should Win: Norah Jones

BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM

Little Missundaztood (who previously won last year for her work on "Lady Marmalade") has both critics and consumers on her side but Norah Jones has an Album of the Year nod under her belt. The Best Pop Vocal Album is a total toss-up and artists like Avril Lavigne (Let Go) and No Doubt (Rock Steady) could benefit from a split-vote in this estrogen-fueled category. Also nominated: Britney Spears' Britney.

Will Win: Norah Jones Come Away With Me

Should Win: Pink Missundaztood

BEST DANCE RECORDING

Dirty Vegas's Mitsubishi anthem "Days Go By" is the obvious pick in the Best Dance Recording category. No Doubt's hit "Hella Good" is a long shot while Euro-popstar Daniel Bedingfield's "Gotta Get Thru This" and Kylie Minogue's "Love At First Sight" flew just under the pop radar. In fact, we're convinced Minogue's far-superior "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" was intentionally left off the list out of fairness to the other nominees. Also nominated: Groove Armada's "Superstylin'."

Will Win: Dirty Vegas "Days Go By"

Should Win: Daniel Bedingfield "Gotta Get Thru This"

BEST ROCK ALBUM

Seasoned pros Elvis Costello, Robert Plant and the Boss will duke it out against Tonic and perennial nominee Sheryl Crow for Best Rock Album. Crow has already got enough Grammy gold (a total of 8 trophies) and Springsteen's The Rising has sold more than Costello's When I Was Cruel and Plant's Dreamland combined. Like Album of the Year, this one is the Boss's to lose.

Will Win: Bruce Springsteen The Rising

Should Win: Elvis Costello When I Was Cruel

BEST ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM

Coldplay, who are nominated for their album A Rush Of Blood To The Head, took home the award for Best Alternative Music Album last year so it's unlikely the academy will grace the band with another Grammy for more of the same. Beck's critically-lauded Sea Change is one of the singer's greatest accomplishments. He should easily snag this one over Elvis Costello's supplemental über-album Cruel Smile and releases by Clinic and Behind The Music.

Will Win: Beck Sea Change

Should Win: Beck Sea Change

BEST CONTEMPORARY R&B ALBUM

Floetry's poetic Floetic and alt-rap artist Meshell Ndegeocello's soulful Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape might be too contemporary for academy voters. Ashanti's bland self-titled debut is a safe bet but don't count out Brandy's tide-changing Full Moon. Also nominated: Faith Evans' Faithfully.

Will Win: Ashanti Ashanti

Should Win: Meshell Ndegeocello Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape

BEST RAP ALBUM

Losers in this category will include Ludacris (Word of Mouf), Mystical (Tarantula), Nelly (Nellyville) and Petey Paolo (Diary of a Sinner).

Will Win: Eminem The Eminem Show

Should Win: Eminem The Eminem Show

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