Grammy voting closed on Jan. 3, so it’s time for our fearless predictions of who will win in key categories at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards on Jan. 26. We handicapped the “Big Four” categories in a separate piece. Here are our forecasts in 15 other top categories.
Best Pop Vocal Album
Grande, Sheeran and Swift are all past winners in this category. If any of them wins, they’d join Kelly Clarkson and Adele as the only two-time winners in the category’s history. Grande, who won last year for Sweetener, would become the first person in the history of the category to win in back-to-back years.
Eilish, 18, is vying to become the youngest winner in the category’s history. That distinction is currently held by Sam Smith, who was 22 when he won five years ago for In The Lonely Hour.
As album of the year contenders, Eilish and Grande are the front-runners here. And it figures to be very close between them. Eilish could conceivably win album of the year and lose here, if enough voters decide that Grande is more of a pop artist, while Eilish could just as easily been slotted in best alternative music album.
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
Bublé is a four-time winner in this category. Streisand and Bocelli have been nominated here in the past, but have yet to win. This is the first nomination in the category for Costello and Legend. But Legend is going against Grammy history: No holiday album has ever won in this category. Voters even bypassed Bublé’s Christmas.
Three of this year’s nominees are seriously overdue for recognition. Bocelli has never won a Grammy. Costello has won just one, for a 1998 collab with Burt Bacharach. Streisand hasn’t won a Grammy in competition in 33 years.
But it will be hard for any of them to get past Bublé, who is second only to Tony Bennett in number of wins in this category.
Best Dance/Electronic Album
This would be the third win in the category for the Chemical Brothers, which would put the duo in a tie with Skrillex for the most wins in the category’s history. It would the second win in the category for Flume. The Chemical Brothers have three total nominations this year, more than anyone else in the category. Their noms include best music video, a sign of their reach beyond the dance field.
Prediction: The Chemical Brothers
Best Rock Album
I Prevail and Rival Sons each have a second nomination this year. None of the other contenders do.
This is the Cranberries’ first Grammy nomination, for their final album recorded before the death of lead singer Dolores O’Riordan two years ago. The Cranberries would be the first female-fronted band to win in this category. (Two female solo artists—Alanis Morissette and Sheryl Crow—have won here.)
Cage the Elephant is the only nominee in this category that had been nominated for a Grammy prior to this year. Social Cues is the band’s third consecutive studio album to be nominated for either best rock album or best alternative music album. The band won best rock album three years ago with Tell Me I’m Pretty.
Prediction: Cage the Elephant
Best Alternative Music Album
Yorke has won three times in this category as a member of Radiohead. Another win would make him the first four-time winner in the category’s history. Yorke has four total nominations this year, more than any of the other contenders here. His noms include best music film for Amina and best song written for visual media for “Suspirium.”
Even so, the album of the year nominations for Bon Iver and Vampire Weekend make them the front-runners in this category. Both bands won in this category previously, for Bon Iver and Modern Vampires of the City, respectively.
Prediction: Vampire Weekend
Best R&B Album
None of these artists have won in this category before; only BJ the Chicago Kid and Morton have been nominated in this category before. Lucky Daye has four nominations this year, more than anyone else in the category.
Ella Mai, Anderson .Paak and Morton each won a Grammy last year—for best R&B song, best rap performance and best traditional R&B performance, respectively. Ella Mai’s album is nominated for best engineered album, non-classical.
Prediction: Ella Mai
Best Urban Contemporary Album
Lizzo, who is this year’s top nominee with eight nods, is a slam dunk here.
Best Rap Album
The two top contenders are probably Tyler, the Creator and 21 Savage. 21 Savage’s album includes “A Lot,” which is nominated for best rap song. 21 Savage was nominated for record and song of the year last year as a featured artist on Post Malone‘s “Rockstar.”
None of these artists have won in this category before; only Tyler, the Creator has been nominated in this category before.
Prediction: Tyler, the Creator
Best Country Album
Pistol Annies member Miranda Lambert won in this category five years ago for Platinum. None of these other artists have won in this category before.
Desperate Man and Center Point Road were both nominated for album of the year at the CMA Awards on Nov. 13, but lost to Maren Morris‘ Girl. Morris’ album was, surprisingly, passed over for a nomination here. You might think that would clear the way for Church or Rhett to win. But two other female artists—Pistol Annies or Tucker—may block their path.
Tucker has received 14 Grammy nominations dating back to 1972, but has yet to win. The song of the year nomination for “Bring My Flowers Now” has put a spotlight on her. Tucker, 61, would become the oldest winner in this category since Loretta Lynn, then 72, took the 2004 award for Van Lear Rose.
Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Rocketman were both big winners at the Golden Globes on Sunday night. Alas, that telecast aired two days after Grammy voting closed.
A win for the Tarantino soundtrack would be a way of acknowledging the director, whose films have long exemplified the creative use of music in film. This is Tarantino’s fifth Grammy nomination; he has yet to win. (He’s nominated as the compilation producer, along with Mary Ramos as music supervisor.) His film seems much fresher than A Star Is Born, which was released 15 long months ago.
Gaga & Cooper’s “Shallow” won last year’s award for best pop duo/group performance. The song also won best song written for visual media. Will voters decide that’s enough recognition for the film or will they give it more prizes this year? A tough call.
Prediction: Gaga & Cooper
Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media
Zimmer has won four Grammys, including two for his work on the soundtrack to the original The Lion King film in 1994. Silvestri has won two Grammys. Shaiman has won one.
Chernobyl and Game of Thrones are both vying to become just the second score soundtrack from a television show to win in this category. (Both shows aired on HBO.) Lalo Schifrin‘s score for CBS’ Mission: Impossible took the 1967 award.
Hildur Guðnadóttir has been unstoppable this awards season. She won an Emmy for Chernobyl and a Golden Globe for Joker. Will she soon have an Oscar and a Grammy too to bring back to Iceland? Stay tuned. She would be the first woman to win in this Grammy category in more than 30 years. (And Joker will almost certainly put her back in the running here next year.)
Prediction: Hildur Guðnadóttir
Producer of the Year, Non-Classical
Auerbach won in this category seven years ago. Hill and Reed were previously nominated in this category, but didn’t win.
The top contenders are probably Antonoff, who co-produced Lana Del Rey‘s Norman F***ing Rockwell!; Finneas, who produced Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?; and Reed, who produced Lizzo’s Cuz I Love You (Deluxe). All three albums are album of the year nominees.
At 22, Finneas would become the youngest winner in the category’s history. That distinction is currently shared by Michael Jackson and three members of Toto (Steve Porcaro, Bobby Kimball and Steve Lukather) who were each 25 when they won.
But When We All Fall Asleep… is Finneas’ only listed credit. By contrast, the entries for the other four nominees list multiple credits. Antonoff’s shows albums by four different artists, including Del Rey and Swift.
Deep trivia: As a member of fun., Antonoff won best new artist seven years ago. He would become the first person to win both best new artist and producer of the year, non-classical over the course of a career.
Best Music Video
Last year’s winner in this category, Childish Gambino‘s “This Is America,” also won record of the year. “Old Town Road” is the only work that is nominated in both categories this year. Calmatic won a VMA in August for directing “Old Town Road.” Andrew Thomas Huang also competed in that category for directing “Cellophane.”
Prediction: Lil Nas X & Cyrus
Best Music Film
Morgan Neville, the director of Shangri La, won in this category five years ago for directing 20 Feet From Stardom. Cameron Crowe, who co-produced Remember My Name, won a 2000 Grammy for best compilation soundtrack album for Almost Famous.
Yorke’s Anima is nominated for best alternative music album, but Beyoncé’s Homecoming: The Live Album was, surprisingly, passed over for a nomination for best urban contemporary album.
Despite that hiccup, Beyoncé is likely to win here in her fourth nomination in the category. She was previously nominated for I Am…World Tour, On the Run Tour (with Jay-Z) and Lemonade. Beyoncé co-directed Homecoming with Ed Burke. She would become only the second artist to win in this category for a film she or he directed or co-directed. The first was Alanis Morissette, who won the 1997 award for Jagged Little Pill, Live, which she co-directed with Steve Purcell.