Who’ll win at the Grammys, and who should

FILE - In this Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018 file photo, Brandi Carlile performs at One Love Malibu at King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas, Calif. A list of nominees in the top categories at the 2019 Grammys, including Kendrick Lamar, who is the leader with eight nominations, were announced Friday, Dec. 7, 2018, by the Recording Academy. Drake, Cardi B, Brandi Carlile, Childish Gambino, H.E.R., Lady Gaga, Maren Morris, SZA, Kacey Musgraves and Greta Van Fleet also scored multiple nominations. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP, File)
Amy Harris/Invision/AP
Album of the year and song of the year nominee Brandi Carlile

Here are predictions for some of the many Grammys up for grabs Sunday night, including the four main categories.


Should win/will win: Kacey Musgraves’s sun-country pop (“Golden Hour”) and Brandi Carlile’s to-the-bone Americana (“By The Way, I Forgive You”) are genre exemplars, but no album in this year’s field has the stylistic range, artistic scope, and musicianship of Janelle Monáe’s high-concept, groove-heavy “Dirty Computer.”

Also nominated: “Invasion of Privacy,” Cardi B; “Scorpion,” Drake; “H.E.R.,” H.E.R.; “Beerbongs & Bentleys,” Post Malone; “Black Panther: The Album, Music From and Inspired By,” various artists



Should win: In a year brimming with sad boys, Ella Mai’s “Boo’d Up,” with its sweetly satisfied description of crushed-out feelings, was a balm.

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Will win: This is a songwriting award, and Brandi Carlile is up for five other awards. “The Joke” will pull it out.

Also nominated: “All the Stars,” performed by Kendrick Lamar and SZA; “God’s Plan,” performed by Drake; “In My Blood,” performed by Shawn Mendes; “The Middle,” performed by Zedd, Maren Morris, and Grey; “Shallow,” performed by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper; “This Is America,” performed by Childish Gambino


Should win: The unlikely combination of pop DJ Zedd and country belter Maren Morris made for one of 2018’s best couplings, with “The Middle” its exuberant offspring.

Will win: Lady Gaga’s successful crossover into acting and ability to hold a 17-second note will give this to “Shallow,” her collaboration with Bradley Cooper.


Also nominated: “This Is America,” Childish Gambino; “I Like It,” Cardi B, Bad Bunny, and J Balvin; “God’s Plan,” Drake; “All the Stars,” Kendrick Lamar and SZA; “Rockstar,” Post Malone; “The Joke,” Brandi Carlile

ROSEMONT, IL - DECEMBER 12: Dua Lipa performs during 103.5 KISS FM's Chicago Jingle Ball 2018 on December 12, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images)
Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images
Dua Lipa


Should win: The pseudonymous H.E.R. has slowly emerged from the shadows over the past two years, releasing increasingly strong collections of soul-baring R&B.

Will win: America’s music-business executives love the dusky-voiced house-music belter Dua Lipa — and so do audiences.

Also nominated: Chloe x Halle, Luke Combs, Greta Van Fleet, Margo Price, Bebe Rexha, Jorja Smith


Should win: This year’s strongest genre-specific category peaks with Meshell Ndegeocello’s “Ventriloquism,” a blazing yet personal reinvention of the ‘80s pop catalog. But Miguel’s dystopian yet sexy “War & Leisure” is good too.


Will win: The Carters — that’s Jay-Z and Beyoncé — completed their take on “Scenes From a Marriage” with the triumphant, yet tender “Everything Is Love.”

Also nominated: “The Kids Are Alright,” Chloe x Halle; “Chris Dave and the Drumhedz,” Chris Dave and the Drumhedz


Should win: Dan + Shay’s “Tequila” is two parts ’90s boy-band ballad, one part liquor-soaked twang. No twist, but it still goes down smoothly.

Will win: “Meant to Be,” the swirling collaboration between mega-duo Florida Georgia Line and pop lifer Bebe Rexha, was a rare country-pop radio crossover.

Also nominated: “Shoot Me Straight,” Brothers Osborne; “When Someone Stops Loving You,” Little Big Town; “Dear Hate,” Maren Morris and Vince Gill


Should win: Canadian pop idol Shawn Mendes’s self-titled album increases the tension between his voice and the guitars surrounding it, singing of everyday emotions with heart and hope.

Will win: Camila Cabello’s first album since leaving Fifth Harmony, “Camila,” is packed with crowd-pleasers and fronted by a five-tool superstar.

Also nominated: “Meaning of Life,” Kelly Clarkson; “Sweetener,” Ariana Grande; “Beautiful Trauma,” P!nk; “Reputation,” Taylor Swift

Maura Johnston can be reached at