Rock Hall Nominees: The Locks, the Likelys & the Longshots

Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails performs in Paris
David Wolff-Patrick/Redferns via Getty Images

Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails performs at Zenith de Paris on May 29, 2014 in Paris, France. 

It's a little fun for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame watchers to predict who's going to be nominated each fall.

It's a lot more fun to figure out which of the nominees will actually get in. 

With Green Day, nine inch nails and N.W.A. on the ballot, this year's group of finalists shows an even firmer turn into the 90s while still keeping some 60s and 70s stalwarts hovering hopefully in the mix. Someone on the nominating committee really wants the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Chic to make it in, it seems.

With the ballots are just going out and the public vote beginning, we thought we'd look ahead to December and take a stab at pegging which of these nominees will be gripping trophies and thanking their parents, their bandmates and God next April in Cleveland...

See Photos From the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2014 Induction Ceremony

The Locks: Green Day opened the 2012 ceremony with "Letterbomb," then inducted Guns N' Roses. A coincidence? We think not. Billie Joe and the boys can start getting measured for their tuxes now...If the inductions were taking place in New York or L.A. nine inch nails might be a maybe. But it's in Cleveland, where Trent Reznor started his music career and even appeared in the 1987 film "Light of Day." Could there be a more perfect fit? The voters, who are also getting an earful of his new "Gone Girl" soundtrack, will agree...All those hosannas that followed Lou Reed's October 2013 death, just a couple weeks after the 2014 Rock Hall nominees were announced, will push him through as a solo artist and make him a two-timer after the Velvet Underground's induction in 1996.

The As Likely As Nots: It could finally be Joan Jett & the Blackhearts' turn. The venue would be appropriate; she did star in the Cleveland-set "Light of Day," after all and would be a welcome inductee in a town that loves its rock 'n' roll...Stevie Ray Vaughan has the cred and love of his peers and an enduring fan base that could tilt the vote much as the Kiss Army did with this year's class...Sting is already in with the Police but has formidable credentials as a solo artist -- as long as being a Broadway mogul with "The Last Ship" doesn't compromise his rock 'n' roll status...The Smiths seem overdue and are certainly at a higher level of profile right now with Morrissey's new album and recent health dramas and Johnny Marr's upcoming second solo set. But the Rock Hall has also seemed a little lukewarm to post-60s British bands...N.W.A. certainly has the right kind of defiant attitude to be one of rap's Rock Hall entries and could get some juice from the "Straight Outta Compton" biopic.

The Longshots: Most of these acts have been passed on by voters before and haven't generated enough new interest to boost their prospects -- though Chic could benefit from Nile Rogers' raised profile with Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams...The Mike Bloomfield box set "From His Head To His Heart to His Hands" shed some welcome light on the deserving Paul Butterfield Blues Band, but it's not going to happen the same year Vaughan is on the ballot...Despite having Motown's No. 1 Hot 100 hit the Marvelettes don't have quite the same cache as their already inducted labelmates...The voting body still hasn't really gotten its head around prog rock, much less the even more esoteric electronics of Kraftwerk's pioneering work...And the Spinners, War and Bill Withers continue to seem under the radar.

So assuming the Rock Hall goes with its usual six performing inductees, expect to see Green Day, Joan Jett, nine inch nails, Lou Reed, Sting and Steve Ray Vaughan mounting the dias. See you back here in December to see if we're right...