Associated Press writers make their 2010 Grammy predictions

By Mesfin Fekadu and Nekesa Mumbi Moody
Friday, January 29, 2010; C06

Sunday's Grammy Awards seem to be shaping up as the battle of the blond divas.

In one corner: Beyoncé, the fierce veteran. She's got 10 nominations.

In the other corner: Taylor Swift, the relative newbie whose outstanding sales have made her the queen of pop. She has eight noms for her CD "Fearless."

Yet these two power-hitters may knock each other out, allowing surprise winners. Here's how we've scripted some of the night:

Record of the Year Nominees: "Halo," Beyoncé; "I Gotta Feeling," the Black Eyed Peas; "Use Somebody," Kings of Leon; "Poker Face," Lady Gaga; "You Belong With Me," Taylor Swift.

MOODY: "Halo" was a great anthem, but when you think of Beyoncé songs that defined 2009, you think "Single Ladies." "I Gotta Feeling" is a better bet, but it's also probably one of the weakest Peas songs. Swift's "You Belong With Me" has more momentum, but she'll split the vote with Lady Gaga and Beyoncé, so the Kings of Leon benefit.

FEKADU: If Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" had been nominated, it would win. But it's in the song of the year category -- a songwriter's award, when it really deserves recognition for its production. That's the only song I could see competing with "Use Somebody."

Album of the Year Nominees: "I Am . . . Sasha Fierce," Beyoncé; "The E.N.D.," the Black Eyed Peas; "The Fame," Lady Gaga; "Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King," Dave Matthews Band; "Fearless," Taylor Swift.

FEKADU: I'm 23, I speak for the younger generation -- and the only album here that's not on my iPod is the Dave Matthews Band. So I'm gonna guess the Grammy oldheads will go with them.

MOODY: So disrespectful, young man! And what's an iPod anyway? Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Swift had the year's most successful records and they truly provided the soundtrack to 2009. But, Grammy voters tend to go for the veterans and the sentimental favorite -- and that is the DMB.

Song of the Year (songwriters): "Poker Face," Lady Gaga and RedOne; "Pretty Wings," Hod David and Musze; "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)," Thaddis Harrell, Beyoncé Knowles, Terius Nash and Christopher Stewart; "Use Somebody," Caleb Followill, Jared Followill, Matthew Followill and Nathan Followill; "You Belong With Me," Liz Rose and Taylor Swift.

MOODY: Until Beyoncé stops writing with a team, she's not likely to win a song of the year nod. "Poker Face" is too edgy for voters, and "Pretty Wings" too urban. Swift's song is likely to be seen as too lighthearted. "Use Somebody" is both gritty and romantic, which will put it over the top.

FEKADU: How could the Recording Academy deny three kings (and their cousin)? "Use Somebody" will win.

Associated Press

© 2010 The Washington Post Company