Features

Charles in Charge?

EW picks the 2005 Grammy winners -- Ray just might nab a posthumous Album of the Year Grammy. But what about the rest of the categories?

Album of the Year

· Nominees American Idiot, Green Day; The Diary of Alicia Keys, Alicia Keys; Confessions, Usher; Genius Loves Company, Ray Charles; The College Dropout, Kanye West

· We're rooting for West and Green Day.

· We're betting on Charles.

Dropout is the year's most accomplished disc, but Charles' death makes him the sentimental fave.

Best New Artist

· Nominees Los Lonely Boys; Gretchen Wilson; Maroon 5; Joss Stone; Kanye West

· We're rooting for Wilson.

· We're betting on Maroon 5.

Maroon 5 are not, in fact, so very new (Songs About Jane came out in 2002), but they're the truest demographic-spanning phenomenon of the bunch.

Record of the Year

· Nominees ''Let's Get It Started,'' the Black Eyed Peas;

''Here We Go Again,'' Ray Charles and Norah Jones;

''American Idiot,'' Green Day

''Heaven,'' Los Lonely Boys;

''Yeah!'' Usher featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris

· We're rooting for Green Day.

· We're betting on Usher.

Grammy voters love nothing more than a monster hit, and Usher's crunk & B collaboration ''Yeah!'' was last year's biggest smash.

Song of the Year

· Nominees ''Daughters,'' John Mayer; ''If I Ain't Got You,'' Alicia Keys; ''Live Like You Were Dying,'' Tim Nichols and Craig Wiseman (Tim McGraw); ''The Reason,'' Daniel Estrin and Douglas Robb (Hoobastank); ''Jesus Walks,'' Miri Bin Ari, C. Smith, and Kanye West

· We're rooting for West.

· We're betting on Keys.

The Grammys love Keys (she won five awards in 2002), so look for her to take this songwriting prize.

Best Rap Album

· Nominees To the 5 Boroughs, Beastie Boys; The Black Album, Jay-Z; The Definition, LL Cool J; Suit, Nelly; The College Dropout, Kanye West

· We're rooting for Jay-Z.

· We're betting on Jay-Z.

Retired or not, Jay-Z seems like a sure bet: His ''final'' album was a critical and commercial hit, plus he's got industry cred as the new top suit at Def Jam.

Best Rock Album

· Nominees The Delivery Man, Elvis Costello & the Imposters;

American Idiot, Green Day; The Reason, Hoobastank; Hot Fuss, the Killers; Contraband, Velvet Revolver

· We're rooting for Green Day.

· We're betting on Green Day.

Unless the boomer vote boosts Elvis, Green Day's sweeping conceptual comeback album should snag this category.

Best Alternative Album

· Nominees Medulla, Björk; Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand; Good News for People Who Love Bad News, Modest Mouse; A Ghost Is Born, Wilco; Uh Huh Her, PJ Harvey

· We're rooting for Modest Mouse.

· We're betting on Modest Mouse.

Björk's too kooky, Franz are too new, PJ's too intense, and Wilco . . . well, A Ghost Is Born is no Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

Best Country Album

· Nominees Van Lear Rose, Loretta Lynn; Live Like You Were Dying, Tim McGraw; Tambourine, Tift Merritt; Be Here, Keith Urban; Here for the Party, Gretchen Wilson

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