2017 Grammys: Who will win and who should win
Recording artist Drake performs onstage at the 2016 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena on September 23, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
Sunday night’s Grammys are a big reason to wave the Canadian flag.
Toronto rapper Drake is second only to nine-time nominee Beyonce with eight nods (along with Rihanna and Kanye West) and Stratford, Ontario’s pop star Justin Bieber has four nods.
And even if both are doubtful for attending — Drizzy has a tour date in Manchester Sunday night and Biebs starts a Mexican tour on Wednesday night (Feb. 15) — they could still carry home some major hardware (both are up for the top category of album of the year) and represent our country along the way.
Here are my picks in the top categories.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Justin Bieber, Purpose
Sturgill Simpson, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
WHO WILL WIN: With apologies to my fellow Canucks, British soul star Adele, who had the best-selling album of 2015 with the talent to back it up.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Adele (sorry Beyonce, whose album was best served on video or live but not necessarily as a listening experience).
BEST NEW ARTIST
Chance the Rapper
WHO WILL WIN: New York-turned-L.A.-based DJ duo The Chainsmokers, who had their first No. 1 song with the instant earworm Closer featuring Halsey.
WHO SHOULD WIN: I thought both Canadians Shawn Mendes and Alessia Cara were glaring omissions on this list, but if I have to pick I’m going with Chicago’s Chance the Rapper.
SONG OF THE YEAR
Justin Bieber, Love Yourself
Lukas Graham, 7 Years
Mike Posner, I Took a Pill in Ibiza
WHO WILL WIN: This songwriting trophy will likely go to Adele’s signature song, which she used as a spectacular opening to her latest tour. The tune was co-written with Greg Kurstin.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Adele (with apologies to Biebs, but I like Sorry a lot more than his Selena-diss Love Yourself.)
RECORD OF THE YEAR
Lukas Graham, 7 Years
Rihanna feat. Drake, Work
Twenty One Pilots, Stressed Out
WHO WILL WIN: It’s too close to call between Adele and Beyonce. Adele has British soul-pop star history on her side — Amy Winehouse in 2008, herself in 2012, and Sam Smith in 2015, but Queen Bey is, well, Queen Bey and Formation is full of style, swagger and Black Lives Matter politics.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Beyonce.
BEST RAP ALBUM
Chance the Rapper, Coloring Book
De La Soul, And the Anonymous Nobody
DJ Khaled, Major Key
Schoolboy Q, Blank Face LP
Kanye West, The Life of Pablo
WHO WILL WIN: Drizzy all the way given Views was the biggest-selling record of 2016.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Drake if I’m being patriotic. De La Soul if I’m being old school.
BEST ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM
Bon Iver, 22, A Million
David Bowie, Blackstar
PJ Harvey, The Hope Six Demolition Project
Iggy Pop, Post Pop Depression
Radiohead, A Moon Shaped Pool
WHO WILL WIN: A killer group of nominees but my beloved David Bowie, whose beautiful swansong should have been in the album of the year category. He was robbed! Unbelievably, Jazzin’ For Blue Jean was Bowie’s only competitive Grammy win for best video in 1985 and he won a Lifetime Achievement Award Grammy in 2006.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Bowie.
BREAKING DOWN THE PERFORMANCES
When it comes to show performers, the Grammys like to mix and match.
And this year is no exception when it comes to A-List collaborations.
Hosted by James Corden, expect the show to be a wild one — especially given the political unrest in America and celebrities sounding off at award show microphones.
Apart from scheduled solo bows from such superstars as Adele, Beyonce (pregnant with twins!), Katy Perry, Bruno Mars (rumoured to be leading a Prince Tribute with The Time), Chance The Rapper, John Legend, Little Big Town, Sturgill Simpson, and Kelsea Ballerini I grade Sunday night’s collaborations (as we know them at press time).
Lady Gaga and Metallica — But will she fly through the air? Following her Super Bowl half-time performance, Gaga hooks up with the heavy metal vets so expect her to rock as hard as them (If that’s even possible). B+
Country newcomer Maren Morris and R&B star Alicia Keys — Expect some major, and make-up-free, country soul. A
Anderson .Paak and A Tribe Called Quest — Hip hop’s new guard meets the old guard. Sounds good to me. B
The Weeknd and Daft Punk — The Toronto alt-R&B singer reunites with the Parisian electronic dance duo featured on his latest hit, Starboy. Expect slick sounding sexy time. B
Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban — Two country stars for the price of one should make beautiful music together if she taps into her wilder rock side and he’s allowed to stretch out on guitar. B+
William Bell and Gary Clark Jr. — A soul artist paired up with a blues guitarist of the first order. What could be wrong with that? B+