The year of Beyonce? Music’s elite head to the Grammys
Los Angeles (AFP) – The brightest stars in pop music will vie for the industry’s top awards at the Grammys in Los Angeles on Sunday, with a Beyonce–Adele rematch set to take center stage.
Kendrick Lamar, Harry Styles and Taylor Swift are also among the frontrunners at the gala primed to be the most star-studded in recent memory.
The performance-heavy ceremony will include songs from major contenders Styles, Bad Bunny, Lizzo and Mary J. Blige at the 65th annual show, hosted once again by comedian Trevor Noah.
Beyonce leads the pack with nine chances at Grammy gold, followed by rapper Lamar with eight. Adele and fellow balladeer Brandi Carlile scored seven nods each.
Music’s biggest night follows a year of blockbuster albums, including Beyonce’s “Renaissance” — a pulsating collecting of club tracks — and Adele’s introspective ode to the ugly cry, “30.”
Those records will face off in the most prestigious categories, six years after the British artist shut out Queen Bey’s culture-shaking “Lemonade.”
Adele’s sweep in 2017 left both women in tears, with the crooner calling Beyonce her “idol” and telling the audience her fellow megastar’s paradigm-shifting record should have won.
That contest fueled perennial criticism that the Academy consistently fails to pay Black artists their due.
This year, Billboard predicts the Beyhive will rejoice over a best album win for their Queen, while the industry tracker thinks Adele has the top shot at best record — the award for overall performance of a song — for her single “Easy On Me.”
But as the shock upsets of Grammys past prove, it’s really anyone’s game.
Either way, with this year’s new nominations, Beyonce continues to forge a history-making path: she moved into a tie with her husband, Jay-Z, as the most nominated artists ever with 88 each.
Already the woman with the most Grammys, Beyonce could overtake classical conductor Georg Solti for the most wins by any artist, with four victories on Sunday; she’s tied for second place with music power player Quincy Jones.
Swift top songwriter?
Bad Bunny, indisputably the world’s biggest commercial artist, has three Grammy chances off his major drop “Un Verano Sin Ti,” which is in the running for Album of the Year.
It’s the first time an all Spanish-language album has a chance at that coveted award, and it’s the first time the Puerto Rican reggaeton megastar has landed a solo nomination in the major Grammy categories.
Styles, Lizzo and Doja Cat all figure among the top nominees, while pop juggernaut Swift could finally win the Song of the Year prize that has evaded her for years.
The superstar — who has been making good on a vow to re-record her first six albums to gain control of her rights to them — has a chance at the prestigious award celebrating songwriters for her 10-minute version of “All Too Well.”
The original song came out in 2012 on Swift’s album “Red,” but qualified for inclusion because the expanded version contained more than 50 percent new material.
After several Grammy years with clear Best New Artist frontrunners — Olivia Rodrigo, Megan Thee Stallion and Billie Eilish — Sunday’s race is wide open.
The category has grown increasingly eclectic and reflective of the internet age’s impact on popular music, and many of the nominees including Brazil’s Anitta, Eurovision rockers Maneskin and rapper Latto have all found viral fame on TikTok.
South Korea’s boy band sensation BTS — who last year declared they were taking a hiatus — meanwhile is hoping for a first elusive Grammy.
The Academy — comprised of music-makers including artists, composers and engineers — also shortlisted a coterie of the industry’s enduring stars, with Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson and ABBA each garnering a handful of nominations.
After wowing audiences with a show-stopping performance at the 2019 Grammys, the big-voiced Carlile will take the stage once more as she competes in the top categories as well as for roots and Americana honors.
Asked on a recent red carpet about her slate of nominations, Carlile said she was “ecstatic.”
“Those kinds of accolades are life-affirming,” she told AFP.
“Especially because the Grammys is my peers, it means other musicians think I did a good job this year.
“That’s why it feels so good.”