Early Grammy Nomination Predictions in the Four Big Categories

As the eligibility period comes to a close, Ariana Grande and Billie Eilish look to dominate.
July 27, 2019
9 mins read

The window for Grammy eligibility is coming to a close very soon — on August 31, a month earlier than past years — and predictions for who will be nominated and who will win the music industry’s highest honors are well underway. There were plenty of talented performances this year that are sure to make it a tough call for the members of the Recording Academy.

Ariana Grande and Billie Eilish seem to be the frontrunners, with Grande looking to dominate in five different categories, and Eilish’s debut album almost surely solidifying her place as best new artist.

There’s so much music to comb through if you want to decide for yourself who to root for, so here’s a list of our top category nomination predictions for the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards.

Album of the Year

This is undoubtedly the Grammy’s biggest award and has been a topic of much debate recently; many believe it’s been given to the wrong acts over the past few years. (Honestly, “Dirty Computer,” “Melodrama,” “Lemonade” and “To Pimp a Butterfly” deserved so much better.)

This year, the top pick is clearly Ariana Grande’s “thank u, next,” which is this year’s highest-selling album. Grande’s latest work was written, recorded and released in less than six months, has received the best ratings of her career and is definitely her most personal album to date. Could the best album actually win this year? Only time will tell.

Other contenders include Beyoncé’s phenomenal Coachella 2018 recording, “HOMECOMING: THE LIVE ALBUM,” and Solange’s critical darling, “When I Get Home.” If all goes well, this will be the first time two siblings have been nominated for album of the year since Michael and Janet Jackson, and even more impressively, the first time ever that two siblings have been nominated in the same year.

Of course, anything could create an upset in this list; albums like “The Big Day” by Chance the Rapper, “Free Spirit” by Khalid, a surprise album by Rihanna or the last-minute release, “Lover” by Taylor Swift, might take us by surprise. (Then again, considering the fate of “Reputation” at last year’s Grammys, I doubt it.)

  1. “thank u, next,” Ariana Grande
  3. “When I Get Home,” Solange
  5. “IGOR,” Tyler, The Creator
  6. “Cuz I Love You,” Lizzo
  7. “No.6 Collaborations Project,” Ed Sheeran
  8. “A Star Is Born Soundtrack,” Lady Gaga and Various Artists

Record of the Year

At first glance, the Grammy for record of the year might seem like it’s the same as song of the year, but the difference is simple: Record of the year honors the production and performance of a song (its instruments, vocals, construction, etc.), while the Grammy for song of the year honors the actual songwriting process (notes, lyrics, etc.).

Once again, the frontrunner for this category is Ariana Grande, with two potential songs she could submit for contention: “thank u, next” and “7 rings.” No other song this year has come close to the explosive virality of the former, a breakup anthem about being grateful for past relationships and loving yourself.

However, the artist’s third single off her latest album, “7 rings,” recently surpassed “thank u, next” to become her highest-charting and most successful song ever. Record of the year especially values chart-toppers, so it’s likely that Grande will submit “7 rings” to this category, but no matter which she chooses, she’ll almost definitely be taking home the gramophone.

Other possibilities include the overnight sensation “Old Town Road,” from Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus, or the comeback hit by the Jonas Brothers, “Sucker.” Outside of top 40 radio hits, we will probably see a few artistic tracks like Solange’s “Almeda,” which was lauded for its gorgeous production.

  1. “7 rings,” Ariana Grande
  2. “Old Town Road,” Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus
  3. “Sucker,” Jonas Brothers
  4. “Without Me,” Halsey
  5. “I Don’t Care,” Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber
  6. “bad guy,” Billie Eilish
  7. “Sunflower,” Swae Lee and Post Malone
  8. “Almeda,” Solange

Song of the Year

As stated previously, this particular Grammy category is all about songwriting; the judges are asked to overlook the actual performance and really examine the structure of the song. Winners in this category are generally more slow and soulful than record of the year, although its general popularity is also taken into account. (Think Adele’s “Hello” or Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud.”)

Ariana Grande leads the pack here, too, with “thank u, next.” The song was a social media sensation and instant classic when the Florida native released it last November, which immediately put Grande leaps and bounds ahead of her competitors. This will probably be the song she submits here, since it has more written appeal than “7 rings.”

There is a chance a more traditional song, such as Shawn Mendes’ summer smash, “If I Can’t Have You” or H.E.R.’s “Hard Place,” could nab a Grammy win here, but we’d be shocked. Neither were nearly as successful as “thank u, next,” and Arianators everywhere would have a fit if their idol didn’t get her just desserts.

  1. “thank u, next,” Artist: Ariana Grande
  2. “Old Town Road,” Artists: Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus
  3. “If I Can’t Have You,” Artist: Shawn Mendes
  4. “Without Me,” Artist: Halsey
  5. “when the party’s over,” Artist: Billie Eilish
  6. “I Don’t Care,” Artists: Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber
  7. “Sunflower,” Artists: Swae Lee and Post Malone
  8. “Hard Place,” Artist: H.E.R.

Best New Artist

There’s really no contest here; it’s going to be Billie Eilish. No other new artist had the year she had, with a number one album and multiple singles that made Billboard’s Hot 100 list. In less than a year, Eilish has somehow managed to transform herself from an indie artist who made spooky pop with her brother to a household name.

The only other artists that rose to similar heights are Lil Nas X and Lizzo. But while “Old Town Road” is good enough to get Lil Nas X a nomination, one big hit usually isn’t quite what you need to get a win. And, unfortunately, Lizzo is ineligible, having released too many songs before this year to qualify as “new.”

This leaves more obscure artists to take the leftover spots, including Maggie Rogers, the young woman who made Pharrell Williams cry; “pop prince” and experienced songwriter, Lauv; gay icon, King Princess; and “Without Me” collaborator, Juice WRLD.

  1. Billie Eilish
  2. Lil Nas X
  3. Juice WRLD
  4. Maggie Rogers
  5. Lauv
  6. Sigrid
  7. Joji
  8. King Princess

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