Grammys 2021 predictions: Beyoncé and Taylor Swift

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Nearly precisely a 12 months after the stay music enterprise shut down as a result of COVID-19 — and 6 weeks after the present was initially scheduled to occur earlier than being postponed — the 63rd Grammy Awards will lastly happen Sunday evening in Los Angeles.

The telecast itself will likely be clearly formed by the requirements of the pandemic: Ben Winston, who’s overseeing the Grammys for the primary time after Ken Ehrlich’s 4 a long time on the helm, has promised a supremely intimate expertise geared to viewers at dwelling, versus the stay viewers that received’t exist. (Performances are anticipated from Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, Unhealthy Bunny, BTS and final 12 months’s large winner, Billie Eilish, amongst many others.)

However Sunday’s winners and losers — Beyoncé leads nominations with 9, adopted by Swift, Lipa and Roddy Ricch, with six apiece — will even mirror the Recording Academy’s efforts to maneuver previous the turmoil of 2020, when the group’s earlier CEO, Deborah Dugan, was ousted following explosive allegations concerning discrimination and vote rigging.

To debate the way it all would possibly shake out, and to handicap a number of the main races, Instances pop music critic Mikael Wooden convened — the place else? — on Zoom with Instances music reporter Suzy Exposito and Charles Holmes, employees author on the Ringer and co-host of “The Ringer Music Present” on Spotify.

Let’s begin with an artist who received’t be on Sunday’s present. Does the conspicuous shutout of the Weeknd, whose synth-pop smash “Blinding Lights” simply grew to become the primary single to spend 52 weeks within the prime 10 of Billboard’s Scorching 100, injury the credibility of the Grammys?
Exposito: There’s loads the academy wants to elucidate, and so they haven’t, no less than to the satisfaction of individuals within the music trade. So only a 12 months after Deborah Dugan — yeah, persons are more and more skeptical of the group.

Holmes: I’m not gonna sit right here and say the Weeknd’s “After Hours” album is excessive artwork. However I additionally don’t assume the Grammy Awards are within the enterprise of rewarding high quality.

Judging by his tweets, the Weeknd is deeply invested within the Grammys; he’s stated the present is “corrupt,” and he seems to consider that’s unhealthy for music. But different younger artists — particularly artists of coloration, together with Drake and Frank Ocean — have stated plainly that the Grammys don’t matter to them.
Holmes: In the event that they wish to appeal to numerous artists, they must persuade individuals that everybody’s competing for a similar factor. As a result of traditionally what has occurred is, should you’re not a cis white man otherwise you don’t have a guitar in your hand — let’s say you’re a rapper — they provide the rap awards, however within the normal classes it’s like, “Sit down and shut up.” I imply, the final rap album to win album of the 12 months was Outkast’s “Speakerboxxx/The Love Beneath” in 2004.

Exposito: You already know the final Latin album to win album of the 12 months? Santana’s “Supernatural” in 2000.

Beyoncé might be one of the best illustration of this: She’s essentially the most nominated lady in Grammys historical past, however the overwhelming majority of her nominations have come within the style classes. And he or she’s solely received a serious award as soon as — music of the 12 months in 2010 for “Single Girls (Put a Ring on It).”
Exposito: Which is insane. The way in which that Beyoncé has formed pop music is simple. She’s modified the music trade in such a tangible manner. Take into consideration her self-titled album — the shock midnight album drop — and the way nearly all people does that now.

Holmes: If you happen to’re Beyoncé and also you’re sitting within the crowd, you’re giving a bump to Grammys viewership. But when these individuals aren’t successful the overall classes, at a sure level, they’re gonna say, “I’m not telling my followers to look at your factor if I’m solely getting a participation trophy.”

Certainly, Beyoncé isn’t acting on this 12 months’s present, although she is up for file of the 12 months and music of the 12 months — a performer’s prize and a songwriter’s prize, respectively — with “Black Parade,” which she launched on Juneteenth throughout final 12 months’s Black Lives Matter protests. What do you guys make of this music? I like its wit and swagger. But it surely additionally seems like minor Beyoncé.
Holmes: Beyhive, please don’t assault me. That music is ok, however I couldn’t sing it to you if somebody had a gun to my head.

Exposito: It’s so tied to the BLM discourse that it’s a must to surprise: If it wins, which I believe it’d, will or not it’s on the deserves or as a result of the Grammys are scrambling to point out they care?

Holmes: If that is the file that does get Beyoncé her large wins, after she’s been robbed for thus a few years, extra energy to her. However why did she must work twice as laborious to get to the purpose the place now we’re going to reward her?

The final Black lady to take album of the 12 months was Lauryn Hill in 1999.
Holmes: I don’t assume Black ladies ought to must rattling close to change the trajectory of pop music to win. Their white counterparts don’t must.

For file of the 12 months, Beyoncé’s most critical competitors appears to be herself — she options on Megan Thee Stallion‘s “Savage” — and Dua Lipa, whose disco throwback “Don’t Begin Now” would possibly win over of us who voted for Daft Punk’s “Get Fortunate” in 2014.
Holmes: Plus, Dua received greatest new artist two years in the past. When you’re in there, they’re rewarding you as a result of they assume they know you. Similar with Billie Eilish, who’s nominated in file and music with “All the pieces I Wished.” Shout out to Billie and her workforce — they did a fantastic job of ingratiating her to Grammy voters.

Exposito: That music is her model of John Cage’s “4’33” — simply unfavorable area.

Let’s speak concerning the rap classes. Finest rap album is crammed with work by veterans equivalent to Nas and Jay Electronica — very on-brand for the Grammys. But greatest rap efficiency contains youthful, extra important stars like Lil Child, DaBaby and the late Pop Smoke.
Holmes: Quite a lot of older voters cherish values in hip-hop that may not be what’s popping on the Scorching 100. If you happen to come from a sure period, perhaps you possibly can’t see why Lil Child or Roddy Ricch are so transformative; these are youngsters recording stuff that generally has by no means been completed earlier than. In order that they’ll throw out a rap efficiency nomination, however relating to rap album: “All proper, we’re gonna reward Nas’ Tenth-best album.”

The Grammys nonetheless privilege the album as a format. It’s the place they confer the actual institutional status.
Exposito: However the definition of status is altering. The album being the be-all, end-all of how mental an artist you’re — that’s a really outdated idea. Higher to concentrate to what persons are really responding to, what they’re enthusiastic about. I lately interviewed any individual who bought a major-label deal by lip-syncing movies on TikTok.

The academy has reorganized the Latin awards this 12 months to be much less obscure and extra focused. Does that symbolize progress?
Exposito: They lastly removed this class that lumped in Latin different, rock and concrete right into a single group. However there’s nonetheless a poverty to the best way the American-centric trade thinks relating to Latin music. Cardi B’s “I Like It” and Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” — these had been the one two Spanish-language songs that made the large 4 classes in years.

Massive Spanish-language hits needs to be thought to be a part of the pop mainstream.
Exposito: Unhealthy Bunny’s final album debuted at No. 1. And he’s Puerto Rican — he’s as American as you and Charles! What’s the Recording Academy ready for?

Taylor Swift is favored to win the Grammy for album of the year, for "Folklore."

Taylor Swift is favored to win the Grammy for album of the 12 months, for “Folklore.”

(Beth Garrabrant)

Taylor Swift seems like a lock to me for album of the 12 months with the rootsy “Folklore.” It pushes the Grammys’ musical buttons, and it gives the academy an opportunity for a make-good following the dearth of affection for her final couple of albums.
Holmes: The Grammys love a comeback narrative. They slept on “Repute” and “Lover,” and now they get the prospect to say, “Taylor, welcome again — you’re a real artist once more.”

Exposito: I do have a mushy spot for the cottage-core ballads.

What’s your vibe on Megan Thee Stallion’s probabilities? Past file of the 12 months, I’d say greatest new artist quantities to a battle between her and Phoebe Bridgers.
Holmes: If you happen to take a look at the historical past of greatest new artist, it’s very laborious for ladies who aren’t holding a guitar to win. Voters reward what Phoebe does extra usually than they reward what Megan does. And should you take a look at the people who haven’t received — Drake, Nicki Minaj, Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar — I might put Megan squarely in that class.

Perhaps the losers are higher firm than the winners.
Exposito: Do we expect this class is cursed?

Holmes: Look what Likelihood the Rapper goes by means of proper now. Look the place Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are. You inform me.

As at all times, greatest new artist additionally contains some wild playing cards, none wilder than 21-year-old Noah Cyrus, who’s nearly actually higher identified for being Miley’s youthful sister than for the handful of dodgy trap-folk EPs she’s put out.
Holmes: It’s unusual as hell and it makes good sense. The Grammys are all a couple of lineage. However as we’re saying, perhaps it’s nice if Noah Cyrus wins. Perhaps I need Noah Cyrus to win.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Jhené Aiko, “Chilombo”
Black Pumas, “Black Pumas (Deluxe Version)”
Coldplay, “On a regular basis Life”
Jacob Collier, “Djesse Vol. 3”
Haim, “Ladies in Music Pt. III”
Dua Lipa, “Future Nostalgia”
Put up Malone, “Hollywood’s Bleeding”
Taylor Swift, “Folklore”

Will win: “Folklore” (Exposito, Holmes, Wooden)
Ought to win: “Folklore” (Exposito, Wooden); “Future Nostalgia” (Holmes)

RECORD OF THE YEAR
Beyoncé, “Black Parade”
Black Pumas, “Colours”
DaBaby that includes Roddy Ricch, “Rockstar”
Doja Cat, “Say So”
Billie Eilish, “All the pieces I Wished”
Dua Lipa, “Don’t Begin Now”
Put up Malone, “Circles”
Megan Thee Stallion that includes Beyoncé, “Savage”

Will win: “Black Parade” (Holmes); “Circles” (Exposito); “Don’t Begin Now” (Wooden)
Ought to win: “Savage” (Exposito, Holmes, Wooden)

SONG OF THE YEAR
“Black Parade,” written by Denisia Andrews, Beyoncé, Stephen Bray, Shawn Carter, Brittany Coney, Derek James Dixie, Akil King, Kim “Kaydence” Krysiuk and Rickie “Caso” Tice (carried out by Beyoncé)
“The Field,” written by Samuel Gloade and Rodrick Moore (carried out by Roddy Ricch)
“Cardigan,” written by Aaron Dessner and Taylor Swift (carried out by Taylor Swift)
“Circles,” written by Louis Bell, Adam Feeney, Kaan Gunesberk, Austin Put up and Billy Walsh (carried out by Put up Malone)
“Don’t Begin Now,” written by Caroline Ailin, Ian Kirkpatrick, Dua Lipa and Emily Warren (carried out by Dua Lipa)
“All the pieces I Wished,” written by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell (carried out by Billie Eilish)
“I Can’t Breathe,” written by Dernst Emile II, H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas (carried out by H.E.R.)
“If the World Was Ending,” written by Julia Michaels and JP Saxe (carried out by JP Saxe that includes Julia Michaels)

Will win: “Black Parade” (Wooden); “Cardigan” (Holmes); “Don’t Begin Now” (Exposito)
Ought to win: “The Field” (Holmes), “Don’t Begin Now” (Exposito, Wooden)

BEST NEW ARTIST
Ingrid Andress
Phoebe Bridgers
Chika
Noah Cyrus
D Smoke
Doja Cat
Kaytranada
Megan Thee Stallion

Will win: Phoebe Bridgers (Exposito, Holmes); Megan Thee Stallion (Wooden)
Ought to win: Megan Thee Stallion (Exposito, Holmes, Wooden)

BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM
Justin Bieber, “Adjustments”
Girl Gaga, “Chromatica”
Dua Lipa, “Future Nostalgia”
Harry Types, “Superb Line”
Taylor Swift, “Folklore”

Will win: “Folklore” (Holmes); “Future Nostalgia” (Exposito, Wooden)
Ought to win: “Future Nostalgia” (Exposito, Holmes, Wooden)

BEST ROCK PERFORMANCE
Fiona Apple, “Shameika”
Massive Thief, “Not”
Phoebe Bridgers, “Kyoto”
Haim, “The Steps”
Brittany Howard, “Keep Excessive”
Grace Potter, “Daylight”

Will win: “Shameika” (Exposito); “The Steps” (Holmes, Wooden)
Ought to win: “Kyoto” (Exposito); “Shameika” (Holmes); “The Steps” (Wooden)

BEST RAP PERFORMANCE
Massive Sean that includes Nipsey Hussle, “Deep Reverence”
DaBaby, “Bop”
Jack Harlow, “What’s Poppin”
Lil Child, “The Greater Image”
Megan Thee Stallion that includes Beyoncé, “Savage”
Pop Smoke, “Dior”

Will win: “Savage” (Exposito, Holmes, Wooden)
Ought to win: “Dior” (Exposito, Holmes); “Savage” (Wooden)

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