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52nd Annual Grammy Awards

It’s almost time for the Grammy Awards, which means gazing into the TV for a few hours and listening to’a myriad of acceptance speeches from the year’s most’successful artists.

The 52nd installment of the award show honors the best musicians in a variety of’categories, ranging from Best New Artist to Best Chamber Music Performance.

The showcase nominates’its tradition of nominating’the best five artists in each category based’on suggestions from more than 150 experts from The Recording Academy. Members of the academy include experts in the music industry who base their decisions not on sales or popularity but on the quality of the work.

This year’s Record of the Year nominees pit club hits vs. emotional jams, including stars like Beyonc’eacute;, Kings of Leon, the Black Eyed Peas, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga.’

Based upon Swift’s award gobbling at other shows last year, she seems destined to win. Don’t be surprised if Lady Gaga pulls an upset, though. If Swift wins, Jay-Z may have to restrain Kayne West from speaking his mind on stage – like he did at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.

Speaking of Jay-Z, the’hip-hop stalwart is nominated for Best Rap Solo Performance against Mos Def’s ‘Casa Bey,’ Eminem’s ‘Beautiful’ and Drake’s ‘Best I Ever Had.’

Four of the five artists picked for Best Record are nominees for Album of the Year, including old-schooler Dave Matthews Band for its new album ‘Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King.’

But an emerging band, Kings of Leon, may surprise with its song ‘Use Somebody,’ which is nominated for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

The Nashville rockers’ current album, ‘Only By The Night,’ went platinum in the U.S. last year with hits like ‘Sex On Fire,’ ‘Crawl’and ‘Notion.’

Best New Artist nominees include: the Zac Brown Band, former American Idol’contestant Keri Hilson, MGMT, Silversun Pickups and The Ting Tings. Chances are good Hilson takes the prize, but it would be nice to see Silversun Pickups or MGMT pick up the award with their trendy feel.

Best Alternative Album will be a close call between Death Cab for Cutie’s album, ‘The Open Door,’ and Phoenix’s smash-hit record, ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix,’ which’garnered a No. 3 vote for top 25 albums of 2009 from Rolling Stone.

The Grammys always have a few obscure or bizarre’category names. This year,’categories like Best Jazz Solo and Best Banda Album should make for a chuckle or two. ‘Banda’ is a traditional brass-based form of’Mexican music.

And while it seems’overplayed at this point, no awards show since Michael Jackson’s death would’be complete without a tribute to the King of Pop.’

According to the official Grammy Web site, Usher and Smokey Robinson are’scheduled to sing a song’featuring Jackson’s voice, and it will be accompanied by a’short 3D film.’

Don’t have any 3D’glasses laying around? Target retail stores are providing the’public with millions of free pairs so that viewers at home can enjoy.

I know I will.