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Plant-Krauss album has chance to upend Coldplay, Lil Wayne

Associated Press

Lil Wayne and Coldplay were the kings of the music industry last year. They had the No. 1 and No. 2 best-selling CDs, respectively, and come into this year’s Grammys leading the pack in nominations, with eight and seven.

But when it comes to album of the year, their dominance will likely end, thanks to the unlikely collaboration between Robert Plant and Alison Krauss – whose masterful “Raising Sand” not only won over critics, but was a surprising commercial success.

Here’s a look at who will take home Grammys in key categories tonight (don’t blame us if you lose money on these predictions):

Album of the Year

Nominees: “Raising Sand,” Robert Plant & Alison Krauss; “Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends,” Coldplay; “Tha Carter III,” Lil Wayne; “Year of the Gentleman,” Ne-Yo; “In Rainbows,” Radiohead.

And the Grammy goes to: Radiohead made waves with its innovative pay-what-you-want model, but we doubt a struggling music industry will celebrate a band that showed you really don’t need music labels. And while Lil Wayne had the year’s best-selling disc, most Grammy voters can barely comprehend the first line of “A Milli,” let alone his whole album. The real battle here is between Coldplay, and Krauss and Plant. While Coldplay is a Grammy fave, few have won more trophies than Krauss, who here is teamed with two revered greats: Plant and producer T Bone Burnett (“O Brother, Where Art Thou”).

Record of the Year

Nominees: “Chasing Pavements,” Adele; “Viva La Vida,” Coldplay; “Bleeding Love,” Leona Lewis; “Paper Planes,” M.I.A; “Please Read The Letter,” Robert Plant & Alison Krauss.

And the Grammy goes to: This may be the mellowest group of contenders in recent memory – great music, but pretty darn drowsy. Grammy voters are in more of a downbeat mood these days, and no song was more somber than Krauss and Plant’s aching “Read the Letter”; it’s tender, vulnerable, poetic and blows away anything else in this category.

Song of the Year (songwriters)

Nominees: “American Boy,” William Adams, Keith Harris, Josh Lopez, Caleb Speir, John Stephens, Estelle Swaray and Kanye West (Estelle Featuring Kanye West); “Chasing Pavements,” Adele Adkins and Eg White (Adele); “I’m Yours,” Jason Mraz; “Love Song,” Sara Bareilles; “Viva La Vida,” Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion and Chris Martin (Coldplay).

And the Grammy goes to: Bareilles’ “Love Song” was the most engaging track out of the pack, but there’s no way she (or anyone else in this category) can compete with the star power of Coldplay.

New Artist

Nominees: Adele, Duffy, The Jonas Brothers, Lady Antebellum, Jazmine Sullivan.

And the Grammy goes to: Though Duffy had more success with her retro debut, look for a slight upset here by fellow Brit diva Adele, whose album was better (and is liked enough by Grammy voters to merit a nomination in the top record-of-the-year category).

Pop Vocal Album

Nominees: “Detours,” Sheryl Crow; “Rockferry,” Duffy; “Long Road Out Of Eden,” Eagles; “Spirit,” Leona Lewis; “Covers,” James Taylor.

And the Grammy goes to: The Eagles, if not for their musicianship, for showing aging vets how to stay relevant and outsell the youngins: Get an exclusive deal with Wal-Mart.

Rock Album

Nominees: “Viva La Vida,” Coldplay; “Rock N Roll Jesus,” Kid Rock; “Only By The Night,” Kings Of Leon; “Death Magnetic,” Metallica; “Consolers Of The Lonely,” The Raconteurs.

And the Grammy goes to: As big as Coldplay’s CD was, Kid Rock’s release was the real phenomenon in the rock (and pop) world last year. Grammy voters should, and will, reward him with a win.

R&B Album

Nominees: “Love & Life,” Eric Benet; “Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA,” Boyz II Men; “Lay It Down,” Al Green; “Jennifer Hudson,” Jennifer Hudson; “The Way I See It,” Raphael Saadiq.

And the Grammy goes to: Hudson probably would have probably been nominated anyway for her solid debut, but her horrific family tragedy makes her a sentimental favorite. Still, these are the same Grammys that didn’t give Aaliyah a posthumous win for her final CD, so let’s go with the legendary Green – who has never won in this category, a genre he helped define.

Rap Album

Nominees: “American Gangster,” Jay-Z; “Tha Carter III,” Lil Wayne; “The Cool,” Lupe Fiasco; “Nas,” Nas; “Paper Trail,” T.I.

And the Grammy goes to: Weezy F, baby! Lil Wayne owned rap last year – there’s no way anyone else is going home with that trophy.

Country Album

Nominees: “That Lonesome Song,” Jamey Johnson; “Sleepless Nights,” Patty Loveless; “Troubadour,” George Strait; “Around The Bend,” Randy Travis; “Heaven, Heartache And The Power Of Love,” Trisha Yearwood.

And the Grammy goes to: Strait is a country legend who has never had a Grammy win – until now.

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