Grammys 2018: The Weeknd, Lady Gaga & More Early Contenders

At this time last year, two of the five Grammy nominees for Album of the Year -- including the one that was about to win the whole shebang, Adele's 25 -- had already been released. Songs like Twenty One Pilots' "Stressed Out," Justin Bieber's "Love Yourself," Rihanna's "Work" and Beyonce's "Formation" were released in 2015 or early 2016, and scored some huge nods for the 2017 Grammy Awards.

So what does that tell us about the contenders for next year's Grammys? We're still a full year away from the 60th Annual Grammy Awards, but recent history would imply that some of the major nominees could already be hiding in plain sight, since anything released between Oct. 1, 2016 and right now is eligible next year. 

With that in mind, let's prognosticate way too early and review some of the favorites for the 2018 Grammys:

Bruno Mars
Early Contender For: Album of the Year, Record of the Year

Guess who's currently in the very good graces of the Recording Academy right now, after presenting a show-stopping tribute to Prince on Sunday night? Great performance (check that: multiple great performances) aside, Bruno Mars is a Grammy favorite -- his 2010 debut Doo-Wops & Hooligans scored an Album of the Year nod, while "Uptown Funk!" won Record of the Year last year -- with another hit single and album (both titled 24K Magic) in the air for next year's awards. For those about to bet against Bruno, look out! -- he's a dangerous man, with some Grammy goodwill in his pocket.

Lady Gaga
Early Contender For: Song of the Year

Joanne was not as rapturously received as Team Gaga might have hoped, but a well-reviewed Super Bowl halftime show performance has turned the touching ballad "Million Reasons" into the album's first Top 10 entry. If "Reasons" picks up some radio play and morphs into the "Someone Like You" of Gaga's catalog, expect a songwriting nod at next year's Grammys ceremony.

The Weeknd
Early Contender For: Album of the Year, Record of the Year

Abel Tesfaye crossed into the mainstream with 2015's Beauty Behind the Madness, which earned an Album of the Year nomination, and last fall's Starboy kept him there, with two new Daft Punk-assisted Top 20 hits. Adele's 25, the latest recipient of the Album of the Year prize, dominated Black Friday 2015; The Weeknd's Starboy was the must-have post-Thanksgiving release of 2016. Could it ride a similar path toward Grammy gold next year?

Ed Sheeran
Early Contender For: Record of the Year

Benjamin Franklin once said, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes and Ed Sheeran Grammy nominations." We're paraphrasing, but the point remains: the head Sheerio is beloved by the Recording Academy, crashing the 2017 ceremony to play his current No. 1 hit "Shape of You," which is a strong early contender for the Record of the Year prize. At 25, Sheeran has already been nominated in all four major Grammy categories, although he's only taken home Song of the Year (for "Thinking Out Loud"). No matter how his upcoming ÷ album is received, expect "Shape of You" to appear on a bunch of Grammy ballots come autumn.

A Tribe Called Quest
Early Contender For: Album of the Year

You know how A Tribe Called Quest delivered the most moving, politically charged performance of the 59th Grammy Awards? They did so three months after releasing one of the most moving, politically charged (and best-reviewed) albums of 2016. Three days after Donald Trump was elected president, Tribe's We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service was released, honoring the late Phife Dawg and serving as an unwitting soundtrack to the most shocking political upheaval of the young century. As the rare legacy act that still feels immediate and necessary, Tribe could be calling out "President Agent Orange" onstage next year, too.

2017 Grammys


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