Grammy predictions: AP writers debate who’ll triumph Sunday

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ALBUM OF THE YEAR: “We Are,” Jon Batiste; “Love For Sale,” Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga; “Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe),” Justin Bieber; “Planet Her (Deluxe Edition),” Doja Cat; “Happier Than Ever,” Billie Eilish; “Back of My Mind,” H.E.R. ; “MONTERO,” Lil Nas X; “Sour,” Olivia Rodrigo; “Evermore,” Taylor Swift; “Donda,” Kanye West.

LANDRUM: Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga are a perfect match to win album of the year against some stiff competition. The dynamic duo will be in a close race with Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo and Olivia Rodrigo. However, Bennett and Gaga are a perfect match to win album of the year against stiff competition. Rodrigo also has one the most successful early careers. But the magic created by Bennett and Gaga is a rare occurrence — especially for Bennett, who showed in his 90s that he can still vocally hold his own and flourish with Gaga in their collection of masterful duets.

HALL: Aww, Jonathan, I had no idea you were such a romantic! Even a hard-hearted cynic like me has a hard time arguing against a duo who has 30 Grammys (and a lifetime achievement award) between them. There are many categories in this category, including debut albums as well as pop and rap artists who have evolved through different levels of fame to become musical icons. But I am gonna go with my gut, not my heart, and say that Rodrigo ekes out a tight contest that is likely to split among pop fans. The young singer’s pop-rock hits are a staple of the music industry, making her slightly more popular than Swift and Eilish.

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RECORD OF THE YEAR: “I Still Have Faith in You,” ABBA; “FREEDOM,” Jon Batiste; “I Get a Kick Out of You,” Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga; “Peaches,” Justin Bieber featuring Daniel Caesar and Giveon; “Right on Time,” Brandi Carlile; “Kiss Me More,” Doja Cat featuring SZA; “Happier Than Ever,” Billie Eilish; “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name),” Lil Nas X; “Drivers License,” Olivia Rodrigo; “Leave the Door Open,” Silk Sonic.

HALL: I know I’m not supposed to, but I am talking about Bruno. Anderson.Paak and Bruno Mars create a rich soundscape using their Silk Sonic collaboration. “Leave the Door Open” is an smooth ’70s era R&B throwback that just hits the right notes, from the tinkling keys to the first lines of the song: “What you doin’? Are you there? Oh you got plans? Don’t say that.” Mars and .Paak made some nostalgic 24K magic here that is my jam.

LANDRUM: I think Eilish will completely shut Silk Sonic’s door. Her force is too much for other contenders. She’ll be the first to achieve three consecutive years of record-setting wins in this category, joining Paul Simon.

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SONG OF THE YEAR (songwriter’s award): “Bad Habits,” “A Beautiful Noise,” “Drivers License,” “Fight For You,” “Happier Than Ever,” “Kiss Me More,” “Leave The Door Open,” “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name),” “Peaches,” “Right On Time.”

LANDRUM: I probably played Justin Bieber’s “Peaches” featuring Daniel Caesar and Giveon more than the other nominee’s tracks. The song’s feel good melody and Bieber’s catchy hook captured my attention. It is still a constant play in my mind. After my soliloquy I predict that H.E.R. I predict that H.E.R. The song — written by H.E.R. H.E.R. won the Academy Award last year for best original song. This powerful song is similar to last year’s winner, “I Can’t Breathe”, and I believe “Fight for You”, which will also win the fight for the trio at Grammys.

HALL: The Recording Academy clearly LOVES Eilish and has anointed the star with seven Grammys already, so she looks like a good shoo-in. The story song “Happier than Ever” shows the many sides of Eilish, even though it isn’t the most popular track on her album. I would really love to see Lil Nas X win this.

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BEST NEW ARTIST: Arooj Aftab; Jimmie Allen; Baby Keem; Finneas; Glass Animals; Japanese Breakfast; The Kid Laroi; Arlo Parks; Olivia Rodrigo; Saweetie.

HALL: So many deserving names in this category (and I think Jimmie Allen is the hardest working artist in country music right now), but there’s no doubt this award is reserved for Rodrigo. You can engrave Rodrigo’s name right on the award.

LANDRUM: This award should be signed, sealed and delivered to Rodrigo. Sawetie sorry, there is a legitimate sleeper in the category: Finneas. Yes, Eilish is his brother and he has won 8 Grammys for his producer work as well as his co-writers on the projects of his sister. Can I really believe Finneas is going to upset Rodrigo No. No. A small part of myself believes Finneas still has a chance. Sometimes that is all you have.

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BEST POP SOLO PERFORMANCE: “Anyone,” Justin Bieber; “Right on Time,” Brandi Carlile; “Happier Than Ever,” Billie Eilish; “Positions,” Ariana Grande; “Drivers License,” Olivia Rodrigo.

LANDRUM: Eilish or the Biebs could derail, but Rodrigo’s “drivers license” should be coasting down the road in the winner’s seat with no detours.

HALL: You know what is even better than finally earning your driver’s license? An award from Grammy. To gloat about that trophy, I’m sure she will drive it in the passenger seat.

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BEST RAP PERFORMANCE: “Thot S(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk),” Megan The Stallion; “M Y. L I F E,” J. Cole feat. 21 Savage and Morray; “Up,” Cardi B; “Family Ties,” Baby Keem feat. Kendrick Lamar.

HALL: Megan and Cardi are still on fire even when they are dropping singles between albums, but there’s no match for the lyrical one-two punch from cousins Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar. This family affair is two-part. It features Keem (the rising star) and Lamar (the acclaimed rapper who announces that “I am Omega” to fans.

LANDRUM: Lamar and Keem’s family ties to this category will be broken.

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