Grammys 2016: Who Will Win, Who Should Win

Will Taylor rule the night? Can Kendrick take Album of the Year? Who's James Bay, again? Our experts preview the 2016 awards

Experts weigh in on who's likely to win big at the 2016 Grammys. Credit: Brittany Falussy, Billy Woodward
Grammys 2016: Who Will Win, Who Should Win

The 2016 Grammys are coming up fast. We enlisted a team of industry experts to weigh the odds for winners in the major categories.

Record of the Year

Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, "Uptown Funk"
"It was Number One for 14 weeks, and it was on pop, R&B and hip-hop radio," says Jack Isquith, Slacker Radio SVP of content licensing and programming. "That's insane dominance."
VEGAS ODDS: 4-5

Taylor Swift, "Blank Space"
"It was one hit among many [on 1989], which may hurt its case," says Isquith.
VEGAS ODDS: 5-2

Ed Sheeran, "Thinking Out Loud"
"It would have to jump over Swift and Ronson," says odds-maker Johnny Avello. "I don't see it."
VEGAS ODDS: 6-1 

D'Angelo and the Vanguard, "Really Love"
"No chance," says Carl Mello, senior buyer at Newbury Comics. "He's more of an album artist than singles artist."
VEGAS ODDS: 10-1 

The Weeknd, "Can't Feel My Face"
"If voters want to be seen as less than 80 years old, it has a chance," Mello says.
VEGAS ODDS: 25-1

Who Should Win: "Uptown Funk." Ronson and Mars came up with a retro-soul classic that incorporates decades of party-starting history while still seeming utterly of the moment.

Album of the Year

Taylor Swift, 1989
"People love this album, but it feels like it's been out for 100 years," Mello says. "She might be disappointed going up against Kendrick."
VEGAS ODDS: 1-2 

Chris Stapleton, Traveller
"He did tremendously at the Country Music Awards," says Isquith, "but he's not known enough with Grammy voters."
VEGAS ODDS: 5-1

Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
"This is the category where critical acclaim counts," says Isquith, "and this is the most critically acclaimed album."
VEGAS ODDS: 7-1

The Weeknd, Beauty Behind the Madness
"Voters will [choose him] in the singles category," says Mello. "They probably haven't listened to the album."
VEGAS ODDS: 15-1

Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color
"You could almost see them sneaking in like Arcade Fire or Beck did," says Isquith, "but not with Kendrick here."
VEGAS ODDS: 20-1

Who Should Win: Kendrick. 2015's most innovative hip-hop album was also a powerful indictment of American hypocrisy told with wit, wisdom and searing honesty.

Best New Artist

Meghan Trainor
"She had four legitimately big hits and has an Everywoman persona," says Isquith. "And gets a bump because she's seen as a really good writer, too."
VEGAS ODDS: 2-1

Sam Hunt
"He won [Best New Artist] at the AMAs and did well at the CMAs," says Avello. "But I still give Trainor a slight edge."
VEGAS ODDS: 5-2

James Bay
"He's a very good artist, but he's kind of the Martin O'Malley of this category," says Isquith.
VEGAS ODDS: 7-2

Courtney Barnett
"She's an excellent lyricist and has a really strong persona musically," says Isquith. "I suspect people think bigger things are going to come for her, and because she didn't make a dent at all in the mainstream, I don't know if she's going to get the nod in this category."
VEGAS ODDS: 6-1

Tori Kelly
"She's a great singer, but this category has a couple of heavyweights," says Isquith.
VEGAS ODDS: 10-1 

Who Should Win: Barnett's full-length debut established her as one of the sharpest songwriters in rock — a sly observational lyricist with killer melodies to spare.

Best Alternative Album

Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color
"They've had a big year," says Isquith. "And Brittany Howard has a unique persona."

VEGAS ODDS: 9-5

Wilco, Star Wars
"It's a good album, but a Grammy would feel as much like a lifetime-achievement award as a recognition of this record," says Isquith.
VEGAS ODDS: 5-2

Björk, Vulnicura
"Does anybody know that record even came out?" asks Mello. "I don't think the world is engaged with her current music whatsoever."
VEGAS ODDS: 7-2

My Morning Jacket, The Waterfall
"Another very solid album," says Isquith, "but not a career-defining album for them."
VEGAS ODDS: 6-1

Tame Impala, Currents
"It's an excellent album, but the band still feels more underground than the other artists here," Isquith says.
VEGAS ODDS: 8-1

Who Should Win: Alabama Shakes stretched their sound with psychedelia and deeper grooves on their second LP, and Howard is a powerhouse whose confidence keeps growing.