We’re all patiently (anxiously) awaiting for The Recording Academy to release its nominations for the 2017 Grammy Awards on Tuesday. In the meantime, we’ve compiled our own predictions about who’ll win in the major categories, based on critical acclaim and cultural impact. Pour yourself a lemonade and read along.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
She made history by being the only female act to have all 12 songs from her latest album on Billboard’s Hot 100, Beyoncé is the most Grammy nominated female — she has 53 nominations. She has been nominated for an award almost every year since 2000 and given the success of “Lemonade” it’s very likely that she will be returning the spotlight this time around, too.
The Canadian rapper’s album provided “One Dance,” summer 2016’s official anthem. “Views” also surpassed Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” in both sales and streams. According to Forbes, his album’s first week of sales was the highest for a male artist since Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience” in 2013.
“Blackstar,” David Bowie
This album was released two days before his death as an apparent parting gift to his fans. They honored him by making “Blackstar” his only album to top the Billboard 200 list in the United States. Expect Bowie to get some well-deserved respect on Grammy night. since this is pretty much the last time the Academy can recognize him for his contributions.
Adele is no stranger to the Grammys, having received 10 awards and 13 nominations during her career. “25” didn’t musically stray in style from her previous critically acclaimed albums so there’s a big chance that she’ll receive a nomination this year.
“A Head Full of Dreams” Coldplay
Coldplay’s album debuted at number two on the UK Albums charts and on Billboard’s 200 list — and only because Adele’s “25” was in the number one spot.
SONG OF THE YEAR
“Love Yourself,” Justin Bieber
“I Hate U, I Love U,” Gnash
“Cheap Thrills,” Sia
Song of the Year is usually a little more difficult to predict since the award is to recognize the songwriters, and not the performer. Adele’s “Hello” is pretty much a shoe-in and in her case, the artist was also the writer. Beyonce’s “Sandcastles” might not be her best-known song, but it is the rawest track on “Lemonade.” While “Cheap Thrills” isn’t one of Sia’s best songs (ahem, “Chandelier”), it received a lot of airtime and the Academy might finally give her recognition she deserves.
There hasn’t been one song that caused as much controversy in 2016 as much as Queen Bey’s “Formation,” because not everyone liked that it was so unapologetically black. The song quickly became the anthem of embracing one’s power and blackness. While Rihanna‘s “Work” and Drake’s “One Dance” aren’t quite on the same level musically as Adele’s “Hello” and “Formation,” both were big anthems. “Work” peaked at number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 list and brought Rihanna‘s music back to her Caribbean roots. While the Weeknd’s album didn’t drop in time to be eligible for this year’s Grammy nominations, his single “Starboy” did, and we’re oh so glad. “Starboy” peaked at number two on Billboard’s 200 list and topped the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
BEST NEW ARTIST
Bryson Tiller’s only studio album, “Trapsoul,” was already nominated at the Billboard Music Awards, American Music Awards and Soul Train Awards — there’s no doubt his music is good. His album practically redefined the meaning of R&B and Trap music. He also made baseball caps cool again.
Chance the Rapper
Chance the Rapper isn’t really “new,” but under Grammy rules, he’s eligible. Although he has yet to release a studio album, the artist made music history when “Coloring Book” became the only mixtape to chart on Billboard’s 200. He also received widespread critical acclaim for it.
This one requires no explanation. “Closer” was all over the radio this year, and when it wasn’t playing in your car, you were definitely singing or humming the tune in your head.
Although Maren Morris has been making music since 2005, the country artist was signed to a major label just in 2015. This year, she started touring with major country music legend Keith Urban and her album “Hero” peaked at number 5 on Billboard’s 200 list.
Although a lot of people confused Desiigner with Future, his single “Panda” quickly rose to popularity. “Panda, panda, panda” was literally the only thing anyone kept saying for months. Even Kanye West sampled the song for his “Life of Pablo” album.
BEST RAP ALBUM
“Life of Pablo,” Kanye West
“Coloring Book,” Chance the Rapper
“We Got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service,” A Tribe Called Quest
Although Kanye West’s “Life of Pablo” wasn’t one of his best albums, his nomination is inevitable because it’s Kanye and he marketed his album like it was worthy of an Album of the Year title. Drake’s “Views” will be nominated for obvious reasons and Future’s “Evol” did fairly well, debuting at number one on Billboard’s 200 list. Although Chance the Rapper’s “Coloring Book” technically isn’t a studio album, it’s a mixtape, The Recording Academy recently changed its rules to allow streaming-only titles to be considered.
BEST R&B ALBUM
“Hard II Love,” Usher
“Malibu,” Anderson Paak
The last and only album of Rihanna’s to have been nominated for a Grammy was “Loud,” and that one wasn’t nearly as good as “Anti.” Maxwell has not disappointed since he first stepped into the R&B music. He practically defined ’90s R&B and his most-recent album is in line with the rest of his greatness. “BLACKsummers’ night” received critical acclaim and went platinum. It’s hard to have a best of the best R&B list without including Usher.
BEST POP ALBUM
“Adventure of a Lifetime,” Coldplay
“Purpose” Justin Bieber
“This is What it Feels Like,” Gwen Stefani
Adele and Rihanna will again be nominated for this category for obvious reasons — they outdid themselves, in true Adele and Rihanna fashion, on their latest albums. Gwen Stefani’s third studio album marks her first in ten years. Justin Bieber’s “Purpose” marked his transition from a teeny bopper idol to a growing musician.
BEST COUNTRY ALBUM
Maren Morris’ album will likely be nominated due to the success of “Hero.” Keith Urban’s “Ripcord” received critical acclaim and was already nominated for a CMA Award. Tim McGraw is also no stranger to the Grammy Awards, plus his latest “Damn Country Music,” debuted at number five on Billboard’s 200 list.