2016 MTV VMAs: Who Will Win & Who Should Win



The 2016 MTV Video Music Awards will be dishing out Moonmen to music's brightest at New York's Madison Square Garden this Sunday.

While voting is decided by fan armies 'round the world, the ceremony could be a repeat of the 2012 Grammys if Adele sweeps with her comeback hit "Hello." However, the Beyhive has a shot at helping Queen Beyonce take home the trophies with her Lemonade offerings like "Formation" and "Hold Up." The self-proclaimed "6 God" can't be forgotten, either, as Drake has been dancing all over the internet thanks to memes from his viral "Hotline Bling" visual.

Before the winners take the podium Sunday night, two Billboard critics -- Adelle Platon and Chris Payne -- offer their predictions in the major VMA categories below.

MTV VMAs' 15 Craziest Moments of All Time

Adele – “Hello”
Beyoncé – “Formation”
Drake – “Hotline Bling”
Justin Bieber – “Sorry”
Kanye West – “Famous”      

Who Will Win: Drake, “Hotline Bling” — Bey came up short in this category last year for “7/11,” and this year, “Formation” figures to give her a better shot; this one had the help of the Super Bowl halftime show to push it into the headlines. But the VMAs are decided by fan voting, and does any artist have a stronger online coalition than Drake? Ask the average person if an image from any of these videos has stuck with them, and you’re most likely to get Drake dancing to “Hotline Bling,” thanks to the inescapable memes it spawned.

Who Should Win: Beyoncé, “Formation” — The “Formation” video jolted us to attention when Bey dropped it a day before stealing the (halftime) show at Super Bowl 50. The image of Beyoncé dancing on a police car sinking underwater is a lot more powerful than a bunch of people dancing to “Sorry” over a white background or Drake begging you to meme him via sweater dance.

Adele – “Hello”
Beyoncé – “Hold Up”
Sia – “Cheap Thrills”
Ariana Grande – “Into You”
Rihanna ft. Drake – “Work” (short version)

Who Will Win: Adele, "Hello" -- Adele's cinematic visual for "Hello" featured a sepia filter, the British siren's impeccable eyeliner, a landline phone, a phone booth and R&B darling Mack Wilds as her leading man -- the trappings of a viral phenomenon. Clocking in 1.6 billion views on YouTube and inspiring a flurry of parodies from Miss Piggy to Ellen DeGeneres, it would almost be criminal for Adele not to bag the highest honor of the night. 

Who Should Win: Beyonce, "Hold Up" -- Though Sia taps a dance troupe for the theatrical "Cheap Thrills" clip and Ariana Grande gets into a bad romance for "Into You," Beyonce -- and her bat -- wreak havoc in the video for "Hold Up." Emerging from the depths of her watery chamber, Bey flaunts a devious smile while strolling the streets in a flowy, yellow Robert Cavalli dress. Scorned Beyonce is perhaps the best Beyonce. 

Drake – “Hotline Bling”
Bryson Tiller – “Don’t”
Calvin Harris feat. Rihanna – “This Is What You Came For”
Kanye West – “Famous”
The Weeknd – “Can’t Feel My Face”

Who Will Win: Drake, “Hotline Bling” — If “Hotline Bling” is going to win video of the year, we’ve got to figure it’ll take this category too. Last year, Taylor Swift swept all the major categories she was nominated in, so with that precedent in place, we like Drake’s chances here.

Who Should Win: Bryson Tiller, “Don’t” — The Bryson Tiller video is a well-shot, carefully curated video that captures the mood of “Don’t” through dim-lit shots of city life and romantic distance. This kinda stuff deserves awards!

Beyoncé feat. Kendrick Lamar – “Freedom”
Fifth Harmony feat. Ty Dolla $ign – “Work From Home”
Ariana Grande feat. Lil Wayne – “Let Me Love You”
Calvin Harris feat. Rihanna – “This Is What You Came For”
Rihanna feat. Drake – “Work” (short version)

Who Will Win: Rihanna feat. Drake "Work" -- The inescapable dancehall pop gem instantly gets stuck in the minds of those who hear it. With a repetitively catchy hook, a nod to Jamaican singer's 1998 dancehall riddim "Sail Away" and Riri's swaggy patois, this song of the summer contender also featured two visuals -- one featuring frequent collaborators Drake and Rihanna (sporting a shimmery, see-through top) in a pink-ish room and the other, a steamy bashment at the Carribbean restaurant The Real Jerk in Toronto. 

Who Should Win: Beyonce feat. Kendrick Lamar "Freedom" -- The two titans joined forces on an insane Just Blaze beat for the empowering finale off Lemonade. The visual for the deep cut also featured the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Their 2016 BET Awards performance made a huge splash as Beyonce, her dancers and Lamar stomped in a pool of water with fists raised. Despite the song's heavier meaning in comparison to its category mates, "Freedom" is an anthem of strength that deserves shine. 

Drake – “Hotline Bling”
Desiigner – “Panda”
Bryson Tiller – “Don’t”
Chance The Rapper – “Angels”
2 Chainz – “Watch Out”

Who Will Win: Drake, “Hotline Bling” — If we think Drake is going to win Video of the Year and Best Male Video… can you tell where we’re going with this?

Who Should Win: Chance the Rapper, “Angels” — We said how we feel about the Bryson Tiller video, and we also love a part-cartoon Chance the Rapper flying through Chi-town. 

Adele – “Hello”
Beyoncé – “Formation”
Justin Bieber – “Sorry”
Alessia Cara – “Wild Things”
Ariana Grande – “Into You”

Who Will Win: Justin Bieber's "Sorry" -- The video for the viral dance number has racked up 1.7 billion views on Twitter and the Biebs himself doesn't even make a cameo. The dancer-filled presentation has sparked many spin-offs from Beliebers and beyond, including NFL player Von Miller spoofed it for a Madden promo. The record-breaking hit was also the first to dethrone Adele's "Hello" on the Hot 100. Most importantly, the track will make any wallflower a member of the dance, dance revolution. 

Who Should Win: Beyonce's "Formation" -- Beyonce's cry for solidarity had women shouting "'Cause I slay" from the top of their lungs (and also slipping hot sauce into their bags #swag). From the controversial shot of Bey singing on top of a sinking cop car to her parking lot joy ride, this girl power anthem goes harder than the other pop visual offerings in this category. There's no doubt her 'Hive will get in formation and vote till MTV gives her the crown. 

All Time Low – “Missing You”
Coldplay – “Adventure of a Lifetime”
Fall Out Boy ft. Demi Lovato – “Irresistible”
twenty one pilots – “Heathens”
Panic! At The Disco – “Victorious”

Who Will Win: Fall Out Boy feat. Demi Lovato “Irresistible” — Fall Out Boy won this category last year (for “Uma Thurman”) and they’ve definitely put in work at award shows in recent years. Along with Demi Lovato’s star power, we think FOB takes it a second year in a row. 

Who Should Win: Panic! at the Disco, “Victorious” — Panic! at the Disco’s black-eyed, liquor-filled, high-octane video for “Victorious” is #peak for everything that is Panic! at the Disco. Give it a moonman

Calvin Harris & Disciples – “How Deep Is Your Love”
99 Souls feat. Destiny’s Child & Brandy – “The Girl Is Mine”
Mike Posner – “I Took a Pill in Ibiza”
Afrojack – “SummerThing!”
The Chainsmokers feat. Daya – “Don’t Let Me Down”

Who Will Win: The Chainsmokers feat. Daya, "Don't Let Me Down" -- The woodsy visual features a yellow whip with sick hydraulics and two fellows besting the laws of gravity as Daya and her forest dancers work their magic. The dance chart-topper could also use a lift with a Moonman in the best electronic video category. 

Who Should Win: Calvln Harris & Disciples, "How Deep -- The trippy visual for the Calvin Harris cut features blonde bombshell Gigi Hadid playing a stunning patient on an exam table after a wild night of raving and a pool plunge. Afrojack's turnt up visual for "SummerThing!" featuring Mike Taylor comes a close second but Hadid star power is always a win. 

Florence + The Machine – The Odyssey
Beyoncé – Lemonade
Justin Bieber – PURPOSE: The Movement
Chris Brown – Royalty
Troye Sivan – Blue Neighbourhood Trilogy

Who Will Win: Beyoncé, LemonadeNo doubt about it. 

Who Should Win: Beyoncé, Lemonade - We can’t say for sure, but it sure seems like this brand new category was created because Beyoncé released one particular breakthrough long form video this year, which doesn’t conveniently fit into any of the other categories, yet still deserves a VMA. 

Bryson Tiller
Zara Larsson
Lukas Graham

Who Will Win: DNCE -- Despite DNCE frontman Joe Jonas' boy band past, this pop rock group served up a delicious hit with "Cake by the Ocean," which also carried a beachy visual. Whether performing on Ellen or the Billboard Music Awards, there ain't no party like a DNCE party.

Who Should Win: Desiigner -- The "Panda" hitmaker not only scored some real estate on Kanye West's The Life of Pablo (see: "Pt. 2") and a slot on G.O.O.D. Music but the Brooklyn rapper has also followed it up with his viral tune "Tiimmy Turner." 

2016 MTV VMAs