Gold Derby's resident Grammy experts — forum moderators David "Guru" Schnelwar and Darrin "DoubleD" Dortch — clash over who they predict will win the Grammy Award for best record of the year on Jan. 31. Personally, I agree with DoubleD that Kings of Leon will prevail, but that tune's old news, and the group lacks the perky sex appeal of Taylor Swift, who seems to rule joyously over all musicdom these days. So Guru maybe is right. I just happen to think that voters will give Taylor the award for best album plus a few more trophies in the lower-tier categories and consider that sufficient reward. Frankly, "You Belong With Me" just strikes me as being too artistically lightweight to be given such a prestigious prize. "Use Somebody" is a haunting masterwork.
BEST RECORD OF THE YEAR: DOUBLED'S PREDIX
Black Eyed Peas, "I Gotta Feeling"
Kings of Leon, "Use Somebody" -- X
Lady Gaga, "Poker Face"
Taylor Swift, "You Belong With Me"
DOUBLED'S COMMENTARY: In this category, Grammy voters favor rock bands and pop-rock songs with live instruments. Kings of Leon should easily win here unless Swifts wins as part of a coronation sweep.
RECORD OF THE YEAR: GURU'S PREDIX
"You Belong With Me" - Taylor Swift --X
GURU'S COMMENTARY: This is the fourth time Beyoncé has been nominated for record of the year ("Say My Name," "Crazy in Love" and "Irreplaceable"). "Halo" is not as big a hit as her previously nominated songs. Her bigger hit "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" was submitted for song of the year, not record of the year. I think this was a strategic mistake and lessened her chances of winning this category.
This is the third nomination for the Black Eyed Peas for record of the year ("Where Is the Love" and "Let's Get It Started"). "I Gotta Feeling" opened the Grammy nominations prime-time TV special and was the theme song of the show. The Black Eyed Peas had a noteworthy year by having a combined Billboard Singles Chart run of 20 six weeks for their songs "Boom Boom Pow" and "I Gotta Feeling." However, they received no music-video rotation on MTV or VH1. I gotta feeling that the Black Eyed Peas are not going to win in this category.
Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" is the third time a best-dance-recording nominee has been nominated for record of the year (Madonna's "Ray of Light," and Cher's "Believe"). "Poker Face" was No. 1 on VH1's Top 40 of 2009. A dance song has yet to win record of the year. Expect Lady Gaga to return to the general field next year with better odds for "Bad Romance."
Last year, Kings of Leon unexpectedly beat stiff competition for best rock performance by a duo or group with vocals. They won against AC/DC, Coldplay, the Eagles and Radiohead. A rock song has won record of the year four times in the last decade ("Beautiful Day, "Walk On, "Clocks" and "Boulevard of Broken Dreams"). My hesitation in predicting "Use Somebody" is that this song is not guaranteed to win in the rock field because Bruce Springsteen, Green Day and U2 are formidable competitors.
If you listen to Pop/Top 40, adult contemporary or adult top 40 radio you will hear "You Belong With Me" the most often of the five nominees. I think "You Belong With Me" has the best chance of winning record of the year.
Photos: Kings of Leon. Credit: KingsOfLeon.com. Taylor Swift. Credit: Associated Press