If you’re reading this story hoping to find a list of can’t miss predictions for the 2017 Grammy Awards, then you’ll be disappointed. This year, the only thing that can be said with absolute certainty is that we’re completely uncertain of any possible voting outcomes. But isn’t that every year?
Here’s what we know. This year’s Grammy Awards — the 59th edition for those counting along at home — is set to take place Feb. 12, 2017, at 5 p.m. PST at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Popular late night host and car karaoke enthusiast James Corden is set to man the hosting duties.
Outside of that, what we can guess with a fair amount of certainty is that there will be a lot of fireworks on display as two titans of the industry get set to show down in a compelling heavyweight matchup.
There will surely be those who have developed Beyoncé and Adele fatigue over the years, but if you truly believe that these two don’t deserve to lead the pack in nominations, then you’re just being a hater, and that’s OK.
Outside of their showdown, which we’ll dive into momentarily, other artists we’ll be paying close attention to are Kanye West, Rihanna, Drake and Chance the Rapper. The latter three had fantastic years, while the former is just worth watching in case a breakdown is right around the corner.
But let’s dive right into our official selections for the 2017 Grammy Awards. And don’t worry, we’ll be live tweeting throughout, so feel free to remind us if we get a few of these wrong.
Categories That We Are Eyeing
Best Music Video
Beyoncé – “Formation”
Leon Bridges – “River”
Coldplay – “Up&Up”
Jamie xx – “Gosh”
OK Go – “Upside Down & Inside Out”
Who should win: Beyoncé – “Formation”
Who will win: Beyoncé – “Formation”
Let it be said here: Beyoncé is this generation’s Michael Jackson. Period. The main part of that is how truly synonymous she’s become with music videos. This year’s Grammy Awards would be hard-pressed to find someone who deserves this award more than Bey.
Best Urban Contemporary Album
Beyoncé – Lemonade
Gallant – Ology
KING – We Are King
Anderson .Paak – Malibu
Rihanna – Anti
Who should win: Beyoncé – Lemonade
Who will win: Rihanna – Anti
Really, 2016 was a great year for artists, but what was truly amazing was the changing narrative provided by Rihanna with the release of her Anti album. Throughout her career, the singer was thought to be a hit factory, incapable of creating a more cohesive, meaningful body of work. But I guess she showed us all with this impressive offering.
Best Rap Performance
Chance the Rapper featuring Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz – “No Problem”
Desiigner – “Panda”
Drake featuring Jay Z and Kanye West – “Pop Style”
Fat Joe and Remy Ma featuring French Montana and Infared – “All the Way Up”
ScHoolboy Q featuring Kanye West – “That Part”
Who should win: Chance the Rapper featuring Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz – “No Problem”
Who will win: Chance the Rapper featuring Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz – “No Problem”
Simply put, this was the year of Chance. With a presidential cosign, and his career trajectory heading upward, this will be one of several awards taken home by the Chi-Town product on Grammy night.
Best Rap/Sung Performance
Beyoncé featuring Kendrick Lamar – “Freedom”
Drake – “Hotline Bling”
D.R.A.M. featuring Lil Yachty – “Broccoli”
Kanye West featuring Chance the Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin and The-Dream – “Ultralight Beam”
Kanye West featuring Rihanna – “Famous”
Who should win: Kanye West featuring Chance the Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin and The-Dream – “Ultralight Beam”
Who will win: Beyoncé featuring Kendrick Lamar – “Freedom”
In any other year, Kanye West would probably coast to an easy win with his powerful “Ultralight Beam.” But this isn’t any year, and this isn’t a normal field as this category is crowded with some really amazing songs. With the vote predictably being split between him and Drake, it’s not hard to imagine Beyoncé sliding in with the minor majority to take home the trophy.
Best Rap Album
Chance the Rapper – Coloring Book
De La Soul – And the Anonymous Nobody
DJ Khaled – Major Key
Drake – Views
ScHoolboy Q – Blank Face LP
Kanye West – The Life of Pablo
Who should win: Chance the Rapper – Coloring Book
Who will win: Drake – Views
Now, this is incredibly unfortunate. It would be a long shot for Chance the Rapper to win Rap Album of the Year, simply because of the Grammys’ history of voting for front-runners. But let’s be clear: Coloring Book was one of the strongest rap offerings in quite some time. With that said, though, the voters can’t ignore the mega success of Drake’s Views, though it wasn’t as critically praised as former works. Expect the King of Canada to win.
Album of the Year
Adele – 25
Beyoncé – Lemonade
Justin Bieber – Purpose
Drake – Views
Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
Who should win: Beyoncé – Lemonade
Who will win: Beyoncé – Lemonade
This is typically an award that Adele would win. But this is the year of Bey, and with a collection of work more original and armed with a more riveting narrative than Adele’s 25, expect Beyoncé to win the biggest prize for Lemonade. This award will almost definitely come down to the two of them, so we can’t wait to see what the final tally is.
Here are the rest of the categories we’ll anxiously watch.
Record of the Year
“Hello” – Adele
“Formation” – Beyoncé
“7 Years” – Lukas Graham
“Work” – Rihanna featuring Drake
“Stressed Out” – Twenty One Pilots
Song of the Year
“Formation” – Khalif Brown, Asheton Hogan, Beyoncé Knowles and Michael L. Williams II, songwriters (Beyoncé)
“Hello” – Adele Adkins and Greg Kurstin, songwriters (Adele)
“I Took a Pill In Ibiza” – Mike Posner, songwriter (Mike Posner)
“Love Yourself” – Justin Bieber, Benjamin Levin and Ed Sheeran, songwriters (Justin Bieber)
“7 Years” – Lukas Forchhammer, Stefan Forrest, Morten Pilegaard and Morten Ristorp, songwriters (Lukas Graham)
Best New Artist
Chance the Rapper
Best R&B album
In My Mind – BJ the Chicago Kid
Lalah Hathaway Live – Lalah Hathaway
Velvet Portraits – Terrace Martin
Healing Season – Mint Condition
Smoove Jones – Mya
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
Best traditional R&B performance
“The Three Of Me” – William Bell
“Woman’s World” – BJ the Chicago Kid
“Sleeping With the One I Love” – Fantasia
“Angel” – Lalah Hathaway
“Can’t Wait” – Jill Scott
Best R&B song
“Come See Me” – J. Brathwaite, Aubrey Graham and Noah Shebib, songwriters (PartyNextDoor featuring Drake)
“Exchange” – Michael Hernandez and Bryson Tiller, songwriters (Bryson Tiller)
“Kiss It Better” – Jeff Bhasker, Robyn Fenty, John-Nathan Glass and Natalia Noemi, songwriters (Rihanna)
“Lake by the Ocean” – Hod David and Musze, songwriters (Maxwell)
“Luv” – Magnus August Høiberg, Benjamin Levin and Daystar Peterson, songwriters (Tory Lanez)
Best Gospel Album
Listen – Tim Bowman Jr.
Fill This House – Shirley Caesar
A Worshipper’s Heart [Live] – Todd Dulaney
Losing My Religion – Kirk Franklin
Demonstrate [Live] – William Murphy
Best gospel performance/song
“It’s Alright, It’s OK” – Shirley Caesar featuring Anthony Hamilton
“You’re Bigger [Live]” – Jekalyn Carr
“Made A Way [Live]” – Travis Greene
“God Provides” – Tamela Mann
“Better” – Hezekiah Walker
Written by DeWayne Rogers
Images courtesy of The Grammy Foundation