It’s the most wonderful time of the music year. The Grammys, airing on Sunday on CBS, bring together music obsessives with even the most casual listener, where anyone who has ears has as valid of a take as the next person. And the nominees this year reflect that kind of thought, with populist artists like Post Malone, Drake, and Greta Van Fleet sitting comfortably next to critical darlings like Kacey Musgraves, Janelle Monae, and Brandi Carlile. Often in the past, the easiest way to predict the winners could just be to imagine the scenario that would upset the most amount of people. It worked for Macklemore, and it worked for Adele beating Beyonce, and it worked last year when Bruno Mars swept the major categories.
Is this the year that the Grammys finally get things right? Hopefully, yes. Looking through the nominations for the biggest categories, there are many ways that the Grammys could please the crowd and few ways that they could completely blow it again. Even if Post Malone somehow wins Album Of The Year, it wouldn’t even be the worst tragedy to hit the event, as Posty’s album has been an undeniable force this year, even if critics aren’t on board. There might be some rooting against Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s massive “Shallow,” but it’s an undeniable tune that anchors a personal film about addiction, making it hardly a villain at the ceremony. And for once if Kendrick Lamar gets shut out of the major categories, it won’t be through the narrative that he was the most deserving, as the his Black Panther collection isn’t quite held in as high regard as his last three solo records.
So who is expected to have a big Grammy night? In the hip-hop world, Cardi B should be the pick for Best Rap Album for her star-making Invasion Of Privacy, while Drake should earn some hardware for “God’s Plan” in the Best Rap Song or Performance categories (though Travis Scott could easily play spoiler both for his Astroworld album and for “Sicko Mode,” though the latter is another shot at Drake winning). Despite not being nominated in the big categories, Ariana Grande is our pick for Best Pop Album for Sweetener (though Taylor Swift could always pull out a Grammy win, especially here) as well as Best Pop Song for “God Is A Woman.” And in the rock world, look for St. Vincent to win her second Best Alternative Music Album, this time for Masseduction, and for Greta Van Fleet to get on the Grammy scoreboard in the Best Rock Album and Song categories.
And for the big four categories, check out the predictions below.