Grammy predictions: Rodrigo is as good as gold – Business Journal Daily
By JONATHAN LANDRUM Jr. and KRISTIN M. HALL AP Entertainment Writers
The number of nominees for top Grammys awards keeps growing, up to 10 this year, making the competition tougher, but the predictions much trickier. Will too many pop artists split the vote, making a surprise more likely? Can we even rely on past victories as a guide?
Associated Press Entertainment writers Jonathan Landrum Jr. and Kristin M. Hall break down the Grammy nominees, agreeing at the very least that Olivia Rodrigo is going to win gold trophies. But writers (and probably Grammy voters, too) are conflicted when there’s such fierce competition between artists like Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, Billie Eilish and Rodrigo.
The 64th Annual Grammy Awards will air Sunday, April 3 on CBS and Paramount+.
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 Edition)”, Doja Cat; “Happier Than Ever”, Billie Eilish; “The Back of My Mind”, SHE; “MONTERO”, Lil Nas X; “Sour”, Olivia Rodrigo; “Forever”, Taylor Swift; Donda, Kanye West.
LANDRUM: Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga are a perfect match to win Album of the Year against fierce competition. It’ll be a close race between the dynamic duo featuring Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo, but I think Bennett and Gaga will reign supreme over the rest of the highly respected pack with their unparalleled chemistry displayed by the legendary crooners on “Love for Vente.” Certainly, there is a lifelong bond and synergy between Eilish and Finneas’ sister-brother combo. Rodrigo also has one of the biggest early career success stories. But the magic created by Bennett and Gaga is a rare occurrence – especially for Bennett, who showed in his 90s that he can still vocally hold his own and flourish with Gaga in their collection of masterful duets.
HALL: Aww, Jonathan, I didn’t know you were so romantic! Even a hard-hearted cynic like me has a hard time arguing against a duo that has 30 Grammys (and a lifetime achievement award) between them. This category has such a variety of debut albums and pop and rap stars moving through different levels of fame to musical icons. But I’m going to go with my gut, not my heart, and say that Rodrigo is putting on a tight contest that is likely to split among pop fans. Her must-have fun pop rock hits have made the young artist a household name, giving her a slight edge over Grammy favorites Eilish and Swift.
RECORD OF THE YEAR: “I still have faith in you”, ABBA; “FREEDOM,” Jon Batiste; “I’m Kicking You”, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga; “Peaches,” Justin Bieber with Daniel Caesar and Giveon; “Right on Time”, Brandi Carlile; “Kiss Me More,” Doja Cat featuring SZA; “Happier Than Ever”, Billie Eilish; “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)”, Lil Nas X; “Driver’s License”, Olivia Rodrigo; “Leave the door open”, Silk Sonic.
HALL: I know I’m not supposed to, but I’m talking about Bruno. As in Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak creating a lush soundscape with their Silk Sonic collaboration. “Leave the Door Open” is a sweet throwback to ’70s R&B that hits just the right notes, from the tinkling keys to the song’s opening lines: “What you doin’? Where are you? Oh you got plans Don’t say that.Mars and .Paak did some nostalgic 24K magic here, that’s my jam.
LANDRUM: I think Eilish will shut the door on Silk Sonic completely. She is too strong for the other competitors here. And thanks to “Happier Than Ever,” she will make history by becoming the first artist to win three consecutive years in the category and join Paul Simon as the only artist with three record wins of the year.
SONG OF THE YEAR (songwriter award): “Bad Habits”, “A Beautiful Noise”, “Drivers License”, “Fight For You”, “Happier Than Ever”, “Kiss Me More”, ” Leave The Door Open”, “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)”, “Peaches”, “Just In Time”.
LANDRUM: I probably played Justin Bieber’s “Peaches” with Daniel Caesar and Giveon more than the other nominees’ songs. I was captivated by the song’s feel-good melody and Bieber’s catchy hook – which often still plays in my head. But after my soliloquy, I predict she’ll go back-to-back in that category for “Fight for You,” a moving song with poignant lyrics from the “Judas and the Black Messiah” soundtrack. The song – written by HER, producer D’Mile and singer Tiara Thomas – won an Oscar for Best Original Song last year. It delivers a powerful message, as does last year’s winner “I Can’t Breathe” and I think “Fight for You” will also win this fight for the trio at the Grammys.
HALL: The Recording Academy clearly LOVES Eilish and has already anointed the star with seven Grammys, so she looks like a good shoo-in. “Happier Than Ever” is a cinematic melodramatic story song, showing the different sides of the alternative pop singer-songwriter, even though it wasn’t one of the biggest songs on his album. Although part of me would really love for Lil Nas X to surprise everyone with a win here.
BEST NEW ARTIST: Arooj Aftab; Jimmy Allen; Baby Keem; Finneas; Glass Animals; Japanese breakfast; The Kid Laroi; Arlo Parks; Olivia Rodrigo; Saweetie.
HALL: So many deserving names in this category (and I think Jimmie Allen is the hardest working artist in country music right now), but there’s no doubt that this award is reserved for Rodrigo. Go ahead and engrave his name on it.
LANDRUM: This award must be signed, sealed and delivered to Rodrigo. Sorry Saweetie, but there’s a real sleeper in this category: Finneas. Yes, Eilish’s brother who has already won eight Grammys thanks to his work as a producer and co-writer on his sister’s projects. Do I honestly think Finneas will upset Rodrigo? No. She had too big a year to lose. But there’s a small part of me that thinks Finneas has a chance. Sometimes that’s all you need.
BEST POP SOLO PERFORMANCE: “Anyone,” Justin Bieber; “Right on Time”, Brandi Carlile; “Happier Than Ever”, Billie Eilish; “Positions,” Ariana Grande; “Driver’s license”, Olivia Rodrigo.
LANDRUM: Eilish or the Biebs could go off the rails, but Rodrigo’s “driver’s license” should roll down the road in the winner’s seat with no detours.
HALL: You know what’s even better than finally getting your driver’s license? A Grammy trophy. I hope she rides him in her passenger seat to rejoice over this ex.
BEST RAP PERFORMANCE: “Thot S (asterisk) (asterisk) (asterisk),” Megan The Stallion; “M Y. LIFE”, J. Cole feat. 21 Savage and Morray; “Up”, Cardi B; “Family Ties”, Baby Keem feat. Kendrick Lamar.
HALL: Megan and Cardi are still on fire even when releasing singles between albums, but there’s no match for cousins Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar’s lyrical punch. The Family Affair is a two-part song, pairing Keem, the rising star who arrives with a bang with a sound of horns and a drum line, with Lamar, one of the most acclaimed rappers of our time, who declares “I am the Omega.” The Pulitzer Prize winner, who has been mostly musically quiet since the “Black Panther” soundtrack, hints at plenty of hints that others are coming from him.
LANDRUM: Lamar and Keem’s family ties to this category will be severed. To me, it’s a toss-up between the duo “WAP” – Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B. It’ll be close, but I think Cardi’s crossover hit “Up” will draw in voters enough to literally send her over. stage to claim this award and become the first woman to win this category as a solo artist.
BEST R&B PERFORMANCE: “Pick Up Your Feelings,” Jazmine Sullivan; “Leave the Door Open,” Silk Sonic; “Too bad”, SHE; “Peaches”, Justin Beiber featuring. Daniel Caesar and Giveon; “I Lost You”, Snoh Aalegra.
LANDRUM: Flip flop my pick over HER and Bieber in the song of the year category for this one. I love HER’s “Damage”, but I think Bieber’s “Peaches” satisfies my sweet tooth for the best R&B performance.
HALL: I love both “Pick Up Your Feelings” and “Damage” for their smart and sexy lyrics, so I’m torn. But I think Silk Sonic will take the win in this category.
BEST COUNTRY SOLO PERFORMANCE: “You should probably leave,” Chris Stapleton; “Film”, Kacey Musgraves; “All I do is drive”, Jason Isbell; “Remember His Name,” Mickey Guyton; “Forever after all”, Luke Combs.
HALL: It’s a singer category, so you have to have the tips and Stapleton could easily win that award again. Combs’ time is coming soon, but I think Guyton’s take on such a personal song gives him an edge. Guyton’s voice is lithe and strong on “Remember Her Name” and I think Grammy voters will remember her positively.
LANDRUM: Last year, Guyton showed up. This year, she will show herself. Just like the name of his album and his song, you will absolutely remember his name when Guyton wins in this category.
Pictured: Olivia Rodrigo performs ‘Traitor’ at the American Music Awards on Sunday, November 21, 2021 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Rodrigo is nominated for seven Grammy Awards. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)
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