Beyond the Adele v. Beyoncé Showdown

Adele and Beyoncé are likely to split the “Big Three” awards at this year’s Grammys, with Adele taking Record and Song of the Year and Beyoncé taking Album of the Year (I break all that down here). Here are some of the key races in which Adele and Beyoncé are not nominated.

Best New Artist: The Chainsmokers. The duo will likely become the first EDM act to win in this category. Skrillex was nominated here five years ago, but lost to Bon Iver. The Chainsmokers are squaring off against two country artists (Maren Morris and Kelsea Ballerini) and two rap or urban contemporary artists (Chance the Rapper and Anderson .Paak). Those other acts are likely to split those votes. The Chainsmokers also have a slight edge in two other categories—Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Closer” (featuring Halsey) and Best Dance Recording for “Don’t Let Me Down” (featuring Daya).

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: Barbra Streisand. The megastar will probably win her ninth career Grammy for Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway. This would be Streisand’s first Grammy in 30 years. Her last was for The Broadway Album, which won for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female (1986).

Best Dance/Electronic Album: Flume. The Australian artist will probably win for Skin. If so, he’ll join a long list of foreign-born artists who have won in this category. Others include Basement Jaxx, the Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, La Roux and Aphex Twin.

Best Contemporary Instrumental Album: Herb Alpert. The veteran artist—and co-founder of one of the most widely admired labels in history—will likely win his ninth Grammy for Human Nature. The title track is a remake of the 1983 Michael Jackson hit.

Best Rock Album: blink-182. This one is anyone’s guess, but I’ll go with the veteran trio’s California. It bumped Drake’s album out of the #1 spot for a week last July. Also, blink got a profile-boosting shout-out in The Chainsmokers’ ubiquitous “Closer.” But you can make an equally good case for three of the other nominees. Cage the Elephant worked with Grammy fave Dan Auerbach on their album, Tell Me I’m Pretty. Panic! at the Disco, nominated for Death of a Bachelor, is featured on the chart-topping, Grammy-nominated Suicide Squad soundtrack. Weezer, nominated for Weezer, won a Grammy eight years ago for their “Pork and Beans” video. The fifth nominee, which would be a long-shot, is Gojira’s Magma.

Best Rock Performance: twenty one pilots. The duo leads the pack with “Heathens.” Singer Tyler Joseph will probably also win Best Rock Song for writing the song.

Best Alternative Music Album: David Bowie. The late rock legend is certain to win here for Blackstar. He’ll probably also take Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical for co-engineering the album. 

Best Metal Performance: Megadeth. The Los Angeles band will likely win its first Grammy for the title track to its album Dystopia. This is Megadeth’s 12th nomination. Note: If Megadeth loses again, it will edge closer to equaling Spyro Gyra’s record as the group or duo with the most Grammy noms (13) without ever winning.

Best R&B Album: Lalah Hathaway. The daughter of the late, great Donny Hathaway is the frontrunner here for Lalah Hathaway Live. Hathaway may also win for Best Traditional R&B Performance for her version of Anita Baker’s 1983 song, “Angel.” If Hathaway wins both awards, she’ll boost her Grammy tally to five. Her dad won one Grammy, for “Where Is the Love,” his silky 1972 duet with Roberta Flack.

Best R&B Performance: Rihanna. The superstar has the misfortune of going up against Beyoncé for Best Urban Contemporary Album. But Rihanna probably won’t go home empty-handed. She will likely win here for “Needed Me” and in Best R&B Song for “Kiss It Better.” This would push her career Grammy tally to 10.

Best Rap Album: Drake. Drake will likely win in this category for the second time in four years with Views. The Canadian hip-hopper will probably also win two other rap awards—Best Rap Song for “Hotline Bling” and Best Rap Performance for “Pop Style” (featuring The Throne). Note: That would be the eighth joint Grammy for The Throne—aka Kanye West and Jay Z. The rap titans previously won for both writing and performing “Run This Town” and “Ni**as in Paris” and for performing “Swagga Like Us,” “Otis” and “No Church in the Wild.” Both artists have amassed 21 Grammys.

Rihanna has the misfortune of going up against Beyoncé for Best Urban Contemporary Album. But she probably won’t go home empty-handed.

Best Country Album: Sturgill Simpson. Simpson will likely take Best Country Album for A Sailor’s Guide to Earth. This would be the second year in a row that a male solo artist won the award. Chris Stapleton won last year for Traveller. (Both artists were born in Kentucky in the spring of 1978.)

Best Country Solo Performance: Keith Urban. The Aussie/American is the front-runner for his #1 country smash “Blue Ain’t Your Color.” Urban won four Grammys in a predecessor category, Best Male Country Vocal Performance. (Urban's wife, Nicole Kidman, is nominated for an Oscar this year for her performance in Lion. This is the second time that the two stars have been nominated for the top awards in their respective fields in the same year. Six years ago, she was nominated for an Oscar for Rabbit Hole; he won a Grammy for "'Til Summer Comes Around.")

Best Country Duo/Group Performance: Kenny Chesney and P!nk. The unlikely duo will probably take it for their #1 country hit, “Setting the World on Fire.” This would be the first Grammy for Chesney; the fourth for P!nk. (Impressively, P!nk’s awards would span three fields—pop, rock and now country).

Best Contemporary Christian Music Album: Hillary Scott & the Scott Family. Scott, who has won seven Grammys as part of Lady Antebellum, may win two more with this side project. The family ensemble is the front-runner here for Love Remains and in Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song for “Thy Will,” a track from the album.

Best Folk Album: Judy Collins. Collins may win her first Grammy in 48 years. She’s the front-runner here for Silver Skies Blue, a collaboration with Ari Hest. Collins’ only Grammy to date was for Best Folk Performance (1968) for her hit version of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now.”

Best Reggae Album: Ziggy Marley. The eldest son of reggae legend Bob Marley could be headed for his eighth Grammy for Ziggy Marley. This would allow him to tie his younger brother Stephen Marley, who has amassed eight Grammys (three of them as a member of Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers.) A third brother, Damian Marley, has won three Grammys.

Best Gospel Album: Shirley Caesar. The gospel legend will likely win for Fill This House. A track from the album, “It’s Alright, It’s OK,” is nominated for Best Gospel Performance/Song. If Caesar wins both awards, she’ll boost her Grammy tally to 13. In addition, the gospel legend will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Recording Academy this year.

Best Comedy Album: Amy Schumer. Schumer is the front-runner here for Live at the Apollo. The native New Yorker can put her Grammy next to the Emmy she won two years ago for Inside Amy Schumer. Grammy trivia: This year marks the first time in Grammy history that women have accounted for a majority of the nominations in this category. Margaret Cho and Tig Notaro are also nominated, along with two men—David Cross and Patton Oswalt. Even deeper Grammy trivia: This would be the second album titled Live at the Apollo to win a Grammy. A B.B. King album with that title was voted Best Traditional Blues Album (1991).

Producer of the Year, Non-Classical: Greg Kurstin. Expect the third time to be the charm for the L.A. native. Kurstin was nominated in this category seven years ago (he lost to Brendan O’Brien) and again two years ago (he lost to Max Martin, who is nominated again this year). This year’s nom recognizes his work with Adele, Sia featuring Sean Paul, Ellie Goulding and Tegan and Sara.

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