GRAMMY CHEW: THESE BIG 4 PREDICTIONS PLUS $8 WILL BUY YOU A CUP OF COFFEE


Sure, we always tell you to take our Grammy predictions with a huge grain of salt. But of one thing we can be 100% certain: Taylor Swift will not win Best New Artist on Music’s Biggest Night. Other than that, consider the following assessments of the seeming Big 4 favorites while we chant our customary mantra: Grammy does what Grammy wants. That said—as travelers make their way to L.A. and the parties get underway—here’s how we hear the top-category races are trending.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Coming off a stellar 2023, TDE/RCA’s SZA had enormous momentum going into the nominations and the odds appeared to be in her favor for some time thereafter. But the crystal ball has been clouded by the Taylor factor. Republic’s megastar has become such a cultural juggernaut that wonderers wonder if she has claimed the lead. (If she does take this trophy, she'll be in a class by herself as a four-time winner.) This raises questions larger than the category: How is Grammy going to deal with her? Will she appear? Will she perform? What will she win?

PREDICTION: A SZA-Taylor battle

RECORD OF THE YEAR

Speaking of cultural ubiquity, Barbie’s $1.4b worldwide box office—as well as its other awards and noms—compels us to ask: Will Grammy really sit by and let Darkroom/Interscope’s Billie Eilish go without the golden hardware when her “What Was I Made For?” has already won a Golden Globe and is a leading contender for an Oscar? Meanwhile, though there was probably no bigger song last year than Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers,” she doesn’t seem to command the same allegiance in Grammyland as Billie. Still, this is an incredibly strong field, reflecting a great year for pop music.

PREDICTION: Billie

SONG OF THE YEAR

This category, too, is filled with strong entries. Even so, it’s quite possible that Grammy will give both ROTY and SOTY to Billie’s Barbie blockbuster. It’s well known that SOTY is a long-desired target for Taylor. Could it be the key to securing her for a ratings-bumping spot on the Grammy stage? While “Anti-Hero” has had a tremendous run in the marketplace, might Song also serve as a make-good/career-achievement award for Taylor’s stunning body of work as a songwriter? Maybe. But Barbie’s Oscar momentum and overall clout could ultimately present a more powerful incentive. In any case, this Billie vs. Taylor bout embodies a battle between the year’s two biggest pop-cultural forces.

PREDICTION: Split decision, leaning Billie

BEST NEW ARTIST

The weirdest and most inscrutable of Grammy categories would be Noah Kahan’s to lose if it weren’t so, you know, weird and inscrutable. The Mercury/Republic troubadour has had a sensational year by any yardstick; he is a true arrival, both commercially and creatively. Broken Bow’s country disruptor Jelly Roll previously seemed to have the most momentum, but Kahan’s SNL performance and Olivia Rodrigo’s cover of his “Stick Season” jointly marked a turning point in his now-skyrocketing career. Even so, the most unlikely of nominees (according to quite a few industryites, in any case) may have the inside track: Mercury Nashville’s The War and Treaty, a married couple whose soul-Americana-country-gospel amalgam and moving backstory tick a lot of Grammy’s boxes. In a category historically known for long shots, our money is on the incredibly talented long shot. We wouldn’t call them a lock, but we will say that their performance on the show will probably make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

PREDICTION: The War and Treaty

THE VIEW FROM HITS LIST
Time to get the hell outta Dodge. (7/19a)
NEAR TRUTHS: MIDYEAR MOMENTUM
The score at the half (7/19a)
SONG REVENUE:
ZACH ATTACK
Hat trick (7/19a)
EMINEM'S STREAK AT #1: LET'S DO THE NUMBERS
He's a one-man dynasty. (7/19a)
GEFFEN ON ROSENBLATT: "A BRILLIANT BUSINESS PARTNER"
One titan salutes another. (7/19a)
THE GRAMMY SHORT LIST
Who's already a lock?
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AI IS ALREADY EATING YOUR LUNCH
The kids can tell the difference... for now.
INDIE DISTRIBUTION'S RISE TO GLORY
The discovery engine is revving higher.
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