February 25, 1991 12:00 PM

It’s Grammy time again (CBS, Wed., Feb. 20, 8 P.M. ET). Sinéad O’Connor announced she’s boycotting the ceremonies because they are so blatantly mercantile. Of course, in the process she has gotten more free publicity than if she had just stayed home quietly with her conscience. In any event, here are my predictions for the four major categories. RECORD OF THE YEAR: A quick glance at the odd nominees in the R & B/rap categories should confirm just how out of touch the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences is with contemporary music. So I think they’ll vote for M.C. Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” in a fatuously token attempt to prove how hip they are. ALBUM OF THE YEAR: The roster indicates just what a feeble year 1990 was for pop music. Perennial favorite Quincy Jones should walk away the winner, even though no one listened to his Back on the Block. SONG OF THE YEAR: A lock for Bette Midler’s “From a Distance.” Exactly the type of schmaltzy ballad the Academy slobbers over. BEST NEW ARTIST: The sterile gloss of Wilson Phillips will draw a lot of votes. But after the Milli Vanilli flap, you can bet that the category’s one certifiable talent, Mariah Carey, will waltz home with the paperweight. Personally I think Ray Charles should have swept all categories with “You’ve got the right one, baby. Uh-huh!”

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