The 61st Annual Grammy Awards are being held this Sunday, and with them will come a batch of new winners. As with every year, there are sure to be some deserving winners and some wildly undeserving winners. Predicting who will fall where is nearly impossible, yet still, I am up for the challenge. Thus are born my official Grammy predictions, which have been carefully curated, changed and fearfully decided on.
Album of the Year
Invasion of Privacy—Cardi B, By the Way, I Forgive You—Brandi Carlile, Scorpion—Drake, H.E.R—H.E.R, Beerbongs & Bentleys— Post Malone, Dirty Computer—Janelle Monae, Golden Hour— Kacey Musgraves, Black Panther: The Album— Various Artists.
Arguably the biggest award of the night, this year’s category features some stiff competition. Drake, Cardi B and Post Malone can be written almost completely off. While their nominations kind of make sense in the grand scheme of things, seeing any of the three win would be a complete shock.
H.E.R, Janelle Monaé and Black Panther fall next in line for me. Of the three, Dirty Computer probably has the best chance, though Black Panther certainly could sneak in there.
In the end, I think it comes down to Kacey Musgraves or Brandi Carlile. As many voters tend to vote based on genres, the nominees being so rap and R&B heavy may hurt the other albums’ chances. Those who vote for said genres will likely be splitting votes between all the aforementioned artists, leaving Golden Hour or By the Way, I Forgive You to take home the award.
Either would be completely well-deserved. Musgraves had one of the most critically acclaimed albums last year and pushed boundaries of country music like few others have done before her. Carlile’s Americana release was also well-received by critics, and her skillful penmanship on each album track may very well lead her to her first win.
Final Prediction: Golden Hour
Song of the Year
“All the Stars,” “Boo’d Up,” “God’s Plan,” “In My Blood,” “The Joke,” “The Middle,” “Shallow” and “This Is America.”
Unlike “Album,” the competition for “Song of the Year” is not particularly fierce. “Boo’d Up” and “The Middle,” though infectiously catchy in their own rights, are almost embarrassing nominees for an award celebrating songwriting.
“All the Stars,” “God’s Plan” and “In My Blood” all have fighting chances. The former two have commercial success on their side, while the latter’s over simplified message about anxiety has been seemingly eaten up by the general public.
In reality, the race towards “Song of the Year” is being run by “The Joke,” “Shallow” and “This Is America.” Childish Gambino’s politically-charged single sent waves throughout the country upon its release, though the song isn’t all that special when stripped from its video. “The Joke” is by far the most well written of the trio, so if voters choose to base their decisions on that, Carlile has it in the bag.
Final Prediction: “The Joke”
Record of the Year
“All the Stars”—SZA and Kendrick Lamar, “God’s Plan”—Drake, “I Like It”—Cardi B, “The Joke”—Brandi Carlile, “The Middle”—Zedd and Maren Morris, “Rockstar”—Post Malone, “Shallow”—Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, “This Is America”—Childish Gambino
Look familiar? The nominees for “Song” and “Record” certainly should not line up like this, but it’s our reality and sadly nothing can be done to change that.
This only makes it harder to predict what is going to happen. If Brandi Carlile manages to take home “Song” and “Album,” it would make a lot of sense for her to go three for three a la Adele in 2017. If not, I think “Shallow” may have the best chance. It’s on track to win the Oscar for “Best Original Song,” and managed to perform extremely well commercially for a soundtrack single. Voters will likely want to award “A Star is Born” somewhere, and “Record” seems like the place to do this.
“I Like It,” which was dubbed the song of the summer by many, is probably Cardi B’s best shot to take home an award on Sunday night. “God’s Plan,” “The Middle” and “Rockstar” are all right up there with it, as are “This Is America” and “All the Stars.”
The playing field for this category is almost dead even, so really anything could happen. Will voters feel confident enough awarding both honors to one song, or will the fact that nominations are almost identical cause the opposite?
Final Prediction: “Shallow”
Best New Artist
Dua Lipa, Luke Combs, Greta Van Fleet, H.E.R, Bebe Rexha, Chloe x Halle, Jorja Smith, Margo Price.
“Best New Artist” is one of the categories that is usually fairly easy to narrow down. In my opinion, the only true contenders are Dua Lipa, Greta Van Fleet, H.E.R and Chloe x Halle. Each have their own things going for them: Lipa is the most recognizable name on the list, Van Fleet is taking the rock world by storm, H.E.R was already honored with an “Album of the Year” nomination and Chloe x Halle opened for Beyonce. Of those, any could take it home.
Final Prediction: H.E.R
Best Pop Vocal Album
Camila—Camila Cabello, Meaning of Life—Kelly Clarkson, Sweetener—Ariana Grande, Shawn Mendes—Shawn Mendes, Beautiful Trauma—P!nk, Reputation—Taylor Swift
Camila Cabello and Kelly Clarkson probably aren’t gonna happen. Clarkson is an industry veteran who hasn’t done anything really special in years, and Cabello’s first effort was strong, but not strong enough to earn her her first Grammy.
P!nk could very well pull out a win, especially if voters are hesitant to award younger artists. Aside from that, Grande, Swift or Mendes winning are the most likely outcomes.
After snubbing her in the general field, voters may feel bad and choose Reputation (an outstanding album that very much deserves it). If they want to choose a younger artist, Grande or Mendes have it in the bag. Sweetener was all over the place at times, but remains Grande’s most generally well-received album to date. Shawn Mendes was nothing special from the “Stitches” singer, but it seems like the Recording Academy really wants to recognize him this year, and “Pop Vocal Album” is the most likely place for that to happen.
Final Prediction: Shawn Mendes
Best Pop Vocal Performance
“Better Now”—Post Malone, “Colors”—Beck, “God is a Woman”—Ariana Grande, “Havana (Live)”—Camila Cabello, “Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Going)”—Lady Gaga
Another category that can go one of many ways. If Gaga isn’t awarded in the big three, it’s very possible that the re-release of the title-track to 2016’s Joanne could manage a win. Another re-release, Cabello’s live version of “Havana” has less of a chance. The song was a hit no doubt, but it just seems too premature in her career to award Cabello.
While “Better Now” has a chance, I believe it will be a battle between “God is a Woman” and “Colors.” The Recording Academy loves Beck (see: his controversial 2015 “Album of the Year” victory over Beyoncé, so honoring him here would make sense. On the other hand, Grande walking away with nothing after the tumultuous (albeit successful) year she’s had seems unlikely. While her chances are good in “Pop Vocal Album,” I think the Max Martin produced “God is a Woman” is Grande’s best shot at her first Grammy.
Final Prediction: “God is a Woman”