And the Grammy goes to

And the Grammy goes to

Barry C Chung looks at some of the major players in this year's awards

The 53rd Grammy Awards are less than 24 hours away. Ever since the nominees were announced in December, predictions have been swirling throughout cyberspace. But as is the case every year, only one thing is certain: nothing is for sure. But it's can be a lot of fun trying to pick the winners beforehand - sometimes it's more exciting than the actual show.

It's a mixed bag of nominees this year. Eminem leads the way with 10 nods. Bruno Mars earned seven, while Lady Antebellum, Jay-Z and Lady Gaga received six each.

My fellow Canadians are also out in full force this year. Justin Bieber and Drake lead the way in the Best New Artist category, and Montreal-based Arcade Fire have been nominated for Album of the Year.

Probably the biggest snub of the year goes to Ke$ha, who notched up some big hits in the last year, but wasn't nominated.

We give you the low-down on the top four categories, and our predictions for their winners.

Album of the Year

The Suburbs - Arcade Fire
Recovery - Eminem
Need You Now - Lady Antebellum
The Fame Monster - Lady Gaga
Teenage Dream - Katy Perry

Eminem made his return this year with the landmark album Recovery. He's been nominated for Album of the Year twice before, coming up short on both occasions. Many believe third time will be the charm for him.

But he's up against Arcade Fire. Both albums are touted as masterpieces in their own right, and both are deserving of the win. All of Canada has their hopes pinned on the seven-member band - even though two members are American - bringing the award home.

It's unclear how Perry managed to sneak her way into this distinguished category. Maybe her scented CD cast a spell on the voting judges a la Jean-Baptiste Grenouille in the film Perfume.

Our prediction: The Suburbs

Actual winner: The Suburbs

Record of the Year

Nothin' On You - BoB feat. Bruno Mars
Love the Way You Lie - Eminem feat. Rihanna
[Forget] You - Cee Lo Green
Empire State of Mind - Jay-Z & Alicia Keys
Need You Now - Lady Antebellum

This hip hop dominated category is certainly very competitive. Anything with Jay-Z and Alicia Keys working together has a legitimate hope of glory. BoB, paired with Bruno Mars' sweet vocals, received massive radio play this year. But in terms of production value, Empire State of Mind has the slight advantage.

But the odd-band out, Lady Antebellum, should not be overlooked. The Nashville natives' Need You Now also has a good chance of stealing the award.

Our prediction: Empire State of Mind

Actual winner: Need You Now

Song of the Year

Beg Steal or Borrow - Ray LaMontagne And The Pariah Dogs
[Forget] You - Cee Lo Green
The House That Built Me - Miranda Lambert
Need You Now - Lady Antebellum

This rewards the songwriter with the nomination, whereas Record of the Year rewards the performer and production team for a particular song.

This is going to be a tight race between Beg Steal or Borrow and Need You Now. Both have country roots, but despite being the underdog, LaMontagne may come out on top. The Grammy judges have a tendency to award individual writers, but it would be a shocker if they gave it to a song containing less-than-savoury language; be warned, Mr Green.

Our prediction: Beg Steal or Borrow

Actual winner: Need You Now

Best New Artist

Justin Bieber
Drake
Florence & The Machine
Mumford & Sons
Esperanza Spalding

Drake, the crown prince of hip-hop, exploded onto the scene last year and has four nominations. He's made an impact on the music scene, but nothing compared to fellow Canuck Justin Bieber.

It's hard to believe the success he's achieved aged 16, even before his voice has broken. A Grammy will give the Beliebers another excuse to scream. Not that they need much motivation.

Our prediction: Justin Bieber

Actual winner: Esperanza Spalding

See the complete list of winners and nominees at www.grammy.com/NOMINEES

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