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Predicting 10 of the Grammy Awards’ biggest categories

Relax, the list of this year’s purported Grammy Award winners that made the rounds online late last week proved to be a fake.

So your Grammy suspense has not been ruined.

Until now.

Yes, we’re handicapping 10 of the show’s biggest categories and telling you who the winners will be right here and now.

You should still tune in to the show (airing at 5 p.m. Sunday on CBS), of course, but read on and you won’t have to.

Record of the year

“I Like It,” Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin; “The Joke,” Brandi Carlile; “This Is America,” Childish Gambino; “God’s Plan,” Drake; “Shallow,” Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper; “All the Stars,” Kendrick Lamar and SZA; “Rockstar,” Post Malone featuring 21 Savage; “The Middle,” Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey

Honor to be nominated: “The Joke.” It’s cool that a modest-selling yet acclaimed singer-songwriter such as Carlile can got a nod here, but she’ll have be satisfied with that.

Should win: “This Is America.” A poignant, powerful tune further abetted by the music video of the year.

Will win: “Shallow.” Gaga and Cooper’s “Star” continues to shine brightly.

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 & Bentleys,” Post Malone; “Dirty Computer,” Janelle Monae, “Golden Hour,” Kacey Musgraves; “Black Panther: The Album, Music From and Inspired by” (various artists)

Honor to be nominated: “H.E.R.” The 21-year-old R&B upstart has a bright future — and it’ll have to be in the future when she’s truly competitive in this category.

Should win: “Dirty Computer” Monae’s bold, beautiful and ceaselessly funky third full-length is actually the best album of the year. Easy, really.

Will win: “Scorpion.” Drake’s ginormous 2018 has to pay off with some Grammy love at some point, right?

Song of the year

“All the Stars,” Kendrick Duckworth, Solana Rowe, Al Shuckburgh, Mark Spears and Anthony Tiffith, songwriters (Kendrick Lamar and SZA); “Boo’d Up,” Larrance Dopson, Joelle James, Ella Mai and Dijon McFarlane, songwriters (Ella Mai); “God’s Plan,” Aubrey Graham, Daveon Jackson, Brock Korsan, Ron LaTour, Matthew Samuels and Noah Shebib, songwriters (Drake); “In My Blood,” Teddy Geiger, Scott Harris, Shawn Mendes and Geoffrey Warburton, songwriters (Shawn Mendes); “The Joke,” Brandi Carlile, Dave Cobb, Phil Hanseroth and Tim Hanseroth, songwriters (Brandi Carlile); “The Middle,” Sarah Aarons, Jordan K. Johnson, Stefan Johnson, Marcus Lomax, Kyle Trewartha, Michael

Trewartha and Anton Zaslavski, songwriters (Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey); “Shallow,” Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt, songwriters (Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper); “This Is America,” Donald Glover and Ludwig Goransson, songwriters (Childish Gambino)

Honor to be nominated: “Boo’d Up.” Mai has plenty of promise, but “Up” is trending down.

Should win: “This Is America.” See above.

Will win: “Shallow.” It’s not unusual for song of the year and record of the year to be split among different artists, but that’s not happening this go-round.

Best new artist

Chloe x Halle, Luke Combs, Greta Van Fleet, H.E.R., Dua Lipa, Margo Price, Bebe Rexha, Jorja Smith

Honor to be nominated: Greta Van Fleet. It’s nice that the band is one of the few younger, semi-mainstream acts carrying the flag for rock ’n’ roll. But said flag has all-too-familiar stitching, considering how brazenly this bunch wears its influences on its sleeves.

Should win: H.E.R. The 21-year-old singer-rapper has plenty to say, and we’re listening.

Will win: H.E.R. Grammy voters’ ears are perked as well.

Best pop solo performance

“Colors,” Beck; “Havana (Live),” Camila Cabello; “God Is a Woman,” Ariana Grande; “Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Goin’?),” Lady Gaga; “Better Now,” Post Malone

Honor to be nominated: “Colors.” A good, not great, dance-pop confection.

Should win: “God Is a Woman.” Who’s going to argue with some divine intervention?

Will win: “Better Now.” The ink-stained pop-rapper’s massive 2018 is likely to be rewarded with at least one big win. “Now” is the time.

Best rap album

“Invasion of Privacy,” Cardi B; “Swimming,” Mac Miller; “Victory Lap,” Nipsey Hussle; “Daytona,” Pusha T; “Astroworld,” Travis Scott

Honor to be nominated: “Victory Lap.” No such laps will be taken on this night, Nipsey.

Should win: “Astroworld.” The not-of-this-world album has made Scott a legit superstar.

Will win: “Invasion of Privacy.” It’s been 23 years since a woman won in this category, when Lauryn Hill was honored as a member of the Fugees. The streak ends Sunday.

Best country album

“Unapologetically,” Kelsea Ballerini; “Port Saint Joe,” Brothers Osborne; “Girl Going Nowhere,” Ashley McBryde; “Golden Hour,” Kacey Musgraves; “From A Room: Volume 2,” Chris Stapleton

Honor to be nominated: “Girl Going Nowhere.” Worthy nomination, and this girl is going somewhere — but not on stage to accept a Grammy just yet.

Should win: “Golden Hour.” Musgraves describes her repertoire as “space country.” She’ll enter orbit with a well-deserved Grammy here.

Will win: “Golden Hour.” Stapleton cleaned up last year. Now it’s Musgraves’ turn.

Best rock album

“Rainier Fog,” Alice in Chains; “Mania,” Fall Out Boy; “Prequelle,” Ghost; “From the Fires,” Greta Van Fleet; “Pacific Daydream,” Weezer

Honor to be nominated: “Mania.” Isn’t Fall Out Boy more pop than rock at this point?

Should win: “Prequelle.” Swedish occult rock throwbacks Ghost sold their souls to the devil and reaped the dividends.

Will win: “From the Fires.” Of-the-moment Led Zeppelin knockoffs cop this one like they’ve copped said band’s sound.

Best alternative music album

“Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino,” Arctic Monkeys; “Colors,” Beck; “Utopia,” Bjork; “American Utopia,” David Byrne; “Masseduction,” St. Vincent

Honor to be nominated: “Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino.” Good band, but “Hotel” is more Howard Johnson than Hilton.

Should win: “Masseducation.” Brilliant guitarist. Even better songwriter.

Will win: “Colors.” It feels like name power might get the job done here.

Best metal performance

“Condemned to the Gallows,” Between the Buried and Me; “Honeycomb,” Deafheaven; “Electric Messiah,” High on Fire; “Betrayer,” Trivium; “On My Teeth,” Underoath

Honored to be nominated: “Betrayer.” Heavy meh-tal.

Should win: “Honeycomb.” Polarizing alt-black metallers continue to strike a fine balance between rapture and rage.

Will win: “Honeycomb.” The Grammys seldom get this category right. See: Tull, Jethro. Maybe this is the year that changes.

Contact Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter.

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