Album of the Year
- Jim Harrington, Bay Area News Group: It's a rather weak field, except for Frank Ocean's terrific "Channel Orange," which I'm afraid is just too adventurous for these voters. We can hopefully also eliminate "Blunderbuss," since it's the worst offering in Jack White's overall catalog. The other three nominees seem like more likely options, with Mumford & Sons' "Babel" representing the most appealing mix of hipster appeal and massive commercial success.
- Gary Graff, The Oakland Press: Sure to be a tight vote, but look for Frank Ocean to sail away with this year's prize, thanks to the right combination of critical praise, controversial notoriety and a prevailing sense of overall hipness.
- Rob Lowman, Los Angeles Daily News: Mumford & Sons' "Babel," which has a bright-in-your-face sound defined by, of all things, a banjo that you hear prominently on the hit "I Will Wait." That should capture enough voters to beat out my personal pick, "El Camino" by the Black Keys. The Akron, Ohio, duo makes basic rock sound fresh again with the help of producer Danger Mouse.
Record of the Year (a single or one track from an album)
- Miller: Gotye will win. This song is terrifyingly catchy. Anyone reading this is probably already humming that melody, and don’t complain because you love it. “Somebody That I Used To Know” burrowed itself into our brains this year and you can bet the Academy will be whistling those chorus falsettos while voting. But, Frank Ocean should win.
- Harrington: Frank Ocean's "Thinking About You" and the Black Keys are solid selections, but they'll be crushed by the other three blockbusters in the mix. Let's also eliminate Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know," in the hopes that even Grammy voters have grown tired of hearing that song by now. Taylor Swift and Kelly Clarkson are both longtime Grammy favorites, but this just feels like an appropriate opportunity for voters to have some fun. with "We Are Young."
- Graff: Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know" is the dominant track on the list, the one voters have been hearing, and hearing about, for the longest. An indelible impact will result in a Grammy win.
- Lowman: "We Are Young" by fun. featuring Janelle Monae will win for all the same reasons as to why it will win Song of the Year. But I would choose any of the other four songs in the category, particularly "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gotye. Simple but clever production keeps shifting slightly so that "Somebody" continues to refresh itself, while "Young" drones on too long.
Song of the Year
- Harrington: Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" is an all-time earworm, but the fact that it is nominated for best song (given to the songwriter), but not for best record (a performer's award) can be taken as a sign that voters don't think that highly of the overall song. Miguel's "Adorn" and Ed Sheeran's "The A Team" seem like pretenders to the throne, so it should come down to Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" and fun.'s "We Are Young." Both are fine choices, but one clearly feels more timeless than the other. Prediction: "We Are Young"
- Graff: Miguel has a shot because "Adorn" is a bona fide tremendous song, but Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" will prevail thanks to an industry coalition that A.) Likes her B.) Likes the songwriters and C.) doesn't mind giving "American Idol" the occasional nod.
- Lowman: "We are Young" by the New York City pop band fun. The song was written by the three members of the group - Nate Reuss, Andrew Dost, Jack Antonoff - and their producer Jeff Bhasker. With it simple drumbeat during the first verse and anthem-like chorus: "Tonight, we are young / So let's set the world on fire / We can burn brighter than the sun" - it repeatedly drives home its message. Besides, who doesn't want to think they're young?
Best New Artist
- Miller: Frank Ocean will win. Ocean will pull out a win in the category that the Grammys normally take the biggest risk in. Remember last year when everyone was asking who Bon Iver was after winning the award (even though Justin Vernon's group has been making great music for five years)? The Lumineers should win.
- Harrington: This is the overall strongest field of any of the four "general field" categories. Still, it's hard to imagine this being anything other than a two-headed race between Ocean and fun. The favorite initially looks like fun., given all that it accomplished in 2012, but is anyone truly convinced that the band will still be relevant in five years? On the other side of the coin is Ocean, who made one of the year's most striking artistic statements with "Channel Orange." Prediction: Frank Ocean.