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Grammy Award predictions: Who should and will win on Sunday

Childish Gambino's "This is America" is our pick to win Record of the Year and Video of the Year.

Childish Gambino deserves to win the Grammy for

Childish Gambino deserves to win the Grammy for album of the year for "This is America." Photo Credit: Getty Images for iHeartMedia/Kevin Winter

This year’s Grammys have expanded the Big Four (Best Song, Record, Album and New Artist) from five nominees to eight, meaning there’ll be a lot more names to introduce during the telecast. And while it’s muddied up the waters for prognosticators, there can still only be one winner in each category. Who will it be? Will Cardi B dominate Grammy night the same way she’s dominated conversation all year? Will Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper warm up for the Oscars with a couple of Grammy wins? We’ve broken down the main four categories, along with the Best Music Video selection, to see who’s got a realistic chance and who’s just hoping. (Note: If you value your money, please don’t use these picks for gambling purposes.)

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 feat. 21 Savage

“The Middle” Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey

Will win: No rap song has ever been selected as Record of the Year; even though both “I Like It” and “All the Stars” would fall into an award show favorite storyline (artist wins award the year or two after they should have won it), it’s hard to pick either. With five rap songs in the category, there could easily be a split vote, with “Shallow” lovers leaving happy.

Should win: Record of the Year is the “producers” category, as opposed to “Song of the Year,” the “songwriters” category. For that specific focus, “This is America” is the most interesting in a somewhat underwhelming field. 

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 and Bentleys,” Post Malone

“Dirty Computer,” Janelle Monáe

“Golden Hour,” Kacey Musgraves

“Black Panther: The Album, Music From and Inspired By,” [various artists]

Will win: History hasn’t been kind to hip-hop here, either (2004’s OutKast album “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” is the last rap album to win). This is a truly up-in-the-air category, but Kacey Musgraves’ country-by-way-of-every-other-genre album may please enough to get over the hump.

Should win: Do we just take for granted that Janelle Monáe is going to work at this level forever? “Dirty Computer” didn’t get the adoration it deserved the first time around, and it’d be a surprise to see it get that attention here, but it’s the album we’ll look back at a decade from now. 

Song of the Year

“All the Stars,” Kendrick Lamar/SZA

“God’s Plan,” Drake

“Boo’d Up,” Ella Mai

“In My Blood,” Shawn Mendes

“The Joke,” Brandi Carlile

“The Middle” Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey

“This is America,” Childish Gambino

“Shallow,” Lady Gaga/Bradley Cooper

Will win: The same song swept the Song and Record categories in two of the last four years, and last year they were different songs by the same artist (Bruno Mars). The Academy last gave the Best Song to a track written and performed for a movie soundtrack in 1997 (Eric Clapton’s “Change the World” from the film “Phenomenon”), so this might be the year…

Should win: … and it should be, but with a different choice. Kendrick Lamar has one more Pulitzer Prize than he does Grammy Award in one of the Big Four categories. It would be fitting for the MC (alongside SZA) to be the first artist to win hip-hop’s first-ever Song of the Year Award, even if it should have come in 2016 (“Thinking Out Loud” over “Alright”?). 

Best New Artist

Chloe x Halle

Luke Combs

Greta Van Fleet

H.E.R.

Dua Lipa

Margo Price

Bebe Rexha

Jorja Smith

Will win: The expansion of the category to eight nominees and the rules stating that the “new” artist can have already released two albums makes it anyone’s guess which of these artists takes this home. Luke Combs topped country charts for much of last year, which may give him a small edge over someone like H.E.R., who the Academy clearly likes enough to give her a Best Album nod this year.

Should win: Jorja Smith’s “Lost & Found” is one of 2018’s underrated gems in this country, but it was a massive hit in her native England; it was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize, the U.K.’s equivalent of Best Album. 

Best Music Video

“Ape----,” The Carters

“This is America,” Childish Gambino

“I’m Not Racist,” Joyner Lucas

“PYNK,” Janelle Monáe

“MUMBO JUMBO,” Terra Whack

Will/should win: In 2019, it’s likely not enough to make a pretty visual for a track. So how does one create relevance in an art that’s been diminished even in the eye of the network named for the craft itself? You make it an event. “This is America” was very much a moment, not just a clip snuck onto YouTube overnight. It’s the type of short film that makes the argument for the survival of the art.

On TV

The Grammy Awards are at 8 p.m. on Sunday on CBS/2.

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