Here's Who Will Win at the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards (You Can Trust Me)

Illustration for article titled Heres Who Will Win at the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards (You Can Trust Me)
Photo: Steven Ferdman (Getty Images)

In case you have forgotten (how dare you!) the fifth annual iHeartRadio Music Awards will take place Sunday, March 11 at the famed Forum in Los Angeles, California. Unlike the Grammys or the Oscars, which are decided by a board of industry dinosaurs, iHeartRadio’s award show is based on radio spins and social media votes, which means the winners should best reflect what music is actually popular. Sounds great, right?


It might be—but that doesn’t mean each category is predictable. These are very famous, successful, talented people competing against other very famous, successful, talented people, after all. To ease your troubled mind, I’ve compiled a list of predictions for each major category. (These will be the winners, you can trust me.) I’m a professional.

Song of the Year

“Despacito” - Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber
“Shape Of You” - Ed Sheeran
“Something Just Like This” - The Chainsmokers and Coldplay
“That’s What I Like” - Bruno Mars
“Wild Thoughts” - DJ Khaled featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller


This category is full of bangers—songs that were so undeniably ever-present last year regardless of where you live and who you are—so it’s kind of a toughie to predict! Because the 2018 Grammys awarded their song of the year trophy to Bruno Mars, I’m going Sheeran—based mostly on the fact that I am a non-fan, and I know every goddamn word to “Shape of You.”

Winner: “Shape Of You” - Ed Sheeran

Female Artist of the Year:

Alessia Cara
Taylor Swift

Gendered awards in 2018 are lame as hell, but that’s beside the point. This one has to boil down to Rihanna and Taylor Swift—remember, it’s about radio plays, and both those ladies have been all over the airwaves. I’ll lean into Swift because her 2017 album, Reputation, is fresh in the heads (and ears) of pop fans.


Winner: Taylor Swift

Male Artist of the Year:

Bruno Mars
Charlie Puth
Ed Sheeran
Shawn Mendes
The Weeknd

I would love for my not-so-large adult son Shawn Mendes to take it home, but let’s be real—it was the year of Bruno.


Winner: Bruno Mars

Best Duo/Group of the Year: 

Imagine Dragons
Maroon 5
Portugal. The Man
The Chainsmokers

If there’s any justice on this earth, Migos will grab the gold. And I think there will be. Their only real competition here is Portugal. The Man (the rock band’s single, “Feel It Still,” was inescapable in 2017 and used in, like, every single car commercial) but they’ll probably win in a genre category.


Winner: Migos

Best Collaboration:

“Despacito” - Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber
“Don’t Wanna Know” - Maroon 5 featuring Kendrick Lamar
“Something Just Like This” - The Chainsmokers and Coldplay
“Stay” - Zedd and Alessia Cara
“Wild Thoughts” - DJ Khaled featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller


If this thing isn’t rigged, no song ranked in more 2017 spins than “Despacito,” and that’s largely due to the Bieber co-sign. (The song is perfect without him, though, don’t get it twisted.) They should have this one in the bag.

Winner: “Despacito” - Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber

Best New Pop Artist:

Camila Cabello
Julia Michaels
Liam Payne
Niall Horan

It’s gotta be Camila! She scored a No. 1 debut album and a No. 1 single with “Havana” this year, proving that she can really come into her own post-her time in girl group Fifth Harmony.


Winner: Camila Cabello

Alternative Rock Song of the Year:

“Believer” - Imagine Dragons
“Feel It Still” - Portugal. The Man
“Thunder” - Imagine Dragons
“Walk On Water” - Thirty Seconds To Mars
“Wish I Knew You” - The Revivalists


Like I said before...

Winner: “Feel It Still” - Portugal. The Man

Alternative Rock Artist of the Year:

Cage The Elephant
Imagine Dragons
Judah & The Lion
Kings Of Leon
Portugal. The Man

Whether you’re big into alt-rock radio or not, there’s no denying the universal appeal of a big-hook Imagine Dragons tune.


Winner: Imagine Dragons

Best New Rock/Alternative Rock Artist:

Greta Van Fleet
Judah & The Lion
Rag’n’Bone Man
The Revivalists

Honestly, who are these people?

Winner: Rag’n’Bone Man

Rock Song of the Year:

“Go To War” - Nothing More
“Help” - Papa Roach
“Run” - Foo Fighters
“Rx (Medicate)“ - Theory of a Deadman
“Song #3" - Stone Sour


My past self wants to vote for Papa Roach, my present and future self knows Foo Fighters have it.

Winner: “Run” - Foo Fighters

Rock Artist of the Year:

Foo Fighters
Highly Suspect
Papa Roach
Royal Blood

I’m gonna go for the wild card here and say Highly Suspect. They’re certainly one of the lesser known acts nominated in this particular category (and maybe all the categories?) but there’s usually some surprise at the iHeartRadio Music Awards, and I think it might it.


Winner: Highly Suspect

Country Song of the Year:

“Body Like A Back Road” - Sam Hunt
“Dirt On My Boots” - Jon Pardi
“Hurricane” - Luke Combs
“Small Town Boy” - Dustin Lynch
“Unforgettable” - Thomas Rhett


If you don’t love Thomas Rhett’s “Unforgettable,” you don’t have a goddamn soul. For that reason, I think he’s gonna take it home.

Winner: “Unforgettable” - Thomas Rhett

Country Artist of the Year:

Blake Shelton
Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Sam Hunt
Thomas Rhett

Luke Bryan’s 2017 album, What Makes You Country, 
was a wild and daring ride that spans genre and generation (in terms of appeal.) That’s hard to do when conservative ideas run rampant in country music. It’s innovation, sheeple!


Winner: Luke Bryan

Best New Country Artist:

Brett Young
Jon Pardi
Kane Brown
Lauren Alaina
Luke Combs

It’s Luke Combs time. That’s it!

Winner: Luke Combs

Dance Song of the Year:

“It Ain’t Me” - Kygo and Selena Gomez
“No Promises” - Cheat Codes featuring Demi Lovato
“Rockabye” - Clean Bandit featuring Sean Paul & Anne-Marie
“Something Just Like This” - The Chainsmokers and Coldplay
“Stay” - Zedd and Alessia Cara


It’s too bad Grey, Zedd and Maren Morris’ fantastic Target ad/not Jimmy Eat World cover/collabo “The Middle” isn’t on here...maybe I can call it for the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards? Anyway, I think “Stay” has it in the bag.

Winner: “Stay” - Zedd and Alessia Cara

Dance Artist of the Year:

Calvin Harris
Cheat Codes
The Chainsmokers

See above.

Winner: Zedd

Hip-Hop Song of the Year:

“Bad and Boujee” - Migos featuring Lil Uzi Vert
“Bodak Yellow” - Cardi B
“HUMBLE.” - Kendrick Lamar
“Rockstar” - Post Malone
“Wild Thoughts” - DJ Khaled featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller


This is going to come down the Cardi B and Post Malone tracks. I think iHeartRadio will do the right thing and give it to “Bodak Yellow.” At least, I pray (?) they will.

Winner: “Bodak Yellow” - Cardi B

Hip-Hop Artist of the Year:

DJ Khaled
Kendrick Lamar

For no reason other than the fact he’s co-hosting the iHeartRadio Music Awards this year, I think DJ Khaled is going to win.


Winner: DJ Khaled

Best New Hip-Hop Artist:

21 Savage
Cardi B
Lil Uzi Vert
Playboi Carti

Lil Uzi Vert will win if Cardi takes home best hip-hop song. Cardi will win if it goes to Post Malone. Simple.


Winner: Lil Uzi Vert

R&B Song of the Year:

“B.E.D.” - Jacquees
“Location” - Khalid
“Love Galore” - SZA featuring Travis Scott
“Redbone” - Childish Gambino
“That’s What I Like” - Bruno Mars


This should go to SZA, but no one loves Bruno Mars like award shows love Bruno Mars.

Winner: “That’s What I Like” - Bruno Mars

R&B Artist of the Year:

Bruno Mars
Childish Gambino
The Weeknd

Let’s go RiRi. I doubt Mars will clean house like he did at the Grammys earlier this year, and for that reason alone—justice for Rihanna.


Winner: Rihanna

Best New R&B Artist:

Kevin Ross

...And here’s where SZA kills it. There are so many awards, huh?

Winner: SZA

Latin Song of the Year:

“Despacito” - Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee
“El Amante” - Nicky Jam
“Hey DJ” - CNCO
“Mi Gente” - J Balvin featuring Willy William
“Súbeme La Radio” - Enrique Iglesias


It could be “Despacito,” but I have faith in “Mi Gente.” I mean, the J Balvin/Willy William track is so hot, even Beyoncé remixed it. That’s nothing to scoff at.

Winner: “Mi Gente” - J Balvin featuring Willy William

Latin Artist of the Year: 

J Balvin
Luis Fonsi
Nicky Jam

I’d love to see them award the only Latina nominated. That’s not how this works, but let’s put some heart behind Shakira.


Winner: Shakira

Best New Latin Artist:

Abraham Mateo
Bad Bunny
Danny Ocean
Karol G

It can only be Ozuna or Bad Bunny (due in large to their collaborations with Cardi B and Nicki Minaj, probably) but my money is on Ozuna.


Winner: Ozuna

Producer of the Year:

Andrew “Pop” Wansel and Warren “Oak” Felder
Andrew Watt
Benny Blanco
Justin Tranter
Steve Mac


There is no pop music without Andrew “Pop” Wansel and Warren “Oak” Felder, sorry, not sorry. (Literally, they’re responsible for Demi Lovato’s single “Sorry Not Sorry.”)

Winner: Andrew “Pop” Wansel and Warren “Oak” Felder

Best Lyrics (Socially Voted Category):

“Bodak Yellow” - Cardi B
“Despacito” - Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee
“Holding Me Back” - Shawn Mendes
“Look What You Made Me Do” - Taylor Swift
“Perfect” - Ed Sheeran
“Slow Hands” - Niall Horan


Now we’re into the good stuff—the socially voted categories! It boils down to a battle of fandoms, and in this case, I’m giving it to Taylor. Her Swifties are ruthless.

Winner: “Look What You Made Me Do” - Taylor Swift

Best Cover Song (Socially Voted Category):

“All We Got” - Shawn Mendes
“Bad Liar” - HAIM
“Issues” - Niall Horan
“Lost” - Khalid
“Say You Won’t Let Go” - Camila Cabello and Machine Gun Kelly
“The Chain” - Harry Styles
“Touch” - Ed Sheeran
“The Tribute Song” - Thirty Seconds To Mars


For the same reasons that will determine Taylor Swift’s victory, I’m going to give it to those loyal to Harry Styles stans (and the very vocal Fleetwood Mac fans who know his rendition of the 1977 Rumors cut is wonderful.)

Winner: “The Chain” - Harry Styles

Best Fan Army presented by Taco Bell (Socially Voted Category):

Arianators - Ariana Grande
Beliebers - Justin Bieber
BTS Army - BTS
Camilizers - Camila Cabello
Harmonizers - Fifth Harmony
Lovatics - Demi Lovato
Mendes Army - Shawn Mendes
Mixers - Little Mix
Selenators - Selena Gomez
Smilers - Miley Cyrus
Swifties - Taylor Swift


K-Pop fans have this one in the bag, so it’ll either go to the BTS Army or EXO-Ls. BTS had an exceptional 2017, breaking barriers no other K-Pop group has been able to, stateside (an American Music Awards performance, a spot on Ellen, etc.) It’s their’s, baby!

Winner: BTS Army - BTS

Best Music Video (Socially Voted Category):

“Bad Liar” - Selena Gomez
“Bodak Yellow” - Cardi B
“Despacito” - Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee
“I’m The One” - DJ Khaled
“Look What You Made Me Do” - Taylor Swift
“Malibu” - Miley Cyrus
“New Rules” - Dua Lipa
“Shape Of You” - Ed Sheeran
“Sign Of The Times” - Harry Styles
“Sorry Not Sorry” - Demi Lovato
“Swish Swish” - Katy Perry
“That’s What I Like” - Bruno Mars
“There’s Nothing Holding Me Back” - Shawn Mendes


Selena Gomez! The people will choose her, of this I am sure.

Winner: “Bad Liar” - Selena Gomez

Social Star Award (Socially Voted Category):

Andrew Huang
Christian Collins
Conor Maynard
Gabbie Hanna
JoJo Siwa
Mariah Belgrod
Max & Harvey


This is hard to tell, but judging by the average voting age (teenage? tweenage?) I’m going Conor Maynard.

Winner: Conor Maynard

Cutest Musician’s Pet (New Socially Voted Category):

Batman - Demi Lovato
Bear Rexha - Bebe Rexha
Nugget - Katy Perry
Olivia - Taylor Swift
Pig Pig - Miley Cyrus
Toulouse - Ariana Grande


It better be Nugget! Remember him from Katy Perry’s Witness live stream? He’s too cute.

Winner: Nugget - Katy Perry

Best Boy Band (New Socially Voted Category):

In Real Life
The Vamps
Why Don’t We

BTS, no contest.

Winner: BTS

Best Solo Breakout (Socially Voted Category):

Camila Cabello
Harry Styles
Liam Payne
Louis Tomlinson
Niall Horan

Well, judging by the fact that this category is built up of former One Direction members and Camila Cabello, it’s probably between her and Harry Styles. I’m going Harry. You can never forget—or better yet, underestimate—the power of his social media presence.


Winner: Harry Styles

Senior Writer, Jezebel. My debut book, LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands, is out now.

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