After a pandemic delay, Awards Season 2021 is officially underway, and continues this week with the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards -- but before the golden gramophones are handed out on Sunday, we're making our predictions for who will win top honors.
Billie Eilish was something of a bracket-buster at last year's GRAMMYs, sweeping the Big Four awards -- Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist -- but this time around, there's looking to be a bit more parity in the night's most-anticipated categories. However, there are still a few artists who could have a major night at the GRAMMYs, taking two or more of the biggest awards.
Taylor Swift makes her triumphant return to the Album of the Year category this year, with Folklore and its lead single, "Cardigan," which is also up for Song of the Year. Megan Thee Stallion and Doja Cat both have a shot at a Record of the Year/Best New Artist combo. And even though she's one of the biggest artists of all time, Beyoncé quietly landed the year's most nominations with nine -- including Record and Song of the Year -- despite not releasing a new album within the eligibility period.
Plus, Eilish could repeat! The 19-year-old performer landed nods in both the Song of the Year and Record of the Year categories this year with her triple-platinum, non-album single, "Everything I Wanted."
Below, ET's resident GRAMMYs expert makes predictions for who should win and who will win in the "Big Four" -- stay tuned throughout GRAMMY night to see who takes home the biggest awards!
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Chilombo -Jhené Aiko Black Pumas (Deluxe Edition) - Black Pumas Everyday Life - Coldplay Djesse Vol. 3 - Jacob Collier Women in Music Pt. III - HAIM Future Nostalgia - Dua Lipa Hollywood's Bleeding - Post Malone Folklore - Taylor Swift
SHOULD WIN: Future Nostalgia
WILL WIN: Folklore
There's a strong case to be made for Dua Lipa here. As one of the first artists to forgo the pandemic's potential consequences on touring and promotion, releasing her sophomore album without any delays, the 2019 Best New Artist winner ruled the airwaves for much of the last year with her collection of disco-pop megahits.Future Nostalgia is a creative tour de force and a major step forward in Dua's discography, with singles ranging from the multi-nominated lead single "Don't Start Now" to the multi-remixed "Levitating," and a supremely fun collection of tracks in between (see: the underrated, Lily Allen-esque "Good in Bed"). If there's one album everyone wished they were celebrating to in 2020, it's this one.
However, there's another Recording Academy darling looming over the Album of the Year category (and it's not the eminently deserving Jhené Aiko). After snubs on her last two efforts, Taylor Swift is firmly back in favor with her pine-scented 2020 double punch of Folklore and Evermore -- with just the former being eligible for this year's GRAMMYs. Following Reputation's righteous reinvention and Lover's rose-colored glasses, Folklore is Swift heading out to her own version of Walden Pond and returning with a collection of hand-hewn tracks that spoke to the isolated cultural moment with spare instrumentals, lush storytelling and layered melodies. It would be a shock if the Academy doesn't reward her with a trophy for the mantle of her isolated cabin.
Arguably the category where The Weeknd's snubs are felt most acutely ("Blinding Lights" was a frontrunner on most lists before failing to land even a nomination), Record of the Year celebrates the production and recording of a particular song, and there were few songs as big as "Savage" in 2020. The track went platinum, launched Megan Thee Stallion to a new level of stardom, and even helped TikTok dances become one of the biggest fads of the year. Even though the original track isn't eligible this year, the Beyoncé of it all should only serve to increase the remix's GRAMMY stock.
However, we're gonna go ahead and make the call that, despite last year's Big 4 sweep star Billie Eilish landing another nod in the category (for a non-album single that might be one of her best yet), this is where Dua Lipa gets her 2021 moment. "Don't Start Now" is an absolute bop that had us singing and dancing along, marveling at awards show performances (don't forget that EMAs choreo) and eagerly anticipating what was, again, perhaps the best album of the year.
SONG OF THE YEAR
"Black Parade" - Beyoncé
"The Box" - Roddy Ricch
"Cardigan" - Taylor Swift
"Circles" - Post Malone
"Don't Start Now" - Dua Lipa
"Everything I Wanted" - Billie Eilish
"I Can't Breathe" - H.E.R.
"If the World Was Ending" - JP Saxe Featuring Julia Michaels
SHOULD WIN: "Black Parade" / "Everything I Wanted"
WILL WIN: "Cardigan"
Song of the Year awards the songwriters and lyrics of a particular track and the category is especially stacked with a variety of deserving tracks this year, from powerful anthems like "Black Parade" and "I Can't Breathe" to catchy chart-toppers like "Circles" and "The Box" to melancholy melodies of "If the World Was Ending" and "Everything I Wanted."
While the golden gramophone could certainly go to any of the nominated songs -- and maybe should go to one of the surprise single drops that took fans by storm -- this is probably another category where Taylor Swift's resurgence will reign supreme. Is "Cardigan" the best track off of Folklore? That's up for debate, but it did announce a new era, new sound, and even a new look for the beloved star. If the 2021 GRAMMYs end up being Swift's return to Recording Academy glory, there's a good chance she'll nab this one too.
BEST NEW ARTIST
Megan Thee Stallion
SHOULD WIN: Megan Thee Stallion/Phoebe Bridgers
WILL WIN: Megan Thee Stallion
Here, the annual caveat: No, these are not all artists who just emerged over the last year. Yes, there are nominees with multiple established hits across varying timeframes. However, Best New Artist is still one of the GRAMMYs' most coveted awards and an important launching pad for burgeoning talent -- though a list of the category's losers is just as impressive as the winners when it comes to gauging future success.
Judging solely by the charts, this category would be a shoe-in showdown between Doja Cat and Megan Thee Stallion. When it comes to indie cred, there's definitely a case to be made for critically acclaimed artists like Phoebe Bridgers and CHIKA. And then there's the wild cards with a foot in the industry, like Noah Cyrus and D Smoke. When all is said and done, however, our bet's on Megan, whose rap game cred exploded into mainstream success this year. We'll see her again next GRAMMYs, when "WAP" is finally eligible, but after having two of the biggest hits of the year, Best New Artist will likely be Megan's moment to shine.
The 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards will take place on Sunday, March 14, 2021 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT. The ceremony will be broadcast live on CBS, as well as streaming live on Paramount+ (formerly known as CBS All Access).