With music's biggest night just around the corner, the Recording Academy is set to announce the nominations for next year's Grammy Awards today. The country's second-most-watched awards show will celebrate its 60th anniversary Jan. 28, honoring the industry's top talents. While the list of this year's nominees has not yet been released, I expect the Grammys to honor artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Ed Sheeran and SZA.
The top four categories for which every artist aspires to be nominated are Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist. The Best New Artist category will be a hotly contested race this year with artists SZA and Khalid being almost guaranteed a nomination; both have amazed critics with their albums "Ctrl" and "American Teen," respectively. Other artists in this category could include Dua Lipa, Julia Michaels and Harry Styles.
For Song of the Year, I believe Sheeran and Lamar will have nominations locked in with "Shape of You" and "Humble," but other nominees could include Kesha for "Praying" and Lady Gaga for "Million Reasons." This category has had its surprises in the past, so there's a possibility that well-written songs which were not as successful could be nominated, like Julia Michaels' "Issues" and Frank Ocean's "Chanel."
For Record of the Year, Sheeran and Lamar will likely have nominations locked with hits "Shape of You" and "Humble." However, Bruno Mars could also score a nomination in this category for his song "That's What I Like."
Some other likely nominees could include Kesha for "Praying," Taylor Swift for "Look What You Made Me Do" and Cardi B for "Bodak Yellow." Kesha's performance skills and "Praying's" composition could land her nominations in both categories. While Swift, a Grammy darling (she's won 10), could receive this nomination for her song's performances and vocal structure, I would enjoy seeing Cardi B nominated because of "Bodak Yellow's" record-breaking year.
The biggest award of the night is Album of the Year. While Grammy voters usually try to include a diverse set of albums in this category, the definite locks are Kendrick Lamar for "Damn," Ed Sheeran for "Divide" and Bruno Mars for "24K Magic." Some other artists that could receive nominations in this category are SZA for "Ctrl," Jay-Z for "4:44" and Miranda Lambert for "The Weight of These Wings."
The choice for Album of the Year is almost always controversial. Last year, the Grammys faced backlash when Adele was given this award for "25," over Beyonce's "Lemonade." The same happened in 2015, when Beck was given the prize for his album "Morning Phase" over Beyonce's self-titled album.
While many brilliant albums will inevitably be nominated and snubbed in this category, I believe the race will be primarily between Lamar and Sheeran; their most recent albums received massive critical acclaim and success this year. They're also both loved by the Grammys, and I expect these two artists to be pitted against each other in a showdown on music's biggest night.