The List: Predictions for the 61st annual Grammy Awards

Erica Thompson
Cardi B

The 61st annual Grammy Awards will be broadcast on Sunday, Feb. 10. With the show's history of social and political agendas, suspected racism and sexism, and general mistakes (I will forever be mad about Macklemore & Ryan Lewis wining over Kendrick Lamar), who knows what the hell is going to happen this year. But here are my guesses and wishes regarding the main categories.

Record of the Year

  • “I Like It” (Cardi B)
  • “The Joke” (Brandi Carlile)
  • “This is America” (Childish Gambino)
  • “God's Plan” (Drake)
  • “Shallow” (Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper)
  • “All the Stars” (Kendrick Lamar & SZA)
  • “Rockstar” (Post Malone)
  • “The Middle” (Zedd)

Will win:The Lady Gaga/Bradley Cooper duet “Shallow” already took Best Original Song at the Golden Globes. And given her best actress nomination there — and at the upcoming Academy Awards — it appears 2018 was the year of the Lady Gaga comeback.

My pick: I distinctly remember hating “I Like It” the first time I heard it, but as of February 2019, I … like it (sorry). I think it's a combination of pervasiveness and Cardi B's personality/delivery, which is absolutely infectious. Everyone knows this song, from my mother to my pre-teen niece, who doesn't speak Spanish but can recite the foreign language on the track perfectly.

Album of the Year

  • Invasion of Privacy (Cardi B)
  • By the Way, I Forgive You (Brandi Carlile)
  • Scorpion (Drake)
  • H.E.R. (H.E.R)
  • Beerbongs & Bentleys (Post Malone)
  • Dirty Computer (Janelle Monae)
  • Golden Hour (Kacey Musgraves)
  • Black Panther (Various artists)

Will win: Kacey Musgraves has been a darling of the Grammy Awards in the country category, and I can see this year being her breakthrough in the most prestigious category of the night withGolden Hour.

My pick: Never mind the success of her No. 1 hit, “I Like It.” Cardi B's entireInvasion of Privacy album charted on the Hot 100. Certified double-platinum and debuting at No. 1, the project set multiple records. And I can't recall another female rapper other than Lauryn Hill to be nominated for Album of the Year. WhileInvasion of Privacy may not have the cultural significance ofThe Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (which took the honor in 1999), Cardi B's effort is critically acclaimed and catchy as hell.

Song of the Year

  • “All the Stars” (Kendrick Lamar & SZA)
  • “Boo'd Up” (Ella Mai)
  • “God's Plan” (Drake)
  • “In My Blood” (Shawn Mendes)
  • “The Joke” (Brandi Carlile)
  • “The Middle” (Zedd)
  • “Shallow” (Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper)
  • “This is America” (Childish Gambino)

Will win: “Shallow” will take the award. Never underestimate the level of investment in a strategic “comeback.”

My pick:Random tangent: I remember when Kelly Clarkson won a Grammy in 2013 over Miguel, and admitted she didn't know who he was in her acceptance speech. I was shocked, but I guess others would be shocked that I didn't know who Brandi Carlile was before writing this list. So the Recording Academy gets some points for exposure. With that said, Carlile's song “The Joke” exhibits the best songwriting in this category and deserves the win. And man, can she sing.

Best New Artist

  • Chloe X Halle
  • Luke Combs
  • Greta Van Fleet
  • H.E.R.
  • Dua Lipa
  • Margo Price
  • Bebe Rexha
  • Jorja Smith

Will win: Let's be clear: I don't know most of these people. Upon a quick Google search, I've ruled out Greta Van Fleet (hated by the internet), Luke Combs and Margo Price. I liked one song by Dua Lipa, but I'm not invested, and I can only take so much of Bebe Rexha's voice. I've been hearing great things about “H.E.R.,” and the R&B singer's catalogue seems in line with the moody music the kids are craving today. If the Grammys want to go for the artistic pick, I think she's a safe bet. That leaves…

My pick: Chloe X Halle were signed by Beyonce, which could secure them the win off the bat. However, I just pulled up their performance of “America the Beautiful” at the Super Bowl and … wow!