Celeb Secrets Predicts the iHeartRadio Music Awards 2018 Winners

“Despacito.” “Shape of You.” They’re the songs taking over radio. Which will be taking home big awards this year?

There’s a lot about radio success that is unpredictable: some songs are incredible on your own personal playlist, but don’t translate well in the charts. Others get stuck in your head for days, but they aren’t exactly your favorite tunes. But every so often, the perfect blend of all the right qualities happens for a track, and it becomes a standout radio feature. Through all this unpredictability, Celeb Secrets thought it would be fun to try to predict the winners for the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards.

Below, check out our best guesses in the hottest categories — and see how we fared when the star-studded show goes down on March 11, 2018.

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

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: Honestly, I can’t say I’ve turned on the radio in the past year and not heard either “Despacito” or “Shape of You” on rotation. But as we move into 2018, I think Ed Sheeran still has some major staying power that I think will be honored — while I’m saving “Despacito” for other categories.

Female Artist of the Year

Alessia Cara
Taylor Swift

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: Fresh off of her Grammy New Artist win, I’m tempted to say Alessia. Even though she has had an incredible year of radio hits, I find that P!NK is just killing it with dominating the mainstream airwaves right now.

Male Artist of the Year:

Bruno Mars
Charlie Puth
Ed Sheeran
Shawn Mendes
The Weeknd

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: Any way you look at it, this is just Bruno Mars‘ year in every musical event of the season. After his latest Grammys success, it’s hard to see him not being honored in this category.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Best Duo/Group of the Year:

Imagine Dragons
Maroon 5
Portugal. The Man
The Chainsmokers

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: Maroon 5 just keeps delivering solid radio singles, every chance they get. They’ve had some great collaborations on their latest album that have resulted in some of their most addicting tracks yet.

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

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: As I said earlier, “Despacito” is a track that just keeps on giving. I feel it deserves this category for all its buzz, especially since the already solid Luis Fonsi/Daddy Yankee collaboration got even more play by adding in Justin Bieber.

Best New Pop Artist

Camila Cabello
Julia Michaels
Liam Payne
Niall Horan

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: Why is this category so challenging? It’s because several of these amazing artists are new to solo performances, but not to the music industry OR to radio success. Even though I’m a One Direction girl through and through (together, solo, and anything in between), I am also blown away by everything Camila Cabello has been achieving through the launch of her debut solo album. This category must be hers.

NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 08: Camila Cabello performs at Z100’s Jingle Ball 2017 on December 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

Best New Rock/Alternative Rock Artist

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

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: Rag’n’Bone Man is one of those artists that can slay on the radio while also experimenting with sound and not sacrificing on the originality. He picked up the Breakthrough Act Award at the 2017 BRIT Awards, so we predict the accolades just keep coming in!

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

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: By sheer probability, Imagine Dragons must be taking this category, since their songs are nominated twice. I personally love “Believer” more, but “Thunder” is such a radio hit that I’m predicting it a winner.

Alternative Rock Artist of the Year

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

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: As mentioned above, this has been such an incredible series of single releases for Imagine Dragons. In my own humble opinion, I don’t see the other groups getting as wide radio exposure. (Which is such a shame since they’re all killing it at the moment.)

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

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: “Run” by Foo Fighters is such an epic track, we predict it will pick up this honor. (Also, I know this isn’t a music video awards show, but if you haven’t seen this one, you HAVE to check it out below.)

Rock Artist of the Year

Foo Fighters
Highly Suspect
Papa Roach
Royal Blood

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: Similarly, we can see Foo Fighters taking the entire rock category. The guys have been everywhere this year, and are more popular than ever.

Dance Song of the Year

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

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: True confession: you can catch me dancing with abandon to any of the above tracks. In fact, I recommend this nominees list as a personal playlist if you’re having a Friday night dance party in front of your bedroom mirror. As for the winner here? It’s hard to pick, but everything Selena Gomez touches turns to gold so I’m calling it for “It Ain’t Me” with Kygo.

Dance Artist of the Year

Calvin Harris
Cheat Codes
The Chainsmokers

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: In the earlier Dance category, I was torn between Kygo/Selena and Cheat Codes/Demi. So while I think Selena’s involvement made “It Ain’t Me” a stronger radio song, Cheat Codes had a bigger radio year that I can see being honored.

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

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: Okay, so “Bodak Yellow could sweep Hip-Hop Song of the Year, Rock Song of the Year, and Best Country Album, and I’d still be over here like “please give Cardi B more awards.”

Best New Hip-Hop Artist

21 Savage
Cardi B
Lil Uzi Vert
Playboi Carti

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN:  Did you hear me up there? MORE AWARDS FOR CARDI B.

Hip-Hop Artist of the Year

DJ Khaled
Kendrick Lamar

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: Kendrick Lamar picked up well-deserved Grammys, and I think he’s about to get even more iHeartRadio love.

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

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

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: I am not-so-silently rooting for Khalid in this category, but there’s no denying Bruno Mars when it comes to radio.

R&B Artist of the Year

Bruno Mars
Childish Gambino
The Weeknd

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: Total wild card call: I’ve been talking a bunch about how Bruno is killing it, but I want Rihanna in this category, please.

Best New R&B Artist

Kevin Ross

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: Earlier, I was all team Khalid. Still am, but with this nominee lineup, I need to see SZA take this one — and can totally see it happening here.

Producer of the Year

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

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: We just love Justin Tranter‘s work with Julia Michaels this year.

Best Lyrics: *Socially Voted Category

“Bodak Yellow” – Cardi B
“Despacito” – Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee
“There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” – Shawn Mendes
“Look What You Made Me Do” – Taylor Swift
“Perfect” – Ed Sheeran
“Slow Hands” – Niall Horan

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: If you haven’t sobbed to Ed Sheeran‘s “Perfect” yet… well, there’s still time.

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

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: Niall Horan is such a fan of other artists who are killing it in the business (like Julia Michaels) … and that’s precisely why I’m such a big fan of him.

Best Fan Army presented by Taco Bell: *Socially Voted Category

Arianators – Ariana Grande
Beliebers – Justin Bieber
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

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: Did you miss the memo? BTS and their fans are taking over the world right now.

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 Holdin’ Me Back” – Shawn Mendes

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: This nominees list? Just ask me to choose a favorite child, why don’t you? There are a lot of deserving tracks here that could take other categories, but since this a fan-voted award, we see it going to Selena Gomez.

Social Star Award: *Socially Voted Category

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

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: We’ve seen a ton of social media buzz about Gabbie Hanna for this award, so we predict she’ll snag the win!

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

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

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: All of these pets are clearly superstars, but Olivia Benson is honestly on a level we mortal humans can’t even begin to understand.

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We are all stretching to prep for that tour choreo.

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Best Boy Band: (New Category) *Socially Voted Category

In Real Life
The Vamps
Why Don’t We

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: There’s a special section of my heart and a giant portion of my brain devoted to loving boy bands. There are some solid favorites nominated in this category (and I’ve personally voted for more than one artist here!) But like I said, BTS is taking over the world, we’re just sitting back and enjoying it.

Best Solo Breakout: *Socially Voted Category

Camila Cabello
Harry Styles
Liam Payne
Louis Tomlinson
Niall Horan

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: Oh, okay iHeart. You’re going to put my boys together like this. I see how it goes. I absolutely cannot choose between my 1D guys, and I imagine voters will have the same struggle. So I have to predict Camila Cabello, who, like I said earlier, is just a force to be reckoned with right now.

Best Remix: (New Category) *Socially Voted Category

“Bon Appétit” – Katy Perry, Migos and 3LAU
“Despacito” – Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber
“do re mi” ” – blackbear featuring Gucci Mane
“Friends” – Justin Bieber and BloodPop with Julia Michaels
“Havana” – Camila Cabello and Daddy Yankee
“Homemade Dynamite” – Lorde, Khalid, Post Malone and SZA
“May I Have This Dance” – Francis & The Lights featuring Chance The Rapper
“Mi Gente” – J Balvin and Willy William featuring Beyoncé
“Reggaetón Lento” – CNCO and Little Mix

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN: There’s nothing I love more than a genre-busting remix, and this list features several of my personal favorites. But since we’re talking radio dominance here, it’s gotta be “Despacito” all the way.

So, readers. What do you think of our predictions? Leave us your reactions below, and stay tuned for more iHeartRadio Music Awards coverage!

Written by Kristine Hope Kowalski

Kristine is a writer and celebrity entertainment news journalist with a specific obsession with Nickelodeon + Disney Channel shows, boy bands, K-Pop, Broadway, and international series dramas. If she's not writing or tucked away in a good book, she is most likely traveling the world and spamming her friends' Instagram feeds with photos from her adventures. Kristine has a BA in Comparative Literature from Rutgers University (2011), and an MA in Interdisciplinary Humanities and Social Thought from NYU (2013). She is currently pursuing her second Master's in Journalism at Harvard.