Grammy 2018 nominee predictions: Kendrick Lamar, Ed Sheeran set to dominate

Paul Grein
Writer

When the 60th Annual Grammy nominations are announced Nov. 28, look for Ed Sheeran and Kendrick Lamar to be nominated in each of the top three categories — Album, Record, and Song of the Year. This would mark the second year in a row that a British pop star has squared off against a contemporary R&B or hip-hop star for Grammy glory. Last year, Adele went up against Beyoncé in all three of these categories.

Here are the likely nominees — and a few runners-up — in the “Big 4” categories, including Best New Artist. The winners will be announced in New York City on Jan. 28.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR – Kendrick Lamar

DAMN. will bring Lamar his third consecutive nomination in this category. Lamar will become the third rapper to be nominated for Album of the Year three times as a lead artist. The first two were Kanye West and Eminem.
(Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images)

ALBUM OF THE YEAR – Ed Sheeran

Sheeran was nominated in this category three years ago with his sophomore album, x. With ÷, he’ll become the fifth solo Englishman to receive Album of the Year noms for back-to-back studio albums. He’ll follow Elton John, Sting, Phil Collins, and Steve Winwood.
(Photo: James Devaney/Getty Images)

ALBUM OF THE YEAR – SZA

Ctrl. would be the first debut album by a female artist to be nominated in this category since Lady Gaga’s The Fame; the first debut album by an African-American female artist to be nominated here since Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
(Photo: Steve Jennings/Getty Images)

ALBUM OF THE YEAR – Miranda Lambert

The Weight of These Wingswas voted Album of the Year by the Academy of Country Music. This would be Lambert’s first Grammy nom in this category; the first by any female country artist since Taylor Swift was nominated four years ago for Red.
(Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

ALBUM OF THE YEAR – Harry Styles

Styles’s first album apart from One Direction reached No. 1. Harry Styles would be the first solo debut album by someone who became famous in a boy band to receive an Album of the Year nom since Justin Timberlake’s Justified 14 years ago.
(Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

ALBUM OF THE YEAR – Other Possibilities

Other prospects include Bruno Mars’s 24K Magic, Lorde’s Melodrama, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit’s The Nashville Sound, Chris Stapleton’s From a Room: Volume 1, Jay-Z’s 4:44, Metallica’s Hardwired…to Self-Destruct, and the Foo Fighters’ Concrete and Gold.
(Photo: Getty Images)

RECORD OF THE YEAR – Ed Sheeran

Sheeran’s zesty, dancehall-infused “Shape of You” was a convincing step for an artist who made his name with ballads. He introduced the song on the Grammy telecast in February of this year. Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” was nominated in this category two years ago.
(Photo: Kyle Gustafson/Getty Images)

RECORD OF THE YEAR – Kendrick Lamar

“Humble.” was Lamar’s first No. 1 single as a lead artist. (He previously topped the chart as the featured artist on Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood.”) This would mark his first nomination in this category. “Humble.” took the VMA for Video of the Year this past August.
(Photo: Stephen J. Cohen/Getty Images)

RECORD OF THE YEAR – Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee feat. Justin Bieber

“Despacito” was a global, genre-bridging smash. The bilingual, multicultural aspect takes on added import in the age of Donald Trump. This would be would be the first song primarily recorded in a foreign language to be nominated here since Los Lobos’ “La Bamba.”
(Photo: John Parra/Getty Images)

RECORD OF THE YEAR – Sam Smith

“Too Good at Goodbyes” has the same soulful, choir-backed sound as “Stay With Me,” Smith’s breakout hit that won Record of the Year three years ago. Smith stayed in his comfort zone on a record that plays to his strengths.
(Photo: Alexander Koerner/Getty Images)

RECORD OF THE YEAR – Harry Styles

“Sign of the Times” is a sweeping, nearly six-minute opus. This would mark the first time that a single from the first solo album by an artist who rose to fame in a group or duo has been nominated in this category since Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” 12 years ago.
(Photo: Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images)

RECORD OF THE YEAR – Other Possibilities

Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do,” Logic’s “1-800-273-8255” (featuring Alessia Cara & Khalid), Kesha’s “Praying,” Bruno Mars’s “24K Magic,” Portugal. The Man’s “Feel It Still,” Childish Gambino’s “Redbone,” Khalid’s “Location,” and Lady Gaga’s “Million Reasons” are also strong contenders in this race.
(Photo: Getty Images)

SONG OF THE YEAR – Kesha

Kesha’s “Praying” is about powerful men who exploit women (very timely in the year of the Harvey Weinstein scandal). Kesha co-wrote the song with Macklemore collaborator Ryan Lewis, Ben Abraham, and Andrew Joslyn. Lewis was nominated here four years ago for co-writing “Same Love.”
(Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images)

SONG OF THE YEAR – Ed Sheeran

“Shape of You” will bring Sheeran his fourth nom in this category in just six years. He was previously nominated for co-writing “The A Team,” “Thinking Out Loud” (which won), and “Love Yourself.” Sheeran co-wrote the song with Steve Mac and Johnny McDaid.
(Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images)

SONG OF THE YEAR – Kendrick Lamar

Lamar co-wrote “Humble.” with Mike Will Made It. It will be the second nom in this category for both writers. Lamar was nominated two years ago for co-writing his hit “Alright.” Mike Will Made It was a nominee here last year for co-writing Beyoncé’s “Formation.”
(Photo: Jim Bennett/Getty Images)

SONG OF THE YEAR – Sam Smith

Smith co-wrote “Too Good at Goodbyes” with Jimmy Napes (with whom he shared the Song of the Year award three years ago for “Stay With Me”) and the members of the Norwegian hit-making team Stargate.
(Photo: Michael Tran/Getty Images)

SONG OF THE YEAR – Other Possibilities

Other prospects include Lady Gaga’s “Million Reasons,” James Arthur’s “Say You Won’t Let Go,” Harry Styles’s “Sign of the Times,” Khalid’s “Location,” Bruno Mars’s “That’s What I Like,” Julia Michaels’s “Issues,” Childish Gambino’s “Redbone,” and Lorde’s “Green Light.”
(Photo: Getty Images)

BEST NEW ARTIST – Alessia Cara

The Grammys changed the eligibility requirements for Best New Artist this year. That explains how Alessia Cara is eligible, even though she had a top five hit, “Here,” nearly two years ago. Cara had a convincing breakthrough this year, with three top 10 single.
(Photo: Harry How/Getty Images)

BEST NEW ARTIST – Logic

The rule change also explains how Logic is eligible, even though he’s on his third album. That album, Everybody, debuted at No. 1 and spawned a top five single, “1-800-273-8255.” (Logic may be competing in this category with both of the featured artists on that smash.)
(Photo: Rachel Murray/Getty Images)

BEST NEW ARTIST – Khalid

Khalid won Best New Artist at the VMAs on Aug. 27. If he also wins the Grammy, he would become just the fourth artist to take Best New Artist at both of these high-profile award shows. The first three were Hootie & The Blowfish, Alicia Keys, and Maroon 5.
(Photo: Rachel Murray/Getty Images)

BEST NEW ARTIST – SZA

SZA’s debut album, Ctrl., has received rave reviews. Rolling Stone said “she made a bold, blunt, and mesmerizing debut album.” SZA is featured on “What Lovers Do,” a current top 10 hit by Maroon 5 — the 2004 winners in this category.
(Photo: John Parra/Getty Images)

BEST NEW ARTIST – Lil Uzi Vert

Lil Uzi Vert was featured on Migos’s chart-topping “Bad and Boujee.” He returned to the top 10 with his own hit, “XO Tour Llif3” (which he performed with Ed Sheeran on the VMAs). He also landed a No. 1 album, Luv Is Rage 2.
(Photo: Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)

BEST NEW ARTIST– Other Possibilities

Other prospects include Julia Michaels, Post Malone, Jon Pardi, Kane Brown, Cardi B, James Arthur, Brett Young, Luke Combs, Jordan Smith, Hailee Steinfeld, Old Dominion, Midland, Bebe Rexha, Playboi Carti, Marian Hill, and Zara Larsson.
(Photo: Getty Images)