Everybody loves an awards ceremony. The glitz, the glamor, the red carpet, the horrible outfits, the weird performances, the 'how the hell did that get nominated?'
With the Grammy Awards taking place Sunday 8 February in LA, MusicRadar - never one to miss out on a good horse race - is starting an annual traditional in which we pick the winners. Or we try to.
Rather than go through the laundry list of categories, we've narrowed our field down to the four biggies. What follow are MusicRadar staff predictions, not personal musical preferences.
Hell, if we were talking about actual faves, we'd be arm-wrestling and body-slamming for days...
1. Record Of The Year
The nominees: Chasing Pavements - Adele, Viva La Vida - Coldplay, Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis, Paper Planes - M.I.A., Please Read The Letter - Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
Michael Leonard predicts: Viva La Vida - Coldplay
Whatever the controversial origins of the melody, I think Coldplay's Viva La Vida will win out. Huge US sales and airplay plus a bold arena arrangement are going to make it hard to resist - hey, U2 had nothing out, OK?
Ben Rogerson predicts: Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis
Lewis's swift rise to international superstardom came as something of a surprise - winners of UK talent shows usually struggle to make an impression in their own country, never mind on the rest of the world. This Ryan Tedder-penned song was the making of her, though, and its ubiquity throughout 2008 could see it scoop the big prize.
Mike Goldsmith predicts: Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis
Easy this. It's been around for eons and surely we're reaching critical mass on the Cowell Tolerance Scale but 3,500,000 downloads in the States alone means this is a shoo-in, surely. Unless everyone WAKES UP AND VOTES FOR PAPER PLANES 'COS IT'S BRILLIA… Ahem.
Chris Vinnicombe predicts: Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis
The Joe Satriani vs Coldplay lawsuit debacle is likely to urinate on Viva La Vida's chips, but we're loathe to back a horse from the Cowell stable. That said, Lewis has the twin advantages of huge stateside sales and the fact that she's slightly more talented than 2004's UK X Factor winner Steve Brookstein.
Joe Bosso predicts: Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis
Way too much controversy surrounding Viva La Lawsuit, and Plant And Krauss will mostly likely score in the next, bigger category. So I'm giving it to the X Factor winner. Nice song, great performance, and what more do you really need?
2. Album Of The Year
The nominees: Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends - Coldplay, Tha Carter III - Lil Wayne, Year Of The Gentleman - Ne-Yo, Raising Sand - Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, In Rainbows - Radiohead
Michael Leonard predicts: Raising Sand - Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
The Grammys like legends, and this lauded UK/US collaboration fits the bill, offering comfort to all the baby boomers in the academy wanting to vote for 'Led Zeppelin' one last time.
Ben Rogerson predicts: In Rainbows - Radiohead
Various remix projects have kept In Rainbows in the public eye, and if Thom Yorke has gone to the trouble of doing an advert for The Grammys, he must know something, right?
Mike Goldsmith predicts: Tha Carter III - Lil Wayne
I'll discount Plant/Krauss and Radiohead for being a bit 2007 and Ne-Yo for, well, not having a chance which leaves Coldplay or Lil Wayne. Coldplay seem the safer bet but will the Satriani story sway the judges? I'll say yes - especially given Tha Carter III is the top-selling album in the US for 2008.
Chris Vinnicombe predicts: Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends - Coldplay
With the chances of Radiohead's In Rainbows winning almost certainly nixed by its unconventional 'pay what you want' online release, Coldplay look a dead cert for this one. Lil Wayne might have sold more records in the US last year, but is there anyone who doesn't find him at least mildly ridiculous?
Joe Bosso predicts: Raising Sand - Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
3. Song Of The Year
The nominees: American Boy - Estelle featuring Kanye West, Chasing Pavements - Adele, I'm Yours - Jason Mraz, Love Song - Sara Bareilles, Viva La Vida - Coldplay
Michael Leonard predicts: American Boy - Estelle featuring Kanye West
Another UK/US collab. Only reached #9 on Billboard's Hot 100 after its parent album, Shine, was controversially pulled from digital sales. American Boy is an outside bet, but it's either this or Viva La Vida again.
Ben Rogerson predicts: Viva La Vida - Coldplay
I'm still baffled as to how this differs from Song Of The Year, but there you go. Of those nominated, Estelle's effort is surely the best, but I've got a suspicion that Coldplay could do a bit of board-sweeping at this year's ceremony, so I'll go for them.
Mike Goldsmith predicts: American Boy - Estelle featuring Kanye West
Much like Bleeding Love, this one was everywhere, but unlike Bleeding Love, hearing it blasting out of a newsagent on a sunny July morning just made you beam. From aspiring West London rapper to Kanye protege to…Surely, a Grammy is the last piece of Estelle's 'rags to riches' puzzle.
Chris Vinnicombe predicts: Chasing Pavements - Adele
It may be a little too early for Adele to triumph this year, but momentum behind her seems to be snowballing stateside. With Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour offering to style the Londoner for the Grammys ceremony itself, it seems someone somewhere expects Adele to have to get up and make an acceptance speech.
Joe Bosso predicts: Love Song - Sara Bareilles
I have a very unscientific method for this category. Every time I hear this song, I can't get it out of my head. That's what a song should do: stick with you, fill your mind as you walk down the street, stay with you a while. Love Song does all of that, and if the academy's voters actually think about it for a second, they'll go, "Yeah, I do like that one."
4. Best New Artist
The nominees: Adele, Jonas Brothers, Duffy, Lady Antebellum, Jazmine Sullivan
Michael Leonard predicts: Jonas Brothers
Three albums in, the Disney Channel stars are still considered 'new' in Grammy terms. It would be the equivalent of McFly getting a Brit award, but sheer weight of popularity - and the fact they're now courted by Timbaland - might bring home the trophy. Outside bet on Welsh chanteuse Duffy.
Ben Rogerson predicts: Duffy
Jazmine Sullivan is a name I'm hearing a lot at the moment, but my hunch is that she'll be pipped to the podium by the Mercy singer. Truth be told, Duffy's album is pretty unremarkable, but that only serves to make it seem like a perfect Grammy fit.
Mike Goldsmith predicts: Adele
A punt as the Jonas Brothers will surely nail this, but this journo can't shake the feeling that the karaoke earnestness of Chasing Pavements might not be high profile enough to nab Song Of The Year but has enough critical momentum to give tonight's judges reason enough to grant her a surprise Grammy.
Chris Vinnicombe predicts: Duffy
It's really a case of 'please, let it be anyone but the Jonas Brothers,' isn't it? We've all heard Mercy approximately 972 times more than we'd like to have, but Rockferry is a bona fide tune head and shoulders above anything that any of the other nominees in this category have released.
Joe Bosso predicts: Jonas Brothers
Duffy has the goods in every way possible, but that doesn't mean much when you have the incredible Disney machine cranking it up six ways to Sunday for three young men who are practically printing money. They're big, they're getting bigger and the voters like to pick huge success stories here.