The Grammy categories for best record and song of the year sound similar, but they're not. Best record goes to the recording artist; best song to the tune's songwriter. As our dueling Grammy pundits David "Guru" Schnelwar and Darrin "DoubleD" Dortch point out, the winners often overlap, but they also often do not.
This year I don't think the awards may repeat, so I'm skeptical of the predix below. The key mistake I think our pundits may be making is underestimating the appeal of "Single Ladies," which is only entered here. Strangely, Beyonce didn't submit it for consideration in the race for best record, where she's nominated instead for "Halo," a far weaker entry. When voters choose not to repeat the record/song winners, they often choose a song not nominated in the record race. The only nomination that doesn't line up this year is "Single Ladies," so I think that might prevail, especially considering what a catchy, sexy ditty it is. But that, admittedly, may be a long shot possibility. As DoubleD reminds me via e-mail, "Come on, Tom, you should know better. Songs nominated in the R&B and rap categories NEVER win record/song of the Year. Alicia Keys and Luther Vandross are the only exceptions in the Grammys 52-year history."
SONG OF THE YEAR
"Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)"
"Use Somebody" — Double D
"You Belong With Me" — Guru
DOUBLED'S COMMENTARY: Record/song winners usually go together, so I'm giving "Use Somebody" the edge here, but Grammy voters may want to honor Swift's songwriting skills.
GURU'S COMMENTARY: Three of the five of these nominations are the same as those of record of the year. The other two, Maxwell's "Pretty Wings" replaced the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" and Beyonce's "Singles Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" switched places with "Halo."
The last rock group to win both record of the year and song of the year was U2 in 2000. Are Kings of Leon as accomplished as U2 to win top honors?
This decade, almost 50% of the time, song and record of the year have gone to the same artist/song.
Photos: Taylor Swift (Lawrence K. Ho/L.A. Times), Kings of Leon (RCA), Beyonce (Sony)