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Grammys 2015: Predictions and picks from our critic

Newsday pop music critic Glenn Gamboa weighs in on the 2015 Grammys, considering who will -- and who actually should -- take home the night's biggest awards.

Record of the year

The nominees for record of the year are
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Kevin Winter

The nominees for record of the year are Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX, "Fancy" (Def Jam); Sia, "Chandelier" (RCA/Monkey Puzzle); Sam Smith, "Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)" (Capitol); Taylor Swift, "Shake It Off" (Big Machine); and Meghan Trainor, "All About That Bass" (Epic).

SHOULD WIN: "All About That Bass." Trainor's anthem was part of 2014's zeitgeist, touching on self-empowerment and body issues, while also mashing up hip-hop and girl groups in the most memorable way.

WILL WIN RECORD OF THE YEAR:
Photo Credit: AP / Matt Sayles

WILL WIN RECORD OF THE YEAR: "Stay With Me." It's the sweetest ode to a one-night stand that most Grammy voters have ever heard, though it's Smith's lovely, old-school soul vocals that likely won them over.

Album of the year

The nominees for album of the year are
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Robyn Beck

The nominees for album of the year are Beck, "Morning Phase" (Capitol); Beyoncé, "Beyoncé" (Columbia); Ed Sheeran, "X" (Atlantic); Sam Smith, "In the Lonely Hour" (Capitol); and Pharrell Williams, "Girl" (Columbia).

SHOULD WIN: "Beyoncé." Not only did the album change the way the industry thinks of new release rollouts, it brought spoken-word performance and varied song structures into R&B, while still rolling out future classics like "XO" and showing that she can rap as well as sing.

WILL WIN: "Beyoncé"

Best new artist

The best new artist nominees are: Iggy Azalea,
Photo Credit: AP / Dan Hallman

The best new artist nominees are: Iggy Azalea, Bastille, Brandy Clark, Haim and Sam Smith.

SHOULD WIN: Sam Smith. This is the closest thing to a lock that Smith has among his nominations. Young artists that embrace older styles always do well with Grammy voters.

WILL WIN: Sam Smith

Best rock album

The best rock album nominees are Ryan Adams,
Photo Credit: Yana Paskova

The best rock album nominees are Ryan Adams, "Ryan Adams" (Blue Note); Beck, "Morning Phase" (Capitol); Black Keys, "Turn Blue" (Nonesuch); Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, "Hypnotic Eye" (Reprise); U2, "Songs of Innocence" (Interscope).

SHOULD WIN "Hypnotic Eye." Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers strike an angry, populist tone and back that up with the rock sound that has made them legends.

WILL WIN BEST ROCK ALBUM:
Photo Credit: Getty Images / LEON NEAL

WILL WIN BEST ROCK ALBUM: "Turn Blue." The Black Keys have deservedly become Grammy favorites and this solid record won't shake that bond.

Best rap album

The best rap album nominees are Iggy Azalea,
Photo Credit: AP

The best rap album nominees are Iggy Azalea, "The New Classic" (Def Jam); Childish Gambino, "Because the Internet" (Glassnote); Common, "Nobody's Smiling" (Def Jam); Eminem, "The Marshall Mathers LP 2" (Aftermath); Schoolboy Q, "Oxymoron" (Top Dawg/Interscope); and Wiz Khalifa, "Blacc Hollywood" (Rostrum/Atlantic).

SHOULD WIN: "Nobody's Smiling." Common shows how hip-hop can be a teaching tool as well as entertainment. If he doesn't win this, maybe the "Selma" star will land an Oscar instead.

WILL WIN BEST RAP ALBUM:
Photo Credit: AP / Jason DeCrow

WILL WIN BEST RAP ALBUM: "The Marshall Mathers LP 2." Eminem has already won this category five times. No reason why this shouldn't be No. 6, though if Iggy Azalea somehow pulls it out, it will blow up into the night's biggest controversy.

Best pop vocal album

The best pop vocal album nominees are Coldplay,
Photo Credit: AP / John Shearer

The best pop vocal album nominees are Coldplay, "Ghost Stories" (Atlantic/Parlophone); Miley Cyrus, "Bangerz" (RCA); Ariana Grande, "My Everything" (Republic); Katy Perry, "Prism" (Capitol); Ed Sheeran, "X" (Atlantic); and Sam Smith, "In the Lonely Hour" (Capitol).

SHOULD WIN: "X." Ed Sheeran maintains his charm during his move into more complicated, more pop-oriented songs.

WILL WIN POP VOCAL ALBUM:
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Chelsea Lauren

WILL WIN POP VOCAL ALBUM: "In the Lonely Hour." Sam Smith's soulful songs balance new and old just the way Grammy voters like them.

Best country album

The best country album nominees are Dierks Bentley,
Photo Credit: AP / Wade Payne

The best country album nominees are Dierks Bentley, "Riser" (Capitol); Eric Church, "The Outsiders" (EMI Nashville); Brandy Clark, "12 Stories" (Slate Creek); Miranda Lambert, "Platinum" (RCA Nashville); Lee Ann Womack, "The Way I'm Livin' " (Sugar Hill).

SHOULD WIN: "Platinum." Miranda Lambert deserved an album of the year nomination for this well-crafted country masterpiece. She'll take this home instead.

WILL WIN: "Platinum." Sorry, Eric Church.

Song of the year

The nominees for song of the year are
Photo Credit: NBC / Douglas Gorenstein

The nominees for song of the year are Meghan Trainor, "All About That Bass" (Epic); Sia, "Chandelier" (RCA/Monkey Puzzle); Taylor Swift, "Shake It Off" (Big Machine); Sam Smith, "Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)" (Capitol); andHozier, "Take Me to Church" (Columbia).

SHOULD WIN: "Stay With Me." This songwriter's award should go to Smith for crafting such a raw, honestly emotional plea for companionship, cloaked in old-fashioned soul.

WILL WIN: "Stay With Me." However, Hozier's "Take Me to Church" could be a dark horse winner.

Best urban contemporary album

The best urban contemporary album nominees are Jhené
Photo Credit: AP / Matt Sayles

The best urban contemporary album nominees are Jhené Aiko, "Sail Out" (Def Jam); Beyoncé, "Beyoncé" (Columbia); Chris Brown, "X" (RCA); Mali Music, "Mali Is ..." (RCA/Bystorm); and Pharrell Williams, "Girl" (Columbia).

SHOULD WIN: "Beyoncé." The album defines what urban contemporary music can really accomplish.

WILL WIN: "Beyoncé." There's no real competition here aside from Pharrell.

Best alternative music album

The best alternative music album nominees are Alt-J,
Photo Credit: AP / Chris Pizzello

The best alternative music album nominees are Alt-J, "This Is All Yours" (Canvasback/Atlantic); Arcade Fire, "Reflektor" (Capitol); Cage the Elephant, "Melophobia" (RCA); St. Vincent, "St. Vincent" (Loma Vista/Republic); and Jack White, "Lazaretto" (Third Man/Columbia).

SHOULD WIN "Reflektor." Arcade Fire's dance album showed how it is possible to create songs that can move the soul and the feet simultaneously.

WILL WIN ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM:
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Jason Merritt

WILL WIN ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM: "Lazaretto." Jack White's wild rock ride blends country, indie-rock, hip-hop and blues. How alternative is that!

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