Grammy’s: Who Will and Should Win

This year’s Grammy’s will be a clash of the titans: Adele vs. Beyoncé, with some steep competition from some other big names like Rihanna, Drake, and Justin Bieber in the other major categories. 

But who will come out on top? Who could spoil? And who deserves to? That’s what I’m here to find out. Let’s take a look through some of the major categories. 

 Album of the Year:

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The Nominees:

  • 25, Adele 
  • Lemonade, Beyoncé
  • Purpose, Justin Bieber
  • Views, Drake
  • A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, Sturgill Simpson

Who Will Win: Beyoncé

Who Could Win: Sturgill Simpson

Who Should Win: Beyoncé

A lot of people pegged this to be a major battle between 25 and Lemonade, and while I don’t think that logic is wrong per say, if there’s a category I think Adele stands the least chance of winning it’s this one. Here’s why. 

25, though a record breaking success by all accounts was not as warmly embraced as Lemonade, nor did it really have the longevity to really sustain it within pop culture. It’s true that it’s Adele’s second Diamond scanning album, and the best selling album since her last record which sweeped the Grammy’s in its year. However, it doesn’t have the broad appeal within the categories like Lemonade does. Beyoncé is not just nominated for Album, Song and Record of the Year, but she also popped up in places like Best Rock Performance, Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Rap/Sung Performance whereas 25 only amassed two other nominations in just the pop categories, where she stands a better chance at winning.

Beyoncé has only one award from the major categories among her record setting 20 Grammy’s (Song of the Year for “Single Ladies”) and five albums in, it’s time to give her an Album of the Year prize. Especially considering her snub for 2013’s self-titled album. 25 is also not a major step forward artistically in the same way Lemonade was, and I think voters will recognize Beyoncé’s efforts to not just redefine her artistry, but her success at raising the bar for other artists as well.

If the Grammy’s want to go for a curveball in this category, as they’ve done before with Beck’s Morning Phase, I believe Beyoncé’s biggest competition is Sturgill Simpson who edged out the likes of Rihanna and Kanye West to nab a slot here alongside other heavyweights like Drake and Justin Bieber. That’s something to pay attention to, but in the end I do think Lemonade‘s broad appeal, critical acclaim and the overall narrative that it’s time to award Beyoncé with a top Grammy award, will be too irresistible for voters. She’s undeniable. 

Record of the Year:

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The Nominees:

  • “Hello,” Adele 
  • “Formation,” Beyoncé 
  • “7 Years,” Lukas Graham
  • “Work,” Rihanna featuring Drake
  • “Stressed Out,” Twenty One Pilots

Who Will Win: Adele 

Who Could Win: Beyoncé

Who Should Win: Beyoncé 

In this round of Adele vs. Beyoncé, I think Adele has a bit of an edge, though I would argue that it’s a lot closer than some might think. “Hello” started the whirlwind of the 25 press tour, broke records and spent a good deal of time at #1 on the Hot 100. If she’s not going to win Album of the Year, this might be their way of giving her one of the nights biggest prizes and still being able to give Album of the Year to Lemonade, even though “Formation” is far and away the best of the bunch. I wouldn’t be shocked if “Formation” won considering the song’s message and overall quality, but I’d rather be wrong in my predictions than get my hopes up and predict the Grammy’s would step out of their comfort zone. 

Song of the Year:

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The Nominees:

  • “Formation”
  • “Hello”
  • “I Took A Pill In Ibiza”
  • “Love Yourself”
  • “7 Years” 

Who Will Win: “Love Yourself”

Who Could Win: “7 Years” 

Who Should Win: “Formation”

I think “Love Yourself” takes this if for no other reason than for its similarities to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud,” which won this prize last year. Sheeran actually has a co-writing credit on “Love Yourself.” This award goes to songwriters, so that’s definitely going to factor a lot in the voting I’m sure. “My momma don’t like you and she likes everyone” is one of those lyrics that gets superglued into your minds. 

“7 Years” might be the threat seeing as it fits the “Thinking Out Loud” bill, and that song was (disgustingly) everywhere. But it’s “Formation” that truly deserves to take this prize, and while I think it stands a better chance at winning than some (myself included) are giving it, I’ve had my heart broken by the Grammy’s too many times to go out on a limb and predict they’d go out of their comfort zones when given safer options. “Formation” is a masterpiece, and a lot of that is in part to the expert songwriting. Find me another song that was able the blend the amount of themes into one, catchy as hell final product in the same way. 

Best New Artist

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The Nominees:

  • Kelsey Ballerini 
  • The Chainsmokers 
  • Chance the Rapper
  • Maren Morris 
  • Anderson .Paak

Who Will Win: Chance the Rapper

Who Could Win: The Chainsmokers 

Who Should Win: Chance the Rapper

Consensus might be that The Chainsmokers take this after having multiple hits last year (“Don’t Let Me Down,” “Closer,” etc.) and given this categories tendency to pick some truly awful winners (look no further than last year’s recipient), I don’t think that’s all that misguided. However, this category doesn’t always go for the most populist choice; remember when Esperanza Spalding won over Justin Bieber? 

Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book was historic and critically acclaimed in its own right, and truly deserved a nomination in Album of the Year. I think voters will respond more to Chance’s body of work rather than the quick little singles (regardless of how successful they were) from The Chainsmokers, who have voiced their feelings against releasing a full album. 

Best Pop Solo Performance

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The Nominees:

  • “Hello,” Adele 
  • “Hold Up,” Beyoncé
  • “Love Yourself,” Justin Bieber
  • “Piece By Piece (Idol Version),” Kelly Clarkson
  • “Dangerous Woman,” Ariana Grande 

Who Will Win: Adele 

Who Could Win: Kelly Clarkson 

Who Should Win: I would be happy with Ariana Grande, Beyoncé or Kelly Clarkson 

In a perfect world, this would be a race between Grande, Beyoncé and Clarkson, all of whom deliver impassioned performances on great songs, with special praise reserved for the latter who was nominated for a live recording. And while Adele’s sweeping vocals on “Hello” elevate it beyond its simple structure and composition, it’s a little disappointing she’s destined to win this in the same way Sam Smith did for “Stay With Me” given the overall richness of the category. 

That being said, do watch out for Clarkson who is no stranger to winning Grammy’s. That live element could really push her over the edge; it went viral and made the song a hit despite being a year or so old by the time she performed it on American Idol

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

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The Nominees:

  • “Closer,” The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey
  • “7 Years,” Lukas Graham
  • “Work,” Rihanna featuring Drake
  • “Cheap Thrills,” Sia featuring Sean Paul
  • “Stressed Out,” Twenty One Pilots 

Who Will Win: The Chainsmokers and Halsey

Who Could Win: Rihanna and Drake

Who Should Win: Sia and Sean Paul 

Try and imagine “Grammy winners The Chainsmokers” and/or “Grammy Winner Halsey” without grimacing. Go ahead, because that’s probably where we’re headed. “Closer” spent a record breaking amount of time atop the Billboard Hot 100 despite being one of the worst offerings from last year, but so it goes. That being said, watch out for “Work.” Rihanna had a  hell of a 2016 and after three false starts, “Work” kicked the Anti era off with a bang, becoming last years first, real hit. 

While I would love for Rihanna to win here, my heart belongs to “Cheap Thrills” which saved us all from a dry and dreadful summer full of “Can’t Stop The Feeling!” Sia has written hits for Rihanna and other artists, and “Cheap Thrills” was her first #1 which would make it really special for her to win an award for a song she wrote for herself. Plus, who would have thought Sia and Sean Paul would sound so good together? 

Best Pop Vocal Album:

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The Nominees:

  • 25, Adele 
  • Purpose, Justin Bieber 
  • Dangerous Woman, Ariana Grande
  • Confident, Demi Lovato
  • This Is Acting, Sia

Who Will Win: Adele 

Who Should Win: Ariana Grande 

I think this the one we can all bet on Adele winning without second guessing ourselves, which again is a shame because 25 isn’t the best of its category. That would be Dangerous Woman in this case, which is not only the best and the one that showed significant growth for its artists while remaining cohesive, but truly has the best vocals and range of those nominated here. I would like to see Adele do some of those vocal gymnastics Ariana accomplishes on songs like “Touch It” and “Into You.” 

Best Rap Album:

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The Nominees:

  • Coloring Book, Chance the Rapper 
  • And The Anonymous Nobody, De La Soul 
  • Views, Drake 
  • Blank Face LP, ScHoolboy Q
  • The Life of Pablo, Kanye West

Who Will Win: Drake

Who Could Win: Chance the Rapper

Who Should Win: Chance the Rapper 

Views was one of last year’s biggest albums, and unfortunately I think that narrative will take hold and eclipse the deserving winner, Coloring Book, from taking this award. It was innovative, fresh and jubilant in a way that Views wasn’t, and truly wished that it was. 

Best Alternative Music Album:

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The Nominees

  • 22, A Million, Bon Iver
  • Blackstar, David Bowie
  • The Hope Six Demolition Project, PJ Harvey
  • Post Pop Depression, Iggy Pop
  • A Moon Shaped Pool, Radiohead

Who Will Win: David Bowie

Who Should Win: Bon Iver 

I don’t anyone is taking this from the late David Bowie, who many felt was snubbed from the Album of the Year category. And while Blackstar was a great final effort, 22, A Million is the best album in this category.

Best Urban Contemporary Album

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The Nominees:

  • Lemonade, Beyoncé
  • Ology, Gallant 
  • We Are King, KING
  • Malibu, Anderson .Paak
  • Anti, Rihanna 

Who Will Win: Beyoncé

Who Should Win: Beyoncé 

Easy win for Lemonade. No contest. 

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