Grammy 2018 predictions: Expect Bruno, ‘Despacito’ to win big

Paul Grein
Writer
Yahoo Music

This year, two rappers, Kendrick Lamar and Jay-Z, are competing for Grammys for both Album and Record of the Year. Will that double the chances of one of them winning — or reduce them, by splitting the vote of hip-hop fans? And will the presence of Childish Gambino in those same two categories further split the vote of fans of R&B and hip-hop?

We’ll find out the answers to these and other burning questions when the 60th Annual Grammy Awards are presented on Sunday, Jan. 28. To help you get ready for the telecast, here are the likely winners in two dozen key categories.

<p>Does the Recording Academy have enough members who are rap fans for a rap album to win when there are two strong, evenly matched rap nominees? I don’t think so. That’s a lucky break for Bruno Mars’s <i>24K Magic</i> (or, as a longshot, Lorde’s <i>Melodrama</i>). (Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS) </p>
Album of the Year: Bruno Mars

Does the Recording Academy have enough members who are rap fans for a rap album to win when there are two strong, evenly matched rap nominees? I don’t think so. That’s a lucky break for Bruno Mars’s 24K Magic (or, as a longshot, Lorde’s Melodrama). (Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS)

<p>“Despacito” by Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber is a genre-bridging song that has artists of different races and countries of origin working together. That will speak to a lot of Grammy voters, especially in the Donald Trump era. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Record of the Year: “Despacito”

“Despacito” by Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber is a genre-bridging song that has artists of different races and countries of origin working together. That will speak to a lot of Grammy voters, especially in the Donald Trump era. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>Look for “Despacito” to edge out “1-800-273-8255.” This would make “Despacito” be the first (mostly) foreign-language song to win in this category since Domenico Modugno’s Italian-language smash “Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)” won at the first Grammys in 1958. (Photo: Getty Images) </p>
Song of the Year: “Despacito”

Look for “Despacito” to edge out “1-800-273-8255.” This would make “Despacito” be the first (mostly) foreign-language song to win in this category since Domenico Modugno’s Italian-language smash “Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)” won at the first Grammys in 1958. (Photo: Getty Images)

<p>This one will be close. The critically-lauded SZA has an edge over Alessia Cara and Khalid. (Julia Michaels and Lil Uzi Vert round out the unusually strong field.) Last year, the critically-acclaimed Chance the Rapper won here. (Photo: Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images) </p>
Best New Artist: SZA

This one will be close. The critically-lauded SZA has an edge over Alessia Cara and Khalid. (Julia Michaels and Lil Uzi Vert round out the unusually strong field.) Last year, the critically-acclaimed Chance the Rapper won here. (Photo: Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

<p>Sheeran was snubbed in the “big three” categories (Album, Record, and Song of the Year). Voters will make up for the slights by voting for the Brit’s third album, <b><i>÷ </i></b>(<i>Divide</i>), here. Kesha’s <i>Rainbow></i> is probably Sheeran’s strongest rival. (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NARAS) </p>
Best Pop Vocal Album: Ed Sheeran

Sheeran was snubbed in the “big three” categories (Album, Record, and Song of the Year). Voters will make up for the slights by voting for the Brit’s third album, ÷ (Divide), here. Kesha’s Rainbow> is probably Sheeran’s strongest rival. (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NARAS)

<p>Metallica have never won in this category, despite being a multiplatinum act since before the category was introduced in 1994. That should change this year with a win for <i>Hardwired…to Self-Destruct</i>. (Photo: Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images) </p>
Best Rock Album: Metallica

Metallica have never won in this category, despite being a multiplatinum act since before the category was introduced in 1994. That should change this year with a win for Hardwired…to Self-Destruct. (Photo: Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images)

<p>“Run” has an edge over two posthumous entries, Leonard Cohen’s “You Want It Darker” and Chris Cornell’s “The Promise.” The Foos won in this category six years ago for the similarly titled “Walk.” (Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images) </p>
Best Rock Performance: Foo Fighters

“Run” has an edge over two posthumous entries, Leonard Cohen’s “You Want It Darker” and Chris Cornell’s “The Promise.” The Foos won in this category six years ago for the similarly titled “Walk.” (Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

<p>LCD Soundsystem’s <i>American Dream</i> is out front. The album debuted at No. 1 and ranked No. 5 on <i>Rolling Stone</i>‘s year-end critics’ poll. Other strong contenders include Arcade Fire’s <i>Everything Now</i> and Father John Misty’s <i>Pure Comedy</i>. (Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images) </p>
Best Alternative Music Album: LCD Soundsystem

LCD Soundsystem’s American Dream is out front. The album debuted at No. 1 and ranked No. 5 on Rolling Stone‘s year-end critics’ poll. Other strong contenders include Arcade Fire’s Everything Now and Father John Misty’s Pure Comedy. (Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

<p>With noms in each of the big three categories, Bruno Mars (<i>24K Magic</i>) will be hard to beat here. Mars is vying to become the first artist who isn’t African American to win in this category. Mars won three awards at the recent NAACP Image Awards. (Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images ) </p>
Best R&B Album: Bruno Mars

With noms in each of the big three categories, Bruno Mars (24K Magic) will be hard to beat here. Mars is vying to become the first artist who isn’t African American to win in this category. Mars won three awards at the recent NAACP Image Awards. (Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images )

<p>SZA’s Ctrl. will probably edge out Childish Gambino’s <i>“Awaken, My Love!</i>.” SZA is vying to become the third female artist, following Rihanna and Beyoncé, to win in this category. (Photo: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images) </p>
Best Urban Contemporary Album: SZA

SZA’s Ctrl. will probably edge out Childish Gambino’s “Awaken, My Love!.” SZA is vying to become the third female artist, following Rihanna and Beyoncé, to win in this category. (Photo: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

<p>Childish Gambino’s “Redbone” will take this one. The versatile performer, a.k.a. Donald Glover, won two Emmys in September for his work on the FX series <i>Atlanta</i>. (Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images for Governors Ball) </p>
Best Traditional R&B Performance: Childish Gambino

Childish Gambino’s “Redbone” will take this one. The versatile performer, a.k.a. Donald Glover, won two Emmys in September for his work on the FX series Atlanta. (Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images for Governors Ball)

<p>Look for Kendrick Lamar’s <i>DAMN.</i> to edge out Jay-Z’s <i>4:44</i>. This will be Lamar’s second studio album in a row to win here. He’s as dominant in the field as Eminem and Kanye West were when they each won here with three consecutive studio albums. (Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic) </p>
Best Rap Album: Kendrick Lamar

Look for Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. to edge out Jay-Z’s 4:44. This will be Lamar’s second studio album in a row to win here. He’s as dominant in the field as Eminem and Kanye West were when they each won here with three consecutive studio albums. (Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

<p>This one will be close between Jay-Z’s “Family Feud” (featuring Beyoncé) and Kendrick Lamar’s “Loyalty.” (featuring Rihanna). Jay-Z, who has won seven times in this category, has a slight edge. (Photo: Zachary Mazur/FilmMagic) </p>
Best Rap/Sung Performance: Jay-Z

This one will be close between Jay-Z’s “Family Feud” (featuring Beyoncé) and Kendrick Lamar’s “Loyalty.” (featuring Rihanna). Jay-Z, who has won seven times in this category, has a slight edge. (Photo: Zachary Mazur/FilmMagic)

<p>Stapleton, who won here two years ago for <i>Traveller</i>, will likely win again for <i>From a Room: Volume 1</i>. Stapleton is vying to become the first male solo artist to win twice in this category since the category was re-introduced in 1994. (Photo: Kevin Winter/WireImage) </p>
Best Country Album: Chris Stapleton

Stapleton, who won here two years ago for Traveller, will likely win again for From a Room: Volume 1. Stapleton is vying to become the first male solo artist to win twice in this category since the category was re-introduced in 1994. (Photo: Kevin Winter/WireImage)

<p>Taylor Swift is out front with “Better Man,” which she wrote for Little Big Town. This would be Swift’s third win in this category, which would put her in a tie with Josh Kear for the most wins in the category. Swift previously won for her own tunes “White Horse” and “Mean.” (Photo: Isabel Infantes/PA Images via Getty Images) </p>
Best Country Song: Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift is out front with “Better Man,” which she wrote for Little Big Town. This would be Swift’s third win in this category, which would put her in a tie with Josh Kear for the most wins in the category. Swift previously won for her own tunes “White Horse” and “Mean.” (Photo: Isabel Infantes/PA Images via Getty Images)

<p>Look for Bublé’s <i>Nobody But Me</i> to edge out <i>Tony Bennett Celebrates 90</i> and Bob Dylan’s <i>Triplicate</i>. Bublé, a four-time winner in this category, took a year off to be with his son, Noah, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2016. (Photo: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images) </p>
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: Michael Bublé

Look for Bublé’s Nobody But Me to edge out Tony Bennett Celebrates 90 and Bob Dylan’s Triplicate. Bublé, a four-time winner in this category, took a year off to be with his son, Noah, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2016. (Photo: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

<p>The Stones are likely to win for <i>Blue & Lonesome</i>. This would be the legendary band’s third Grammy win — and their first in 23 years. They took Best Rock Album and Best Music Video, Short Form for 1994. (Photo: David Wolff – Patrick/Redferns ) </p>
Best Traditional Blues Album: The Rolling Stones

The Stones are likely to win for Blue & Lonesome. This would be the legendary band’s third Grammy win — and their first in 23 years. They took Best Rock Album and Best Music Video, Short Form for 1994. (Photo: David Wolff – Patrick/Redferns )

<p>Reba McEntire is out front with <i>Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope</i>. Last year’s winner, Joey + Rory’s <i>Hymns That Are Important to Us</i>, was also a country crossover hit. (Photo: Mickey Bernal/FilmMagic) </p>
Best Gospel Album: Reba McEntire

Reba McEntire is out front with Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope. Last year’s winner, Joey + Rory’s Hymns That Are Important to Us, was also a country crossover hit. (Photo: Mickey Bernal/FilmMagic)

<p>I’ll go with Senator Bernie Sanders (and actor Mark Ruffalo) for <i>Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In</i>. Most Grammy voters are staunch Democrats. Bruce Springsteen’s <i>Born to Run</i> and the late Carrie Fisher’s <i>The Princess Diarist</i> are also strong contenders. (Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images for MoveOn.org) </p>
Best Spoken Word Album: Bernie Sanders

I’ll go with Senator Bernie Sanders (and actor Mark Ruffalo) for Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In. Most Grammy voters are staunch Democrats. Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run and the late Carrie Fisher’s The Princess Diarist are also strong contenders. (Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images for MoveOn.org)

<p>Kraftwerk, nominated for <i>3-D The Catalogue</i>, helped to create the electronic genre more than four decades ago. This would be their first competitive Grammy, though they received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. (Photo: Nick Pickles/WireImage) </p>
Best Dance/Electronic Album: Kraftwerk

Kraftwerk, nominated for 3-D The Catalogue, helped to create the electronic genre more than four decades ago. This would be their first competitive Grammy, though they received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. (Photo: Nick Pickles/WireImage)

<p>Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit are out front with <i>The Nashville Sound</i>. Isbell won here two years ago with <i>Something More Than Free</i>. If he wins again, he’ll join Levon Helm as the only two-time winners in the category’s history. (Photo: Erika Goldring/Getty Images) </p>
Best Americana Album: Jason Isbell

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit are out front with The Nashville Sound. Isbell won here two years ago with Something More Than Free. If he wins again, he’ll join Levon Helm as the only two-time winners in the category’s history. (Photo: Erika Goldring/Getty Images)

<p>Yusuf/Cat Stevens is nominated for <i>The Laughing Apple</i>. This is, amazingly, his first Grammy nomination in a career that dates back to 1967. Look for him to edge out Aimee Mann’s <i>Mental Illness</i>. (Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images) </p>
Best Folk Album: Yusuf/Cat Stevens

Yusuf/Cat Stevens is nominated for The Laughing Apple. This is, amazingly, his first Grammy nomination in a career that dates back to 1967. Look for him to edge out Aimee Mann’s Mental Illness. (Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

<p><i>Dear Evan Hansen</i> will beat the Bette Midler revival of <i>Hello, Dolly!</i> <i>Dear Evan Hansen</i> won six Tony Awards in June, including Best Musical and Best Performance by a Lead Actor in a Musical for Ben Platt. (Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images) </p>
Best Musical Theater Album: ‘Dear Evan Hansen’

Dear Evan Hansen will beat the Bette Midler revival of Hello, Dolly! Dear Evan Hansen won six Tony Awards in June, including Best Musical and Best Performance by a Lead Actor in a Musical for Ben Platt. (Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

<p>No I.D. (Dion Wilson) was the only non-artist to receive five noms this year. That puts him out front in this category. No I.D. received all of these nominations for his work on Jay-Z’s album, <i>4:44</i>. His chief rival is Greg Kurstin, who won in this category last year. (Photo: Rich Polk/Getty Images) </p>
Producer of the Year, Non-Classical: No I.D.

No I.D. (Dion Wilson) was the only non-artist to receive five noms this year. That puts him out front in this category. No I.D. received all of these nominations for his work on Jay-Z’s album, 4:44. His chief rival is Greg Kurstin, who won in this category last year. (Photo: Rich Polk/Getty Images)

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