Grammy Showdown: 2012

Rolling Stone asked a panel of experts to make their predictions for music's big prize

By |

Grammy Showdown, Adele, Bruno Mars,  Wilco, Nicki Minaj
PHOTO: Kevin Mazur/Ian Gavan/C Flanigan/Michael Stewart/Getty Images

Can Adele pull off a clean sweep? Will Kanye West win solo or with big bro Jay-Z? Our all-star panel – and a Las Vegas oddsmaker – break it down.

Panel of ExpertsAdam Lambert, Common, Mark Hoppus of Blink-182, producer-DJ Avicii and Kelly Clarkson

Album of the Year

Adele

21
Adele

Foo Fighters

Wasting Light
Foo Fighters

Lady Gaga

Born This Way
Lady Gaga

Bruno Mars

Doo-Wop & Hooligans
Bruno Mars

Rihanna

Loud
Rihanna

 

The Experts Say

Mark Hoppus

Mark Hoppus
Adele's album was inescapable this year. Housewives, hipsters and people who normally listen to hip-hop all love it.

Common

Common
I can put Adele's album on and listen to the whole thing. But Lady Gaga may pull off an upset.

Avicii

Avicii
Bruno Mars had a shitload of hits on Doo-Wops & Hooligans, and he's so talented. His melodies really get to me.

 

Vegas Odds Favor

Adele 1-2

 

Who Should Win: Adele

After owning the charts for more than a year, Adele's hit-stacked LP is all but guaranteed to take the prize.

Record of the Year

Adele

"Rolling in the Deep"
Adele

Bon Iver

"Holocene"
Bon Iver

Bruno Mars

"Grenade" 
Bruno Mars

Mumford and Sons

"The Cave"
Mumford & Sons

Katy Perry

"Firework" 
Katy Perry

 

The Experts Say

Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert
"Firework" is really inspiring. I enjoyed hearing Katy Perry expand her range and comfort level.

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson
I don't think radio has played a song like "Rolling in the Deep" since Tina Turner. It brings back an old-school vibe, but it's also contemporary.

Common

Common
There's a certain originality to Mumford & Sons' sound, and "The Cave" embodies that. It takes me to another vibe.

 

Vegas Odds Favor

Adele 2-3

 

Who Should Win: Adele

21's undeniable single united virtually all humans with a retro-mendous hook and a soul-baring vocal for the ages.

Best Rock Album

Jeff Beck

Rock 'n' Roll Party Honoring Les Paul
Jeff Beck

Foo Fighters

Wasting Light 
Foo Fighters

Kings of Leon

Come Around Sundown 
Kings of Leon

Red Hot Chili Peppers

I'm With You 
Red Hot Chili Peppers

Wilco

The Whole Love 
Wilco

 

The Experts Say

Mark Hoppus

Mark Hoppus
Foo Fighters are the quintessential rock band. They came back with the same energy and charisa on Wasting Light.

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson
The Foo Fighters album was good, but Kings of Leon's sound feels a little more classic.

Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert
The Chili Peppers album had disco bass lines, double claps and Anthony Kiedis being cool. They're timeless.

 

Vegas Odds Favor

Wilco 8-5

 

Who Should Win: Foo Fighters

Dave Grohl and Nevermind producer Butch Vig delivered a supercharged blast.

Best Rap Album

Kanye and Jay-Z

Watch the Throne
Jay-Z and Kanye West

Foo Fighters

Tha Carter IV 
Foo Fighters

Lupe Fiasco

Lasers 
Lupe Fiasco

Nicki Minaj

Pink Friday 
Nicki Minaj

Kanye West

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy 
Kanye West

 

The Experts Say

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson
Tha Carter IV, because of the song "How to Love." It's Lil Wayne doing an R&B ballad!

Common

Common
Kanye's album is  a complete project that's really profound. To go from 808s & Heartbreaks to that just shows how gifted he is.

Avicii

Avicii 
Jay-Z and Kanye delivered with Watch the Throne. The tracks sounded really fresh – and I was blown away by their tour.

 

Vegas Odds Favor

Jay-Z and Kanye West 1-1

 

Who Should Win: Kanye West

Let's have a toast for the douchebags! The Throne ruled, but Fantasy is Ye's masterpiece.

Best Pop Solo Performance

Adele

"Someone Like You"
Adele

Lady Gaga

"Yoü and I" 
Lady Gaga

Bruno Mars

"Grenade" 
Bruno Mars

Katy Perry

"Firework" 
Katy Perry

Pink

"F--kin' Perfect" 
Pink

 

The Experts Say

Mark Hoppus

Mark Hoppus
I think Adele will get the top awards, and this one will go to Bruno Mars. "Grenade" was a big song last winter that stuck around for a long time. It wasn't a flash in the pan.

Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert 
When I first heard "Someone Like You," I was sobbing. If something can move you to tears, I think that's beautiful.

Common

Common 
I thought Pink's song was really clever. It's pop, but it's called "Fuckin' Perfect," you know? She combined the rawness of what she's saying with a catchy melody. It's a good combination.

Avicii

Avicii 
I'm almost nagging on about it, but "Someone Like You" is just ridiculous. That vocal shows how talented Adele is.

 

Vegas Odds Favor

Adele 6-5

 

Who Should Win: Adele

The breakup ballad to end all breakup ballads. An unsteady heart grounds itself with rocking-chair piano runs and a chorus that bursts with the ache of moving on: "Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead." Hurts so good!

Best Rap Song

Kanye West

"All of the Lights"
Kanye West

Wiz Khalifa

"Black and Yellow" 
Wiz Khalifa

Dr. Dre and Eminem

"I Need a Doctor" 
Dr. Dre feat. Eminem, Skylar Grey

Chris Brown, Busta Rhymes, Lil' Wayne

"Look at Me Now" 
Chris Brown feat. Lil Wayne, Busta Rhymes

Jay-Z and Kanye West

"Otis" 
Jay-Z and Kanye West

 

The Experts Say

Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert
I know "Look at Me Now" is a Chris Brown song, but when Busta Rhymes comes in, he just blows everybody out of the water. It's really nice to hear him back on a track.

Common

Common 
Jay-Z and Kanye took a great sample and just rhymed over it – no hook, no breakdowns, nothing. That's the essence of rap.

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson 
My older brother loves Dr. Dre, so that's all I had to listen to when I was a kid. And I love how blunt Eminem is on this song. He gets away with it.

Mark Hoppus

Mark Hoppus 
"All of the Lights" is undeniable. I might have sung on that song and had no idea. When you release a video and have to warn people that it may cause seizures, you know it's special.

 

Vegas Odds Favor

Kanye West 6-5

 

Who Should Win: Jay-Z and Kanye

The inventors of swag take back their title, big-upping luxury brands and vacation spots over a killer sample from Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness."

Best Rock Song

Coldplay

"Every Tearddrop Is a Waterfall"
Coldplay

Decemberists

"Down by the Water" 
The Decemberists

Foo Fighters

"Walk" 
Foo Fighters

Mumford and Sons

"The Cave" 
Mumford & Sons

Radiohead

"Lotus Flower" 
Radiohead

 

The Experts Say

Avicii

Avicii
I did a remix of "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall." I liked it straightaway, but I really grew to love it from hearing the vocal so much. That track delivers what Coldplay is about.

Common

Common 
"Lotus Flower" is another Radiohead song that solidifies their prowess in the game: their presence, creativity and special abilities. Thom Yorke is doing his thing.

Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert 
"Lotus Flower" is beautiful, but it doesn't feel like a rock song. It's probably "Walk" by Foo Fighters for me. That's a really solid tune.

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson 
"The Cave" is awesome. I think Mumford & Sons deserve a lot of credit. They've done a really great job, and they sound completely different from everyone else right now.

 

Vegas Odds Favor

Coldplay 3-2

 

Who Should Win: Radiohead

The Foos were heavier, the Mumfords were strummier, but no band was as awesomely weird as Radiohead were on this percussion-heavy tune.

Best New Artist

The Band Perry

The Band Perry

Bon Iver

Bon Iver 

J Cole

J. Cole 

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj 

Skrillex

Skrillex 

 

The Experts Say

Mark Hoppus

Mark Hoppus
It's so strange that Bon Iver is nominated as a new artist. Skrillex had a phenomenal year. From playing small clubs to headlining giant festivals, he seems to be on everybody's brain lately.

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson 
I'm a big fan of Nicki Minaj, but the Band Perry has a good chance. Their song "If I Die Young" crossed genres.

Avicii

Avicii 
Skrillex mainstreamed dubstep, which is a remarkable accomplishment. I know him, and his life this year has been insane.

Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert 
Nicki Minaj is a star. I love how she's really aggressive when she raps, and she has a point of view both lyrically and visually. "Super Bass" was a great move for her.

 

Vegas Odds Favor

The Band Perry 7-5

 

Who Should Win: Skrillex

A nomination for dubstep is historic enough, but with the genre peaking right on time, Skrillex could shock Nicki Minaj superfans. He's the sound of now.