2018 Grammy Awards Preview

Music’s biggest night is finally here and there’s plenty to celebrate. The 60th Annual Grammy Awards have recognized the top songs and albums of the year, as well as the artists behind them, and the field of nominees are the cream of the crop. We’re breaking down some of the night’s biggest categories and predicting who will come out on top at the 2018 Grammy Awards.

Album of the Year

Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. has been heralded as his best work yet and longtime fans and critics alike are betting that it will finally seal the deal and earn the rapper an Album of the Year honor. Standing in Kendrick’s way of Grammy gold is Childish Gambino (Awaken, My Love!), Jay-Z (4:44), and Bruno Mars (24K Magic). Lorde is also in the mix for Melodrama. While the lone female/pop nominee, she’s hardly a dark horse having two Grammy Awards already to her name at just 21.

Record of the Year
PREDICTED WINNER: “Despacito” – Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee ft. Justin Bieber

Of the five nominated hits, “Despacito” stands alone as a full-blown charting phenomenon and musical juggernaut, which recent history shows as the main criteria worthy of a Record of the Year Grammy. The Justin Bieber-featured remix of the Luis Fonsi hit launched it to the top of mainstream charts and put a spotlight on Latin music. A win would make it the first Spanish-sung track to take home this category. In addition, it’d be only the second foreign-language track to earn the honor.

Song of the Year
PREDICTED WINNER: “1-800-273-8255” – Logic ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid

Of all the nominated tracks, only one stands out as a pure front-runner. “1-800-273-8255” left an enormous cultural impact that few artists are able to achieve. The daring, well-crafted suicide awareness anthem brought an uptick of calls placed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the title number. History is on the line for Logic with a potential win here as the first rapper to nab Song of the Year credit, though the same could be said for fellow nominee Jay-Z (“4:44”). Rounding out the rest of the category is Julia Michaels’ “Issues,” “Despacito” and “That’s What I Like.”

Best New Artist

The young batch of nominated artists cover a wide musical spectrum, but Julia Michaels has done an outstanding job of establishing herself at only 24. As a songwriter, Michaels has penned hits for radio mainstays like Maroon 5, Britney Spears, Demi Lovato and Ed Sheeran before branching out as a singer with a delicate voice that sticks with listeners. She is up against Khalid, Alessia Cara, Lil Uzi Vert, and SZA.

Best Pop Solo Performance
PREDICTED WINNER: “Shape of You” – Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran had his biggest year yet, which made it all the more shocking when his name was left out of contention for the Grammys biggest categories. Given the magnitude of his ongoing success, largely centered around single “Shape of You,” Sheeran is a shoo-in to snag the hardware over fellow nominees Kelly Clarkson (“Love So Soft”), P!nk (“What About Us”), Kesha (“Praying”) and Lady Gaga (“Million Reasons”).

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
PREDICTED WINNER: “Despacito” – Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee ft. Justin Bieber

“Despacito” is the decided heavyweight in this category, which also recognizes collaborations from The Chainsmokers & Coldplay (“Something Just Like This”) and Zedd & Alessia Cara (“Stay”) in addition to Imagine Dragons (“Thunder”) and Portugal. The Man (“Feel It Still”). In the unlikely event that Luis Fonsi and co. don’t grab the honor, expect to hear an acceptance speech from Portugal. The Man.

Best Pop Vocal Album
PREDICTED WINNER: Divide – Ed Sheeran

As previously mentioned, Sheeran was noticeably snubbed for an Album of the Year nod for Divide. The LP’s presence in this category doesn’t leave much to the imagination. Sheeran’s latest left a far bigger mark than Evolve (Imagine Dragons), Lust for Life (Lana Del Rey), and Coldplay’s EP Kaleidoscope. However, if Sheeran were to get snubbed once more, we’re betting it’s to Kesha’s statement-making album Rainbow or Lady Gaga’s poetically personal, folk-inspired Joanne.

Best Rock Performance
PREDICTED WINNER: Too close to call

The Recording Academy can go a few routes here. For added sentimental value, posthumous Grammys could be given to either Leonard Cohen (“You Want it Darker”) or Chris Cornell (“The Promise”). If they put the focus on commercial success, Foo Fighters‘ “Run” is likely the top contender. Also in the mix are Kaleo for “No Good” and Nothing More for “Go to War.”

Best R&B Album
PREDICTED WINNER: 24K Magic – Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars has flirted with R&B, soul, funk and pop genres throughout his career. However, on 24K Magic he firmly cemented himself as an authentic R&B artist. Given the album’s Album of the Year nod, Mars would be hard-pressed not to win this category. Daniel Caesar (Freudian), Ledisi (Let Love Rule) PJ Morton (Gumbo) and Musiq Soulchild (Feel the Real) are also nominated.

Best Rap Performance

All the nominees up for Best Rap Performance are more than worthy for Grammy gold. Kendrick Lamar stands out most from the pack for “HUMBLE.” Should he get snubbed in the major categories, at the very least he should walk away a winner in this category. Jay-Z (“4:44”), Big Sean (“Bounce Back”), Cardi B (“Bodak Yellow”), and Migos (“Bad and Boujee”) are also nominated.

Best Country Solo Performance
PREDICTED WINNER: Sam Hunt – “Body Like a Back Road”

Country crossover star Sam Hunt could snag his first Grammy for the cheeky “Body Like a Back Road.” The laid-back hit was an inescapable earworm that launched Hunt further into the mainstream. 2017 winner Maren Morris is hoping for a repeat victory with her first No. 1 single “I Could Use a Love Song.” Veteran songstresses Miranda Lambert (“Tin Man”) and Alison Krauss (“Losing You”) are also nominated, as is Chris Stapleton (“Either Way”).

The 60th Annual Grammy Awards air tonight at 8 p.m. EST on CBS, live from Madison Square Garden. James Corden returns as host and will feature performances from Bruno Mars, Cardi B, P!nk, Little Big Town, Lady Gaga, Childish Gambino and more.

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