2020 Grammy Awards predictions


Zachary Somma, Contributor

The 2020 Grammy Awards are only a month away, with the Recording Academy recently releasing the list of nominees for every category. While the nominations are never perfect, and always start a discussion about who was snubbed or left off, it is always fun to try and predict who might win each award. So, for the awards I have a strong opinion about, I will be doing just that. Here’s my predictions for the 2020 Grammy Awards:

Record of the Year

  • “Hey, Ma” – Bon Iver
  • “Bad Guy” – Billie Eilish
  • “7 Rings” – Ariana Grande
  • “Hard Place” – H.E.R.
  • “Talk” – Khalid
  • “Old Town Road” – Lil Nas X & Billy Ray Cyrus
  • “Truth Hurts” – Lizzo
  • “Sunflower” – Post Malone & Swae Lee

While there’s an argument to be made for nearly every song here (Bon Iver won’t win, but they deserve this nomination), three of them really stand out as being the fan favorites.

Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” was easily the biggest song this year. Like it or not, Lil Nas X’s combination of trap and country set records for its domination of the charts and the amount of remixes it spawned made it nearly impossible to not hear.

This year’s awards, however, are likely to be dominated by Lizzo and Billie Eilish. Lizzo seemingly came from nowhere earlier in the year, with “Truth Hurts” shooting up the charts quickly and has stayed near the top for seemingly forever, despite the song being out since 2017. But personally, I see this award going to “bad guy” from Billie Eilish.

The 17-year-old prodigy has exploded this year thanks to her first album and “bad guy’s” insanely catchy vocals, with the song’s rhythm and minimal instrumentation easily making it one of the most influential tracks this year. The Academy will definitely want to crown Billie as “the next big thing” and I expect her to take home this award.

Song of the Year

  • “Always Remember Us This Way” – Lady Gaga
  • “Bad Guy” – Billie Eilish
  • “Bring My Flowers Now” – Tanya Tucker
  • “Hard Place” – H.E.R.
  • “Lover” – Taylor Swift
  • “Norman F****ing Rockwell” – Lana Del Rey
  • “Someone You Loved” – Lewis Capaldi
  • “Truth Hurts” – Lizzo

Similar to the Record of the Year award, I expect Billie Eilish and “bad guy” to take this one over Lizzo once again. Apply this same logic to Best Pop Solo Performance as well. Shout out to the Lana Del Rey inclusion.

Best New Artist

  • Black Pumas
  • Billie Eilish
  • Lil Nas X
  • Lizzo
  • Maggie Rogers
  • Rosalia
  • Tank and the Bangas
  • Yola

Again, I think Billie Eilish will beat out Lizzo and Lil Nas X for another award. Billie has a lot of momentum coming into the Grammys and it would be really surprising to see anybody else win this award. Good news for Lizzo fans though, she still has plenty of chances to take home some hardware later on.

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

  • “Boyfriend” – Ariana Grande/Social House
  • “Sucker” – Jonas Brothers
  • “Old Town Road” – Lil Nas X & Billy Ray Cyrus
  • “Sunflower” – Post Malone & Swae Lee
  • “Señorita” – Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello

I expect and want “Old Town Road” to win this category, given it’s likely to win at least one award for the gaudy numbers it put up. If something else wins, I will not be too upset though, just do not let it be “Senorita.” That song deserves nothing but the trash heap for how meaningless and bland it is.

Best Rock Album

  • “AMO” – Bring Me The Horizon
  • “Social Cues” – Cage The Elephant
  • “In The End” – The Cranberries
  • “Trauma” – I Prevail
  • “Feral Roots” – Rival Sons

Boy, what a lackluster year for the rock category. It’s not a good sign when Bring Me The Horizon is the best choice here. The Cage The Elephant album was way too inconsistent to win this, and nothing else sticks out at all. “AMO” it is, I guess.

Best Alternative Music Album

  • “U.F.O.F.” – Big Thief
  • “Assume Form” – James Blake
  • “I,I” – Bon Iver
  • “Father Of The Bride” – Vampire Weekend
  • “Anima” – Thom Yorke

It’s not often that I would even think about voting against Bon Iver, but this category has some good competition. While Thom Yorke and Vampire Weekend disappointed me slightly, the Big Thief record was a nice surprise. Though it came out right at the beginning of 2019, Assume Form was an outstanding project by James Blake. Though neither “Assume Form” or “I,I” were their respective artists’ best works, I think the fact that Bon Iver has a song for Record of the Year might mean that they have a lot of respect from the Academy for the “I,I” album. I’ll choose them to win, but would be equally as happy if James Blake took the category.

Best R&B Performance

  • “Love Again” – Daniel Caesar & Brandy
  • “Could’ve Been” – H.E.R. & Bryson Tiller
  • “Exactly How I Feel” – Lizzo & Gucci Mane
  • “Roll Some Mo” – Lucky Daye
  • “Come Home” – Anderson.Paak & Andre 3000

Welcome back Lizzo fans, as it’s probably likely that Lizzo will steamroll the various R&B categories that she fell into. This is besides the fact that her album was very little R&B and much more pop-oriented. I personally don’t know how she ended up in these categories, but the fact that she is likely to lose out to Billie for the bigger awards mean she will sweep this category fairly easily.

It is a bit of a shame for artists like Daniel Caesar, H.E.R. and Lucky Daye, who probably deserve them more for their actual R&B work. So, expect Lizzo to take home this award, as well as Best Traditional R&B Performance for her song “Jerome” (which is actually R&B, credit to the Academy for that), and Best Urban Contemporary Album for “Cuz I Love You.”

Best Dance/Electronic Album

  • “LP5” – Apparat
  • “No Geography” – Chemical Brothers
  • “Hi This Is Flume” – Flume
  • “Solace” – Rufus Du Sol
  • “Weather” – Tycho

Flume. End of conversation.

Best R&B Album

“1123” – BJ The Chicago Kid

“Painted” – Lucky Daye

“Ella Mai” – Ella Mai

“Paul” – PJ Morton

“Ventura” – Anderson.Paak

Please, please, please give this award to Anderson.Paak and “Ventura.” While there is some decent project here, they pale in comparison to “Ventura.” Paak’s raspy vocals work perfectly for the instrumentals he chooses and he brings on some impressive features on the record. I will be extremely sad if he loses out on this award.

Best Rap Performance

“Middle Child” – J.Cole

“Suge” – DaBaby

“Down Bad” – Dreamville

“Racks In The Middle” – Nipsey Hussle feat. Roddy Ricch & Hit-Boy

“Clout” – Offset & Cardi B

There’s a few ways the Academy can go with this award. They could commemorate the recently deceased Nipsey Hussle with his track. They could ride the DaBaby hype train and choose “Suge.” They could jump on J.Cole’s record label Dreamville and their recent album or just straight up choose J.Cole. Or they could be completely wrong and choose Offset and Cardi B. Personally, I would choose “Down Bad” slightly over “Middle Child” as my favorite track here but, other than “Clout,” I couldn’t be too upset if the Academy chose differently.

Best Rap Song

“Bad Idea” – YBN Cordae & Chance The Rapper

“Gold Roses” – Rick Ross & Drake

“A Lot” – 21 Savage & J.Cole

“Racks In The Middle” – Nipsey Hussle feat. Roddy Ricch & Hit-Boy

“Suge” – DaBaby

Once again, there’s only one wrong choice here (“Gold Roses” has no business being near any of these tracks). I loved YBN Cordae’s recent project “Bad Idea,” but thought it was only alright at best. Same with “Suge,” I never really thought that was anywhere close to DaBaby’s best work. I don’t know about its actual chances to win, but I’m personally pulling for “A Lot” by 21 Savage and J.Cole, simply because it’s my favorite song of this bunch, and I really enjoyed “I Am > I Was” from 21 Savage.

Best Rap Album

“Revenge Of The Dreamers III” – Dreamville

“Championships” – Meek Mill

“I Am > I Was” – 21 Savage

“IGOR” – Tyler, The Creator

“The Lost Boy” – YBN Cordae

What a good selection of four great rap albums this year, and one amazing non-rap album. It really is a shame that “IGOR” wasn’t put into the Album of the Year category, as it really deserved to be up for it. I’m picking “IGOR” to win this category, but only because it is definitely the best album here.

The problem is that it could barely be considered a rap album, as Tyler, The Creator is singing and not rapping for a majority of the project. The other projects are really good here too, as without “IGOR’s” presence, I would’ve likely picked YBN Cordae’s “The Lost Boy” for the award. But, “IGOR” deserves a Grammy for something, even if it doesn’t fit at all.

Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical (w/ some artists they worked with this year)

Jack Antonoff – Kevin Abstract, Red Hearse, Lana Del Rey, Taylor Swift

Dan Auerbach – The Black Keys, Night Beats, Dee White, Yola

John Hill – Khalid, Carly Rae Jepsen, Cage The Elephant, Imagine Dragons

Finneas – Billie Eilish

Ricky Reed- Maggie Rogers, Lizzo, SZA, X Ambassadors

Though this award may be often overlooked by the general public, this is a very important award for the state of music. While all five nominees have some great work this year, I think the award should go to Jack Antonoff for his work this year. If Finneas had more work other than with his sister and his personal projects, he might have gotten the award, but Jack has been a part of numerous great works this year. His personal project, “Red Hearse,” was a solid enough electropop outing. I had no idea that he worked with BROCKHAMPTON’s Kevin Abstract on his solo album, “Arizona Baby,” which was a great pop-rap foray for Jack. While Taylor Swift’s album was slightly underwhelming, his work was definitely a major positive for the project and he was a major part in delivering some major hits for her this year. His production on Lana Del Rey’s latest record, “Norman F***ing Rockwell,” was outstanding and really solidified that record as Lana’s best album to date.

Album Of The Year

“I,I” – Bon Iver

“Norman F***ing Rockwell” – Lana Del Rey

“When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” – Billie Eilish

“Thank U, Next” – Ariana Grande

“I Used To Know Her” – H.E.R.

“7” – Lil Nas X

“Cuz I Love You” – Lizzo

“Father Of The Bride” – Vampire Weekend

Possibly the biggest award of the night, Album of the Year has some really solid picks this year. Going in my personal list of these, of last to first, I unfortunately have to eliminate “7” by Lil Nas X first. Not only is this an inconsistent and very short project, it’s not even an album to begin with, it is an EP.

Next up is Vampire Weekend’s record, “Father Of The Bride,” as well as H.E.R.’s album, “I Used To Know Her.” Both were all over the place, and never really found a true stride in my opinion. While the Academy will definitely consider it, Lizzo’s album also suffered from some inconsistency and had more than a few duds in it’s tracklist.

The last four albums I would rank all about the same, but for very different reasons. Again, I liked “I,I” from Bon Iver, but they have also put out better albums in the past. Ariana Grande’s album would have definitely won this award if it had come much later in the period than it’s February release. It’s a very solid pop album that deserves credit, but has probably been overshadowed by Lizzo and Billie Eilish’s albums.

I have already said that Lana Del Ray’s album is her best one yet, but I sadly do not see it beating out Lizzo or Billie for album of the year. Billie’s album was a major surprise for me, I absolutely did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. Though she catches a lot of flak from people, I think her style will be interesting to watch evolve over the next few years. While I personally wouldn’t choose it as my favorite album of the year, I can very easily see the Academy choosing it from this list as the best of the year.