For starters, the 2013 Grammys presentation won’t be like last year’s show. It’s unlikely that any single artist will have the insane success that Adele did at the 2012 Grammys event, when she took home six awards -- including Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year -- completely dominating the competition presented by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. There are plenty of amazing contenders this year, but none with quite the same level of universal appeal.
In an interesting move, music-streaming service Spotify has thrown its hat into the forecasting ring for the Grammys, basing its predictions on the top streaming songs of the year, according to Digital Trends. Spotify forecasts Mumford & Sons will be awarded Album of the Year honors for “Babel,” Gotye will win Record of the Year laurels with “Somebody That I Used to Know,” and The Lumineers will be crowned Best New Artist.
Spotify represents a comparatively small number of music listeners, so it is indeed an interesting move, but will it work out? Only time will tell.
Meanwhile, Forbes consulted professional oddmakers to determine the most likely winners.
But the IBTimes? We’re basing our choices on good, old-fashioned guesswork and love of the artists and records selected. And so here are our predictions for the 2013 Grammys.
Album of the Year: “Channel Orange,” Frank Ocean
This one is definitely a toss-up between Frank Ocean and Mumford & Sons. If airplay alone were the defining factor, Ocean might not be taking home the prize. But the honesty and rawness of Ocean’s debut album is captivating in so many ways. Plus, Ocean just got jumped by Chris Brown. The guy deserves something awesome coming his way.
Record of the Year: “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift is definitely known for her more melodramatic, boy-obsessed lyrics, but “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” strips away all the mopiness that comes with much of Swift’s work and distills teen angst into one of the catchiest pop singles of the year.
Song of the Year: “We Are Young,” Fun
This song is huge. Since it was first featured at last year’s Super Bowl, “We Are Young” has been almost unavoidable. It’s a big, catchy song with sing-along hooks and incredibly slick production. What’s not to love? Second-biggest contender? Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.” It’s pure, fun pop music in every way possible.
Best New Artist: Alabama Shakes
All right, I’ll admit this one is just a blind wish. The award will probably go to Frank Ocean or Fun, but Alabama Shakes put out one of the most captivating debut records of the past few years, and the group deserves to have that work validated.
Best Rock Performance: Alabama Shakes
See above. Just let Alabama Shakes win something, guys.
Best Rock Album: “El Camino,” The Black Keys
There’s really no competition here. Muse’s “The 2nd Law” was an extremely weak effort compared with earlier work, and while Jack White’s “Blunderbuss” is an impressive solo debut, nothing else on the list of nominees stands up the raw power displayed by “El Camino.” Besides, picking this record would make the Grammy voters look hip, and they love that.
Best Rock Song: “Lonely Boy,” The Black Keys
Again, nothing else in this year’s rock category has the sheer power that The Black Keys display here. The group combines a gritty, old-school rock feel with catchy songwriting in a way that’s sure to earn a Grammy.
Best Alternative Music Album: “Bad As Me,” Tom Waits
No one can compete with Tom Waits. No one. M83’s “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” is another likely candidate, but considering the acclaim “Bad As Me” has received and its status as Waits’ first new record in years, our money is on him.
Best Urban Contemporary Album: “Channel Orange,” Frank Ocean
“Channel Orange” is just a great piece of music all around. Airy, atmospheric beats combined with Ocean’s excellent voice make this a slam-dunk choice. Considering that the only competition this year comes from Chris Brown’s subpar “Fortune” and Miguel’s “Kaleidoscope Dream,” the winner here becomes immediately clear.
Best Rap Performance: “N----s In Paris,” Jay-Z and Kanye West
“N----s In Paris” is an absolute beast of a song. It’s big, it’s loud, and it’s extravagantly fun in almost every way. It’s full of clever wordplay, larger-than-life beats, and hooks that nearly anyone can sing along to -- minus some words in the title, maybe. What’s not to love?