2020 GRAMMY Predictions: Who Will Win Album of the Year, Best New Artist and More
By Meredith B. Kile
Awards season continues with this Sunday's GRAMMY Awards, but before the golden gramophones are handed out on Jan. 26, we're making our predictions for who will win top honors.
Billie Eilish and Lizzo have the momentum leading up to music's biggest night, with nods in each of the "Big Four" categories -- Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist -- and, barring some shocking snubs, are the frontrunners to win in the majority of those categories come GRAMMY night.
Also in contention? Lil Nas X with his massive breakout hit, "Old Town Road," Ariana Grande and her triumphant catharsis album, Thank U, Next, and the surprising return of the Star Is Born soundtrack. (Check out our snubs and surprises for more on how exactly that happened.) Then there are faves like Bon Iver, Lana Del Rey and H.E.R., all hoping to play spoiler.
Below, ET's resident GRAMMYs expert makes predictions for who should win and who will win in the "Big Four" -- and stay tuned throughout GRAMMY night to see who takes home the biggest awards!
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
I, I, Bon Iver Norman F**king 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 (Deluxe), Lizzo Father of the Bride, Vampire Weekend
Should Win: Thank U, Next
While we'd love to live in a world where alternative artists like Bon Iver and Lana Del Rey had a shot at Album of the Year, the truth is that the GRAMMYs are mostly still centered on a very specific definition of popular music, determined by a group of industry insiders. That said, no one can deny the feat of artistry that was Ariana Grande's follow-up album to 2018's Sweetener -- an artistic process that seemed to surprise even the singer herself, who had announced a musical hiatus just a few months before dropping Thank U, Next. After weathering a truly intense year, the fact that Grande went into the studio and created an album that set streaming and download records, made many "Best of 2019" lists, and had 11 of its 12 singles chart in the Top 40 simultaneously in one week -- not to mention giving us several iconic singles and music videos -- is certainly commendable, if not award-worthy.
Will Win: When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
If the betting odds are on, this year's GRAMMYs will belong to Billie Eilish, who, along with Lizzo, is nominated and favored in all of the four major categories. After breaking out with her 2016 single, "Ocean Eyes," Eilish dropped her first full-length studio album in March 2019, which earned the crucial combination of critical acclaim and massive commercial success. When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? was the biggest album in America in 2019, and come GRAMMY night, it will likely have another accolade to add to its already impressive resume.
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 featuring Billy Ray Cyrus
"Truth Hurts" — Lizzo
"Sunflower" — Post Malone & Swae Lee
Should Win: "Old Town Road"
Record of the Year recognizes the production and recording of a song, and even the most jaded GRAMMY voter can't deny that Lil Nas X's breakout single makes for an amazing story. After dropping out of college to pursue music, the 20-year-old rapper bought the beat for "Old Town Road" -- posted online by Dutch producer YoungKio -- for $30. He recorded and released the song in one day, only later clearing the sample for "34 Ghosts IV" with Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor. The song's success is emblematic not only of the advancements in music technology, but the evolving ways in which performers can find success with little more than their own talents. The GRAMMYs would be crazy not to award it.
Will Win: "Old Town Road"
See above. "Old Town Road" became the fastest song in history to reach RIAA Diamond certification -- awarded to songs that attain 10 million in combined sales and streams -- and topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 19 consecutive weeks. Enough said.
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**king Rockwell" — Lana Del Rey
"Someone You Loved" — Lewis Capaldi
"Truth Hurts" — Lizzo
Should Win: "Truth Hurts" / "Lover"
"Old Town Road" isn't up for this prize, which focuses things more sharply on the race between Lizzo and Eilish. Song of the Year deals specifically with the composition of the song and the songwriters, which is why Taylor Swift earns a special nod here, as the only artist in the category who is credited as the sole writer of her nominated track. And while Lizzo deserves the GRAMMY solely for "I don't play tag, b**ch, I been it," it's easy to wonder if the controversy over the meme that inspired her catchy "DNA test" opening line -- or the fact that "Truth Hurts" was first released in September 2017 -- might knock her off the podium in Eilish's favor.
Will Win: "Bad Guy"
It's a phenomenally catchy song with over a billion streams on Spotify, written by one of the biggest up-and-coming stars in the industry. "Bad Guy" isn't a lock in this category, but it's close, especially if Eilish also earns the Album of the Year win. The unique composition, which became a worldwide mega-hit, is more than likely to earn a golden gramophone for the singer and her older brother, Finneas O'Connell, with whom Eilish wrote and produced much of her massive debut album and breakout singles. Cue the "good guy" puns.
BEST NEW ARTIST
Lil Nas X
Tank and the Bangas
Should Win: Lil Nas X
Eilish and Lizzo both made themselves household names in 2019, but Lil Nas X launched his whole career, turned two genres on their heads and broke a Billboard record held by Mariah freaking Carey -- all in a calendar year. And while "Old Town Road" might be seen as a bit of a gimmicky single as the industry cynicism sets in, clearly the Recording Academy thinks highly of his talents; they also nominated his debut for Album of the Year.
Will Win: Billie Eilish
She was the one to dethrone Lil Nas X's historic streak on the Hot 100 chart and odds are, she'll do it again on GRAMMY night. Eilish has become a chart-topping sensation over the last year, and has the momentum leading up to make music's biggest night the cherry on top of her professional coming-out party. (Besides, given the Recording Academy's history with the Big Four categories, it would not be a surprise to see one of the biggest prizes go to one of the two white artists nominated.)
The 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards will air live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 26, at 8:00 p.m. ET / 5:00 p.m. PT on CBS. See more in the video below.