grammys 2022

Who Will (and Should) Win at the 2022 Grammys?

Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos by Getty Images and Shutterstock

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More than four months after the Recording Academy announced a pretty chaotic slate of nominations, we’ve finally made it: The Grammys are taking place this Sunday, April 3, at Las Vegas’s MGM Grand Garden Arena — delayed and relocated, for the second year running, due to a COVID-19 wave. But will this year’s awards bring more déjà vu in its choice of winners after last year gave us dual surprises in Record of the Year (Billie Eilish) and Song of the Year (H.E.R.)?

I’m doubtful. As I wrote when I predicted the nominations, the story of the 2022 Grammys is the story of a song: “drivers license.” Olivia Rodrigo’s breakout hit feels near-unstoppable up and down the ballot, and she wouldn’t be appearing in the general categories without it. In fact, Rodrigo’s debut showing reminds me of … Billie Eilish, who became just the second artist ever to sweep the four general categories in 2020. If there’s a showdown on Sunday, it’s between Eilish and Rodrigo — except for the complicating factor of the eight other nominees they’re competing against in Record, Song, and Album of the Year, which were all expanded to ten nominees at the last minute.

So, as ever, it’s a tricky year to be predicting the Grammys. Jon Batiste, best known as Stephen Colbert’s bandleader on The Late Show, leads all nods with 11, followed by eight each for Justin Bieber, Doja Cat, and H.E.R.; seven for Eilish and Rodrigo; and a whole bunch of curveballs down the ballot. But we’ve waited more than long enough — let’s get to it.


Record of the Year
“I Still Have Faith in You,” ABBA
“Freedom,” Jon Batiste
“I Get a Kick Out of You,” Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga
“Peaches,” Justin Bieber feat. Daniel Caesar and Giveon
“Right on Time,” Brandi Carlile
“Kiss Me More,” Doja Cat feat. SZA
“Happier Than Ever,” Billie Eilish
“Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” Lil Nas X
“drivers license,” Olivia Rodrigo
“Leave the Door Open,” Silk Sonic

Let’s start with a rule: In any category where “drivers license” is nominated, assume it’s the favorite. (We’ll talk about Sour in a second.) The argument for Record of the Year: It’s an artfully crafted song and a hit, a balance the Academy often tries to strike in this category. But if last year’s Big Four wins — and this year’s expanded nominee slate — have shown us anything, it’s that the Grammys are as unpredictable as ever.

So what else might happen? Voters could decide “drivers license” is more deserving of songwriting recognition than performance (the difference between Song and Record of the Year) and spread the love in this category. Would they give Eilish a third trophy in a row, for the massive “Happier Than Ever”? Eilish’s own embarrassment over her 2020 sweep didn’t stop them from re-awarding her for a much smaller song in 2021, but a third win would be unprecedented (Roberta Flack and U2 have both gone back-to-back as well). I’ve also got eyes on “I Get a Kick Out of You,” which is ineligible in Song of the Year but could win here thanks to a swell of support for Tony Bennett around his final album. Personally, I’m pulling for “Kiss Me More,” a song still stuck in my head a year later.

Will win: “drivers license”
Should win: “Kiss Me More”

Album of the Year
We Are, Jon Batiste
Love for Sale, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga
Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe), Justin Bieber
Planet Her (Deluxe), Doja Cat
Happier Than Ever, Billie Eilish
Back of My Mind, H.E.R.
Montero, Lil Nas X
Sour, Olivia Rodrigo
evermore, Taylor Swift
Donda, Kanye West

Grammy voters have an option: They can either give Rodrigo a sweep of the Big Four categories and crown her the next Billie Eilish or … continue awarding Eilish herself. This seems to be the category in which Rodrigo is weakest, less by fault of Sour and more by the strength of “drivers license” and herself in Best New Artist. If we’re calculating odds, though, Happier Than Ever is the closest behind Sour. This year, Eilish matched Rodrigo’s seven nominations, and her producer brother, Finneas, was a surprise nod for Best New Artist, a sign that the Academy’s goodwill toward the O’Connell siblings isn’t drying up. If voters decide against a ROTY three-peat for Eilish, Album of the Year could be the next logical choice for top honors — especially considering the year’s break between her win for When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

But this category could also get messy. Bennett won a past-his-prime AOTY in 1995 for MTV Unplugged, an award perceived as a sort of lifetime-achievement nod. Could he do it again nearly three decades later for his final album and with help from superstar Lady Gaga? (I’m actually a bit doubtful of Gaga’s boost, since her focus seemed to be on the film circuit this year.) Jon Batiste’s 11 nominations could culminate in a win too, with the polymath musician commanding down-ballot support from four genre fields. He seems to have better odds for We Are than “Freedom” in ROTY, which didn’t receive any corresponding genre-category nominations. And don’t forget about Back of My Mind, the first proper studio album from Academy favorite H.E.R., who cracked the generals last year with a Song of the Year win. Again, though, I’m reminding you of Doja Cat, who one-upped herself after 2020’s Hot Pink with Planet Her.

Will win: Sour
Should win: Planet Her (Deluxe)

Song of the Year
“Peaches,” Justin Bieber feat. Daniel Caesar and Giveon
“Right on Time,” Brandi Carlile
“Kiss Me More,” Doja Cat feat. SZA
“Happier Than Ever,” Billie Eilish
“Fight for You,” H.E.R.
“A Beautiful Noise,” Alicia Keys and Brandi Carlile
“Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” Lil Nas X
“drivers license,” Olivia Rodrigo
“Bad Habits,” Ed Sheeran
“Leave the Door Open,” Silk Sonic

While Album of the Year may turn into a small mess, Song of the Year could devolve into full-on chaos. Remember, H.E.R. won last year for a one-off single, “I Can’t Breathe.” She’s back in 2022 for “Fight for You,” a song from the Judas and the Black Messiah soundtrack, which already netted her an Oscar and could bring her to match Eilish with back-to-back wins in this category. But Rodrigo is still the favorite, having positioned herself as a next-generation Taylor Swift. And “drivers license” worked because of its lyrical specificity, giving Rodrigo even better chances here than in Record of the Year.

Then again, Swift herself has missed SOTY a whopping five times, so Rodrigo is far from safe. This category isn’t short of challengers either. Silk Sonic is an obvious threat, given that Bruno Mars swept the generals the last time he was in the mix, for 24K Magic in 2018. Meanwhile, Anderson .Paak continues to earn trophies from both the rap and R&B fields. “Leave the Door Open” is a challenger in ROTY, too, but SOTY specifically has a soft spot for throwback sounds, which Silk Sonic executes flawlessly. (One previous winner not to worry about is Ed Sheeran, who earned his only nod of the night here for “Bad Habits.”) I’m also intrigued by Grammy favorites Brandi Carlile (a six-time nominee) and Alicia Keys (the ceremony’s former two-time host), who show up alongside a slew of respected songwriters for “A Beautiful Noise,” a song written for the centennial of the 19th Amendment and a 2020 voting push. It’s not surprising that it pulled massive support — Carlile is an American roots favorite and cracked the pop field this year, and Keys has been a dominant presence in R&B — but it’s an odd choice.

Will win: “drivers license”
Should win: “drivers license”

Best New Artist
Arooj Aftab
Jimmie Allen
Baby Keem
Glass Animals
Japanese Breakfast
The Kid Laroi
Arlo Parks
Olivia Rodrigo

Last year’s surprise wins have me qualifying this year’s choices right and left, but I’ll be direct here: Rodrigo has Best New Artist in the bag. If she doesn’t win, the Grammys really are broken.

Will win: Olivia Rodrigo
Should win: Olivia Rodrigo

Producer of the Year, Non-Classical
Jack Antonoff
Rogét Chahayed
Mike Elizondo
Ricky Reed

Could this finally be Jack Antonoff’s year? I thought the pop mastermind had 2021’s trophy locked down thanks to goodwill from Swift’s folklore, but hitmaker Andrew Watt won instead. Although Antonoff is on his third nod and has the most well-rounded catalogue of this year’s bunch — including Lana Del Rey’s Chemtrails Over the Country Club, Clairo’s Sling, and St. Vincent’s Daddy’s Home — expected nominees Del Rey and Clairo were both snubbed in 2022 categories, as was Lorde, whose disappointing Solar Power could drag Antonoff down. It’s also worth remembering that even though I put it in the general section, this category isn’t voted on by the full Academy — it’s under the production field, and those producers seem to favor well-crafted hits over album-length statements. So if things go similarly this year, expect Rogét Chahayed (“Kiss Me More”) or Ricky Reed (“Rumors,” “Don’t Go Yet”) to come out on top, with Reed the favorite for his two past nominations.

Will win: Ricky Reed
Should win: Jack Antonoff


Best Pop Solo Performance
“Anyone,” Justin Bieber
“Right on Time,” Brandi Carlile
“Happier Than Ever,” Billie Eilish
“positions,” Ariana Grande
“drivers license,” Olivia Rodrigo

This should be the second-easiest category of the night for Rodrigo behind Best New Artist. But a miss here wouldn’t necessarily spell doom for her Big Four prospects given the appeal she has outside the pop field. Last year’s pop wins proved this: Harry Styles’s “Watermelon Sugar” beat Eilish’s “everything i wanted” in this category, only for Eilish to turn around and win ROTY; Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia beat Swift’s folklore in Pop Vocal Album, but folklore triumphed in AOTY. So even though his odds are slim, this would be the perfect place to recognize eight-time nominee Justin Bieber for the arena-pop greatness of “Anyone.”

Will win: “drivers license”
Should win: “Anyone”

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
“I Get a Kick Out of You,” Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga
“Lonely,” Justin Bieber and Benny Blanco
“Butter,” BTS
“Higher Power,” Coldplay
“Kiss Me More,” Doja Cat feat. SZA

If all goes as expected this year, Doja Cat could be on her way to Katy Perry status — that is, a hitmaker who’s always a nominee, never a winner. Her first hit, “Say So,” a key song in 2020’s disco revival, carried her to three nods but no wins last year; now she’s up for eight categories largely off her third album, Planet Her, a fantastic, omnivorous level-up that solidified her pop-star status. Yet she’s the favorite in precisely none of those eight categories and could end the night with a career 11 nominations and no wins. (I believe this is the category in which she’s most deserving, for “Kiss Me More,” one of the best-crafted hits in some time.) But the Academy’s tendency to give out self-fashioned “lifetime achievement” awards to artists no longer moving the needle will likely get the best of it once again, as it hands a 20th Grammy to Bennett upon his retirement.

Will win: “I Get a Kick Out of You”
Should win: “Kiss Me More”

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
Love for Sale,Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga
Til We Meet Again (Live), Norah Jones
A Tori Kelly Christmas, Tori Kelly
Ledisi Sings Nina, Ledisi
That’s Life, Willie Nelson
A Holly Dolly Christmas, Dolly Parton

Okay, I’ll give it to Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga: They do deserve this one. Make that a 21st Grammy.

Will win: Love for Sale
Should win: Love for Sale

Best Pop Vocal Album
Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe), Justin Bieber
Planet Her (Deluxe), Doja Cat
Happier Than Ever, Billie Eilish
positions, Ariana Grande
Sour, Olivia Rodrigo

Last year, Lipa and Swift split this category and Album of the Year for the first time ever, when two nominees appeared in both categories. I think that was a fluke, owing to Lipa’s strength among pop voters and Swift’s across-the-board pull on folklore. Rodrigo and Eilish, meanwhile, seem to be pulling from the same set of voters for their brand of handmade, lyric-forward pop. Expect this to be a bellwether of AOTY — and of a Rodrigo sweep.

Will win: Sour
Should win: Planet Her (Deluxe)

Rock & Alternative

Best Rock Performance
“Shot in the Dark,” AC/DC
“Know You Better (Live from Capitol Studio A),” Black Pumas
“Nothing Compares 2 U,” Chris Cornell
“Ohms,” Deftones
“Making a Fire,” Foo Fighters

Let’s be clear: No one should win these embarrassing rock categories, which show a disdain for the genre and everything exciting currently happening within it. After last year’s landmark rock-category nominations for women and people of color — who are, to be clear, making much of the best rock music right now — the first year without nominating committees shows that the dinosaurs in the Recording Academy want to step back by decades. AC/DC has gotten its due, Black Pumas is an Academy psyop, and as great as Chris Cornell was, a vault cover performance is not the way to go here. I expect Foo Fighters to clean up in the rock categories, thanks to Dave Grohl’s near-constant visibility over the past year, but if I have to root for someone? It’s Deftones, who are at least interesting.

Will win: “Making a Fire”
Should win: “Ohms”

Best Metal Performance
“Genesis,” Deftones
“The Alien,” Dream Theater
“Amazonia,” Gojira
“Pushing the Tides,” Mastodon
“The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition),” Rob Zombie

After last year’s Best Metal Performance saw surprise nominations for new-generation bands like Code Orange and Power Trip, this year’s follows suit with the rest of the rock categories, nominating the usual giants. Expect voters to pick one of the trophyless nominees of the bunch: Dream Theater, Gojira, or Rob Zombie.

Will win: “The Triumph of King Freak”
Should win: “Genesis”

Best Rock Song
“Waiting on a War,” Foo Fighters
“The Bandit,” Kings of Leon
“Distance,” Mammoth WVH
“Find My Way,” Paul McCartney
“All My Favorite Songs,” Weezer

I’d say this category is even worse than Rock Performance. Not only is Weezer here in 2022, it’s nearly impossible to discern anything that should win. Wolfgang Van Halen could nab the tribute vote after his father’s death, but I’m banking on a Foo Fighters sweep for the social message in “Waiting on a War.”

Will win: “Waiting on a War”
Should win: “Find My Way”

Best Rock Album
Power Up, AC/DC
Capitol Cuts — Live from Studio A, Black Pumas
No One Sings Like You Anymore, Vol. 1, Chris Cornell
Medicine at Midnight, Foo Fighters
McCartney III, Paul McCartney

None of these five outcomes would make me happy. That said, it feels especially wrong for Foo Fighters to win this for their dance-rock album after decrying electronic music just a few years before.

Will win: Medicine at Midnight
Should win: McCartney III

Best Alternative Music Album
Shore, Fleet Foxes
If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, Halsey
Jubilee, Japanese Breakfast
Collapsed in Sunbeams, Arlo Parks
Daddy’s Home, St. Vincent

Now here’s where the rock music is! This category has caused the Academy a bit of trouble over the past few years — it’s reliably stacked, but artists can have a hard time breaking into Rock Performance and Song, and it leaves Rock Album looking … well, you saw. Even if Japanese Breakfast’s Best New Artist nod came years too late, it shows Michelle Zauner has the support to take this trophy home. But after all that, I’m itching for some good innovative rock music, so I’m picking the Halsey and Nine Inch Nails linkup.

Will win: Jubilee
Should win: If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power


Best R&B Performance
“Lost You,” Snoh Aalegra
“Peaches,” Justin Bieber feat. Giveon and Daniel Caesar
“Damage,” H.E.R.
“Leave the Door Open,” Silk Sonic
“Pick Up Your Feelings,” Jazmine Sullivan

The R&B field is stacked this year, both in Grammy favorites and talented artists. Look here to foretell whether Silk Sonic or H.E.R. has more momentum going into the Big Four categories. I’m picking Silk Sonic because two is better than one. (Why not Bieber, who’s working with two R&B darlings here? Despite his impressive showing this year, I wonder how quickly voters will move from his swing-and-miss with Changes and the fit he threw about being moved to pop rather than R&B — never mind if R&B voters would go for something with less musicality than the other nominees.) But in my heart, nothing tops Jazmine Sullivan, who should have cracked the generals across the board for Heaux Tales and the standout “Pick Up Your Feelings.”

Will win: “Leave the Door Open”
Should win: “Pick Up Your Feelings”

Best Traditional R&B Performance
“I Need You,” Jon Batiste
“Bring It on Home to Me,” BJ the Chicago Kid, PJ Morton, and Kenyon Dixon feat. Charlie Bereal
“Born Again,” Leon Bridges feat. Robert Glasper
“Fight for You,” H.E.R.
“How Much Can a Heart Take,” Lucky Daye feat. Yebba

Specified categories like Best Traditional R&B Performance (a pretty ambiguous award that usually goes to vocal-forward throwback songs) can be hard to forecast, tending to cater to a selection of nominees who don’t show up anywhere else on the ballot. That’s not the case this year, with two of the night’s top earners, Batiste and H.E.R., going head-to-head. I do wonder if H.E.R. has better odds in the R&B field — it would seem as if more of her fans are concentrated here, compared with Batiste, who has pulled together a sort of “coalition” across fields. That said, it’s hard for anything to best the charm and musicianship on display in “I Need You.”

Will win: “Fight for You”
Should win: “I Need You”

Best R&B Song
“Heartbreak Anniversary,” Giveon
“Damage,” H.E.R.
“Leave the Door Open,” Silk Sonic
“Pick Up Your Feelings,” Jazmine Sullivan
“Good Days,” SZA

I’m disappointed to see SZA’s stellar single “Good Days” relegated to just one nomination. And I sadly don’t see it prevailing — like R&B Performance, this is Silk Sonic’s trophy to lose (especially if, to play some three-dimensional chess, the Academy awards H.E.R. in Traditional R&B Performance, where Silk Sonic isn’t nominated).

Will win: “Leave the Door Open”
Should win: “Good Days”

Best Progressive R&B Album
New Light, Eric Bellinger
Something to Say, Cory Henry
Mood Valiant, Hiatus Kaiyote
Table for Two, Lucky Daye
Dinner Party: Dessert, Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, 9th Wonder, Kamasi Washington
Studying Abroad: Extended Stay, Masego

Like Traditional R&B Performance, this category is a curveball. A star-studded project like Dinner Party: Dessert seems primed to win, though, for the sheer number of respected musicians it features (though I do wonder if voters will care that it really seems to fall somewhere between jazz and hip-hop). I also have to give a nod to Hiatus Kaiyote, who made one of our music critic Craig Jenkins’s favorite albums of 2021 with Mood Valiant.

Will win: Dinner Party: Dessert
Should win: Mood Valiant

Best R&B Album
Temporary Highs in the Violet Skies, Snoh Aalegra
We Are, Jon Batiste
Gold-Diggers Sound, Leon Bridges
Back of My Mind, H.E.R.
Heaux Tales, Jazmine Sullivan

Speaking of favorite albums of the year, Vulture’s No. 1, Heaux Tales, is represented in this category. A win would be career-long recognition for Sullivan, who has been nominated for 15 Grammys without winning a trophy yet. And though it’s hard to bet against We Are, from top nominee Batiste, it doesn’t have this category on lock — as I mentioned above, Batiste’s broad support across genres doesn’t necessarily mean specific support in R&B (he has even distanced himself from labeling this project’s genre). But if Sullivan wins for Heaux Tales, she will have to get through another Album of the Year nominee, H.E.R.’s Back of My Mind.

Will win: Back of My Mind
Should win: Heaux Tales


Best Rap Performance
“Family Ties,” Baby Keem feat. Kendrick Lamar
“Up,” Cardi B
“My Life,” J. Cole feat. 21 Savage and Morray
“Thot Shit,” Megan Thee Stallion

A quick reminder: This category and Best Rap Album both have only four nominees due to Drake’s unexplained decision to pull his music. What’s left is an odd sampling of the year in rap — a theme throughout the field, in which many up-and-coming performers have been snubbed in favor of love for genre giants, Academy darlings, and … Baby Keem? I do think Keem’s nominations have legs, specifically thanks to a rap verse from his cousin, who has always been taken care of in the rap field even when he isn’t in the generals. But I need to hear someone say “Thot Shhh” at the Grammys.

Will win: “Family Ties”
Should win: “Thot Shit”

Best Melodic Rap Performance
“Pride Is the Devil,” J. Cole feat. Lil Baby
“Need to Know,” Doja Cat
“Industry Baby,” Lil Nas X feat. Jack Harlow
“WusYaName,” Tyler, the Creator feat. YoungBoy Never Broke Again and Ty Dolla $ign
“Hurricane,” Kanye West feat. the Weeknd and Lil Baby

Melodic Rap Performance has been in flux over the past few years, but voters seem to know what they’re doing in the revamped category — this year, it’s the most fun rap category by far. Let’s start with a shout-out to my own favorite song of 2021, Doja Cat’s tour de fun “Need to Know,” which lacks the strength in numbers of the rest of the nominees but stretches the definition of what rapping is. I’d also be excited to see a win for “WusYaName,” not just to recognize Tyler, the Creator, at his career peak but for the nod to prolific ascendant star NBA YoungBoy. “Industry Baby” is the biggest hit, but Lil Nas X lacks the credibility in the rap field some of these other artists have. Given how the nominations veered toward established figures, I’m picking J. Cole, the only rapper to show up in all four of the field’s categories.

Will win: “Pride Is the Devil”
Should win: “Need to Know”

Best Rap Song
“My Life,” J. Cole feat. 21 Savage and Morray
“Bath Salts,” DMX feat. Jay-Z and Nas
“Family Ties,” Baby Keem feat. Kendrick Lamar
“Best Friend,” Saweetie feat. Doja Cat
“Jail,” Kanye West feat. Jay-Z

Posthumous Grammy wins are a shot in the dark — especially in rap, where Nipsey Hussle was given his due for “Higher” in 2020 but Pop Smoke and Juice WRLD were snubbed last year. I think there’s enough force behind DMX’s nomination here for a win, though, between the outpouring of tributes after his death and the A-list support for his track (never mind the reunion of off-and-on rivals Jay-Z and Nas). It would be a meaningful win on multiple levels; plus, the song is the strongest by far off DMX’s posthumous Exodus.

Will win: “Bath Salts”
Should win: “Bath Salts”

Best Rap Album
The Off-Season, J. Cole
King’s Disease II, Nas
Call Me If You Get Lost, Tyler, the Creator
Donda, Kanye West

Grammy voting ended in early January before much of the current drama surrounding Ye, f.k.a. Kanye West, who is banned from performing at the Grammys. Donda 2 hadn’t even been teased at that point! So discount all of Ye’s current behavior when calculating his chances. Donda has run the gamut in terms of reviews but clearly has support from Ye’s peers, cracking Album of the Year (granted, in a bit of a shady way, as one of the reported final two nominees added to bring the category to ten).

Will win: Donda
Should win: Call Me If You Get Lost


Best Country Solo Performance
“Forever After All,” Luke Combs
“Remember Her Name,” Mickey Guyton
“All I Do Is Drive,” Jason Isbell
“Camera Roll,” Kacey Musgraves
“You Should Probably Leave,” Chris Stapleton

There tends to be a rule in predicting country awards: Don’t bet against Chris Stapleton. But I’m going to in a few of these categories, for two reasons. One, the recent Academy of Country Music Awards saw Stapleton lose in the equivalent category for this song, Single of the Year. And two, in recent years, the country categories have been down to spread the love a bit — like last year, when the Highwomen earned a surprise deserving win in Best Country Song. Plus, there’s Mickey Guyton, who gained overwhelming support from the country field this year for her song “Remember Her Name” and the album of the same name — and who hasn’t been on the ballot at recent country shows (likely due to rules about songs charting and the fact that country radio is scared to play music by a Black woman). After Guyton cracked this category last year, it seems like the likeliest spot for her to finally win one much-deserved trophy.

Will win: “Remember Her Name”
Should win: “Remember Her Name”

Best Country Duo/Group Performance
“If I Didn’t Love You,” Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood
“Younger Me,” Brothers Osborne
“Glad You Exist,” Dan + Shay
“Chasing After You,” Ryan Hurd and Maren Morris
“Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home),” Elle King and Miranda Lambert

Can someone, anyone, please break Dan + Shay’s streak? The saccharine country-pop duo could win Best Country Duo/Group Performance for the fourth time in as many years — but for once, they have some competition. If voters want to have some fun, they could go for Miranda Lambert and Elle King’s dance-floor crowder “Drunk (and I Don’t Want to Home).” If they want heart, they could go for Brothers Osborne’s “Younger Me,” a reminiscence from TJ Osborne after he made history by coming out as gay (it’s also the best song of the bunch). If they want a better love song than “Glad You Exist,” they could go for real-life couple Maren Morris and Ryan Hurd’s “Chasing After You.” But I think voters really want a hit, which would be reigning ACM Single of the Year “If I Didn’t Love You,” the song Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood have performed all over TV.

Will win: “If I Didn’t Love You”
Should win: “Younger Me”

Best Country Song
“Remember Her Name,” Mickey Guyton
“Better Than We Found It,” Maren Morris
“Camera Roll,” Kacey Musgraves
“Country Again,” Thomas Rhett
“Cold,” Chris Stapleton

Like I said, it’s pretty hard to see Stapleton going home empty-handed. Best Country Song seems like a safe category for him given his respect as a writer and that “Cold” is the stronger of his entries. (Kacey Musgraves could be a wild card for “Camera Roll” both here and in Country Performance — voters could award her to spite the Academy for moving her album Star-Crossed to pop, but given her round snub by the ACM earlier this year, she doesn’t seem to have the support.) Personally, I’d be inclined to recognize Morris’s outspokenness on “Better Than We Found It” and give her the trophy she deserved last year for “The Bones.”

Will win: “Cold”
Should win: “Better Than We Found It”

Best Country Album
Skeletons, Brothers Osborne
Remember Her Name, Mickey Guyton
The Marfa Tapes, Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert, and Jon Randall
The Ballad of Dood and Juanita, Sturgill Simpson
Starting Over, Chris Stapleton

Here it is, the strongest category of the night. These are among the best country albums of the past few years, from Guyton’s expert, moving pop-country to Sturgill Simpson’s bluegrass-country fusion. It looks like the final stop for Stapleton to win another Triple Crown of Country for Starting Over after earning album awards from the ACM and Country Music Association. But The Marfa Tapes is a dark horse for the combination of genre favorite Miranda Lambert (who won this trophy last year for Wildcard and just earned her first Entertainer of the Year at the ACMs), singer-songwriter Jack Ingram, and respected writer-producer Jon Randall — as well as the category’s best collection of songs.

Will win: Starting Over
Should win: The Marfa Tapes

Latin & Global

Best Latin Pop Album
Vértigo, Pablo Alborán
Mis Amores, Paula Arenas
Hecho a la Antigua, Ricardo Arjona
Mis Manos, Camilo
Mendó, Alex Cuba
Revelación, Selena Gomez

Splitting Latin Pop and Música Urbana into two separate album categories opens the field here after Bad Bunny won last year’s trophy. It’s a strong field, too, including previous winner Ricardo Arjona, multiyear nominees Pablo Alborán and Alex Cuba, and, of course, Selena Gomez — nominated for her first Grammy ever (the tragedy!) for skillfully pivoting to Spanish on the sensual Revelación. But taking the Latin Grammys as a bellwether, this is Camilo’s award for the goes-down-easy hit album Mis Manos, which won Best Latin Pop Album at that ceremony.

Will win: Mis Manos
Should win: Revelación

Best Música Urbana Album
Afrodisíaco, Rauw Alejandro
El Último Tour Del Mundo, Bad Bunny
Jose, J Balvin
KG0516, Karol G
Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios), Kali Uchis

This category is a who’s who of current Latin music power players, from reggaetoneros Rauw Alejandro and J Balvin to R&B up-and-comer Kali Uchis. Any of them would be worthy of the trophy, and after Bad Bunny won gold last year for YHLQMDLG, I would normally advocate for spreading some love. But Bad Bunny isn’t normal — he’s a massive global superstar, nominated here for his third release in under a year (which can go toe to toe with YHLQMDLG). A last world tour wouldn’t be complete without another Grammy, would it?

Will win: El Último Tour Del Mundo
Should win: El Último Tour Del Mundo

Best Global Music Album
Voice of Bunbon (Vol. 1), Rocky Dawuni
East West Players Present: Daniel Ho & Friends Live in Concert, Daniel Ho & Friends
Mother Nature, Angélique Kidjo
Legacy+, Femi Kuti and Made Kuti
Made in Lagos (Deluxe Edition), Wizkid

Afrobeats is the next frontier for pop crossover, and one of the major figures in that shift has been Wizkid, whose album Made in Lagos gave way to one of the biggest Afrobeats hits in the U.S. yet. This category can trend toward recognizing icons, but last year’s win for Burna Boy proved it’s opening up to the next generation. A win for Wizkid would solidify that shift.

Will win: Made in Lagos (Deluxe Edition)
Should win: Made in Lagos (Deluxe Edition)

Best Global Music Performance
“Mohabbat,” Arooj Aftab
“Do Yourself,” Angélique Kidjo and Burna Boy
“Pà Pá Pà,” Femi Kuti
“Blewu,” Yo-Yo Ma and Angélique Kidjo
“Essence,” Wizkid feat. Tems

What better time to introduce a song category to the global field than now, after “Essence” dominated summer 2021? Consider that the (rightful) song to beat here in a continued recognition of the pop power of Afrobeats. But adding one category still doesn’t mean the Grammys have made enough room for international music — just look at all the styles represented among these five nominees. Arooj Aftab stands out for her haunting renditions of traditional South Asian songs (which additionally earned her a surprise Best New Artist nod), including the entrancing “Mohabbat.”

Will win: “Essence”
Should win: “Mohabbat”

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