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In the hotly contested Best Album Notes category, our own also-ran Bud Scoppa, who lost last year for his Little Feat notes, is a shoo-in to receive yet another nom for his comprehensive liners on Columbia's Simon & Garfunkel box set.

KEYS TO GRAMMY KINGDOM

Alicia Looks To Lead the Pack When Nominations Are Announced
It's Alicia Keys and everybody else at next year's Grammys.

If you were laying odds on the 44th annual awards ceremony, it would be a good bet Clive Davis' latest soul ingenue will be up at L.A.'s Staples Center podium more than once come Feb. 27. Nominations will be announced at a press conference on Friday morning, Jan. 4.

Keys' "Songs in A Minor" and her hit single, "Fallin'," could well emulate Davis' achievement with Carlos Santana in 1999, when the veteran guitarist nailed eight Grammys, including Record of the Year and Album of the Year.

Keys could well nab all four major awards—Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist—as well as assorted R&B categories.

Other Album of the Year candidates (released between Oct. 1, 2000-Sept. 30, 2001) include Bob Dylan's critically acclaimed "Love and Theft" (Columbia), U2's "All That You Can't Leave Behind" (Island/IDJ; which came out within the eligibility date, though the single, "Beautiful Day," won last year), "O Brother Where Art Thou?" (Mercury Nashville/IDJ) and OutKast's groundbreaking "Stankonia" (Arista).

Keys' album could well pull an Ichiro Suzuki (who nabbed both Rookie of the Year and MVP) and end up on top, though there is a precedent for a soundtrack like "O Brother" in previous winners "The Bodyguard," "Saturday Night Fever," "The Concert for Bangladesh" and Henry Mancini's "Peter Gunn." Dylan's "Time Out of Mind" was honored in 1997 in this category, while albums by U2 and OutKast just made it under the wire to be eligible this year.

Dark horses could include Linkin Park's multi-Platinum "Hybrid Theory" (Warner Bros.), Mary J. Blige's highly praised "No More Drama" (MCA), Nickelback's "Silver Side Up" (Roadrunner/IDJ), perennial Grammy fave Diana Krall's "The Look of Love" (Verve), Usher's "8701" (Arista) or, in a post-Sept. 11 universe, Enya's soothing, new-agey "A Day Without Rain" (Reprise).

Aside from "Fallin'," Record of the Year candidates include Usher's "U Remind Me," Nelly Furtado's "I'm Like a Bird," Staind's "It's Been Awhile," Five for Fighting's "Superman," Moby/Gwen Stefani's "South Side," Eve/Gwen Stefani's "Let Me Blow Ya Mind," Missy Elliott's "Get Ur Freak On," Mary J. Blige's "Family Affair," Enya's "Only Time," Elton John's "I Need Love," U2's "Walk On" and Train's "Drops of Jupiter."

Aside from Keys, the Best New Artist category could include Nelly Furtado, Linkin Park, Nickelback, Lifehouse, India.Arie, Puddle of Mudd, the Gorillaz or Bubba Sparxxx. Don't look for critics' faves but not yet commercial smashes Ryan Adams or Pete Yorn to get a nod, though.

In the hotly contested Best Album Notes category, our own also-ran Bud Scoppa, who lost last year for his Little Feat notes, is a shoo-in to receive yet another nom for his comprehensive liners on Columbia's Simon & Garfunkel box set.

Finally, we'll bet ya a sawbuck that 11-time Grammy winner Jimmy Sturr gets a Best Polka nod for his latest epic, "Gone Polka" (Rounder), which just beat the eligibility deadline with its Sept. 25 release.

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