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THE NEW GRAMMY CHEW: HOLD THE MAYO

With mere weeks to go before the Grammy eligibility deadline, let’s take a look at a few more contenders for the top-tier categories. Before we do, though, we feel duty-bound to note that Billie Eilish’s momentum continues apace; she’s earned her first #1 at Pop radio, further cementing this wunderkind’s status as a mass-appeal giant. Now, who else will be nipping at her heels?

Beyoncé: Columbia’s megadiva is still the queen, and she earned huge press and acclaim for her Homecoming set and documentary, based on her dazzling, HBCU-themed Coachella performance from the preceding year. It’s a document of the hardest-working artist in showbiz at the height of her powers; expect it to be remembered in the Album of the Year category.

Tyler Childers: Like Brandi Carlile, Sturgill Simpson (who serves as producer here), Jason Isbell and other roots-minded outsiders, Childers is a serious songwriter finding new depth in classic country tropes. Just listen to his Hickman Holler/RCA set Country Squire—it’s a revelation.

J. Cole: “Middle Child” has been a huge hit for the quietest big artist in the biz, who is also among the most respected and thoughtful voices in hip-hop. Could the Dreamville/Roc Nation/Interscope star have this year’s equivalent of “This Is America” in the ROTY/SOTY categories?

Halsey: This Capitol breakout has run a strong and steady race on her way to superstardom, and “Without Me” was the song that brought her to critical mass, topping the Pop radio chart and earning astronomical streams. Her momentum continues, and you’re unlikely to see a ROTY/SOTY nominees list “Without” her.

Juice WRLD: The Academy missed the boat after Grade A/Interscope’s rap innovator first broke out with the chart-rocking, DSP-ruling “Lucid Dreams,” and many in the biz were shocked when he didn’t make the Best New Artist cut. Could this be the makeup year?

Lil Tecca: “Ransom,” which recently flew to #1 on Spotify’s U.S. chart, is completely en fuego. But lest you think this is just another streaming hip-hop record, Team Republic has already gotten him started at radio, where he’s receiving a warm, multiformat welcome. This one’s likely to get much bigger, with another potential hit on deck. Look for the Academy to Tecca look at him for BNA. (That joke would’ve killed in the Poconos.)

Maren Morris: It’s fitting that Columbia Nashville’s versatile young star broke Country radio’s glass ceiling with a song called “GIRL,” becoming the first female act in 18 months to hit #1 at the format. Morris’ grit, intelligence and soulful musicality—and her mainstream bona fides, as established by 2018 pop monster and ROTY/SOTY nominee “The Middle”—put her in the conversation for Album (also called GIRL, for those of you keeping score), Record and Song.

Taylor Swift: With new album Lover about to drop, we’re braced for more controversy—will Grammy once again stiff the megastar of pop megastars? A Tay drop is always an event. The ball’s in your court, secret committees.

Now, who had the bialy and schmear?

 

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