The 2017 Grammy Awards: Here's How It's Going To Go Down On Sunday Night
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The 2017 Grammy Awards: Here's How It's Going To Go Down On Sunday Night

If Beyoncé doesn’t win Album of the Year this time, I swear to God…

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The 2017 Grammy Awards: Here's How It's Going To Go Down On Sunday Night
Vox

Music’s biggest night finally arrives this Sunday, and of course, I’m excited. On Sunday, February 12, the biggest stars in music will battle it out in Hollywood. There’s Beyoncé vs. Adele, “Formation” vs. “Hello,” and Lemonade vs. 25. Then, we have Chance the Rapper making history with 7 nominations in 5 categories as the first streaming-only mixtape to ever be nominated for a Grammy.

Meanwhile, Beyoncé leads with 9 nominations, making her the most nominated female artist of all time with a total of 62 nominations. But, in order to become the female artist with the most Grammy wins of all time, she’ll have to take around 7 or 8 more awards this time, which might be too ambitious of a goal with Adele as her primary competitor. Let’s see what happens this time (and let’s see if I’m spot on with my predictions for this year).

Also, given that I’m not much of a country or EDM music connoisseur, I decided that I’m not educated enough in the either field to make any sound predictions. I do love Flume and Maren Morris, though.


General Field

Album Of The Year:

25 — Adele

Lemonade — Beyoncé

Purpose — Justin Bieber

Views — Drake

A Sailor's Guide To Earth — Sturgill Simpson

Who should win: Beyoncé, Lemonade

Who will win: Beyoncé, Lemonade

If you’ve been following Grammy coverage since the nominations were announced, you would know that this year’s awards are a fight between Beyoncé and Adele, especially in this category. This is a struggle between politics and classicism, and while Adele is an industry darling and has won Album of the Year once for 21 (which, I think, was much better than 19 and 25), Beyoncé creatively describes how it feels to be a woman of color in America through song and film. Rather than trying to pin down who the committee might favor, let’s look at originality and artistic appeal. Lemonade is fresh and different, while 25 is definitely beatable.

Of course, nothing about the Grammys is certain. For all we know, Sturgill Simpson could troll us all next Sunday night like Beck did the last time Beyoncé was up for Album of the Year.

Also, speaking of which, where’s ANTI? Where’s Coloring Book? Where’s Blackstar?

Record Of The Year:

"Hello" — Adele

"Formation" — Beyoncé

"7 Years" — Lukas Graham

"Work" — Rihanna with Drake

"Stressed Out" — Twenty One Pilots

Who should win: Beyoncé, “Formation”

Who will win: Beyoncé, “Formation”

Adele’s “Hello” was one of the most critically acclaimed songs of the year, but “Hello” has a much higher chance of winning Song of the Year as opposed to Record of the Year. Yes, there is a huge difference in criteria between the two categories. While Record of the Year recognizes production, mixing, and the singer’s performance, Song of the Year focuses on songwriters and lyrics. Expect Beyoncé to win the Record category.

Song Of The Year:

"Formation" — Khalif Brown, Asheton Hogan, Beyoncé Knowles & Michael L. Williams II, songwriters (Beyoncé)

"Hello" — Adele Adkins & Greg Kurstin, songwriters (Adele)

"I Took A Pill In Ibiza" — Mike Posner, songwriter (Mike Posner)

"Love Yourself" — Justin Bieber, Benjamin Levin & Ed Sheeran, songwriters (Justin Bieber)

"7 Years" — Lukas Forchhammer, Stefan Forrest, Morten Pilegaard & Morten Ristorp, songwriters (Lukas Graham)

Who should win: Adele, “Hello”

Who will win: Adele, “Hello”

Usually, Album of the Year and Song of the Year don’t go hand in hand, but, like always, never count out Beyoncé for anything. Also, don’t be too surprised if the Grammys choose to honor “Love Yourself” instead of either “Hello” or “Formation.” Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran do make a good songwriting team, and, historically speaking, Ed Sheeran has always been an industry favorite. But, then again, so is Adele.

Best New Artist:

Kelsea Ballerini

The Chainsmokers

Chance The Rapper

Maren Morris

Anderson .Paak

Who should win: Chance the Rapper

Who will win: Chance the Rapper

If the committee decides to award Chance with a Grammy in every other nomination except for this one, then the next best pick (in my opinion) would probably be either Anderson .Paak or Maren Morris. Both Maren Morris and Kelsea Ballerini are country singers, which might split the votes of country fans. This leaves Chance and Anderson .Paak as frontrunners. But, there’s no denying that Chance’s mixtape took over the music scene in 2016.

On another note, we have a couple of snubs in this category. Honestly, I was a little surprised that The Chainsmokers were on this list. Of course, the Chainsmokers took 2016 by storm with “Closer” and “Don’t Let Me Down,” but frankly, I think they’re a little overrated. Besides, it’s not like they would have been completely shut out of this year’s Grammys had they not been considered for New Artist -- they have plenty of representation in the pop and EDM categories. I would have been a little more satisfied if they were swapped out with, say, Alessia Cara, Shawn Mendes, Bryson Tiller, or even Troye Sivan.

Pop Field

Best Pop Vocal Album:

25 — Adele

Purpose — Justin Bieber

Dangerous Woman — Ariana Grande

Confident — Demi Lovato

This Is Acting — Sia

Who should win: Adele, 25 or Justin Bieber, Purpose

Who will win: Adele, 25

While all nominees deserve a spot on this list, this is mainly a race between Adele and Justin Bieber, who are both up for Album of the Year. But, since this round of awards has emerged as a battle between Adele and Beyoncé, Adele gets the edge.

Best Pop Solo Performance:

"Hello" — Adele

"Hold Up" — Beyoncé

"Love Yourself" — Justin Bieber

"Piece By Piece (Idol Version)" — Kelly Clarkson

"Dangerous Woman" — Ariana Grande

Who should win: Ariana Grande, “Dangerous Woman”

Who will win: Ariana Grande, “Dangerous Woman”

Though this year is really a struggle between Beyoncé and Adele (and for a good reason), Ariana shows a better use of range and delivers as usual with top-notch vocals (especially during that pre-chorus, damn).

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance:

"Closer" — The Chainsmokers & Halsey

"7 Years" — Lukas Graham

"Work" — Rihanna & Drake

"Cheap Thrills" — Sia & Sean Paul

"Stressed Out" — Twenty One Pilots

Who should win: Sia, “Cheap Thrills”

Who will win: Rihanna, “Work”

This has always been a weird category, given that nominations vary from pop groups to collaborations to features. If the Grammys decide to turn this category into a popularity contest, then “Closer” has a pretty good shot.

R&B Field

Best R&B Performance:

"Turnin' Me Up" — BJ The Chicago Kid

"Permission" — Ro James

"I Do" — Musiq Soulchild

"Needed Me" — Rihanna

"Cranes in the Sky" — Solange

Who should win: Solange, “Cranes in the Sky”

Who will win: Solange, “Cranes in the Sky”

Rihanna’s work has also been lauded across the board (I was almost sure that ANTI would earn a nod for Album of the Year), but when it comes down to artistry and message, Solange has the edge.

Best R&B Song:

"Come and See Me" — J. Brathwaite, Aubrey Graham & Noah Shebib, songwriters (PartyNextDoor & Drake)

"Exchange" — Michael Hernandez & Bryson Tiller, songwriters (Bryson Tiller)

"Kiss It Better" — Jeff Bhasker, Robyn Fenty, John-Nathan Glass & Natalia Noemi, songwriters (Rihanna)

"Lake By the Ocean" — Hod David & Musze, songwriters (Maxwell)

"Luv" — Magnus August Høiberg, Benjamin Levin & Daystar Peterson, songwriters (Tory Lanez)

Who should win: Maxwell, “Lake By The Ocean”

Who will win: Maxwell, “Lake By The Ocean”

Honestly, I’m very happy with how this category turned out. I would be content with any of these songs winning, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Maxwell.

Best Urban Contemporary Album:

Lemonade — Beyoncé

Ology — Gallant

We Are King — KING

Malibu — Anderson .Paak

Anti — Rihanna

Who should win: Beyoncé, Lemonade

Who will win: Beyoncé, Lemonade

Anderson .Paak’s Malibu is one of the best albums of this year, but honestly, this award will go to either Lemonade or ANTI.

Rap Field

Best Rap Performance:

"No Problem" — Chance The Rapper with Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz

"Panda" —Desiigner

"Pop Style" — Drake & The Throne

"All The Way Up" — Fat Joe & Remy Ma with French Montana & Infared

"That Part" — ScHoolboy Q & Kanye West

Who should win: Chance The Rapper, “No Problem”

Who will win: Chance The Rapper, “No Problem”

“Panda” was one of the biggest songs of last year, so if the committee decided to pick ubiquity over artistry, then a chance of a win for Desiigner is likely. But, since this is the first time a mixtape has been nominated for the awards, Chance has a strong shot to clean up the rap categories.

Best Rap/Sung Performance:

"Freedom" — Beyoncé & Kendrick Lamar

"Hotline Bling" — Drake

"Broccoli" — D.R.A.M. with Lil Yachty

"Ultralight Beam" — Kanye West with Chance The Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin & The-Dream

"Famous" — Kanye West & Rihanna

Who should win: Beyoncé, “Freedom” or Kanye West, “Ultralight Beam”

Who will win: Beyoncé, “Freedom”

Honestly, these are all solid picks (I didn’t think that D.R.A.M. would be on the Grammy radar yet, but okay, whatever floats your boat, Grammys). However, instead of picking the best overall song on this list, let’s go ahead and pick the song with the best singing and the best rapping -- and that song is “Freedom.”

Best Rap Song:

"All The Way Up" — Joseph Cartagena, Edward Davadi, Shandel Green, Karim Kharbouch, Andre Christopher Lyon, Reminisce Mackie & Marcello Valenzano, songwriters (Fat Joe & Remy Ma with French Montana & Infared)

"Famous" — Chancelor Bennett, Ross Birchard, Ernest Brown, Andrew Dawson, Kasseem Dean, Mike Dean, Noah Goldstein, Kejuan Muchita, Patrick Reynolds, Kanye West & Cydel Young, songwriters (Kanye West & Rihanna)

"Hotline Bling" — Aubrey Graham & Paul Jefferies, songwriters (Drake)

"No Problem" — Chancelor Bennett, Dwayne Carter & Tauheed Epps, songwriters (Chance The Rapper with Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz)

"Ultralight Beam" — Chancelor Bennett, Kasseem Dean, Mike Dean, Kirk Franklin, Noah Goldstein, Samuel Griesemer, Terius Nash, Jerome Potter, Kelly Price, Nico "Donnie Trumpet" Segal, Derek Watkins, Kanye West & Cydel Young, songwriters (Kanye West with Chance The Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin & The-Dream)

Who should win: Kanye West, “Ultralight Beam” or Chance the Rapper, “No Problem”

Who will win: Chance the Rapper, “No Problem”

Chance is nominated not once, not twice, but three times in this category (he’s a credited writer/producer on “Famous”). Out of all of these, “No Problem” is my favorite, but “Ultralight Beam” would also be a strong pick. Still, Drake is a good position with Views up for Album of the Year, so don’t be surprised at all if “Hotline Bling” does take this one away from Kanye or Chance.

Best Rap Album:

Coloring Book — Chance The Rapper

And the Anonymous Nobody — De La Soul

Major Key — DJ Khaled

Views — Drake

Blank Face LP — ScHoolboy Q

The Life of Pablo — Kanye West

Who should win: Kanye West, The Life of Pablo

Who will win: Drake, Views

While Chance the Rapper is a dark horse in this category and had one of the best albums (a mixtape!) of this year, it seems like Drake and Kanye are the frontrunners in this one. West has won this category 4 times, Drake only once. However, like I said, Drake is in a really good place with an Album of the Year nomination for Views. Due to its sheer record-breaking inescapability, Views seems to be the favorite. Don’t be too surprised if West takes this one, though.

Rock Field

Best Rock Performance:

"Joe (Live From Austin City Limits)" — Alabama Shakes

"Don't Hurt Yourself" — Beyoncé & Jack White

"Blackstar" — David Bowie

"The Sound Of Silence" — Disturbed

"Heathens" — Twenty One Pilots

Who should win: David Bowie, “Blackstar”

Who will win: Twenty One Pilots, “Heathens”

This is probably the weakest category this year. The other nominations on this list include a pop singer making a brief stint into the rock category, Alabama Shakes performing an older song live, and Disturbed performing a Simon and Garfunkel song live on Conan. You would think that David Bowie would be the favorite on this one, since his Blackstar album was his last gift to rock music before his departure to the heavens above. But something tells me that the Grammys will screw him over again... posthumously.

Best Rock Song:

"Blackstar" — David Bowie, songwriter (David Bowie)

"Burn the Witch" —Radiohead, songwriters (Radiohead)

"Hardwired" — James Hetfield & Lars Ulrich, songwriters (Metallica)

"Heathens" — Tyler Joseph, songwriter (Twenty One Pilots)

"My Name Is Human" — Rich Meyer, Ryan Meyer & Johnny Stevens, songwriters (Highly Suspect)

Who should win: David Bowie, “Blackstar”

Who will win: David Bowie, “Blackstar”

All my worries for David Bowie still apply in this category here too. Twenty One Pilots, like for Rock Performance, could take this one away from him, and Radiohead and Metallica have had some past success in this category. So, this one is pretty much up for grabs, but I hope that the awards will honor Bowie in this one.

Best Rock Album:

California — Blink-182

Tell Me I'm Pretty — Cage The Elephant

Magma — Gojira

Death Of A Bachelor — Panic! At The Disco

Weezer — Weezer

Who should win: Cage the Elephant, Tell Me I’m Pretty

Who will win: Cage the Elephant, Tell Me I’m Pretty

First of all, shoutout to Panic for scoring a nomination in this one! But, while Gojira’s album was the most critically acclaimed out of these, this does seem like a good year for Cage.

Alternative Field

Best Alternative Music Album:

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 should win: David Bowie, Blackstar

Who will win: David Bowie, Blackstar

Bon Iver and Radiohead put out some great albums this year, and the Grammys have shown some love to both of them in the past. But, artistically and emotionally speaking, this should go to Bowie, one of the most underrated artists of all time.
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