Grammy Predictions 2017: Who Will Win, Who Should Win

by Christian Bonavita

The 59th Annual Grammy Awards will air on Sunday, February 12 th , and here are my predictions for the winners of some of the biggest categories. Beyoncé and Adele will face off in the most prestigious awards, including album of the year, record of the year, and song of the year, while Kanye West, Drake, and Rihanna dominated nominations in rap and r&b, and newcomer Maren Morris led the nominations in the country categories.

 

Album of the Year

Adele – “25”

Beyoncé – “Lemonade”

Justin Bieber – “Purpose”

Drake – “Views”

Sturgill Simpson – “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth”

Who Should Win: Beyoncé should win for “Lemonade” here. “Lemonade” showed Beyoncé at the best she has been in her career, excelling in multiple genres, including reggae, rock, country, and r&b. The themes it explored, like infidelity and race, struck a chord with public and critical audiences, and it garnered widespread acclaim.

Who Will Win: This category has been especially difficult to predict in the past years (for example, Beck winning infamously in 2013 and Taylor Swift beating out the much more critically praised Kendrick Lamar last year), so this is a very unsure prediction. Grammy voters love Adele, awarding her with 10 out of the 13 accolades she has been nominated for in the past, so she cannot be ruled out, especially considering the critical and commercial behemoth that “25” was. In addition, Beyoncé and Adele may split the attention of pop voters, allowing surprise nominee Sturgill Simpson to take the undivided country vote to a victory. However, I still believe that “Lemonade” will take home this award.

 

Record of the Year

Adele – “Hello”

Beyoncé – “Formation”

Lukas Graham – “7 Years”

Rihanna featuring Drake – “Work”

Twenty One Pilots – “Stressed Out”

Who Should Win: Beyoncé should win again for “Formation”. Record of the Year is the award for the best production of a song, so an upbeat song like this, with its great mixing of vocals and beats, should win.

Who Will Win: There is not much competition here. Beyoncé has always been a favorite of Grammy voters, so she should have no problem taking home this award, especially against other songs that do not have as complicated a production as “Formation”.

 

Song of the Year

Beyoncé – “Formation”

Adele – “Hello”

Mike Posner – “I Took a Pill in Ibiza”

Justin Bieber – “Love Yourself”

Lukas Graham – “7 Years”

Who Should Win: Song of the Year is an award for songwriters, not the producers or performers in the song, and focuses on lyrics. Therefore, this award should go to “Hello”, by Adele, who has long been known for writing all of her music, and putting her very tangible emotions into her lyrics. While “Hello” is not known especially for its production, Adele’s songwriting is front and center on this track.

Who Will Win: “Hello” will win for all of the reasons expressed above. While “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” actually has extremely well-thought- out lyrics, they are often overlooked because of the dance beat placed over the song. Conversely, the emotional lyrics of “Hello” are its most important component.

 

Best New Artist

Chance the Rapper

The Chainsmokers

Anderson .Paak

Kelsea Ballerini

Maren Morris

Who Should Win: All of these artists have had huge, breakout years in their respective genres. Chance the Rapper’s “Coloring Book” was praised for its maturity over his past albums and its gospel leanings, while Anderson .Paak’s brand of soul and funk was acclaimed as some of the best music all year. Maren Morris, a personal favorite of mine, was praised for producing the best pop-country music of the year, and The Chainsmokers were inescapable on pop radio. I believe Chance the Rapper is the most deserving of the award. His “Coloring Book” was talked about all year, and his brilliant feature on Kanye West’s “Ultralight Beam” should also be considered.

Who Will Win: There may be some vote splitting among hip-hop and r&b voters between Anderson .Paak and Chance the Rapper that may harm both of these artists’ chances at the award. Because of this, I predict Maren Morris will take this award home. Although Kelsey Ballerini is also a country artist in this category, Morris is believed superior almost unanimously, and was nominated for four awards in total, showing that she is favored by Grammy voters. If she manages to take home most of the votes from the pop and country crowd, she could pull an upset against Chance.

 

Best Pop Solo Performance

Adele – “Hello”

Beyoncé – “Hold Up”

Justin Bieber – “Love Yourself”

Kelly Clarkson – “Piece By Piece” (Idol Version)

Ariana Grande – “Dangerous Woman”

Who Should Win: This is a category based on the vocal performance of the singer on the record. Ariana, Kelly, Adele, and Beyoncé are among today’s best voices, but the song that best showcases the singer’s voice is “Dangerous Woman”.

Who Will Win: There are some serious surprises in this category, including “Hold Up” and “Piece by Piece (Idol Version)”, which was only released after Clarkson’s performance of the song on American Idol went viral for its emotional depth and her choked-up but flawless vocals. However, how these surprises will fare against the soaring vocals on “Hello” and “Dangerous Woman” is unclear. I will safely predict that “Hello” will take home the award, due to Adele’s overwhelming popularity and the fact that it showcases some of Adele’s best vocals ever.

 

Best Country Solo Performance

Brandy Clark – “Love Can Go To Hell”

Miranda Lambert – “Vice”

Maren Morris – “My Church”

Carrie Underwood – “Church Bells”

Keith Urban – “Blue Ain’t Your Color”

Who Should Win: Keith Urban had one of his biggest hits ever in 2016 with “Blue Ain’t Your Color”, and it was deserving of all of its success; a poignant ballad, it was one of the best country songs of 2016, and definitely the best vocal performance in country of the year.

Who Will Win: Like in the Best New Artist category, I believe Maren Morris will take the popular vote. Her critical acclaim and four Grammy nominations indicate that she is a favorite of the voters. “My Church” is the second most deserving song in this category, but its popularity will most likely earn it a victory.

 

Best Rap/Sung Performance

Beyoncé featuring Kendrick Lamar – “Freedom”

Drake – “Hotline Bling”

D.R.A.M. featuring Lil Yachty – “Broccoli”

Kanye West featuring Chance the Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin & The-Dream – “Ultralight Beam”

Kanye West featuring Rihanna – “Famous”

Who Should Win: When Kanye West released The Life of Pablo, it was the pop culture event of early 2016. It was even included in one of my English class lessons last year. The album’s popularity was matched by its acclaim, especially of its opening song, “Ultralight Beam”. Everything from the church choir background singing, to the vocal performance Kelly Price and Chance the Rapper’s verse make this the best rap song of the year.

Who Will Win: This category is impossibly difficult to predict, because Beyoncé and Kanye West are two of the most decorated artists in modern music when it comes to Grammys: Beyoncé has 20 to Kanye’s 21. Additionally, each artist has a very good song nominated, with heavyweights like Chance the Rapper and Kendrick Lamar featured. I think Kanye will take home the award for “Ultralight Beam”, because of Kanye’s past dominance of the rap categories.

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