February 13, 2006 12:00 PM

“Gold Digger”

Even more so than the Album of the Year lot, this is a better bunch than last year; any of these records would make a worthier winner than the Ray Charles-Norah Jones collaboration “Here We Go Again.” Let’s start, though, by throwing out Gorillaz. It’s a big surprise—and a bit of a stretch—that the virtual hip-hop group made the cut; they should feel good about the nomination. And as much as Stefani’s B-girl cheerleader anthem had us doing double backflips, it would be a little B-A-N-A-N-A-S if she took home this prestigious trophy. “We Belong Together” and “Gold Digger” spent a combined 24 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard pop chart, and although both were deserved smashes, they were so ubiquitous we’re a tad sick of them. That leaves Green Day, which, with only this single nod, was sorely undernominated after an exceptional year. Give it to the punks for poignantly capturing a nation’s disillusionment.

Best Male Pop Vocal

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