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Grammy Preview 2005
From Kanye to Green Day, our guide to music’s biggest night
At last year’s Grammys, Outkast’s Andre 3000 rolled joints, Courtney Love misplaced her daughter and Dave Navarro fiddled with his nipple rings. And that was just backstage! We can’t predict what hilarious celebrity antics we’ll see on February 13th at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, but we can speculate on who may (or may not) be taking the trophies. Will it be Kanye, Alicia Keys or Green Day who walks away with the most gold? Rolling Stone has assembled an eclectic panel of prognosticators — including Grammy nominees, tastemakers and one talking dog — to dish on eleven major categories. We also hit up oddsmaker John Avello, of Las Vegas’ Bally’s casino, to find out where the smart money is going. Finally, we scrapped it all and delivered our own picks.
Song of the Year
And the nominees are…
Kanye West and C. Smith “Jesus Walks”
John Mayer “Daughters”
Tim Nichols and Craig Wiseman “Live Like You Were Dying,” performed by Tim McGraw
Daniel Estrin and Douglas Robb “The Reason,” performed by Hoobastank
Alicia Keys “If I Ain’t Got You”
RANDY JACKSON “The Reason” is definitely a little sappy for a rock band. I gotta go with “If I Ain’t Got You”: It’s got a classic sound, almost like Aretha Franklin.
FERGIE “Jesus Walks.” Anytime someone goes through a huge struggle and comes out of it, without letting themselves go to shit, it’s definitely commendable.
BRANDON FLOWERS Anything but “Daughters.” It makes me cringe. You should not be singing about that when you’re twenty-four. That’s, like, Luther Vandross territory.
TRIUMPH THE INSULT COMIC DOG Definitely Hoobastank. Think how much those Grammys will fetch at their garage sale next year.
VEGAS ODDS FAVOR: Yee-haw! “Live Like You Were Dying” (at 7:5 odds) barely edges out “If I Ain’t Got You” (at 8:5).
WHO SHOULD WIN: Kanye walks.
Record of the Year
Usher, featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris “Yeah!”
Ray Charles and Norah Jones “Here We Go Again”
The Black Eyed Peas “Let’s Get It Started”
Green Day “American Idiot”
Los Lonely Boys “Heaven”
DOUG ROBB “Heaven” by Los Lonely Boys? What about “Heaven” by Warrant?
BRANDON FLOWERS I like “Yeah!” I like that sound that goes through it. It’s repetitive, but it sounds great. Los Lonely Boys have good harmonies, though.
RANDY JACKSON It should be “Yeah!” The other songs are good, I guess, but I couldn’t sing them to you.
AMY LEE The Black Eyed Peas. They remind me of the Smashing Pumpkins — every bandmate is a character. I actually listen to those guys.
JOSH SCHWARTZ I’ve never seen a crowd react in my entire life like they do to Usher. And I saw Michael Jackson’s Bad tour.
JIMMY KIMMEL “Heaven,” which is a Hefty bag full of weed and a four-foot-long churro.
VEGAS ODDS FAVOR: At even odds, “Yeah!” takes it. But look out for Los Longshot Boys (12:1).
WHO SHOULD WIN: “Yeah!” Shorty’s pickin’ up an award!
Album of the Year
Ray Charles and Friends Genius Loves Company
Kanye West The College Dropout
Alicia Keys The Diary of Alicia Keys
Green Day American Idiot
Usher Confessions
MARIO They all deserve to win. This will be the first year in Grammy history that you have more than one winner.
BRANDON FLOWERS With Green Day, all I can think about is them singing about masturbation ten years ago, so I can’t take them seriously.
DOUG ROBB I’m a little Ushered out. He can poop on a record and it would go to Number One.
JOE PERRY Based purely on the strength of his career: Ray Charles. That means a lot in my book. But that Green Day record is pretty powerful. They transcended the trend.
WILL.I.AM That Ray Charles movie struck a nerve this year. He’ll win. Emotion always wins.
TRIUMPH Usher — but hasn’t he won enough? Plus, he’s banged every chick in the industry, including Clay Aiken.
VEGAS ODDS FAVOR: The sentimental favorite, Ray Charles (8:5), wins a squeaker over Usher (9:5).
WHO SHOULD WIN: A close call, but Kanye is our pick (sorry, Green Day).
Best New Artist
Joss Stone
Maroon 5
Gretchen Wilson
Los Lonely Boys
Kanye West
JOSH SCHWARTZ Maroon 5 could surprise a lot of people, but I’m not big on a man who sings in falsetto.
FERGIE Kanye. He’s not new, though. They always give this award to the person with the longest career.
BRANDON FLOWERS Maroon 5 is kind of like the new Savage Garden — you know, “I loved you before I met you.” Kanye West is more important.
EVE Maroon 5. Because the lead singer is cute.
TRIUMPH Final score: Maroon 5, Grammys zero.
VEGAS ODDS FAVOR: The race is between Kanye West (8:5) and Joss Stone (9:5).
WHO SHOULD WIN: Kanye. But we hope he loses, and pulls an ODB.
Best Rock Album
Elvis Costello and the Imposters The Delivery Man
Hoobastank The Reason
The Killers Hot Fuss
Velvet Revolver Contraband
Green Day American Idiot
DOUG ROBB Honestly, I don’t think we have a shot in this one.
RANDY JACKSON Voters may get nostalgic and vote for Elvis, but that’s not really a rock record.
BRANDON FLOWERS You’ve got the votes for Velvet Revolver based on who they are, which kind of sucks for us. I’ve heard all their singles, and I can’t remember one of them.
JOE PERRY The fact that Velvet Revolver even got a record out is an admirable feat. But Green Day outdid themselves on American Idiot.
TRIUMPH Elvis Costello. The guy is very talented and original. So why is he nominated for a Grammy? The real winner will be Velvet Revolver’s drug dealer.
VEGAS ODDS FAVOR: American Idiot (8:5) kicks Costello’s limey ass (2:1).
WHO SHOULD WIN: Hating our president is so rewarding! Green Day.
Best Rap Album
Nelly Suit
LL Cool J The Definition
Kanye West The College Dropout
Beastie Boys To the 5 Boroughs
Jay-Z The Black Album
JOSH SCHWARTZ How do you give a rap award and not nominate Chingy? This is an injustice!
BRANDON FLOWERS LL Cool J was awesome when I was, like, sixteen. I don’t know what happened.
RANDY JACKSON For me it’s a tie between Kanye West and Jay-Z. Kanye made a different, edgy record. LL and the Beastie Boys — those weren’t their best albums.
DOUG ROBB I like The Black Album — I made it through the whole album, which is really rare for me.
FERGIE The Beasties. They made a great comeback record. And they can still put on a kick-ass show.
EVE That’s a tough one. I love the Beasties and I love Jay-Z, but it’d be amazing for Kanye to win.
TRIUMPH To the 5 Boroughs. The Grammys will look great next to the Beasties’ bedpans.
VEGAS ODDS FAVOR: Kanye (8:5) schools Nelly (5:2).
WHO SHOULD WIN: Jay-Z. Ninety-eight problems to go.
Best Rap Song
Snoop Dogg, featuring the Neptunes “Drop It Like It’s Hot”
The Black Eyed Peas “Hey Mama”
Jay-Z “99 Problems”
The Black Eyed Peas “Let’s Get It Started”
Kanye West “Jesus Walks”
RANDY JACKSON “Let’s Get It Started” is a rap song?
JOSH SCHWARTZ Kanye’s got Jesus in the title, which did rather well for Mel Gibson. Then again, “Ninety-nine problems, but a bitch ain’t one” — I think that song expounds a universal truth that we can all live by.
WYCLEF JEAN No doubt: “99 Problems.”
TRIUMPH Black Eyed Peas are nominated twice? Jethro Tull didn’t put anything out this year?
VEGAS ODDS FAVOR: Bow down before Jesus! It’s Kanye, at even money, in a landslide.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Hit me! Jigga, please.
Best Alternative-Music Album
Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand
Wilco A Ghost Is Born
Bjork Medulla
Modest Mouse Good News for People Who Love Bad News
PJ Harvey Uh Huh Her
BRANDON FLOWERS Really, it’s Modest Mouse. Without trying to write hits, they wrote some amazing songs.
AMY LEE I’m a huge Bjork fan, so I pray that she wins just to see her get up onstage. But I think Modest Mouse will take it.
JIMMY KIMMEL Modest Mouse, because it was my son’s first rock T-shirt. Incidentally, mine was Huey Lewis and the News.
VEGAS ODDS FAVOR: A Ghost Is Born (2:1) assassinates Franz Ferdinand (5:2).
WHO SHOULD WIN: Franz Ferdinand should take this one out.
Best Hard-Rock Performance
Incubus “Megalomaniac”
Metallica “Some Kind of Monster”
Nickelback “Feelin’ Way Too Damn Good”
Slipknot “Duality”
Velvet Revolver “Slither”
RANDY JACKSON Slipknot. Maybe we should have them on American Idol.
BRANDON FLOWERS I really like that Metallica song — it stuck in my head after the documentary.
AMY LEE I love that Slipknot riff. It’s hard to balance really edgy death metal and make it commercial enough to listen to.
VEGAS ODDS FAVOR: Metallica (6:5)
WHO SHOULD WIN: “Slither.” It’s OK to cry-yi-yi, Axl.
Best Rock Song
Modest Mouse “Float On”
The Killers “Somebody Told Me”
Velvet Revolver “Fall to Pieces”
U2 “Vertigo”
Green Day “American Idiot”
BRANDON FLOWERS “Somebody Told Me” is great, but I think “Float On” and “Vertigo” are better.
DOUG ROBB Let’s face it: You just can’t get more rock than Velvet Revolver.
AMY LEE “Vertigo” totally pisses me off. “Uno, dos, tres, catorce”? … “One, two, three, fourteen …” It’s just so incredibly irritating. I gotta give props to Modest Mouse.
TRIUMPH Green Day. But if those guys are real punk rockers, then I’m hung like Marmaduke.
VEGAS ODDS FAVOR: Green Day (7:5) dookie it out with U2 (8:5).
WHO SHOULD WIN: “Float On.” Time for Boastful Mouse.
Best R&B Song
Prince “Call My Name”
Alicia Keys “You Don’t Know My Name”
Usher, featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris “Yeah!”
Usher, featuring Alicia Keys “My Boo”
Usher “Burn”
DOUG ROBB I don’t know much of his shit, but I gotta go with Prince. He’s the fucking man!
RANDY JACKSON “My Boo” is one of the best songs in the past ten years.
BRANDON FLOWERS “My Boo” is the worst song. It’s just terrible.
WILL.I.AM That motherfucker Usher got three songs in the same category?
FERGIE Alicia! My boy John Legend worked on that track, and he’s just ridiculous. It goes back to old R&B, and that’s nice.
TRIUMPH This category has more inbreeding than a puppy mill.
VEGAS ODDS FAVOR: “Yeah!” (6:5) and “You Don’t Know My Name” (7:5)
WHO SHOULD WIN: “My Boo.” It’s catchy. (But not “one of the best songs in the last ten years,” dawg.)
[Panel of Experts ]
1. Wyclef Jean Hip-hop singer
2. Fergie The Black Eyed Peas
3. Triumph The Insult Comic Dog
4. Doug Robb Hoobastank
5. Amy Lee Evanescence
6. Joe Perry Aerosmith
7. Josh Schwartz Creator of “The OC”
8. Jimmy Kimmel Talk-show host
9. Mario R&B singer
10. Randy Jackson “American Idol” judge
11. The Black Eyed Peas
12. Eve Rapper
13. Brandon Flowers The Killers