Now, let’s move on to the R&B category, in which there will almost certainly be a bunch of first-time winners.
BEST R&B PERFORMANCE
Thank You | Estelle
Gonna Be Alright (F.T.B.) | Robert Glasper Experiment Featuring Ledisi
I Want You | Luke James
Adorn | Miguel
Climax | Usher
GRAMMY PICKS: Usher’s got an armful of Grammys, and “Climax” was one of the best-reviewed songs of the year. Ordinarily, this would be a shoo-in, and there’s still a solid chance that he’ll win the award (and leave poor Miguel as the india.arie of this year’s ceremony.) However, due to Miguel’s multiple nominations, I’m gonna give the (relative) newcomer the edge in this category.
BIG MONEY PICKS: “Climax” and “Adorn” are both fantastic, well-performed songs. I’d be fine if the award went in either direction.
BEST TRADITIONAL R&B PERFORMANCE
Lately | Anita Baker
Love On Top | Beyoncé
Wrong Side Of A Love Song | Melanie Fiona
Real Good Hands | Gregory Porter
If Only You Knew | SWV
GRAMMY PICKS: It’s the old guard vs. the (relatively) young blood in this category. Anita Baker’s successful comeback vs. Beyonce’s “Love on Top,” Billboard’s #1 single of R&B. For several reasons-particularly Beyonce’s puzzling shutout last year-I’m saying Mrs. Carter takes home the Grammy gold.
BIG MONEY PICKS: Beyonce’s octave-stretching, key-changing bravura performance probably should win, but Anita’s cool spin on a Tyrese song and SWV’s elegant version of Patti LaBelle’s 1983 #1 both deserve mention.
BEST R&B SONG
Adorn | Miguel Pimentel, songwriter
Beautiful Surprise | Tamia Hill, Claude Kelly & Salaam Remi, songwriters
Heart Attack | Benjamin Levin, Rico Love & Tremaine Neverson, songwriters
Pray For Me | Antonio Dixon, Kenny Edmonds, Anthony Hamilton & Patrick “jQue” Smith, songwriters (Anthony Hamilton)
Refill | Darhyl “DJ” Camper, Elle Varner & Andrew “Pop” Wansel, songwriters (Elle Varner)
GRAMMY PICKS: Did I just say that Miguel was gonna be india.arie-d. My bad. This award has his name written all over it (a clue: “Adorn” is also nominated in the prestigious Song of the Year category.)
BIG MONEY PICKS: “Adorn” is one of the best-written songs of recent years, regardless of genre. Book it for Miguel.
BEST URBAN CONTEMPORARY ALBUM
Fortune | Chris Brown
Kaleidoscope Dream | Miguel
Channel Orange | Frank Ocean
GRAMMY PICKS: Did the NARAS committee, at the last moment, come to the realization of “oh shit, we have a category to fill” with the Best Urban Contemporary Album category? This category’s pretty barren, with only three nominees. Eh, does it really matter? This album had Frank Ocean’s name written on it practically ever since Channel Orange came out.
BIG MONEY PICKS: Anyone other than Chris Brown. PLEASE.
BEST R&B ALBUM
Black Radio | Robert Glasper Experiment
Back To Love | Anthony Hamilton
Write Me Back | R. Kelly
Beautiful Surprise | Tamia
Open Invitation | Tyrese
GRAMMY PICKS: The all-star Black Radio is exactly the kind of album that Grammy voters salivate over. An accomplished musician surrounding himself with other talented vocalists and musicians. Although Robert Glasper has been around for quite some time, the mainstream has only recently started to take notice, and a Grammy would boost his profile tremendously.
BIG MONEY PICKS: I don’t know if I’m ready to welcome R. Kelly back to the Grammy stage, but damn if Write Me Back wasn’t a fantastic album. I’m not mad at Robert Glasper, though.
The biggies are up next!!