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17 Bold Music Predictions for 2016: Zayn, 5H, Babymetal & More

From Zayn Malik's debut solo album to long-awaited albums from Kanye West and Rihanna, here's what we think will happen in 2016. Get excited!

1 / 17

Zayn Malik's Debut Solo Album Commands the Attention of Teens and Adults Alike

One Direction might be on hiatus, but former member Zayn Malik is probably going to deliver the goods. We expect his debut album will drop this year, and that it'll show a more mature side to the dude--playing to his hip hop and R&B influences. We also think he'll manage to secure fans outside of 1D's fanbase...the dude is already on the cover of The Fader, so indie support is not far away. And who knows? If we're being super optimistic, maybe we'll even get something out of the remaining 1D boys. —Maria Sherman

2 / 17

Twenty One Pilots' "Stressed Out" Is Just Getting Started, Will Rule Radio For Months

Hey, so, if you haven't figured it out yet, Twenty One Pilots are going to take over the planet. Not only did they sell out two back-to-back dates at Madison Square Garden, they've managed to get their single "Stressed Out" on the radio, like, everywhere. Listen up, folks: they're sticking around for a while. —Maria Sherman

3 / 17

Adele Dominates 2016, But None of Her Follow-Ups to “Hello” Will Take Over Radio

A blockbuster tour, scores of awards nominations, millions of more albums sold… 2016 is looking pretty robust for Adele. The one thing that will be tough for the U.K. superstar to achieve, however, is the release of a 25 single with the staying power of “Hello,” which just spent its 10th week at No. 1 on the Hot 100. Follow-up single “When We Were Young” doesn’t sound like an obvious radio smash, and while “Water Under The Bridge” and “Sweetest Devotion” both rule, they’ll have been out for months by the time they impact radio. —Jason Lipshutz

4 / 17

The Iggy Azalea Comeback Will Be Surprisingly Effective

Iggy Azalea is prepping the follow-up to her hit debut The New Classic, and although she might not notch a single as huge as “Fancy” or even “Black Widow,” she shouldn’t be considered a relic of 2014, either. The Australian rapper and her label, Def Jam, will likely make a huge push for her sophomore LP, with big media looks and potential collaborations bringing in other fan bases. Mock her on Twitter all you want, but Iggy Iggs is not going anywhere. —Jason Lipshutz

5 / 17

J Balvin Has A Daddy Yankee Moment, Breaks Out Into The Mainstream

The time is now for fresh Latin talent to break into the mainstream. We think J Balvin is prime for a takeover, after 2015 saw him jumping on remixes with Justin Bieber and Major Lazer. The English-speaking singer/rapper's "Ginza" has been the biggest Latin song in America for weeks, and he made it so with his unique brand of bachata—a smooth, laid-back take on the genre, not unlike what Drake brought to hip hop when he broke out. If he continues to collaborate (maybe enlisting a pop star or two to sing a hook in English), we very well could have the next Latin superstar on our hands. —Jeff Benjamin

6 / 17

Kylie Jenner Will Drop A Song

We can dream, right? The youngest (and probably coolest) sister of the Kardashian/Jenner clan has been getting cozy with rapper Tyga for a while...it's only a matter of time before she gets behind the mic. I mean, after that 60th birthday video that the daughters made for mom Kris Jenner, we know she has potential. —Maria Sherman

7 / 17

Missy Elliott Dominates in 2016

Last year’s Super Bowl XLIX halftime show performance was just a mere warm-up for Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott’s takeover. While some young viewers tried comprehending the “new artist” on stage with Katy Perry (exhibit A), every other generation of R&B /hip hop/ dance music fan has been awaiting this moment. The five-time GRAMMY-winning multi-hyphenate music legend is ready to get the kids moving again, and 2015’s “WTF (Where They From)” was just one selection off of the tasting menu of what is to come for Missy in ’16. —Lacroix Scott

8 / 17

Paramore Release New Album, Takes Pop World By Storm

So there's this thing that happens to bands from pop-punk/Warped Tour world: They hit a ceiling, and rarely enter the mainstream in a way that has real weight or influence. There are exceptions to the rule, of course, but only a handful: My Chemical RomanceFall Out Boy and their ilk. Paramore managed to do this with their last album, the genre-bending 2013 self-titled release, but they need another monster release to solidfy it. 2016, don't let us down! —Maria Sherman

9 / 17

Kanye West’s “Swish” Will Disappoint

Kanye West has been teasing his follow-up to Yeezus for roughly one year, and judging by what we’ve (potentially) heard from the project“All Day,” “Only One,” “Wolves,” “Facts”—it’s solid, but not up to par with the rest of his groundbreaking discography. Only a fool would doubt West’s commitment to creating masterpieces, or his ability to surprise… but the way it looks now, Swish will be good, if not spectacular. —Jason Lipshutz

10 / 17

Tori Kelly Will Win Best New Artist & Become A Superstar

Year after year, Best New Artist is a tough category to predict at the GRAMMYs. The Academy likes surprises (Esperanza Spalding instead of Justin Bieber in 2011?!), and it's been a minute since a big-voiced female made waves in the pop world. They snubbed Ariana Grande for Best New Artist, but after awarding the likes of Mariah CareyChristina AguileraAlicia Keys and AdeleTori Kelly feels primed to be picked (did you see her VMA performance?!) and a choice the GRAMMY committee would be able to defend. Tori's star is already on the rise (she performed on The Tonight Show and covered Seventeen mag just this week), and a GRAMMY win will finally get this girl the mainstream recognition she deserves. —Jeff Benjamin

11 / 17

Christina Aguilera Will Make A Legitimately Huge Comeback

Rumor has it that Christina Aguilera's been in the studio with the likes of Pharrell, Lunchmoney Lewis, DJ Premier and Harmony Samuels, indicating that her next album could likely focus on feel-good, soulful pop. It's the type of tracks everyone knows she has the voice for and that sound has never been more embraced after seeing the huge success of "Uptown Funk." Plus, with a new baby and fianceé in her life, Christina's never looked happier. As long as this translates to her music, there's no way people won't be uplifted by it as well. —Jeff Benjamin

12 / 17

My Chemical Romance Reunite!

Okay, okay, hear us out. The Black Parade turns 10 this year, so the timing for a My Chemical Romance reunion would be totally impeccable. If LCD Soundsystem can reunite after a four or five year hiatus, MCR can do it in three. The world needs it. —Maria Sherman

13 / 17

The Spice Girls Will Come Back In A Big Way

2016 marks the 20th anniversary of ‘"Wannabe," the debut single that helped The Spice Girls become the best-selling female group of all time. Pre- “Squad Goals”, “Girl Power” was a phenomenon which touted female empowerment and friendship, all without slighting the competition. 

A reunion, now, on this momentous anniversary in pop history, couldn’t come at a better time. We may have a glimmer of hope, since in the latter part of 2015 Mel B stated that she hoped the group would reunite for the 20th anniversary of "Wannabe." —Lacroix Scott

14 / 17

Lorde Will Disappoint Commercially With Her Comeback

In 2014, Lorde earned loads of attention for her single off the Hunger Games: Mockingjay soundtrack, "Yellow Flicker Beat," but it failed to make any kind of impact. Last year, she teamed up with Disclosure for "Magnets" that also stalled on the charts. Lorde's minimalistic, paradigm-shifting pop was unique when she first debuted in 2013, but the mainstream landscape has quickly shifted and built upon her formula. If she wants to avoid the sophomore slump, she can't look to make "Royals Pt. II," but will need something refreshing to throw into her artistry—or risk looking like the South Park-esque caricature of herself. —Jeff Benjamin

15 / 17

Fifth Harmony Will Become Arena Headliners

5H is already the most successful U.S. girl group since the mid 00’s, and while “Worth It” took over Top 40 in 2015, the quintet still lacks a Top 10 hit. That will change in 2016, thanks to a forthcoming sophomore album that will feature production from Max Martin and his crew of pop maestros; expect radio ubiquity, packed shows and a much bigger profile for Fifth Harmony by year’s end. —Jason Lipshutz

16 / 17

Rihanna’s ‘ANTI’ Will Finally Come Out, and All Will Be Forgiven

It really hasn’t been THAT long since Rihanna released a new album; most artists typically wait two or three years between projects, and for Rih, the three-year mark was just in November. Still, the wait for ANTI has felt maddening due to the endless teases: the Samsung app, the maybe-lead-singles, the ANTI tour announcement coming before ANTI. The next Rihanna era has constantly felt right around the corner! Still, ANTI will arrive this year, be great (judging by those teaser singles, at least), and put these frustrations to bed once and for all. —Jason Lipshutz

17 / 17

Babymetal Will Book A National TV Performance

For the last two years, Babymetal has been the largest-selling Asian act in America and have made small inroads stateside with a big-time label and landing important press opportunities. It feels like a matter of time until a TV station takes notice. And depending on what their new music sounds like—maybe it'll be slightly more mainstream—we could see a show like The Tonight Show or Good Morning America taking a chance on the J-pop/metal trio. —Jeff Benjamin

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BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS - DECEMBER 01:  Singer Rihanna and Prince Harry speak on stage at the 'Man Aware' event held by the Barb

Dec. 1: Rih & The Prince in Barbados

In Barbados Rihanna and Prince Harry raise HIV/AIDS awareness in hopes to fight HIV and AIDS stigma. Getting tested in front of cameras, the singer and the prince show us the importance and ease of the process. "It's so easy to get tested & know your status!” Rih tweeted afterwards. Today also marks the 50th Anniversary of Independence in Barbados.

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