The 58th annual Grammy Awards will be held on Monday, February 15th.
There are 83 categories, so a lot of golden gramophones will be handed out that night. But of course, there can only be a handful of big winners.
Below we’ve listed the artists who will either win a ton of Grammys (like Norah Jones, in 2003) and/or who pull off a legendary performance (like Ricky Martin, in 1999).
So let’s take a look at the 10 acts who have the potential to be the toast of the town after this year’s ceremony.
Lamar was the unfortunate ugly step-sister at the 2014 Grammys: despite seven impressive nominations, he lost in all of his categories, ignominiously tying India.Arie as the biggest one-night “loser” in Grammy history. Adding insult to injury, Macklemore, the artist who beat Lamar in most of his categories, posted on Instagram that Lamar had been robbed. Ouch!
Additionally, Lamar’s nominations are spread across various genres (rap, pop, dance, music video), further maximizing his potential for a big winning night.
As if that wasn’t enough, Lamar also has a coveted performance slot; between a potential huge haul and an epic performance, 2016 could be the coronation of a new king for the once passed-over Lamar.
Swift’s 1989 album is a lock for Best Pop Vocal Album. Also, her buzz-worthy video for “Bad Blood” will almost certainly take home Best Music Video. And she even has a reasonable shot at winning both Record of the Year and Song of the Year for her big hit, “Blank Space” (video below).
But the only award Swift really wants to win this year is Album of the Year. She won the award in 2010, for Fearless, but when her Red album lost to Daft Punk in 2014, it forced her to return to the drawing board to dream it all up again. The resultant 1989 album became a pop phenomenon, spinning off six top twenty hits and counting, selling over 5.5 million copies and topping the album chart for 11 weeks.
If Grammys were based solely on commercial performance, 1989 would win Album of the Year in a landslide. But of course, there are other factors at play: for all its perfect pop nuances, is the album too commercial? And more importantly, since it’s been out forever, will voters be willing to give it the top honor at this year’s ceremony? Swift stands to lose the most this year, but in her wildest dreams, should 1989 win Album of the Year, the night will belong to her.
This year’s Album of the Year contest is going to come down to Kendrick Lamar’s critically-lauded To Pimp a Butterfly and Taylor Swift’s pop-juggernaut, 1989, with either album about as likely to win. But there’s a strong possibility that these two albums will split the vote, allowing a dark horse to take the title.
Should that happen, Alabama Shakes will reap the benefits: their Sound and Color album was a critical success, populating year-end “best of” lists by Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and Rough Trade. Additionally, the album topped the chart in April of last year, giving the band their first number one.
Furthermore, Album of the Year is historically one of the most volatile categories, as previous sure-fire bets (Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP, Beyonce’s self-titled album) have lost to left-field long-shots (Steely Dan’s Two Against Nature, Beck’s Morning Phase, respectively). Alabama Shakes are nominated in three other categories, all of them in their genre of rock and alternative music; however, a win for Album of the Year would expand their audience to the mainstream.
The Weeknd was the hottest act in 2015, with an impressive run of incendiary hit singles and a number one album that expertly married R/B, shades of electronica and dark pop. He comes into these Grammys with seven nominations, most notably in key categories like Album of the Year (for Beauty Behind the Madness) and Record of the Year (for irresistible ear-worm “Can’t Feel My Face”).
Stiff competition will shut him out of the bigger categories, but look for him to scoop up Best R/B Performance for “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey).” The Weeknd has never won a Grammy before, so if he can convert any of his nominations into a win, it will cap off an amazing year for the former Abel Tesfaye.
Adele missed the eligibility period for this year’s Grammys (the cut-off was September 30th; “Hello” was released on October 23rd). Accordingly, expect her to clean up at the 2017 Grammys, when her mega-selling 25 album will surely sweep the board.
So why is she expected to be a big winner at the 2016 Grammys? Simple: she’s schedule to perform her current single, “When We Were Young.” While winning Grammys is certainly one way to achieve success, an amazing performance can be equally rewarding.
In that sense, Adele just needs to do what she does best: go out there and belt out the song with her big, booming voice, and her performance will be one of the noteworthy water-cooler moments the next day.
Despite just a single nomination this year (for “Til It Happens To You,” her beautiful, heartbreaking collaboration with Diane Warren about campus rape), Lady Gaga is pretty much guaranteed to be one of the most-talked about artists the next day.
This is largely because she’s been on a roll lately: after fair-weather fans had written her off after 2013′s under-performing Artpop album, Lady Gaga has stealthily reminded the public of her incredible vocal range with well-received performances at the 2015 Oscars and the 2016 Super Bowl.
She’ll continue to bankroll public goodwill with a tribute to the late, great David Bowie at this year’s Grammys. As Lady Gaga was heavily influenced by Bowie, the loving performance should be nothing less than astounding, further affirming her status as one of the greatest (and most reliable) entertainers of our time.
Confusingly, Trainor is nominated for this year’s Best New Artist Grammy, even though “All About That Bass” was nominated for Song of the Year and Record of the Year at last year’s ceremony. Huh?
The current rules for Best New Artist are almost as confusing as U.S. tax laws, but they currently allow a previously nominated act to be eligible for Best New Artist, so long as their first album was released within the cut-off period and they did not win any of their previous nominations.
Trainor lost both of her nominations last year, so technically, under these bewildering circumstances, she’s allowed to win this year’s Best New Artist. Interestingly, it’s her only nomination this year. And this category has tossed up some truly head-scratching surprises in the past (hello, Esperanza Spalding!). But given Trainor’s string of well-received hit singles, plus a number one album, she’s the most sure-fire bet to win this award.
Rihanna released four songs during the eligibility period for this year’s Grammys, but she failed to garner a single nomination. The omission is strange, especially since she performed “FourFiveSeconds” at least year’s ceremony. And “Bitch Better Have My Money” definitely deserved a Best Music Video nomination.
But no matter: Rihanna is currently riding high with newly-released album, Anti. Accordingly, like Adele, her main focus is in promoting current product, not winning awards. She’s no stranger to the Grammy stage, having performed five times; expect another superlative-laden performance that will keep her name on the tips of our tongues the next day.
Minaj is nominated for three Grammys this year, all in rap categories. And while it would be nice for her album, The Pinkprint, to be recognized for Best Rap Album, any of Minaj’s wins would be an enormous victory for her.
That’s because, despite ten nominations and counting, Minaj has never taken home a Grammy. And while she’s far from the losing-est nominee ever (both Brian McKnight and Snoop Dogg have been nominated sixteen times without a win), it remains the only major music award that has eluded Minaj in her illustrious career. Could 2016 finally be her year?
Martin is the architect for some of the best pop music of the past twenty years. He’s written and/or produced hits for the biggest names in the business, including the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, and Taylor Swift. And a staggering twenty-one of his songs have hit number one.
Despite this, Martin has only ever won one Grammy, out of ten nominations, for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical, last year. His work with Swift, The Weeknd, and Ellie Goulding have garnered him a further six nominations this year, including two in the Album of the Year category.
As a behind-the-scenes maestro, winning Grammys has a less tangible effect for Martin than it does for the artists who record his songs. However, it’s high-time that Martin’s flawless contributions be rightly rewarded with some more Grammy love, in 2016.