The Grammy Awards happen live at Staples Center at 5 p.m. Sunday (airing via tape-delay on CBS at 8 p.m. Pacific time). Below, a brief rundown of who should win — but very well may not — in the major categories.
Record of the year: All hail the perfectly crafted four-minute musical concoction. A performer's award, the nominees include an Australian white rapper (Iggy Azalea, nominated with collaborator Charlie XCX for "Fancy"), an Australian pop songwriter (Sia, for "Chandelier"), a British seducer, Sam Smith ("Stay With Me"), out-of-nowhere rising star Meghan Trainor ("All About That Bass") and everybody's favorite pop star, Taylor Swift.
Swift or Smith will likely snag this award (sales do matter), but this critic sure hopes that Sia's near-perfect song, "Chandelier," walks off with the Grammy.
FULL COVERAGE: Grammy Awards 2015
Album of the year: Long considered the most prestigious award, the nominees typically offer the most varied artistic range. This year those albums stretch from the melancholy rock of surprise nominee Beck's "Morning Phase" to Beyoncé's self-titled album, dropped on an unsuspecting public near the end of 2013.
The charming mama's boy Ed Sheeran earned a nod for his beat-box folk record "X," and the more charming, more seductive Pharrell made the cut with "Girl." Though the likely winner will be Smith's debut, "In the Lonely Hour," 2014 was undeniably Beyoncé's year (we just lived in it).
Song of the year: An award that honors the craft of songwriting, nominees include many artist-writers this year: Sia Furler was acknowledged for her song with Jesse Shatkin, "Chandelier." Trainor and collaborator Kevin Kadish busted through with the empowerment-lite track "All About That Bass."
Swift teamed with Max Martin and Shellback for the relentless "Shake It Off." Smith, James Napier and William Phillips got a nod for "Stay With Me" and Andrew Hozier-Byrne earned his first nomination for his career-defining soul rocker, "Take Me to Church." The winner? "Drunk in Love." But since the year's best song wasn't nominated, the trophy's gotta go to "Shake It Off."
Best new artist: Smith and Azalea are the popular favorites, and Smith will likely earn the victory. Among the other contenders — the forgettable English rock band Bastille, breakout country star Brandy Clark and Los Angeles sibling rock band Haim — Clark released the most artistically accomplished record. But the Angeleno in me sure hopes that Haim, whose "Days Are Gone" seldom misses, stands to accept.