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[THE GRAMMYS]

Record of the Year

February 11, 2007|Ann Powers

Mary J. Blige, "Be Without You"

James Blunt, "You're Beautiful"

Dixie Chicks, "Not Ready to Make Nice"

Gnarls Barkley, "Crazy"

Corinne Bailey Rae, "Put Your Records On"

It's veterans versus newbies in this top category, and there's a lot of affection for strong-willed survivors Blige and the Chicks. Blunt has admitted that his song's as easy to hate as to love; Rae's is a summertime classic, but a little light, and she'll do better. "Crazy" spread like a virus, undeniable, and could surprise. But no matter how much the academy admires the guts of country's most determined crossover act, this is Miss Mary's year -- this award will be the diamond in her crown.

*

-- Ann Powers

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