After the COVID–19 pandemic delayed the ceremony by over a month, the 63rd annual Grammy Awards are now just around the corner. Here are Street’s predictions for some of the biggest categories of the night.

Album of the Year

Will win: folklore, Taylor Swift

Should win: folklore, Taylor Swift

Snubbed: After Hours, The Weeknd

Undeserved: Everyday Life, Coldplay

The immediate standouts in this category are folklore and Future Nostalgia. Both albums had immense critical acclaim and were some of the most sold albums of 2020, so it should be no surprise that these two are the frontrunners, given their success. Although Dua Lipa has had a huge year including an entire virtual concert and a reissue of Future Nostalgia with new extra tracks, we think the Grammy voters will lean towards the more traditional songwriting on Taylor Swift’s folklore that has typically been rewarded in the past.

Although most Album of the Year winners have been successful mainstream albums, Djesse Vol. 3, which did not chart on the Billboard 200 at all, could be one of the surprise winners of the night. Considered to be the new Mozart by many musicians in the industry, Jacob Collier has never lost a Grammy nomination before, so it will be interesting to see if he can continue his streak this year with an album featuring high–profile artists like Ty Dolla $ign and Daniel Caesar. Still, wide misses like "Count the People" may bar him from earning the award.

Record of the Year

Will win: “Don’t Start Now,” Dua Lipa

Should win: “Savage,” Megan Thee Stallion ft. Beyoncé

Snubbed: “Blinding Lights,” The Weeknd

Undeserved: None

While Record of the Year is supposed to recognize a song for its musical production, past Grammy history indicates that the winner is also dependent on chart performance. “Savage” is an energetic No. 1 hit featuring two big names whose remixed production elevates the track, but the Grammys have rarely given rap songs their deserved accolades—much less one with two female leads. Instead, “Don’t Start Now” will be the song to beat given the committee’s overall love for Lipa after she was nominated in six categories. 

After missing out on a nomination for Album of the Year, The Weeknd was also shut out from Record of the Year, which has been called one of the Grammy’s biggest snubs ever. “Blinding Lights” was the first song in history to spend a full year in the Billboard Top 10, and it was praised for its '80s throwback sound that the frontrunner “Don’t Start Now” also features. It's shocking to see one of the biggest songs of all time receive no love from the Grammys, and The Weeknd feels the same way: He now has no intentions to submit his future music for any Grammy consideration.

Song of the Year

Will win: “Don’t Start Now,” Dua Lipa

Should win: “cardigan,” Taylor Swift

Snubbed: “The Bigger Picture,” Lil Baby

Undeserved: “If the World Was Ending,” JP Saxe ft. Julia Michaels

Song of the Year is technically a separate category from Record of the Year because of its focus on songwriting and lyrical composition, but in the past four years, three have had the same song win both categories. The frontrunner in Record of the Year, “Don’t Start Now,” is also nominated for Song of the Year, so it would not be surprising to see it win this category as well. However, while Lipa’s track does feature a very catchy hook and clever lyrics, Taylor Swift's “cardigan” is lyrically the best song on the list, with its three distinct choruses, captivating bridge, and passionate storytelling. 

The category also features songs inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, including “Black Parade” by Beyoncé and “I Can’t Breathe” by H.E.R. Both singles are well written and deserve recognition, but votes may be split between the two—leading to a victory for “Don’t Start Now.”

Best New Artist

Will win: Megan Thee Stallion

Should win: Megan Thee Stallion

Snubbed: Rina Sawayama

Undeserved: Noah Cyrus

After getting a viral TikTok hit in “Savage,” Megan Thee Stallion’s dominance in the music industry has not waned one bit. Cardi B featured Megan Thee Stallion in the single “WAP” which has been considered the best song of 2020 and sparked discussions on female empowerment, and her debut album Good News dropped just in time for the voting period and featured collaborations with established artists such as SZA, Young Thug, and Beyoncé. Megan was also named Apple Music’s Breakthrough Artist of the Year due to her sustained success throughout the year, making her win even more likely.

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

Will win: “Rain on Me,” Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande

Should win: “exile,” Taylor Swift ft. Bon Iver

Snubbed: None

Undeserved: “Intentions,” Justin Bieber ft. Quavo

“Rain on Me” from Lady Gaga’s sixth studio album Chromatica was a highly needed dance–pop song released in the middle of the pandemic, and the star power of Gaga and Ariana Grande are likely to catapult it to a win. “exile” is definitely a close runner–up due to Swift’s success in other categories this year, but without any radio exposure or music video, it may not be as familiar to the voters compared to the other songs. After a surge of popularity in K–Pop in the past decade, the Grammys have finally rewarded a K–Pop group with a nomination in BTS’s “Dynamite,” hopefully a sign that the voters and committees will begin to recognize more foreign artists and songs that are sung in different languages.

Best Rap Song

Will win: “The Box,” Roddy Ricch

Should win: “Savage,” Megan Thee Stallion ft. Beyoncé

Snubbed: None

Undeserved: None

Roddy Ricch’s nominations for “The Box” and “Rockstar” in Best Rap Song are reflective of his breakout, and he is likely to win a Grammy for one of these songs. Both songs were at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for a few weeks and received nominations in the General Field categories as well. Although Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé’s complementary styles on “Savage” make it the best rap performance out of all the songs on the list, “The Box” was a more popular song overall, fueled by its success on TikTok, giving it the upper hand for the Grammy.

Best Alternative Music Album

Will win: Punisher, Phoebe Bridgers

Should win: Fetch the Bolt Cutters, Fiona Apple

Snubbed: Set My Heart on Fire Immediately, Perfume Genius

Undeserved: Hyperspace, Beck

With a nod in Best New Artist and recognition for her song “Kyoto” in the rock categories, Phoebe Bridgers’ debut at the Grammys was a strong one for an artist that has already been in the industry for some time—making Punisher a convincing winner of Best Alternative Music Album. The album was also the second–best one of 2020 only behind Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters, which also appears in this category. However, given the experimental instrumentation and production on her album, as well as her poor Grammys track record, Apple is unlikely to win over Bridgers, who delivered a singer–songwriter folk album that voters are more likely to enjoy. 

One thing to be sure about the Grammys is to never discount Beck. Winning Album of the Year over Beyoncé and Sam Smith in 2015, Beck is known to upset other critically acclaimed artists. Hyperspace has another nomination in Best Engineered Album, so Beck could prevail once again in this category, but we think Bridgers’ triumphant year will be hard for the voters to ignore.

Best Progressive R&B Album

Will win: Chilombo, Jhené Aiko

Should win: Ungodly Hour, Chloe x Halle

Snubbed: Jaguar, Victoria Monét

Undeserved: None

Jhené Aiko’s Chilombo is the only album here also nominated for Album of the Year and is the most successful album on the list, so it should have lots of passion behind it and win this category. However, Chloe x Halle’s Ungodly Hour is a formidable contender that could easily sway voters. The duo, supported by Beyoncé, had a massive promotion campaign during the voting period, performing their single “Ungodly Hour” on E! People’s Choice Awards and other songs from the album on an NPR Tiny Desk Concert. Their album was also better received by critics, placing in the top 20 best albums of the year. No matter who wins out of these top two contenders, this will be the first Grammy win of each of their careers.


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