Grammy 2017 Winner Predictions

This year’s Grammy Awards are shaping up to be a contest between Adele and Beyoncé.

Photo: XL Records

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.


Soloists have traditionally done better in this category than duos and groups. Vocalists have primarily done better in this category than producers. And artists who keep things at a steady five have generally done better in this category than those who crank the EQ to 11. And yet, we’re betting on the pop EDM douchery of the Chainsmokers to smoke the competition here. Vote-splitting may account for some of their triumph, with two country-tinged starlets and two masters of what Grammy somewhat questionably refers to as “urban contemporary” forming the rest of the category’s nominees. But even though Chance the Rapper clearly had the best year, critically speaking, Grammy voters hate hate hate rap. And, well, the word “rapper” is right there in his damn stage name. Eric Henderson

SHOULD WIN: Anderson .Paak


COULD WIN: Chance the Rapper

WILL WIN: The Chainsmokers


Voters like to throw curve balls in two categories: Album of the Year (see below) and this one. In 2010, Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” snagged this trophy from three artists with Record of the Year nods, including Taylor Swift and ROTY winner Kings of Leon. “Formation” is neither as popular nor as infectiously melodic as “Single Ladies,” so smart money is probably on Adele’s “Hello.” But as hard as it might be to imagine voters rewarding “When he fuck me good, I take his ass to Red Lobster,” if that isn’t some of the best songwriting of the year, we don’t know what is. Even Hillary’s got hot sauce in her bag, swag. Sal Cinquemani


SHOULD WIN: Beyoncé, “Formation”

COULD WIN: Adele, “Hello”

WILL WIN: Beyoncé, “Formation”



That Adele had this in the bag was evident 15 months ago, though a certain Super Bowl performance a year ago understandably muddied the waters a bit. Yes, “Hello” was the epitome of a pop song as flash paper (it burned hot, and it burned quick), but “Formation” was the gift that kept on giving the deeper 2016 delved into raw, blunt populism. Beyoncé has now racked up her fifth appearance in this category, which ties her with Barbra Streisand for the female record. To our ears, the standoff between “Formation” and “Hello”—fire and ice, respectively—would be best resolved with a win for Rihanna’s proud dancehall burner “Work,” but the presence of that very song ensures votes will be stripped away from “Formation,” leaving the aural pillow-top comfort of “Hello” to kiss Bey’s hopes goodbye. Henderson

SHOULD WIN: Rihanna featuring Drake, “Work”

COULD WIN: Beyoncé, “Formation”

WILL WIN: Adele, “Hello”



Taylor Swift’s win in this category last year proved voters are still willing and able to award the biggest selling album here. But 25 hasn’t had the string of massive hits that 1989—or 21 for that matter—did. Some may feel that Beyoncé is overdue, and the topical Lemonade was certainly an event album. But it’s also the singer’s second-lowest selling album to date (to put things in perspective, 25 sold the same amount—about 1.5 million—in its first day alone). Of course, the fact that dark horse Sturgill Simpson is even nominated speaks volumes. If he can pull an upset, Adele may have to settle for Best Pop Album. Cinquemani

SHOULD WIN: Beyoncé, Lemonade

COULD WIN: Sturgill Simpson, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth


WILL WIN: Adele, 25

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