Vulture’s 2015 Grammy Predictions

Clockwise from left: Beyoncé, Beck, Miranda Lambert, Sam Smith and Iggy Azalea. Photo: Christopher Polk/MTV1415/Getty Images for MTV, Chris McKay/Getty Images, Karl Walter/Getty Images for Coachella, Larry Marano/Getty Images for iHeartMedia, and Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Trying to predict the Grammys is a mug’s game: There are so many dang awards, the October-to-September eligibility period makes zero sense, and you’re never sure when the voters will just say, “Screw it” and hand an award to a bunch of old white guys whose band broke up 30 years ago. Which is what makes it fun! In a year when most of the eventual Oscar winners have been locked in since December, it’s fun to watch an awards show where nobody has any idea what’s going to happen. This year, as in all years, there’s only one guarantee: The winners will make people mad. But which ones will make people maddest? Read our predictions to see!

Best Pop Vocal Album
Coldplay, Ghost Stories 
Miley Cyrus, Bangerz
Ariana Grande, My Everything 
Katy Perry, Prism
Ed Sheeran, X
Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour
Who Will Win: Sam Smith. As Adele might say, “Oi, ‘e’s the new me, innit?”
Who Should Win: We can’t vote for Beyoncé here? Fine. Sam Smith.

Best Pop Solo Performance
John Legend, “All of Me”
Sia, “Chandelier”
Sam Smith, “Stay With Me”
Taylor Swift, “Shake It Off”
Pharrell Williams, “Happy” 
Who Will Win: Adele has won this award twice in its four-year existence, so let’s just pencil in Sam Smith for this one, too; the Tom Petty thing won’t hurt him here.
Who Should Win: This award should go to the song that’s hardest to sing, no? In that case, we’re handing it to Sia.

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX, “Fancy”
Coldplay, “A Sky Full of Stars”
A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera, “Say Something”
Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj, “Bang Bang”
Katy Perry and Juicy J, “Dark Horse”
Who Will Win: “Dark Horse” and “Fancy” were both chart-toppers, and since the Grammys inexplicably hate Katy Perry (does she even know what she did?), we’ll go with “Fancy.”
Who Should Win: “Dark Horse.” Katy needs at least one Grammy for her career, and Juicy J needs to get one step closer to an EGOT.

Best Rock Performance
Ryan Adams,Gimme Something Good”
Arctic Monkeys,Do I Wanna Know?”
Beck, “Blue Moon”
The Black Keys, “Fever”
Jack White, “Lazaretto”
Who Will Win: The Grammys prefer their rock music performed by Bruce Springsteen, but if he’s not around, they like to hand trophies to the Black Keys.
Who Should Win: Ryan Adams could really use a pick-me-up right about now. Give him a Grammy!

Best Rock Song
Paramore, “Ain’t It Fun”
Ryan Adams, “Gimme Something Good”
Beck, “Blue Moon”
The Black Keys, “Fever”
Jack White, “Lazaretto”
Who Will Win: As you might be able to tell from the nominees, the Grammys like to double up on Rock Song and Performance, so let’s say the Black Keys here, too.
Who Should Win: “Ain’t It Fun” was Paramore’s well-deserved breakout, with the best gospel choir this side of Sam Smith.

Best Rock Album
Ryan Adams, Ryan Adams
U2, Songs of Innocence
The Black Keys, Turn Blue
Beck, Morning Phase
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Hypnotic Eye
Who Will Win: It’s never wise to bet against a Hall of Famer in Best Rock Album, unless that Hall of Famer is Tom Petty. (He’s lost four times.) U2 it is. 
Who Should Win: Beck, for his gentle, impeccable album.

Best Alternative Music Album
alt-J, This Is All Yours
The Arcade Fire, Reflektor
Cage the Elephant, Melophobia
St. Vincent, St. Vincent
Jack White, Lazaretto
Who Will Win: The White Stripes won this award three times. Unless Grammy voters really liked Meg, Lazaretto is the pick.
Who Should Win: St. Vincent had hooks for days, and even its bonus tracks were better than some people’s hits.

Best R&B Performance
Beyoncé and Jay Z, “Drunk in Love”
Chris Brown, Usher, and Rick Ross, “New Flame”
Jennifer Hudson and R. Kelly, “It’s Your World”
Ledisi, “Like This”
Usher, “Good Kisser” 
Who Will Win: We’re prepared for a big Beyoncé night, so let’s go with “Drunk in Love.”
Who Should Win: “Drunk in Love,” because the pronunciation of “surfbort” deserves a Grammy.

Best R&B Song
Beyoncé and Jay Z, “Drunk in Love”
Usher, “Good Kisser”
Chris Brown, Usher, and Rick Ross, “New Flame”
Luke James and Rick Ross, “Options (Wolfjames Version)
Jhené Aiko, “The Worst”
Who Will Win: Again, we expect an armload of trophies for Beyoncé, so add this one to the pile.
Who Should Win: “Drunk in Love,” even taking into account some of Jay’s clunkers.

Best Urban Contemporary Album
Jhené Aiko, Sail Out 
Beyoncé, Beyoncé 
Chris Brown, X 
Mali Music, Mali Is 
Pharrell Williams, G I R L
Who Will Win: Voters don’t zag here: Frank Ocean and Rihanna won this award the two previous times it’s been given out. Beyoncé it is.
Who Should Win: Think of Chris Brown and Pharrell as the minibosses Beyoncé has to defeat before getting to the real battle for Album of the Year.

Best R&B Album
Bernhoft, Islander
Aloe Blacc, Lift Your Spirit
Toni Braxton and Babyface, Love, Marriage & Divorce
Robert Glasper Experiment, Black Radio 2 
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Give the People What They Want 
Who Will Win: Toni Braxton and Babyface? That’s like giving Grammy voters cake and pie. It’s Love, Marriage & Divorce.
Who Should Win: Glasper’s first Black Radio won this award in 2013, and his follow-up, Black Radio 2, is an equally polyphonic masterpiece.

Best Dance Recording
Basement Jaxx, “Never Say Never”
Clean Bandit and Jess Glynn, “Rather Be”
Mary J. Blige and Disclosure, “F for You”
Duke Dumont “I Got U”
ZHU, “Faded”
Who Will Win: The Grammys love Mary J., but “Rather Be” is the only song here that’s played in Starbucks. That’s an edge.
Who Should Win: No disrespect to the orchestral loops on “Rather Be,” but the steel drums in “I Got U” were our favorite musical snippet of the summer.

Best Dance/Electronic Album
Aphex Twin, Syro
Deadmau5, While (1Little Dragon, Numaba Rubberband
Röyksopp and Robyn, Do It Again
Mat Zo, Damage Control 
Who Will Win: Deadmau5 has been nominated twice before here, losing to Skrillex each time. Skrillex wasn’t nominated this year, which means we will likely see a giant red mouse head at the podium Sunday night.
Who Should Win: A Deadmau5 win would supply enough confused tweets to power the clickbait industry for a month. We’re picking While (1out of pure self-interest.

Best Rap Performance
Childish Gambino, “3005”
Drake, “0 to 100/The Catch Up”
Eminem, “Rap God” 
Kendrick Lamar, “i”
Lecrae, “All I Need Is You”
Who Will Win: After the text blogged ‘round the world, voters will give this to Kendrick Lamar as a make-up win.
Who Should Win: Kendrick, who deserves this straight-up.

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration
Common and Jhené Aiko, “Blak Majik”
Eminem and Rihanna, “The Monster”
iLoveMakonnen and Drake, “Tuesday”
Schoolboy Q and BJ the Chicago Kid, “Studio”
Kanye West and Charlie Wilson, “Bound 2”
Who Will Win: “Bound 2.” Kanye hasn’t been as disrespected by the Grammys as he’d have you believe, and voters could see this as a lifetime achievement award for Charlie Wilson.
Who Should Win: “Bound 2.” Uh-huh, honey.

Best Rap Song
Nicki Minaj, “Anaconda”
Kanye West and Charlie Wilson, “Bound 2”
Kendrick Lamar, “i”
Wiz Khalifa, “We Dem Boys”
Drake, “0 to 100/The Catch-Up”
Who Will Win: It’s been a long time since a Best Rap Song winner leaned as heavily on its samples as “Anaconda,” “Bound 2,” and “i” do. (The last one was probably “Diamonds From Sierra Leone” in 2006.) That could open room for Drake, who, astoundingly, has only won one Grammy.
Who Should Win: Drake, because he deserves at least two Grammys.

Best Rap Album
Iggy Azalea, The New Classic
Childish Gambino, Because the Internet
Common, Nobody’s Smiling
Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP2
Schoolboy Q, Oxymoron
Wiz Khalifa, Blacc Holywood 
Who Will Win: Eminem has only lost this award once in the six previous times he’s been nominated, and that was to Late Registration. The New Classic is not Late Registration.
Who Should Win: Unlike last year, there isn’t one obvious choice here that unites critical acclaim and popular consensus. Let’s give it to Schoolboy Q for his impressive debut, which just so happens to be a way of making it up to the Black Hippy family.

Best Country Song
Kenny Chesney, “American Kids”
Miranda Lambert, “Automatic”
Eric Church, “Give Me Back My Hometown”
Glen Campbell, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You”
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s”
Who Will Win: Giving Glen Campbell an award for his last song ever is too perfect an opportunity for the voters to pass up.
Who Should Win: Glen Campbell. Sometimes, the emotional choice is the right one.

Best Country Solo Performance
Eric Church, “Give Me Me Back My Hometown”
Hunter Hayes, “Invisible”
Miranda Lambert, “Automatic”
Carrie Underwood, “Something in the Water
Keith Urban, “Cop Car”
Who Will Win: Carrie Underwood. In the face-off of country’s reigning queens, “Something in the Water” was a bigger hit, and just sounds bigger to boot.
Who Should Win: Carrie has the showy high notes, but we slightly prefer the more understated “Automatic.”

Best Country Duo/Group Performance
The Band Perry, “Gentle on My Mind”
Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood, “Somethin’ Bad”
Little Big Town, “Day Drinking”
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s”
Keith Urban and Eric Church, “Raise ‘Em Up”
Who Will Win: Remember how many Grammys Watch the Throne won? “Somethin’ Bad” is the country equivalent of Watch the Throne
Who Should Win: “Somethin’ Bad,” which, if we’re going to compare to rap, actually sounds more like “99 Problems” than anything else.

Best Country Album
Dierks Bentley, Riser
Eric Church, The Outsiders
Brandy Clark, 12 Stories
Miranda Lambert, Platinum
Lee Ann Womack, The Way I’m Livin’
Who Will Win: Miranda Lambert’s the biggest star, and she’s never won this before. She’s due.
Who Should Win: Eric Church, whose dark and defiant album blended genres with the skill of a born remixer.

Best Comedy Album
Weird Al Yankovic, Mandatory Fun
Jim Gaffigan, Obsessed
Louis C.K., Oh My God
Patton Oswalt, Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time
Sarah Silverman, We Are Miracles 
Who Will Win: The chance to prove that they “get” the internet is too appealing for Grammy voters to pass over Mandatory Fun.
Who Should Win: Weird Al says Mandatory Fun is his last album, so let’s give him this as a going-away present.

Best New Artist
Iggy Azalea
Brandy Clark
Sam Smith
Who Will Win: Sam Smith, and he’s going to make the best fake-surprised face.
Who Should Win: Haim got some of their shine stolen by Lorde last summer, and this award would be the perfect revenge.

Song of the Year
Hozier, “Take Me to Church”
Sia, “Chandelier”
Sam Smith, “Stay With Me” (Darkchild Version)
Taylor Swift, “Shake It Off”
Meghan Trainor, “All About That Bass”
Who Will Win: Let’s assume this is the one category where voters snub “Stay With Me” in solidarity with Tom Petty. What’s next in line? We’re thinking “Chandelier,” which has the grand, swooping melodies voters have been digging recently.
Who Should Win: “Chandelier,” because Sia (and co-writer Jesse Shatkin) wrote a song that only she could sing.

Record of the Year
Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX, “Fancy”
Sia, “Chandelier”
Sam Smith, “Stay With Me” (Darkchild Version)
Taylor Swift, “Shake It Off”
Meghan Trainor, “All About That Bass”
Who Will Win: Having performed his ritual display of penitence, Sam Smith will get this one, too.
Who Should Win: You know what? We’re giving this to “Shake It Off.” We know, we know. It doesn’t feel good, but it feels right.

Album of the Year
Beck, Morning Phase
Beyoncé, Beyoncé
Ed Sheeran, x
Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour
Pharrell Williams, Girl
Who Will Win: Amazingly, this is the only category where Beyonceé and Sam Smith, our two suspected heavyweights, are going head to head. It’s like that scene in The Avengers where Thor fights the Hulk! Just like the Hulk, Sam Smith is a seemingly normal human whose heightened sensitivity to emotion gives him superpowers (in this case, the power to make really sad songs). And, just like Thor, Beyoncé is an immortal Norse demigod sent down from Asgard to protect the human race. It’s Beyoncé.
Who Should Win: Beyoncé isn’t a perfect album — when was the last time you made it through all the ballads at the end? — but it’s close. Enjoy all your new sippy-cups, Blue.

Vulture’s 2015 Grammy Predictions