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Grammy Awards (#110 of 48)

Grammy 2017 Winner Predictions

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Grammy 2017 Winner Predictions

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Grammy 2017 Winner Predictions

Hillary Clinton’s loss to the most unqualified presidential candidate in modern history proved once and for all that there’s no such thing as a sure bet. So while it might feel safe to assume Adele will emerge victorious at the 59th Grammy Awards, a sweep like the one she enjoyed in 2012 isn’t assured. Tempting as it might be, then, to look at the general field as a contest between Adele and another single-monikered pop titan, if the last year of alternative facts has taught us anything, it’s that up is down, black is white, and that no matter who’s in the White House, Beyoncé runs the world. With that in mind, here are our picks.

Gwen Stefani Is Revitalized in “Live” Music Video “Make Me Like You”

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Gwen Stefani Is Revitalized in “Live” Music Video “Make Me Like You”
Gwen Stefani Is Revitalized in “Live” Music Video “Make Me Like You”

One of the most memorable performances from last night’s Grammy Awards broadcast took place during a commercial break. Target teamed up with Gwen Stefani for the first music video ever created on live TV, and watching it unfold in real time offered the same thrills as last month’s exhilarating Grease: Live: The video, which opens with the No Doubt singer awakening after an ugly car crash and being primped for a first date, offers audiences the chance to bask in its creators’ virtuosity, as well as the thrill of watching them fall on their faces—figuratively and literally.

Grammy 2016 Winner Predictions Album of the Year

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Grammy 2016 Winner Predictions: Album of the Year
Grammy 2016 Winner Predictions: Album of the Year

The last time Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar faced off in this category, a reluctance to award an artist twice in four years (Swift’s Fearless won back in 2010), as well as the Academy’s reticence toward hip-hop in the general field, resulted in Daft Punk’s star-studded commercial juggernaut Random Access Memories taking home the top prize—an outcome, it should be noted, we predicted. It’s tempting to make a case that voters, with #OscarSoWhite on their brains, will want to distinguish themselves from their myopic cinematic counterparts by rewarding a socially conscious album by a black man. But it’s unlikely they’ll feel obligated to make that course correction here, especially for a relatively new rapper whose album title contains the word “pimp.”

Grammy 2016 Winner Predictions Record of the Year

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Grammy 2016 Winner Predictions: Record of the Year
Grammy 2016 Winner Predictions: Record of the Year

We’ve compared the correlation between Record of the Year and Song of the Year against Oscar’s tether between Best Picture and Best Director before. And every time we think we’re finally settling into a pattern, Grammy reverses course. The year after Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” staged a minor upset in this category without a Song of the Year nomination to its credit, the two categories almost completely aligned, resulting in identical winners (Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me,” which in retrospect couldn’t have been more perfectly engineered to conquer the top categories). So, naturally, this year finds only two songs competing on both sides of the producer/songwriter divide: Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” and Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space,” the latter of which we give the clear edge in Song of the Year.

Grammy 2016 Winner Predictions Song of the Year

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Grammy 2016 Winner Predictions: Song of the Year
Grammy 2016 Winner Predictions: Song of the Year

When deliberating over how we expected the general field to go down this year, the question was never trying to figure out why Taylor Swift would win. Rather, it was: How could she not win? It may seem like eons ago in this current era of welcoming Adele to our collective heaving bosom to the tune of eight million albums, but for a brief while her publicists were doing a pretty bang-up job of selling the entire industry on Swift as their cute, crossover savior. The sentiment of “How many Grammys can we give you?” hangs thick in the air despite her nomination haul of seven seeming rather paltry against Kendrick Lamar’s 11.

Grammy 2016 Winner Predictions Best New Artist

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Grammy 2016 Winner Predictions: Best New Artist
Grammy 2016 Winner Predictions: Best New Artist

If voters had decided Best New Artist in the weeks following the release of Meghan Trainor’s debut, Title, the innocuous blond pop star would have been an easy bet. With four Top 20 singles and an all-time best seller in “All About That Bass,” Trainor possessed the mainstream success and general likability synonymous with this category. In recent months, however, Trainor’s star has waned (marred by feminist critiques of both “All About that Bass” and “Dear Future Husband”), leaving room for a surprise victor.

Grammy 2016 Winner Predictions

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Grammy 2016 Winner Predictions
Grammy 2016 Winner Predictions

Beginning tomorrow, we’re predicting the winners in the so-called Big Four categories at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards, airing Monday, September 15th on CBS. Kendrick Lamar is nominated for a whopping 11 awards, besting Eminem for the rapper with the single most nods in one night, and second only to Michael Jackson, who was nominated for 12 awards back in 1984. Of course, Lamar will have to compete with Taylor Swift, Alabama Shakes (pictured above), Kanye West, and more. We’re kicking things off with our picks in some of the smaller genre categories, including the usual suspects—dance, rock, R&B, and rap—as well as musical theater (the opening number from hip-hop-infused frontrunner Hamilton will be broadcast live from Broadway during the show). Keep an eye on our predictions all this week to see how we think things will shake out!

Grammy 2015 Winner Predictions: Album of the Year

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Grammy 2015 Winner Predictions: Album of the Year
Grammy 2015 Winner Predictions: Album of the Year

This is a race more of less between two albums: One great and daring, one mediocre and safe. So if the conversation here was related to an institution with any standard for greatness, this might not be such a tough call, but since this is the Grammys, bastion for all that is “pretty okay,” it’s harder to say who will receive the honor. Beyoncé’s surprise-released set seemingly isn’t all that different a candidate from Frank Ocean’s sinewy nü-R&B effort Channel Orange, which lost in this category a few years ago. But not inconsequentially, Beyoncé did basically reinvent both the roll-out strategy for a pop album and expand its borders into a full-blown multimedia experience, its iTunes drop packaged with a music video for each of its songs. Then again, increased real estate in the pop-culture discourse has its drawbacks, with right-wing talking heads like Mike Huckabee spouting off about her music being “mental poison” because she has the audacity to extend her narrative focus to strippers and backseat boofing.

Grammy 2015 Winner Predictions: Song of the Year

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Grammy 2015 Winner Predictions: Song of the Year
Grammy 2015 Winner Predictions: Song of the Year

Just as the correlation between Record of the Year and Song of the Year—the distinction between which we’re relatively sure even some Grammy voters aren’t entirely clear on—seems to be truly drifting apart, along comes a nearly five-for-five slate. That’s not bad news for orphan Record of the Year nominee Iggy Azalea; last year, Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” managed a win in that category without even having been nominated for songwriting. However, it’s not good news for Hozier, whose gutsy-whiny “Take Me to Church” missed out on a bid in the glitzier main drag. You have to go back nearly a decade to find the last time a Song of the Year winner wasn’t also at least nominated in Record of the Year, and even in that case the streak is broken by U2, who were then at the apex of receiving general-field Grammys seemingly out of reflex. And it’s not like Hozier’s going to get a leg up from the voters who are biased toward performers who write their own material. Each of the five nominees this year is performing works that they had some hand in writing.