Lady Gaga (photo by Kristian Dowling/Getty Images

 
By Jon Bream
My prediction: You will hear the names Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Black Eyed Peas often tonight during the Grammy nominations concert.
For the second consecutive year, the nominees will be announced during a live hour-long concert (8 p.m. on CBS). LL Cool J is the host, and performers include Nick Jonas & the Administration, Sugarland, Black Eyed Peas and Maxwell. DJ David Guetta will be spinning discs as well.
Predicting the nominations is tougher than picking the winners. But here my best guesses for three major categories. Remember the eligibility period is Oct. 1, 2008 through Aug. 31, 2009. (Yes, that’s 11 months; don’t ask why the Grammys changed the rules this year.)
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Shoo-ins are Taylor Swift’s “Fearless,” Black Eyed Peas’ “The END” and probably Lady Gaga’s “The Fame.” Since the nominees in these three categories are chosen by a blue-ribbon panel of judges, don’t be surprised if there is one hipster choice such as Phoenix’s “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.” Other contenders include Pink’s “Funhouse,” Beyonce’s “I Am… Sasha Fierce,” U2’s “No Line on the Horizon,” Kings of Leon’s “Only By the Night” and Green Day’s “21st Century Breakdown.” An outside contender could be Kanye West’s “808s & Heartbreak” -- unless his behavior at various awards ceremonies has completely soured the nominating panel.
RECORD OF THE YEAR
Expect the finals to include BEP’s “I Gotta Feeling,” Taylor’s “You Belong with Me” and Lady Gaga's “Poker Face.” Other contenders could be “Halo” by Beyonce, “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon, “21 Guns” by Green Day, something from Pink or possibly Jay-Z’s “Run This Town.”
BEST NEW ARTIST
If she’s eligible, Lady Gaga should walk away with this trophy (she may not be eligible because she was nominated for a single last year) but other names in the mix could be Zac Brown Band, Keri Hilson, Drake, Jeremih, MGMT and even our own Owl City, which might have been a tad too late to be in the race. Don't be surprised if soulful but obscure Diane Birch makes the cut. 
Who do you think will be the finalists in these categories?
 
 

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