It feels like this site has just become the place where I make these yearly Grammy Predictions, but given that I’ve been doing them every year since 2013, it would feel strange if I didn’t get around to them at all. I’m kicking this year off with Pop, where some of the biggest hits of the year will be vying for the few spaces available in the nominations here.
Best Pop Solo Performance
Someone You Loved – Lewis Capaldi
Bad Guy – Billie Eilish
Without Me – Halsey
Better – Khalid
Truth Hurts – Lizzo
(Alternatives: 7 Rings – Ariana Grande, Always Remember Us This Way – Lady Gaga, Walk Me Home – P!nk)
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
Sucker – Jonas Brothers
I’ll Never Love Again (Film Version) – Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper
Sunflower (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) – Post Malone & Swae Lee
Dancing with a Stranger – Sam Smith & Normani
I Don’t Care – Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber
(Alternatives Senorita – Camila Cabello & Shawn Mendes, Old Town Road (Remix) – Lil Nas X Featuring Billy Ray Cyrus, High Hopes (Live) – Panic! At The Disco)
Best Pop Vocal Album
When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? – Billie Eilish
Thank U, Next – Ariana Grande
Norman Fucking Rockwell – Lana Del Rey
Lover – Taylor Swift
A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships – The 1975
(Alternatives: Hurts 2B Human – P!nk, Heard It In A Past Life – Maggie Rogers, Trench – Twenty One Pilots)
Lets get the most obvious thing out of the way. Yes, I think Ariana Grande will only pick up one Pop genre nomination in 2020. She is arguably the most successful name I’ve mentioned above of the last 12 months and is the current holder of Best Pop Vocal Album for 2018’s Sweetener. I do think she’s going to feature heavily in the General field though and is probably the front-runner to retain that album award, but I’d have put her right up there for Solo Performance had Thank U, Next been submitted over the inescapable, but less acclaimed 7 Rings. I’d say Boyfriend hasn’t had the longevity that it would have needed to break into a massively competitive Dup/Group Performance category, so I’ll be surprised if it’s part of the conversation.
Sticking with that middle category, last year saw an absolutely baffling mix of nominees, with Tony Bennett & Diana Krall up against Christina Aguilera, Backstreet Boys and eventual winners Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. There were even 7 nominees last year, but this was due to some ties within the early rounds of voting. I’d say Gaga and Bradley will be looking to reclaim their trophy – I could really see A Star is Born becoming one of the most decorated soundtracks in history – even if I’ll Never Love Again is a duo performance by name alone. Gaga’s knockout performances on this and my favourite song from the soundtrack: Always Remember Us This Way will hopefully get plenty of love for the reigning winner in both Solo and Duo/Group categories.
All of that said, I’ll Never Love Again is probably the least likely nominee I’ve included. Sunflower and I Don’t Care are inescapable radio hits from artists with previous Grammy love, while Sucker saw a Disney teen band return with the most instantly catchy pop hit of the year. Sam Smith and Normani’s Dancing With A Stranger would probably be my personal choice for a winner among the songs I’m predicting, a welcome change of direction for a Grammy favourite alongside the breakthrough moment for a new exciting pop talent. Of course this means not including a monster collaboration from Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, or even the longest running #1 hit of all time in Old Town Road. Given it’s huge success commercially, I think Lil Nas X will be rewarded in Record of the Year, but I actually think it could miss out on votes in a category with a smaller set of eventual nominees. High Hopes should have been nominated for this award last year, but is this year’s ‘release a live version on the day the eligibility period ends so it can be in again’ submission. It could just make it in.
Looking at some of the acts who cross over massively between genres, Khalid will be looking for some win in the RnB/Urban Contemporary categories for both his album and hit Talk, but I think submitting Better here was a great move too. It could end up as a nice alternative choice to the big vocal performances that usually end up in contention. Halsey’s Without Me is a song that has benefited massively from being released right at the start of the eligibility. An album is still yet to appear, but given its place in the Billboard top 30 for an entire year at this point I’d say it’s probably one of the three favorites here. Lizzo is the last of these genre hoppers and while there has been a lot of confusion over the eligibility of Truth Hurts, whether it’s a rap song or a pop song and how it could be nominated 2 whole years after release, in the end it’s inevitable that Lizzo is going to be nominated here. Truth Hurts has peaked at exactly the right time and is the out and out favourite for this category as it sits at #1 on the Hot 100 for a 7th straight week. It’s also impossible to hate Truth Hurts, so I’m all for it.
That leaves just one more spot for the solo category and surprisingly I’ve gone against including P!nk. She has been nominated in the Pop categories in TWELVE separate years so ruling her out completely would be crazy. Hurts 2B Human‘s place as by far her worst album yet makes it impossible for me to include her as a definite. I’ve instead gone for Lewis Capaldi, whose Someone You Loved is not only the biggest song of the year in the UK, but fast becoming a huge radio hit in the US. Voters will be all over a ballad like his, especially from an ‘unlikley’ source – the word unlikely being used as loosely as possible given that the US seems to love British balladeers these days. I think it’s too early for his album to make an impact, but Someone You Loved is probably Lizzo’s biggest competition.
Saving the albums for last means I get to once again wrongly predict that The 1975 are going to be nominated for a Grammy. Surely voters will be on board this time? Given the lack of submissions outside of the album, I wonder if the band and label are even bothered about inclusion. Lana Del Rey has been nominated in this category twice before and given how much she’s been in the conversation for Album of the Year I think inclusion here is guaranteed. It’s a similar thing for Taylor Swift, who should make it into Pop Album for the second year in a row, but once again without any song nominations to back it up. (I swear if ME! makes it into Duo/Group Performance I won’t even bother watching the show).
That leaves one album and artist and given that I think I’ve already written literally thousands of words about how many Grammys she’s going to win this year, I’ll just say that if she manages to miss out on a nomination in pretty much every other category in 2020, Billie Eilish is 100% going to be nominated for Solo Performance and Pop Vocal Album. I can’t wait to be completely wrong yet again!