By MESFIN FEKADU and CHRIS TALBOTT
Adele dominated last year’s Grammy Awards, but this year there isn’t a clear winner in sight.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
“El Camino,” The Black Keys; “Some Nights,” fun.; “Babel,” Mumford & Sons; “Channel Orange,” Frank Ocean; “Blunderbuss,” Jack White.
FEKADU: I want to say that because there are four rock-based acts nominated here, they’ll split the vote, leaving R&B singer Frank Ocean with album of the year. His album should win, but he won’t take the prize. This is The Black Keys’ year, and they’re deserving.
TALBOTT: The Keys are going to win a major Grammy, just not this one. These Grammys will belong to either Ocean or fun.
RECORD OF THE YEAR
“Lonely Boy,” The Black Keys; “Stronger [What Doesn’t Kill You],” Kelly Clarkson; “We Are Young,” fun. featuring Janelle Monae; “Somebody That I Used to Know,” Gotye featuring Kimbra;SFlb“Thinkin Bout You,” Frank Ocean;SFlb“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” Taylor Swift.
TALBOTT: If “Thinkin Bout You” wins here, there will be no doubt these are Ocean’s Grammys. And “Stronger” and “We Are Young” were nominated for song of the year as well, a sign voters pretty much universally loved them. But I’m going with something of an upset as The Black Keys horn in on Ocean’s fun.
FEKADU: This award has to go to Gotye, whose oddball pop song was last year’s biggest hit. His ex is probably super mad!
SONG (writer) OF THE YEAR
“The A Team,” Ed Sheeran; “Adorn,” Miguel Pimentel; “Call Me Maybe,” Carly Rae Jepsen, Tavish Crowe and Josh Ramsay; “Stronger [What Doesn’t Kill You],” Jorgen Elofsson, David Gamson, Greg Kurstin and Ali Tamposi; “We Are Young,” Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost and Nate Ruess.
FEKADU: Fun. — whose anthemic song “We Are Young,” has a great balance of edge and mainstream appeal — will be named song of the year.
TALBOTT: In “We Are Young,” Nate Ruess and bandmates have crafted one of those songs that frames an era perfectly, and voters clearly recognized that while mulling nominations.
Alabama Shakes; fun.; Hunter Hayes; The Lumineers; Frank Ocean.
TALBOTT: There will be nothing surprising about this year’s winner because these are turning out to be the Frank Ocean Grammys.
FEKADU: Does anyone seriously think an R&B singer who revealed that his first love was a man — who also produces for top hip-hop acts and who is a talented singer- songwriter with one of last year’s best albums — wouldn’t win this?
POP SOLO PERFORMANCE
“Set Fire to the Rain [Live],” Adele; “Stronger [What Doesn’t Kill You],” Kelly Clarkson; “Call Me Maybe,” Carly Rae Jepsen; “Wide Awake,” Katy Perry; “Where Have You Been,” Rihanna.
FEKADU: Adele: All day. Every day.
TALBOTT: Enough said.
“Hold On,” Alabama Shakes; “Lonely Boy,” The Black Keys; “Charlie Brown,” Coldplay; “I Will Wait,” Mumford & Sons; “We Take Care of Our Own,” Bruce Springsteen.
TALBOTT: “Hold On” is a powerful statement of identity and “Lonely Boy” might be the most-copied song nominated Sunday night. But in this case The Boss is in charge.
FEKADU: The Boss? False. “Lonely Boy” wins here.
“Adorn,” Miguel; “Beautiful Surprise,” Tamia; “Heart Attack,” Trey Songz; “Pray for Me,” Anthony Hamilton; “Refill,” Elle Varner.
FEKADU: Miguel: Congrats on your first Grammy win!
TALBOTT: Imagine how much we’d be talking about Miguel if Frank Ocean wasn’t currently stealing the night.
“Take Care,” Drake; “Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Pt. 1,” Lupe Fiasco; “Life Is Good,” Nas; “Undun,” The Roots; “God Forgives, I Don’t,” Rick Ross; “Based on a T.R.U. Story,” 2 Chainz.
TALBOTT: We’re going to predict Nas wins here ... and anxiously await that new single from Drake.
FEKADU: We need to put you in a Hip-Hop 101 class. Drake over Nas by choice? I can’t even deal. You are right about one thing though — Nas wins here. And he should.