The annual iHeartRadio Music Awards will celebrate the industry’s biggest stars tonight live from The Forum in Inglewood, CA. But who will prevail as the winner in the show’s top categories? Check out our predictions below.
Song of the Year
Should win: “One Dance” – Drake ft. Wizkid & Kyla
Will win: “Closer” – The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey
By a logistical standpoint, Drake’s “One Dance” should be a clear winner. It was his first no. 1 single, quickly became the most-streamed song on Spotify, and was hailed 2016’s Song of the Summer unanimously. However, the song’s tremendous success was soon forgotten thanks to The Chainsmokers and their equally infectious tune “Closer,” which too granted them their first no. 1 hit. Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop The Feeling,” Sia’s “Cheap Thrills” and Twenty One Pilots’ “Stressed Out” are also nominated.
Female Artist of the Year
Should win: Adele
Will win: Ariana Grande
Adele is hands down the category’s top artist, and she is the woman to beat after the monumental success of her latest album 25 and her sweep of five Grammys last month. However, Ariana Grande has quickly proven herself as a worthy contender, with hordes of fans who have already named her Artist of the Year at the American Music Awards. She will likely snag this award as well in upset fashion. Sia, Rihanna and Selena Gomez are also in contention.
Male Artist of the Year
Should and will win: Justin Bieber
Each of the nominated men in this category–Drake, Justin Bieber, Luke Bryan, Shawn Mendes and The Weeknd–enjoyed phenomenal success between chart-topping albums and singles to selling out shows on massive tours. However, Bieber may have the edge above the others, as he remains in the midst of his extended worldwide Purpose tour and still has plenty singing his latest hits “Sorry,” “Love Yourself,” and “What Do You Mean?”
Duo/Group of the Year
Should and will win: Twenty One Pilots
Veteran groups Coldplay and Florida Georgia Line will have to beat out three newcomers for this award, which include the Joe Jonas-led DNCE, DJ duo The Chainsmokers, and Twenty One Pilots. The latter duo had a great breakout year, earning themselves three no. 1 singles with “Ride,” “Heathens,” and the Grammy-winning “Stressed Out,” making them heavy favorites for this title.
Country Artist of the Year
Should win: Carrie Underwood
Will win: Luke Bryan
Country Artist of the Year will recognize either Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, Keith Urban, Thomas Rhett or Luke Bryan as the genre’s best. As the lone female nominee among the pack, Underwood rightfully deserves the win, as her 2016 Storyteller tour was one of the year’s best-selling tours and she earned her 15th chart-topping hit with the Grammy-nominated “Church Bells.” She could get snubbed, however, by Bryan, who has cleaned house in other country awards and is equally as popular a performer as Underwood.
Dance Song of the Year
Should and will win: “Closer” – The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey
The EDM genre saw perhaps its best year to date in 2016 with an explosion of top 10 hits by a variety of emerging artists. Each of the nominated tracks for Dance Song of the Year were earworms that had millions dancing along with ease. However, the clear runaway winner is The Chainsmokers collaboration with Halsey, “Closer.” The song would beat out their other single “Don’t Let Me Down,” Justin Bieber’s collaborations with DJ Snake (“Let Me Love You”) and Major Lazer (“Cold Water”) and the remix of Mike Posner’s “I Took a Pill in Ibiza.”
Hip-Hop Artist of the Year
Should and will win: Drake
Drake stands alone for this award, as his album Views set him lightyears apart from fellow nominees Desiigner, DJ Khaled, Future and J Cole. He dominated radio for the past year with hits like “Hotline Bling,” “One Dance,” and “Too Good” ft. Rihanna, and he is the clear winner of the category. Next.
R&B Artist of the Year
Should and will win: Beyonce
Beyonce is on a hot streak that just doesn’t seem to simmer down. The expectant mom was one of the year’s most successful artists, from a showstopping 2016 Super Bowl halftime show appearance to her widely acclaimed visual album Lemonade to her worldwide Formation tour. Queen Bey’s fans are likely to come out in full force and rightfully vote her to victory. Fellow nominees include Rihanna, The Weeknd, Usher and Bryson Tiller.
Best New Pop Artist
Should win: The Chainsmokers
Will win: Zayn
The Chainsmokers created a big name for themselves with hit after hit, and given their Best New Artist Grammy nomination last month, they’re the category’s most worthy contender. However, Zayn, the former One Direction member who debuted as a solo artist last year, has an army of fans who will likely ensure he is named the winner. Alessia Cara, Daya, and Lukas Graham are the other nominees hoping to earn the coveted award.
Should win: “7 Years” – Lukas Graham
Will win: “Heathens” – Twenty One Pilots
This category recognizes a whopping ten songs, with the winning tune being hailed the best story told on the radio waves. The clear winner strictly based on the lyrical impact is Lukas Graham’s debut hit “7 Years,” as it tells a poignant tale about the realities of growing up. On the other hand, Twenty One Pilots grabbed listeners later on in the year with their hit “Heathens,” and we predict they have enough of a fan base to hit take home the prize. Other nominated artists are Adele (“Send My Love to Your New Lover“), Drake (“Too Good”), Blake Shelton (“Came Here to Forget”), Justin Bieber (“Love Yourself”), Alessia Cara (“Scars to Your Beautiful”), The Chainsmokers (“Closer”), Sia (“Cheap Thrills”) and Cole Swindell (“You Should Be Here”).
Should and will win: “Closer” – The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey
The nominated songs for this award were all chart successes that made listeners want to get up and dance. The Chainsmokers and Rihanna each have two credited songs among the group (“Closer” and “Don’t Let Me Down” for the former and “This is What You Came For” and “Work” for the latter), however The Chainsmokers are likely to come out on top. They earned a Grammy for “Don’t Let Me Down,” but it’s “Closer” that is the most likely to take home this award. Sia is also nominated for “Cheap Thrills” ft. Sean Paul.