Every winter, the Grammys roll around and give awards show lovers a nice — and frankly much-needed — break from all of the film and TV-centric ceremonies.
After last year’s #GrammysSoMale scandal (which ignited after outgoing Recording Academy President Neil Portnow said women in music need “to step up”), it is only right that the majority of the nominees in the top categories in 2019 are female. Another big change came with the Academy expanding its top categories from five to eight nominees, which allows for more artists to be recognized but makes winning a trophy an even bigger challenge.
In anticipation of the 61st annual Grammys, which Alicia Keys will host on CBS Sunday, February 10, at 8 p.m. ET, Us Weekly is predicting which performers, albums and songs will and should win.
Album of the Year
Cardi B — Invasion of Privacy
Brandi Carlile — By the Way, I Forgive You
Drake — Scorpion
H.E.R. — H.E.R.
Post Malone — Beerbongs & Bentleys
Janelle Monáe — Dirty Computer
Kacey Musgraves — Golden Hour
Various Artists — Black Panther soundtrack
Will Win: Various Artists — Black Panther soundtrack
Should Win: Kacey Musgraves — Golden Hour
Musgraves by and in large released the best album of 2018, one that crosses over from country to pop to disco and will likely appeal to both young and old voters in the Academy. However, Kendrick Lamar, who executive-produced the acclaimed Black Panther soundtrack, has already been snubbed three times in the Album of the Year category (in 2014, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City lost to Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories; in 2016, To Pimp a Butterfly lost to Taylor Swift’s 1989; and in 2018, DAMN. lost to Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic). It’s only right that Lamar finally snags the top prize.
Record of the Year
Cardi B, Bad Bunny and J Balvin — “I Like It”
Brandi Carlile — “The Joke”
Childish Gambino — “This Is America”
Drake — “God’s Plan”
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper — “Shallow”
Kendrick Lamar and SZA — “All the Stars”
Post Malone featuring 21 Savage — “Rockstar”
Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey — “The Middle”
Will Win: Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper — “Shallow”
Should Win: Childish Gambino — “This Is America”
Yes, Cardi’s Pete Rodriguez-sampling reggae smash was the song of the summer, but A Star Is Born was the talk of the town all year long. Gaga had Us wailing “WHAAAA-AHHH-AHHH-UHHH-OWWW” with even more gusto than Ally Maine herself, and there’s simply no denying it. Not only will “Shallow” get a Grammy, it will also score an Oscar, which is one reason that there is still a case to be made for Gambino’s fierce political statement. Share the wealth, Academy. This is America, after all.
Best New Artist
Chloe x Halle
Greta Van Fleet
Will Win: H.E.R.
Should Win: Dua Lipa
Best New Artist is a toughie. It can either push a winner’s career in the right direction (as it did for Adele in 2009) or make viewers at home scratch their heads (remember when Bon Iver bested J. Cole and Nicki Minaj in 2012?). This year, it should go to Lipa, who has become one of the most promising stars to emerge from the music industry in recent years. Catchy doesn’t even begin to describe her hits “New Rules” and “One Kiss.” That said, H.E.R. seems to be an Academy favorite: She is the only Best New Artist nominee this year to also land an Album of the Year nod.
Best Pop Vocal Album
Camila Cabello — Camila
Kelly Clarkson — Meaning of Life
Ariana Grande — Sweetener
Shawn Mendes — Shawn Mendes
Pink — Beautiful Trauma
Taylor Swift — Reputation
Will Win: Ariana Grande — Sweetener
Should Win: Ariana Grande — Sweetener
The Old Taylor can’t come to the phone, and the New Taylor needn’t come to the Grammys because Grande has this one on lock. Though Swift has always been a Grammy darling (she has earned 32 nominations in less than half as many years) and Reputation was yet another pop culture moment, she didn’t have the massive, albeit tumultuous, year that Grande did. Sure, Sweetener had a few missteps — Pharrell Williams’ scatterbrained production was far from his finest — but Grande deserves a fresh start in 2019 and there’s no other way to give it to her.
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