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Our Grammy 2021 Predictions for Six Major Categories: Post Malone, Phoebe Bridgers, Harry Styles, Taylor Swift & Ariana Grande

Dua Lipa, Roddy Ricch, and Taylor Swift each have six nominations

Amit Vaidya Mar 12, 2021

Grammy trophies sit in the press room. Photo: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

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The much delayed 63rd Grammy Awards is finally here. When it happens on March 14, Monday next week it will be socially distanced affair hosted by talk show host Trevor Noah, with artists performing outdoors at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles. While Beyoncé stands once again stands tall with nine nominations, the next bunch is pretty formidable as well. Dua Lipa, Roddy Ricch, and Taylor Swift each have six nominations. 

Here’s our considered prediction for the six big awards for this year. 

Record of the Year
Nominees

“Black Parade” – Beyoncé
Beyoncé & Derek Dixie, producers; Stuart White, engineer/mixer; Colin Leonard, mastering engineer

“Colors” – Black Pumas
Adrian Quesada, producer; Quesada, engineer/mixer; JJ Golden, mastering engineer

“Rockstar” – DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch
SethinTheKitchen, producer; MixedByAli, Chris Dennis & Liz Robson, engineers/mixers; Susan Tabor, mastering engineer

“Say So” – Doja Cat
Tyson Trax, producer; Clint Gibbs, engineer/mixer; Mike Bozzi, mastering engineer

“Everything I Wanted” – Billie Eilish
Finneas O’Connell, producer; Rob Kinelski & O’Connell, engineers/mixers; John Greenham, mastering engineer

“Don’t Start Now” – Dua Lipa
Caroline Ailin & Ian Kirkpatrick, producers; Josh Gudwin, Drew Jurecka & Kirkpatrick, engineers/mixers; Chris Gehringer, mastering engineer

“Circles” – Post Malone
Louis Bell, Frank Dukes & Malone, producers; Bell & Manny Marroquin, engineers/mixers; Bozzi, mastering engineer

“Savage” – Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé
Beyoncé & J. White Did It, producers; Stuart White, engineer/mixer; Leonard, mastering engineer

Okay, so this category is basically anybody’s guess because the track that should have been nominated also if nominated, would have, and probably should have won. In case you’re wondering what song that is, it’s of course The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights”, which literally became the first song in Billboard chart history to spend an entire year in the Top 10! 

The two Beyoncé tracks are likely to cancel each other out although “Savage” did have the better chance. “Say So” and “Rockstar” were huge hits, but many Grammy voters are likely to resist voting it for the Record Of The Year nod and preferring to acknowledge the artists, if at all, in other categories. Black Pumas are far too under the radar while Billie Eilish just won the category last year for “Bad Guy” so it seems unlikely she’d win again. Or will she? That leaves the two songs that are likely to be the most likely of winners – Post Malone’s “Circles” and Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now” – both were massive crossover hits with multi-hyphenated appeal and both songs are also nominated for song of the year. It’s hard to see Grammy voters awarding Lipa for this as Malone’s single is a bit more appealing to the older contingency of voters. 

Who’ll win? Truly this year is anybody’s guess. 

Will Win: “Circles” – Post Malone
Should Win: “Savage” – Megan Thee Stallion Featuring Beyoncé

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Song of the Year
Nominees

“Black Parade”
Denisia Andrews, Beyoncé, Stephen Bray, Jay-Z, Nova Wav, Derek James Dixie, Akil King, Kim “Kaydence” Krysiuk & Rickie “Caso” Tice, songwriters (Beyoncé)

“The Box”
Samuel Gloade & Rodrick Moore, songwriters (Roddy Ricch)

“Cardigan”
Aaron Dessner & Taylor Swift, songwriters (Swift)

“Circles”
Louis Bell, Adam Feeney, Kaan Gunesberk, Austin Post & Billy Walsh, songwriters (Post Malone)

“Don’t Start Now”
Caroline Ailin, Ian Kirkpatrick, Dua Lipa & Emily Warren, songwriters (Lipa)

“Everything I Wanted”
Billie Eilish & Finneas O’Connell, songwriters (Eilish)

“I Can’t Breathe”
Dernst Emile II, H.E.R. & Tiara Thomas, songwriters (H.E.R.)

“If the World Was Ending”
Julia Michaels, JP Saxe, songwriters (Saxe featuring Michaels)

Four of the eight nominees are repeats from the Record Of The Year category so do any of the other four songs have a chance? Probably not. Roddy Rich and JP Saxe with Julia Michaels probably stand the least shot followed by Taylor Swift who I think voters will prefer championing in the Album Of The Year category for the body of work that was “folklore”. That leaves an important song, “I Can’t Breathe” by H.E.R. which could become a surprise winner if enough folks have heard the song and want to show their support for Black Lives Matter. 

More likely is that we’ll come back down to Post Malone again but this time against Billie Eilish. Again, Eilish won this category last year for “Bad Guy” so it’s possible she may win again but it looks more likely that Malone will also be taking home the Grammy here too. 

Will Win: “Circles” – Post Malone
Should Win: “I Can’t Breathe” – H.E.R.

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Best New Artist
Nominees

Ingrid Andress

Phoebe Bridgers

Noah Cyrus

Chika

D Smoke

Doja Cat

Kaytranada

Megan Thee Stallion

This is a category that feels as bizarre as it is cool. While most of the artists don’t actually feel “new”, the Grammys have a very weird system for determining eligibility for this category. As someone who has loved Kaytranada and Phoebe Bridgers for years it feels really strange to see both of them included here and I’m not sure I can even fairly compare the other artists here because they’ve both got such a large body of work (I mean, multiple albums come on!) to show for. 

In the end, I think Bridgers is likely the safe bet here although none of the Best New Artists actually are up for Album Of The Year. The only wildcard I see here is Megan Thee Stallion who likely will overshadow Doja Cat not just because of “Savage Remix” but because of her collaboration with Cardi B and “WAP” which wasn’t submitted at the Grammys so thus was ineligible but seriously, who doesn’t know that song? 

Will Win: Phoebe Bridgers
Should Win: Megan Thee Stallion 

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Best Pop Solo Performance
Nominees

“Yummy” – Justin Bieber

“Say So” – Doja Cat

“Everything I Wanted” – Billie Eilish

“Don’t Start Now” – Dua Lipa

“Watermelon Sugar” – Harry Styles

“Cardigan” – Taylor Swift

While I think Lipa should win here for “Don’t Start Now”, I’m afraid with 4 female singers up against each other, they will cancel each other out. And given that I can’t imagine anyone voting for “Yummy”, I actually think this is likely the category from onwards we’ll get to say Grammy Winner Harry Styles. Ed Sheeran managed the same accomplishment when he was up against only women and I truly think inadvertently by eliminating gender-specific categories, we now continue to see men triumphing over almost always far more talented female vocalists. 

Will that change here? Likely only Lipa could pull that off as she is the most nominated of the bunch but let’s see if the trend continues this year. 

Will Win: “Watermelon Sugar” – Harry Styles
Should Win: “Don’t Start Now” – Dua Lipa

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Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
Nominees

“Un Dia (One Day)” – J Balvin, Dua Lipa, Bad Bunny & Tainy

“Intentions” – Justin Bieber featuring Quavo

“Dynamite” – BTS

“Rain on Me” – Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande

“Exile” – Taylor Swift featuring Bon Iver

Surprisingly, this might be the most exciting category of the night. We’ve got Beliebers, Swifties, Little Monsters & Arianators, a cross-cultural super group vs. the ARMY. Will BTS finally breakthrough and win their first nomination? It’s possible. While I can’t imagine older Grammy voters voting for K-pop and they’d prefer anything with Bon Iver to that, I see the super collaboration of two female generations in Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande perhaps being the spoiler here. Neither artist got nods in the bigger categories so it’s likely voters may want to acknowledge them here. And with that said, they’re likely to also be the only winners the ARMY might not attack to the same level given that the Little Monsters and the Arianators combined make them slightly more formidable. 

Will Win: “Exile” – Taylor Swift & Bon Iver
Should Win: “Dynamite” – BTS or “Rain On Me” – Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande (I’m not getting trolled for this!)

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Album of the Year
Nominees

‘Chilombo’ – Jhené Aiko
Fisticuffs & Julian-Quán Việt Lê, producers; Fisticuffs, Lê, Zeke Mishanec, Christian Plata & Gregg Rominiecki, engineers/mixers; Aiko, Lê, Maclean Robinson & Brian Keith Warfield, songwriters; Dave Kutch, mastering engineer

‘Black Pumas (Deluxe Edition)’ – Black Pumas
Jon Kaplan & Adrian Quesada, producers; Quesada, Jacob Sciba, Stuart Sikes & Erik Wofford, engineers/mixers; Eric Burton & Quesada, songwriters; JJ Golden, mastering engineer

‘Everyday Life’ – Coldplay
Daniel Green, Bill Rahko & Rik Simpson, producers; Mark “Spike” Stent, engineer/mixer; Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion & Chris Martin, songwriters; Emily Lazar, mastering engineer

‘Djesse Vol. 3’ – Jacob Collier
Collier, producer; Ben Bloomberg & Collier, engineers/mixers; Collier, songwriter; Chris Allgood & Emily Lazar, mastering engineers

‘Women in Music Pt. III’ – Haim
Rostam Batmanglij, Danielle Haim & Ariel Rechtshaid, producers; Batmanglij, Jasmine Chen, John DeBold, Matt DiMona, Tom Elmhirst, Joey Messina-Doerning & Rechtshaid, engineers/mixers; Batmanglij, Alana Haim, D. Haim, Este Haim & Rechtshaid, songwriters; Emily Lazar, mastering engineer.

‘Future Nostalgia’ – Dua Lipa
Koz, producer; Josh Gudwin & Cameron Gower Poole, engineers/mixers; Clarence Coffee Jr. & Lipa, songwriters; Chris Gehringer, mastering engineer.

‘Hollywood’s Bleeding’ – Post Malone
Louis Bell & Frank Dukes, producers; Bell & Manny Marroquin, engineers/mixers; Bell, Adam Feeney, Austin Post & Billy Walsh, songwriters; Mike Bozzi, mastering engineer.

‘Folklore’ – Taylor Swift
Jack Antonoff, Aaron Dessner & Swift, producers; Antonoff, Dessner, Serban Ghenea, John Hanes, Jonathan Low & Laura Sisk, engineers/mixers; Dessner & Swift, songwriters; Randy Merrill, mastering engineer.

So, this might be the easiest prediction of the night. While I’d be thrilled to see Lipa’s “Future Nostalgia” take the win, I just don’t see a disco-tinged album that got folks dancing through the pandemic winning over the album that wouldn’t have existed without the pandemic. 

Swift’s “folklore” is the album to beat and it’s likely going to triumph here. It also happens to be a bonafide commercial success and has become the highest rated by critic’s Swift album ever. So if they already have given her two wins for previous lesser deserving albums, she’s gotta win here right? One would think so but the Grammys often go in the least predicted way. 

Still, this year, this just feels like the album that has to win (of course it’s easier without The Weeknd even in the picture!). 

Will Win: “folklore” – Taylor Swift
Should Win: “folklore” – Taylor Swift 

This year’s Grammys will visually look like no other Grammys in history but I’m not sure the winners will necessarily showcase that. Still, it’s likely to be a great show with a lineup that includes performances by Bad Bunny, Black Pumas, Cardi B, BTS, Brandi Carlile, DaBaby, Doja Cat, Billie Eilish, Mickey Guyton, Haim, Brittany Howard, Miranda Lambert, Lil Baby, Dua Lipa, Chris Martin, John Mayer, Megan Thee Stallion, Maren Morris, Post Malone, Roddy Ricch, Harry Styles, and Taylor Swift. Ironically, the most nominated artist of the night, Beyoncé will not be performing. I think she’s content with, you know, the 24 Grammys she’s won so far in her career and maybe it’s time for some new blood. 

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