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Grammy choices

Published February 12. 2011 09:00AM

The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards Show will be televised Sunday night (CBS, 8 p.m.).

I have been watching less of the Grammys in recent years, but I must admit that the performances on last year's show caught my attention, with the Lady Gaga/Elton John duet and Pink's spinning trapeze act.

Picking the winners has become more difficult, as I haven't been thrilled with many of the nominees. It's time to stop watching when you don't recognize who is nominated for the trophies, but I don't want to give up just yet.

Handicapping this year's awards is no easy task, as the general categories have a range of styles. Rapper Eminem leads the pack with 10 nominations.

Here's a look at some of the categories. These are personal preferences, rather than predictions of the winners.

Record of the Year There's one duet nominated (Jay Z and Alicia Keys), two "feature" duets (B.o.B. featuring Bruno Mars and Eminem featuring Rhianna) and Cee Lo Green's attention-grabbing song with the expletive in the title. Lady Antebellum's ubiquitous "Need You Now" is the kind of timeless pop song that often grabs the prize. That would be my choice. Album of the Year This could be a win for Eminem and "Recovery." Lady Gaga has "The Fame Monster" going head to head with Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" vying for many of the same votes. Lady Antebellum's album is also up for the award, as is Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs."

Song of the Year If I had to pick the Song of the Year for 2010, it would be Train's "Hey Soul Sister," but that isn't nominated in this category. Three of the nominees (Eminem/Rhianna, Cee Lo Green and Lady Antebellum) are also up for Record of the Year. The other nominees are Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs' "Beg, Steal or Borrow" and Miranda Lambert's "The House That Built Me." I wouldn't mind if "Need You Now" gets the nod here, too.

Best New Artist This is also known as the "Kiss of Death" award, as it hasn't proven to be a guarantee of future success. My choice would be the quirky Mumford and Sons, but Justin Bieber is probably the biggest name among the nominees. The others include Drake, Florence and the Machine and Esperanza Spalding.

Best Rock Album Veteran rockers Tom Petty ("Mojo"), Neil Young ("Le Noise") and Jeff Beck ("Emotion and Commotion") are battling it out with Pearl Jam's "Backspacer" and Muse's "The Resistance." Muse might garner the contemporary vote, but for me, give me my "Mojo."

Best Rock Song Nominees include songs by The Black Keys, Muse, Kings of Leon, Neil Young and Mumford and Sons. The Kings of Leon have scored before. Mumford and Sons' "Little Lion Man" is an odd fit in this category, but it has the right attitude to win.

Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance At least there's some recognizable names here, as Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Robert Plant and John Mayer are all included. I could live with any of these, but I'm pushing for Neil's "Angry World."

Best Pop Vocal Album Katy Perry and Lady Gaga go against each other again, in a category that also includes British sensation Susan Boyle, Justin Bieber and John Mayer. If I had to own one of these, give me John Mayer.

Best Male Pop Vocal Performance Some catchy tunes here, including Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are," John Mayer's "Half of My Heart," American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert's "Whataya Want From Me" and Michael Buble's "Haven't Met You Yet." The late King of Pop is represented with "This is It." I'd go with Mars first and Mayer second, but that could flip-flop.

Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Once again you have Gaga ("Bad Romance") vs. Katy ("Teenage Dream"), not to mention Beyonce's "Halo" and Norah Jones' "Chasing Pirates." I'll be rooting for Sara Bareilles' smooth "King of Anything."

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