Grammy time!

Ah, the Grammys.

My kind of Super Bowl. My version of the Oscars.

Kind of sneaked up on me this year, didn’t ya ...

The Police reunion is enough of a reason to watch tonight, but it’s hard for me to remember a recent Grammy pallet that's so closely stacked ...

Album of the Year -- “Taking the Long Way” (Dixie Chicks), “St. Elsewhere” (Gnarls Barkley), “Continuum” (John Mayer), “Stadium Arcadium” (Red Hot Chili Peppers), “FutureSex/LoveSounds” (Justin Timberlake)

...Mayer’s Continuum is a good album, but it lacks the pop and standouts that should make a Record of the Year. And one huge hit of a song (“Crazy”) isn’t going to make “St. Elsewhere” a winner either. “Stadium Arcadium” and “FutureSex/LoveSounds” ... eh. If I had a vote, it’d be the Dixie Chicks’ “Taking the Long Way.” It’s a great, heartfelt listen all the way through ...

Unfortunately, the Grammy folks will pick: “FutureSex/LoveSounds”

Record of the Year -- “Be Without You” (Mary J. Blige), “You’re Beautiful” (James Blunt), “Not Ready to Make Nice” (Dixie Chicks), “Crazy" (Gnarls Barkley), “Put Your Records On” (Corinne Bailey Rae)

... oooh tough category -- but I don’t get all the hype surrounding Mary J. Blige -- the song's ok -- so she’s out. And the fall-over-your-feet lovefest surrounding James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful” has come and gone, which leaves the Chicks, Gnarls Barkley and Corrine Bailey Rae … The sentimental choice is the feisty, fighting back “Not Ready To Make Nice,” and though “Put Your Records On” will make you smile every time it comes on the radio, “Crazy” took America by storm last summer. Funny, I didn’t like it the first couple times I heard it, but it overtook me too …

… And yet, there's no mention of a few other great records of 2006?? “Ain’t No Other Man” ?? “Waiting For The World To Change” ?? “Promiscuous” ?? or even Natasha Bedingfield'sUnwritten.”

The Grammy folks will pick: “Crazy”

Song of the Year:Be Without You” by Mary J. Blige, “Jesus, Take the Wheel” by Carrie Underwood, “Not Ready to Make Nice” by the Dixie Chicks, “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae, “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt.

… Again, don’t get the hype around Mary J. And I can‘t say “Jesus, Take the Wheel” struck a major chord with me either.… The voters could again go political here with “Not Ready To Make Nice” or they could go super-sappy with James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful,” but my not in this songwriter’s category goes to the uber-catchy, “sapphire and faded jeans” imagery of Corrine Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On.”

The Grammy folks will pick: “You’re Beautiful”

Best new artist: James Blunt, Chris Brown, Imogen Heap, Corinne Bailey Rae, Carrie Underwood

To me, this is the most clear-cut category of them all, but you can place a large bet the Grammy voters will go with a more popular, traditional and commercial choice…

James Blunt is a good choice, but after awhile all his sentimental soccer mom pop/rock starts sounding the same. And I saw that played out live too …

Then there’s Chris who? If you haven’t heard of him yet -- don’t worry, you won’t know him next year either.

Carrie Underwood? … She’s no Kelly Clarkson.

Corrine Bailey Rae is as charming and beautiful as they come. She’s a wonderful performer and her voice is as soothing as a summer rain (Cheesy? Fine …) So I’d be thrilled if she takes the award, but I'm not there’s anything about her album that’s outstanding or truly unique.

… Which brings me to Imogen Heap. I fell head over heels for her stuff the moment I heard “Hide & Seek” almost a year and a half ago now, and I fell harder yet when I got a hold of her “Speak For Yourself” album. And then seeing her perform all of it live last May was like an out of body experience … Her music is as fun, catchy, lyrically intense and sing-able as anyone else in the category. But the fact that it’s fresh, it’s innovative and it’s a sound that’s all her own puts Imogen Heap on a pedestal by herself.

The Grammy folks will pick: James Blunt

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