Grammys Forecast 2020: Predicting Nominees in Six Major Categories – Rolling Stone
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Grammy Preview 2020: Predicting the Nominees in Six Major Categories

As Grammy voting gets underway, here are our picks for who will get the nod for Album of the Year, Best New Artist, and more — and who ought to come out on top

As voting gets underway for the 2020 Grammys, read our picks for who we think will be nominated, and who deserves to win.

Brent N Clarke/Invision/AP/Shutterstock, Olly Stabler/Shutterstock, Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

First-round Grammy voting is currently underway, and running through October 10th. As part of our 2020 Grammy preview, we’re weighing in with our predictions for who will be nominated — and our picks for who should win — in six major categories.

Grammy voters tend to reward establishment heavies at the expense of young rule-breakers. This year they can do both, because the rule-breakers are the establishment, from Lil Nas X moving from TikTok to the top of the charts, to Billie Eilish turning her teenage goth visions into world-owning hits.

Album of the Year

Who Will Be Nominated:

Taylor Swift Lover
Lizzo Cuz I Love You
Ariana Grande Thank U, Next
Chance the Rapper The Big Day
Ed Sheeran Collaborations: #6

Who Will Win:

Taylor Swift Swift’s Grammy run (32 nominations, 10 wins) is nearly unprecedented for someone still in her twenties. Her last album, Reputation, was unduly snubbed in 2018, despite being the biggest seller of that year, and it’s hard to imagine the voters making the same blown call again.

Who Should Win:

Taylor Swift And they’ll be right! Even in a stacked category, Lover feels like a shoo-in, summing up everything Swift has always done well — from nostalgic guitar weepers to radiant Eighties throwbacks and inspiring assertions of self-determination. Like Prince or Madonna before her, she pioneered the pop freedoms many of her fellow nominees take for granted.

Song of the Year

Who Will Be Nominated:

Taylor Swift “ME!”
Lil Nas X “Old Town Road”
Ariana Grande “Thank U, Next”
Lizzo “Truth Hurts”
Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello “Señorita”

Who Will Win:

Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello Usually, the Grammys screw up Album of the Year (see Bruno Mars beating out Kendrick Lamar in 2018). This year, however, we think they’ll punt the Best Song category, defaulting to Mendes and Cabello’s sweet-but-safe hit in the face of so many other groundbreaking options.   

Who Should Win:

Ariana Grande No song this year shocked the world quite like Grande’s post-breakup epic, gloriously saying so long to her ex Pete Davidson with a warmth, generosity, and equanimity that’s lacking in pop music and, in the Trump era, society itself. It’d be a fabulous way to honor an artist beginning a historic roll.    

Best New Artist

Who Will Be Nominated:

Billie Eilish
Lil Nas X
Maggie Rogers
Tyler Childers
Rosalía

Who Will Win:

Billie Eilish Spanish singer Rosalía has bent tradition to her will by pulling flamenco into the future, and Lil Nas X came up with a song so catchy that dolphins can sing it. But Eilish came out of nowhere to top the charts with her debut, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, and that kind of success is like Grammy-voter catnip.

Who Should Win:

Billie Eilish Artists like Eilish just don’t come around that often, and you might have to go back to Eminem or even Kurt Cobain to find figures who could make their creepy desires resonate with such universal power the way she did on songs like “Bad Guy” and “Bury a Friend.” Not bad for a record made by a 17-year-old in her bedroom.

Best Rap Album

Who Will Be Nominated:

Chance the Rapper The Big Day
2 Chainz Rap or Go to the League
DJ Khaled Father of Asahd
Tyler, the Creator IGOR
Juice Wrld Death Race for Love

Who Will Win:

Chance the Rapper In 2018, Chance took home some serious hardware for Coloring Book, including the Grammy for Best Rap Album. His win for Best New Artist that same year ensured the universally beloved Chicago rapper will be a front-runner for any future awards. This year, and in the absence of new LPs by Kendrick Lamar and Drake, he’s an easy pick. Though long-awaited, The Big Day wasn’t as commercially or critically successful as its predecessor — it’s the kind of poppy, optimistically wholesome rap record that wins mainstream awards.

Who Should Win:

Tyler, the Creator Picking Tyler, the Creator’s critically championed opus would be a ballsy move, to say the least. But after nearly a decade in the game, his evolution from troll-y troublemaker with the L.A. outré-rap collective Odd Future to fully realized hip-hop auteur is one of pop music’s most compelling stories. True to Tyler’s groundbreaking rep, IGOR is a sonically rich, surprisingly vulnerable album that pushes boundaries and still sounds great. In other words, just the kind of career culmination the Recording Academy should celebrate.

Best Country Album

Who Will Be Nominated:

Eric Church
Desperate Man
Vince Gill Okie
Maren Morris Girl
Pistol Annies Interstate Gospel
George Strait Honky Tonk Time Machine

Who Will Win:

Maren Morris Last year, Morris scored six noms in the country and pop categories with her debut album, Hero. Its follow-up, Girl — which combines infectious pop smarts, empowering lyrics, and sharp country songcraft — should be poised to do even better.

Who Should Win:

Eric Church The outlaw country rock on Desperate Man may be a little raw for some voters (despite seven noms, Church is still Grammy-less). But his eclectic drive and working-class politics are just what Nashville needs.

Best Latin Pop Album

Who Will Be Nominated:

Rosalía El Mal Querer
Luis Fonsi Vida
Alejandro Sanz #ElDisco
Mon Laferte Norma
Ximena Sariñana ¿Dónde Bailarán Las Niñas?

Who Will Win:

Rosalía The brooding Spanish flamenco star became an avant-pop princess seemingly overnight with her R&B-inflected second LP. After sweeping two Latin Grammys for her 2018 single, “Malamente,” she’s primed to smoke her veteran competition at this year’s show.

Who Should Win:

Bad Bunny Urbano — an umbrella term for Latin trap and reggaetón — is the most popular genre on Spanish-language radio. Yet the industry’s powers-that-be still haven’t caught up (urbano artists even get snubbed at the Latin Grammys). Though it might not even be nominated, Bunny’s sprawling 2018 debut, X 100pre, is an internationally minded, genre-melting example of just how exciting this emerging sound can be. Hey, maybe next year.

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