Grammy Predictions: Who Should and Who Will Win (With Updates As They Happen)

Because of the way the calendar falls and the way in which certain CBS programming was scheduled, the Grammys have been pushed from their normal Sunday night slot to Monday this year. Probably just as well, too, what with the premieres of The Walking Dead and Vinyl plus the NBA All-Star Game, all going up against each other last night. Fine. This gives us a chance to do some snarky tweeting in front of the telly this evening.

First, let’s be very clear on what the Grammys are. The Grammys are not cool (despite what some people might say.) This is a TV show aimed at a mainstream prime time audience filled mostly with casual music fans. That is, people who buy less than six CDs and spend an average of $50 on music purchases a year. Second, it’s run by the music industry establishment; they don’t like big surprises and controversy. And third, it’s designed to wring out the last possible bit of sales from 2015 releases.  if you’re expecting anything more than a three-and-a-half-hour(ish) commercial for the music that’s readily available at Walmart, watch something else.

In other words, if you’re expecting anything more than a three-and-a-half-hour(ish) commercial for the music that’s readily available at Walmart, watch something else. But if you enjoy heckling from your couch, it should be fun.

There are dozens and dozens of categories and only the most mainstream of which make the broadcast. You’ll see those winners below as they become available.

 

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color
Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
Chris Stapleton, Traveller
Taylor Swift, 1989 – WINNER
The Weeknd, Beauty Behind the Madness

SHOULD WIN: If there’s justice in the universe, this one should go to Kendrick Lamar. No question.

WILL WIN: A toss-up. Lamar has a shot, but the Taylor Swift is better known to the people who vote.

 

SONG OF THE YEAR

Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”
Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”
Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth, “See You Again”
Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud” – WINNER

SHOULD WIN: Kendrick Lamar

WILL WIN: A dogfight between Swift (see above) and Wiz Khalifa, a song that dominated streaming and downloads for weeks.

 

RECORD OF THE YEAR

D’Angelo and the Vanguard, “Really Love”
Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk” – WINNER
Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”
Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”
The Weeknd, “Can’t Feel My Face”

SHOULD WIN: The Weeknd.

WILL WIN: Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars. The song was just too big for too long.

 

BEST NEW ARTIST

Courtney Barnett
James Bay
Sam Hunt
Tori Kelly
Meghan Trainor – WINNER

SHOULD WIN: Courtney Barnett, hands down.

WILL WIN: Meghan Trainor. A safe pick.

 

BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM

Kelly Clarkson, Piece By Piece
Florence & the Machine, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
Mark Ronson, Uptown Special
Taylor Swift, 1989 – WINNER
James Taylor, Before This World

SHOULD WIN: Taylor Swift

WILL WIN: Taylor Swift:  Sales, star power and hype.

 

BEST ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM

Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color – WINNER
Björk, Vulnicura
My Morning Jacket, The Waterfall
Tame Impala, Currents
Wilco, Star Wars

SHOULD WIN: Tame Impala

WILL WIN: Alabama Shakes. Alternative, but not too alternative. A safe wussy choice.

 

BEST ROCK PERFORMANCE

Alabama Shakes, “Don’t Wanna Fight” – WINNER
Florence + the Machine, “What Kind of Man”
Foo Fighters, “Something for Nothing”
Elle King, “Ex’s and Oh’s”
Wolf Alice, “Moaning Lisa Smile”

SHOULD WIN: I’d be okay with Florence, Foos or Wolf Alice.

WILL WIN: Alabama Shakes.

 

BEST ROCK SONG:

Another one I missed when I was putting together this list. Alabama Shakes won because, you know, nothing says “rock” like Alabama Shakes and “Don’t Wanna Fight.”

 

BEST ROCK ALBUM

James Bay, Chaos and the Chain
Death Cab for Cutie, Kintsugi
Highly Suspect, Mister Asylum
Muse, Drones – WINNER
Slipknot, .5: The Gray Chapter

SHOULD WIN: Death Cab

WILL WIN: Death Cab, although Muse is the dark horse.

 

BEST POP DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE

Florence + The Machine, “Ship to Wreck”
Maroon 5, “Sugar”
Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk” – WINNER
Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood”
Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth, “See You Again”

SHOULD WIN: “Uptown Funk”

WILL WIN: “Uptown Funk.” There’s just no way around it.

 

BEST METAL ALBUM

I forgot to add this category so I’ll just tell you that Ghost won for Cirice.

 

BEST RAP ALBUM

J. Cole, 2014 Forest Hills Drive
Dr. Dre, Compton
Drake, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly – WINNER
Nicki Minaj, The Pinkprint

SHOULD WIN: Kendrick Lamar

WILL WIN: Kendrick Lamar. Sorry, Drake. Any other year…

 

BEST RAP SONG

Kanye West featuring Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom, and Paul McCartney – “All Day”
Kendrick Lamar – “Alright” – WINNER
Drake – “Energy”
Common and John Legend – “Glory”
Fetty Wap – “Trap Queen”

SHOULD WIN: Kendrick Lamar

WILL WIN: Kendrick Lamar.

 

BEST DANCE/ELECTRONIC ALBUM

Caribou, Our Love
The Chemical Brothers, Born in the Echoes
Disclosure, Caracal
Jamie xx, In Colour
Jack Ü, Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü – WINNER

SHOULD WIN: Tough category, given that I can’t see members of the academy giving too much time to this kind of music. But if they did listen properly, they’d go with Dundas, Ontario’s Carbiou.

WILL WIN: Chemical Brothers, just because of name recognition.

 

BEST MUSIC VIDEO

A$AP Rocky – “LSD”
The Dead Weather – “I Feel Love (Every Million Miles)”
Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”
Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” – WINNER
Pharrell Williams – “Freedom”

SHOULD WIN: Kendrick Lamar

WILL WIN: Kendrick Lamar (Update: Well, I kinda got it right, huh?)

 

BEST MUSIC FILM

James Brown, Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown
Foo Fighters, Sonic Highways
Nina Simone, What Happened, Miss Nina Simone?
Roger Waters, The Wall
Amy Winehouse, Amy – WINNER

SHOULD WIN: Amy. Just way too powerful not to.

WILL WIN: Amy.

 

Other notes:

 

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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