Picks and Pans Review: Coldplay

updated 02/09/2009 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/09/2009 AT 01:00 AM EST

Viva La Vida

bgwhite    



Lil Wayne
Tha Carter III

Ne-Yo
Year of the Gentleman

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
Raising Sand

Radiohead
In Rainbows

We're still scratching our heads over how Year of the Gentleman—a very good but not great R&B album—made the cut while Alicia Keys' superior As I Am didn't. But it's hard to argue with the four other contenders here. When you get right down to it, though, we admired more than loved Raising Sand, and Tha Carter III wasn't even the best rap CD of the year. That makes it a battle of the Brit alt-rock bands. Neither has taken home the big prize before, and both are deserving. But no disc breathed more life into pop in 2008 than Viva La Vida.

BEST NEW ARTIST

Adele

bgwhite    



Duffy

Jonas Brothers

Lady Antebellum

Jazmine Sullivan

First off, we have to rule out Jonas Brothers. As big of a breakout year as they had, how can you consider them new when they're on their third album? No matter how cute they are. Secondly, we're tossing out Lady Antebellum; the country trio's nomination feels more like the result of Nashville bloc voting. Still, there remain three strong contenders in Adele, Duffy and Sullivan. A case could be made for any of these divettes, all of whom owe a debt to last year's winner, Amy Winehouse. It seems Duffy, though, might end up being a one-album wonder with the retro-soulful Rockferry. Sullivan, displaying true grit both as a singer and a songwriter, definitely has the makings of a major R&B talent. But in the end, we're rooting for Adele. This 20-year-old English-woman, who fires up a torchy brand of pop, simply possesses one of the best voices to come around in a long time.

BEST MALE POP VOCAL

Kid Rock
"All Summer Long"

John Mayer
"Say"

Paul McCartney
"That Was Me"

Jason Mraz
"I'm Yours"

From Our Partners