As Grammy Voting Opens, Here Are 18 Races We’ll Be Watching

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Final-round Grammy voting opens Monday morning (Dec. 7) at approximately 12:00 p.m. ET. The Recording Academy’s 11,000 voting members have four full weeks to register their choices before voting closes on Jan. 4.

About 12% of the voting members are new this year, the result of an aggressive push on the academy’s part to expand and diversify its membership.

In a reminder email to voting members, the academy noted: “Remember, as a voting member of the Recording Academy, you have a tremendous responsibility and opportunity when you cast your votes. Your participation will continue the Academy’s year of transformational change, ensure representation across this year’s winners, and help bring us together through the power of music.”

The 63rd annual Grammy Awards will be presented Jan. 31 in downtown Los Angeles, with Trevor Noah hosting.

Here are 18 races that are especially interesting on this year’s ballot.


Record of the year

Nominees: Beyoncé’s “Black Parade,” Black Pumas’ “Colors,” DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch’s “Rockstar,” Doja Cat’s “Say So,” Billie Eilish’s “Everything I Wanted,” Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now,” Post Malone’s “Circles,” Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé’s “Savage”

If Eilish wins, she’ll become the third artist in Grammy history, following Roberta Flack and U2, to win back-to-back awards in this category. If the Megan Thee Stallion/Beyoncé smash wins, it will be the first all-female collab to win. If Doja Cat wins, it will mark the first Grammy for producer Dr. Luke, who goes by the pseudonym Tyson Trax on this entry. This is his fifth career nomination.

Album of the year

Nominees: Jhené Aiko’s Chilombo, Black Pumas’ Black Pumas (Deluxe Edition), Coldplay’s Everyday Life, Jacob Collier’s Djesse Vol. 3, Haim’s Women in Music Pt. III, Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia, Post Malone’s Hollywood’s Bleeding, Taylor Swift’s Folklore

If Swift wins, she’ll become the fourth artist in Grammy history (and the first woman) to win three times in this category. The first three were Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon (counting a Simon & Garfunkel album).

Song of the year

Nominees: “Black Parade” (Beyoncé), “The Box” (Roddy Ricch), “Cardigan” (Taylor Swift), “Circles” (Post Malone), “Don’t Start Now” (Dua Lipa), “Everything I Wanted” (Billie Eilish), “I Can’t Breathe” (H.E.R.), “If the World Was Ending” (JP Saxe featuring Julia Michaels)

If “Everything I Wanted” wins, Eilish and Finneas will become the first songwriters in Grammy history to win back-to-back awards in this category. If either “Black Parade” or “I Can’t Breathe” wins, it would be the second song that comments on race in America to win in this category. Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” won two years ago.

Best new artist

Nominees: Ingrid Andress, Phoebe Bridgers, Chika, Noah Cyrus, D Smoke, Doja Cat, Kaytranada, Megan Thee Stallion

The front-runners appear to be Doja Cat and Megan Thee Stallion, who are the only best new artist contenders with other nominations in Big Four categories. Megan (or Chika, for that matter) would be the second female hip-hop artist to win, following Lauryn Hill 22 years ago.

Best pop solo performance

Nominees: Justin Bieber’s “Yummy,” Doja Cat’s “Say So,” Billie Eilish’s “Everything I Wanted,” Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now,” Harry Styles’ “Watermelon Sugar,” Taylor Swift’s “Cardigan”

Whoever wins will be a first-time winner in the category. This was the one category where Eilish lost last year (to Lizzo). This is Swift’s fourth nod in the category; Bieber’s second.

Best pop duo/group performance

Nominees: J Balvin, Dua Lipa, Bad Bunny & Tainy’s Un Dia (One Day),” Justin Bieber featuring Quavo’s “Intentions,” BTS’ “Dynamite,” Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande’s “Rain On Me,” Taylor Swift featuring Bon Iver’s “Exile”

Will BTS become the first K-pop act to win a Grammy? This award has gone to an unassisted group or duo twice (Twenty One Pilots and Portugal. The Man) and to a collab seven times. Gaga won in this category two years ago for “Shallow,” a collab with Bradley Cooper. She would be the first person to win in this category with two different partners.

Best traditional pop vocal album

Nominees: (Burt Bacharach &) Daniel Tashian’s Blue Umbrella, Harry Connick Jr.’s True Love: A Celebration of Cole Porter, James Taylor’s American Standard, Rufus Wainwright’s Unfollow the Rules, Renée Zellweger’s Judy.

If Taylor wins, he’ll become the third artist to win in both this category and best pop vocal album (which he won for 1997’s Hourglass). The first two were Joni Mitchell and Lady Gaga. Connick won in this category 19 years ago for Songs I Heard. Zellweger won an Oscar in February for her performance in Judy. Bacharach does not stand to win if this album wins because he wasn’t featured on enough of the playing time. That’s why his name appears in parentheses on the Grammy ballot — a subtle signal that many voters won’t pick up on.

Best pop vocal album

Nominees: Justin Bieber’s Changes, Lady Gaga’s Chromatica, Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia, Harry Styles’ Fine Line, Taylor Swift’s Folklore.

If either Swift or Gaga wins, she’ll become just the third two-time winner in this category, following Kelly Clarkson and Adele. This is the fourth nod in this category for Gaga and Swift; the third for Bieber.

Best dance recording

Nominees: Diplo & Sidepiece’s “On My Mind,” Disclosure featuring Aminé & Slowthai’s “My High,” Flume featuring Toro y Moi’s “The Difference,” Jayda G’s “Both of Us,” Kaytranada featuring Kali Uchis’ “10%.”

If Diplo wins, he’ll become just the second three-time winner in this category, following Skrillex. Diplo previously won in this category for “Where Are Ü Now,” on which he teamed with Skrillex and Justin Bieber, and “Electricity,” on which he teamed with Mark Ronson and Dua Lipa.

Best rock album

Nominees: Fontaines D.C.’s A Hero’s Death, Michael Kiwanuka’s Kiwanuka, Grace Potter’s Daylight, Sturgill Simpson’s Sound & Fury, The Strokes’ The New Abnormal.

If Simpson wins, he’ll become the first artist to win for both best country album and best rock album. He took the former award four years ago for A Sailor’s Guide to Earth. Potter would be the third female solo artist to win in this category, following Alanis Morrisette and Sheryl Crow. Kiwanuka would become the first Black artist to win in this category.

Best alternative music album

Nominees: Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters, Beck’s Hyperspace, Phoebe Bridgers’ Punisher, Brittany Howard’s Jaime, Tame Impala’s The Slow Rush

Apple, whose album has a sky-high 98 score at Metacritic.com (still tops for the year) is probably the front-runner. She would be the third female solo artist to win in this category, following Sinéad O’Connor and St. Vincent. (So, for that matter, would Bridgers and Howard.) Beck is vying to become the first four-time winner in the category. He previously won for Odelay, Mutations and Colors. Howard is vying to become the first artist to win in this category both as a solo artist and with a group. She won with Alabama Shakes five years ago with Sound & Color.

Best R&B album

Nominees: Ant Clemons’ Happy 2 Be Here, Giveon’s Take Time, Luke James’ To Feel Love/d, John Legend’s Bigger Love, Gregory Porter’s All Rise.

Legend is vying to become only the second three-time winner in the category. Alicia Keys was the first. Legend previously won in this category for Get Lifted and Wake Up!, a collab with The Roots.

Best rap performance

Nominees: big Sean featuring Nipsey Hussle’s “Deep Reverence,” DaBaby’s “Bop,” Jack Harlow’s “Whats Poppin,” Lil Baby’s “The Bigger Picture,” Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé’s “Savage,” Pop Smoke’s “Dior.”

If “Savage” wins, Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé will become the first female artists to win in this gender-neutral category.

Best rap album

Nominees: D Smoke’s Black Habits, Freddie Gibbs & the Alchemist’s Alfredo, Jay Electronica’s A Written Testimony, Nas’s King’s Disease, Royce Da 5’9”’s The Allegory

This is Nas’ 14th Grammy nomination. He has yet to win. Only one hip-hop artist has amassed as many or more nods without a win. That’s Snoop Dogg, with 16 nods. These two should get together and commiserate — or, even better, record a Grammy-worthy collab.

Best score soundtrack for visual media

Nominees: Ad Astra (Max Richter), Becoming (Kamasi Washington), Joker (Hildur Guðnadóttir), 1917 (Thomas Newman), Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (John Williams)

Hildur is the front-runner for Joker, for which she won an Oscar in February. Hildur won in this Grammy category in January with Chernobyl. She is vying to become the fourth composer to win back-to-back awards in this category, following Williams (who won six in a row), Alan Menken (who won two in a row) and Howard Shore (who won three in a row).

Best song written for visual media

Nominees: “Beautiful Ghosts” from Cats (Andrew Lloyd Webber & Taylor Swift), “Carried Me With You” from Onward (Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth & Tim Hanseroth), “Into the Unknown” from Frozen 2 (Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez), “No Time to Die” from No Time to Die (Billie Eilish O’Connell & Finneas Baird O’Connell), “Stand Up” from Harriet (Joshuah Brian Campbell & Cynthia Erivo).

“Let It Go” from Frozen won in this category six years ago. If “Into the Unknown” wins, Frozen and Frozen 2 would become the first film and a sequel to that film to each spawn winners in this category. If “No Time to Die” wins, it would be the second song from a James Bond film to win, following Adele’s “Skyfall.”

Producer of the year, non-classical

Nominees: Jack Antonoff, Dan Auerbach, Dave Cobb, Flying Lotus, Andrew Watt

Two of the nominees worked with artists who wound up with nominations in the Big Four categories — Antonoff (Swift) and Watt (Dua Lipa, Post Malone). If Antonoff wins, he’ll become the first person to follow up a best new artist win (he took that award eight years ago as a member of fun.) with a win in this category. Auerbach is the only nominee in this category who has won here before. He won eight years ago.

Best music film

Nominees: Beastie Boys Story (Beastie Boys); Black Is King (Beyoncé); We Are Freestyle Love Supreme (Freestyle Love Supreme); Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (Linda Ronstadt); That Little Ol’ Band from Texas (ZZ Top)

If Beyoncé wins, she’ll become the first artist to win back-to-back awards in this category and just the third artist to win two awards in this category. Madonna and Sting were the first two.

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