It’s time for Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West. Time for strange performer pairings. (Luke Bryan and Demi Lovato?) Time for tuxedos, fancy dresses and red carpets.

Oh, and it’s time for golden gramophone trophies, too.

Just in time for the Recording Academy to hand out awards in more than 80 categories, I’m making predictions on who will likely take home music’s highest award. And because the Academy doesn’t always get it right, I’ll let you know who I think should win each category, too.

I’m tackling the main four categories, as well as pop, rock, country and rap. My batting average is about .500. Let’s see if I can do better this year.

Album of the Year

“Sound & Color” by Alabama Shakes

“To Pimp a Butterfly” by Kendrick Lamar

“Traveller” by Chris Stapleton

“1989” by Taylor Swift

“Beauty Behind the Madness” by The Weeknd

Who should win: It’s a tossup between Swift’s commercial pop pinnacle, “1989,” and Lamar’s completely uncommercial statement record, “To Pimp a Butterfly.”

Who will win: Equally a tossup, but I think the edge goes to Lamar’s record, which is universally adored. Recent years have favored critical acclaim over pop hits.

Record of the Year

“Really Love” by D’Angelo and The Vanguard

“Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars

“Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran

“Blank Space” by Taylor Swift

“Can’t Feel My Face” by The Weeknd

Who should win: You can’t argue with the infectious “Uptown Funk.”

Who will win: “Uptown Funk” has to, right?

Song of the Year

“Alright” by Kendrick Lamar, Kawan Prather, Mark Anthony Spears, Pharrell Williams

“Blank Space” by Taylor Swift, Max Martin, Shellback

“Girl Crush” by Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, Liz Rose (Little Big Town)

“See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa, Charlie Puth, Andrew Cedar, Justin Franks

“Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran, Amy Wadge

Who should win: “Alright” is easily the best songwriting here. It says so much, and it says it well.

Who will win: Because everyone adores Martin and Swift, they’ll get a hat tip here for “Blank Space.”

Best New Artist

Courtney Barnett

James Bay

Sam Hunt

Tori Kelly

Meghan Trainor

Who should win: Barnett and Hunt are two artists who couldn’t be more different but who both stormed onto the scene in the past year. And they’re both very, very good.

Who will win: Trainor, she of “All About That Bass,” is popular and talented and very well known. Her popularity crushes everyone here.

Best Music Video

“LSD” by ASAP Rocky

“I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)” by The Dead Weather

“Alright” by Kendrick Lamar

“Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar

“Freedom” by Pharrell Williams

Who should win: There are some visually striking entries here, but “Alright” is a gorgeous and practically perfect short film that tackles all the stuff Lamar is talking about in the song: madness, police, violence and ultimately hope.

Who will win: “Alright” for all the reasons mentioned above.

Best Rock Performance

“Don’t Wanna Fight” by Alabama Shakes

“What Kind of Man” by Florence & The Machine

“Something From Nothing” by Foo Fighters

“Ex’s & Oh’s” by Elle King

“Moaning Lisa Smile” by Wolf Alice

Who should win: “Something From Nothing” is a great rock song, and the Foo Fighters’ whole “Sonic Highways” project once again highlighted their creativity and willingness to collaborate.

Who will win: The Academy loves Alabama Shakes. They get the gold.

Best Rock Song

“Don’t Wanna Fight” by Alabama Shakes

“Ex’s & Oh’s” by Elle King, Dave Bassett

“Hold Back the River” by James Bay, Iain Archer

“Lydia” by Highly Suspect

“What Kind of Man” by Florence Welch, John Hill, Tom Hull (Florence & the Machine)

Who should win: Florence & The Machine’s “What Kind of Man” has received near universal praise, and its lyrics paint a picture where the weight of sadness is sinking a relationship.

Who will win: Alabama Shakes is the heavy favorite.

Best Rock Album

“Chaos and the Calm” by James Bay

“Kintsugi” by Death Cab for Cutie

“Mister Asylum” by Highly Suspect

“Drones” by Muse

“.5: The Gray Chapter” by Slipknot

Who should win: What a curious slate. Highly Suspect had the most interesting album, I guess. But I don’t know if anyone here even deserves a Grammy.

Who will win: Alabama Shakes would if they were up for this one, but since they’re not an available pick, it has to go to Death Cab or Muse simply on name recognition alone.

Best Alternative Music Album

“Sound & Color” by Alabama Shakes

“Vulnicura” by Björk

“The Waterfall” by My Morning Jacket

“Currents” by Tame Impala

“Star Wars” by Wilco

Who should win: If I were choosing nominees, none of these five would be on my list. But that said, “Sound & Color” is the best choice.

Who will win: With a nomination for album of the year and a further three nods, Alabama Shakes are clearly favorites of the academy. They’ll win.

Best Metal Performance

“Identity” by August Burns Red

“Cirice” by Ghost

“512” by Lamb of God

“Thank You” by Sevendust

“Custer” by Slipknot

Who should win: Ghost’s breakthrough song in the U.S. comes as a slow-moving and gloomy piece. It’s so heavy and ominous.

Who will win: Even with a bland song, Slipknot is the most recognizable name here (and therefore the most likely to win), but Ghost should take it. I can’t wait to see the faces in the crowd when the ghastly Papa Emeritus III walks onstage.

Best Pop Solo Performance

“Heartbeat Song” by Kelly Clarkson

“Love Me Like You Do” by Ellie Goulding

“Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran

“Blank Space” by Taylor Swift

“Can’t Feel My Face” by The Weeknd

Who should win: Sheeran’s cheeseball love anthem is actually really well done, and “Heartbeat Song” is an incredibly catchy tune. Not the biggest fan of “Blank Space,” but it’s well-made as well.

Who will win: Swift takes home the gold. Again. It’s the consensus pick among predictors.

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

“Ship to Wreck” by Florence & The Machine

“Sugar” by Maroon 5

“Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars

“Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar

“See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth

Who should win: “Uptown Funk” is simply the best.

Who will win: Taylor and Kendrick are the Grammy darlings, and it’s almost impossible to think they’d lose this team-up.

Best Pop Vocal Album

“Piece by Piece” by Kelly Clarkson

“How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful” by Florence & The Machine

“Uptown Special” by Mark Ronson

“1989” by Taylor Swift

“Before This World” by James Taylor

Who should win: Swift. Everyone else on this list is here because they needed four other nominees.

Who will win: Absolutely Swift.

Best Rap Performance

“Apparently” by J. Cole

“Back to Back” by Drake

“Trap Queen” by Fetty Wap

“Alright” by Kendrick Lamar

“Truffle Butter” by Nicki Minaj feat. Drake, Lil Wayne

“All Day” by Kanye West feat. Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom, Paul McCartney

Who should win: “Trap Queen” put Fetty Wap on the map, but “Alright” is a song about both agony and hope that still has a killer (and simple) hook.

Who will win: Kanye maybe, but Kendrick probably.

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration

“One Man Can Change the World” by Big Sean feat. Kanye West, John Legend

“Glory” by Common and John Legend

“Classic Man” by Jidenna feat. Roman GianArthur

“These Walls” by Kendrick Lamar feat. Bilal, Anna Wise, Thundercat

“Only” by Nicki Minaj feat. Drake, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown

Who should win: The combination of hopeful music, Legend’s soaring vocal and Common’s fierce lines make “Glory” a great choice.

Who will win: “Glory.” Common and Legend already won pretty much every award that counts, including an Oscar.

Best Rap Song

“All Day” by Kanye West, Allan Kingdom, Paul McCartney, Ernest Brown, Tyler Bryant, Sean Combs, Mike Dean, Rennard East, Noah Goldstein, Malik Yusef Jones, Karim Kharbouch, Victor Mensah, Charles Njapa, Che Pope, Patrick Reynolds, Allen Ritter, Mario Winans, Cydel Young

“Alright” by Kendrick Lamar, Kawan Prather, Mark Anthony Spears, Pharrell Williams

“Energy” by Drake, Richard Dorfmeister, Markus Kienzl, M. O’Brien, M. Samuels, Phillip Thomas

“Glory” by Common, John Legend, Che Smith

“Trap Queen” by Fetty Wap, Tony Fadd

Who should win: “Alright” for the many reasons already mentioned.

Who will win: West and his many collaborators are a threat, as are Common and Legend, but the gold will still probably go to Lamar.

Best Rap Album

“2014 Forest Hills Drive” by J. Cole

“Compton” by Dr. Dre

“If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” by Drake

“To Pimp a Butterfly” by Kendrick Lamar

“The Pinkprint” by Nicki Minaj

Who should win: Is there any question here any more? “To Pimp a Butterfly,” for sure.

Who will win: Lamar, “To Pimp a Butterfly.”

Best Country Solo Performance

“Burning House” by Cam

“Traveller” by Chris Stapleton

“Little Toy Guns” by Carrie Underwood

“John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” by Keith Urban

“Chances Are” by Lee Ann Womack

Who should win: Stapleton nails the vocal on “Traveller,” and his earnest performance is the most memorable here.

Who will win: It could go to country’s current golden boy, Stapleton, or it could go to the established star, Carrie Underwood. I’m leaning toward Carrie.

Best Country Duo/Group Performance

“Stay a Little Longer” by Brothers Osborne

“If I Needed You” by Joey + Rory

“The Driver” by Charles Kelley, Dierks Bentley, Eric Paslay

“Girl Crush” by Little Big Town

“Lonely Tonight” by Blake Shelton feat. Ashley Monroe

Who should win: The nuanced duet of Joey + Rory is simple and beautiful, and it also highlights the pair’s real-life relationship.

Who will win: Almost certainly “Girl Crush,” which was also nominated for song of the year.

Best Country Song

“Chances Are” by Hayes Carll (Lee Ann Womack)

“Diamond Rings and Old Barstools” by Barry Dean, Luke Laird, Jonathan Singleton (Tim McGraw)

“Girl Crush” by Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, Liz Rose (Little Big Town)

“Hold My Hand” by Brandy Clark, Mark Stephen Jones

“Traveller” by Chris Stapleton

Who should win: “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools” is a nearly perfect country song. It’s very clever and full of clear country imagery. And it was written by Nashville vets.

Who will win: “Girl Crush” still wins.

Best Country Album

“Montevallo” by Sam Hunt

“Pain Killer” by Little Big Town

“The Blade” by Ashley Monroe

“Pageant Material” by Kacey Musgraves

“Traveller” by Chris Stapleton

Who should win: Musgraves continues to dazzle with her sophomore record.

Who will win: Stapleton is being hailed as all that’s right in country music. His nods in the big categories mean he’ll definitely win here.

Best Americana Album

“The Firewatcher’s Daughter” by Brandi Carlile

“The Traveling Kind” by Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell

“Something More Than Free” by Jason Isbell

“Mono” by The Mavericks

“The Phosphorescent Blues” by Punch Brothers

Who should win: I already selected Isbell’s album as my favorite of 2015.

Who will win: Isbell. There are other established names on this list, but he’s the darling — especially with his story of addiction, recovery, love and happiness. Plus it’s a damn fine album.


Three people with local ties are up for Grammys this year

Terrace Martin

Son of Omaha jazz drummer Curly Martin, Terrace Martin is a musician and producer who lives in L.A. He’s an accomplished saxophonist, but he’s better known for his hip-hop work.

Martin has played with Diddy and had an album produced by Quincy Jones, and his beats are on songs by Snoop Dogg. He’s also pals with Wiz Khalifa, Musiq Soulchild, Ty Dolla Sign and Kendrick Lamar.

Martin is nominated for album of the year for his work on Lamar’s acclaimed “To Pimp a Butterfly.” Martin co-produced the album, and he’s listed as a writer or producer on eight of the album’s 16 tracks.

Karrin Allyson

Born in Kansas, Karrin Allyson grew up in Omaha. She attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha before becoming a star jazz singer.

Her nod for best jazz vocal album is her fifth Grammy nomination. Her album, “Many a New Day,” is a collection of Rogers & Hammerstein covers from musicals such as “Oklahoma!,” “South Pacific,” “The King and I” and “The Sound of Music.”

James Valentine

A veritable rock star, James Valentine is the guitarist for pop-rock band Maroon 5. The Lincoln native is nominated, along with his bandmates, for best pop duo/group performance for their song “Sugar.”

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