Best R&B Album
Will Win/Should Win - Alicia Keys "Girl on Fire"
Could Win - John Legend "Love in the Future" or Faith Evans "R&B Divas"
Commentary - I have no idea what to do with these R&B Awards, which seem to be having issues the last several years (Just look at what is called Urban Contemporary). They need to just go back to either R&B and Contemporary R&B or R&B and Traditional R&B. I was not that complicated, and I can't figure out why they keep tinkering. Anyway, this looks like a two-way race between two artists who were once Grammy favorites. Both have returned with solid albums, but I think that overwhelming popularity of Girl of Fire will prevail here.
Best Urban Contemporary Album
Will Win - Rihanna "Unapologetic"
Should Win - Fantasia "Side Effects of You"
Could Win - Fantasia or Tamar Braxton "Love and War"
Commentary - The Braxton name carries some weight, and Fantasia is a previous winner with a great R&B effort (should have just been in regular R&B, but I will stop I promise). But I suspect that Rihanna, who jumps categories all the time, will pull out a win here.
Best R&B Performance
Will Win/Should Win - Miguel and Kendrick Lamar "How Many Drinks?"
Could Win - Anthony Hamilton "Best of Me" or Tamar Braxton "Love and War"
Commentary - I think that Kendrick Lamar could be shut out of the Rap awards due to a strong combination of veterans (Kanye and Jay-Z), and the new popular duo of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. But I do think he will take home a Grammy, as both he and Miguel are popular with the Recording Academy, both getting into the general field over the last two years. Their star power alone will win this, but the song is also the best of the bunch.
Best Traditional R&B Performance
Will Win - Gary Clark Jr. "Please Come Home"
Could Win/Should Win - Fantasia "Get It Right"
Commentary - There seems to be a consensus across the web that Clark is going to win here, and after listening to Please Come Home, I can understand why. But Fantasia is the only real R&B star in the bunch, Get It Right is catchy, and the album has more nods across the board showing more support. She is definitely the dark horse, and could end up being my pick come final list time.
Best R&B Song
Will Win - Justin Timberlake "Pusher Love Girl"
Could Win - Anthony Hamilton "Best of Me" or Fantasia "Without You"
Commentary - I am going with Timberlake here because he is well, Timberlake. But he is not really R&B, so voters here might to reward someone within the actual genre. If that is the case then Hamilton and Fantasia are the ones to look out for.