Grammy Awards Are Sunday — Who Will and/or Should Win?

by Christopher Ehlers

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Sunday April 3, 2022
Originally published on April 1, 2022

(l-r) Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X
(l-r) Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X  (Source:Associated Press)

After being pushed back for the second year in a row due to COVID, the 64th annual Grammy Awards will finally be handed out this Sunday in Las Vegas. The Grammys are always a blast, even when they seem to go on forever, and this year's slate of performers will include Billie Eilish, BTS, Carrie Underwood, Jon Batiste, J. Balvin, Silk Sonic, John Legend, Brandi Carlile, H.E.R., Lil Nas X, Olivia Rodrigo, and Nas. I also wouldn't count out a touching tribute to Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins.

The Grammys are famously hard to predict, especially now that the top four categories expanded their slate of nominees to 10 and that there doesn't seem to be a clear frontrunner in very many of the categories.

Leading the pack with 11 nominations is Jon Batiste, followed by A-listers like Justin Bieber, Doja Cat, H.E.R., Billie Eilish, and Olivia Rodrigo. And while predicting the Grammys is generally an exercise in futility, here's our best stab at it.

Record of the Year

"I Still Have Faith In You," ABBA
"Freedom," Jon Batiste
"I Get A Kick Out Of You", Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga
"Peaches," Justin Bieber feat. Daniel Caesar & Giveon
"Right On Time," Brandi Carlile
"Kiss Me More," Doja Cat feat. SZA
"Happier Than Ever," Billie Eilish
"Montero (Call Me By Your Name)," Lil Nas X
"drivers license," Olivia Rodrigo
"Leave The Door Open," Silk Sonic

While "Kiss Me More" and "Montero" will likely put up a good fight here, this race is most likely between Rodrigo, Eilish, and Silk Sonic. It's worth noting that Eilish won this category for the last two years, and a win here would be her third consecutive Record of the Year award, which recognizes overall production rather than the actual songwriting.

Rodrigo is in a good position to repeat the hat trick that Eilish pulled off two years ago, sweeping Record, Song, Album, and Best New Artist. If Rodrigo had submitted "good 4 u" instead of "drivers license" here, that might put her in a better position to win, but the production on "drivers license" is unremarkable.

"Leave The Door Open" is the safe bet here, but Eilish deserves to win for "Happier Than Ever," a pristinely produced record that is sonically interesting and innovative.

Will Win: "Leave The Door Open," Silk Sonic
Should Win: "Happier Than Ever," Billie Eilish

Album of the Year

"We Are," Jon Batiste
"Love For Sale," Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga
"Justice," Justin Bieber
"Planet Her," Doja Cat
"Happier Than Ever," Billie Eilish
"Back Of My Mind," H.E.R.
'Montero," Lil Nas X
"Sour," Olivia Rodrigo
"Evermore," Taylor Swift
"Donda," Kanye West

After winning her third Album of the Year Grammy last year for "folklore," could Taylor Swift take this award twice in a row? "Evermore" is deserving — in some ways, it's even better than "folklore" — but it's a quieter, sadder work that seems unlikely to prevail, especially considering the fact that Swift was reportedly added to the nominations at the eleventh hour and that this is her sole nomination.

For the majority of the year, this award seemed like Rodrigo's to lose, but I wonder if the Recording Academy is as sick of her as I am. Her talent is undeniable, but I'm not sure that "Sour" is a sophisticated enough album to take top prize. I am probably wrong.

Many believe this award is down to "Love For Sale" and "Happier Than Ever," which would be Eilish's second Album of the Year win. "Love For Sale" isn't exactly thrilling stuff: It's a duet album of Cole Porter standards that doesn't exactly scream 2022. But might sentimentality push Bennett and Gaga over the edge? It could, sending Bennett into retirement with his final Album of the Year award, marking the end of a legendary career. And after being nominated for Album of the Year three times, Gaga would finally win her first. Both Gaga and Bennett also have a ton of goodwill behind them, which will help.

But "Happier Than Ever" is a masterwork, an artistic statement even more impressive and cohesive than 2019's "When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?" and Eilish is ultra-deserving of this award again. Will the Academy agree? I sure hope so.

Will Win: Happier Than Ever, Billie Eilish
Should Win: Happier Than Ever, Billie Eilish

Song of the Year

"Bad Habits," Ed Sheeran
"A Beautiful Noise," Alicia Keys & Brandi Carlile
"drivers license," Olivia Rodrigo
"Fight For You," H.E.R.
"Happier Than Ever," Billie Eilish
"Kiss Me More," Doja Cat feat. SZA
"Leave The Door Open," Silk Sonic
"Montero (Call Me By Your Name)," Lil Nas X
"Peaches," Justin Bieber feat. Daniel Caesar & Giveon
"Right On Time," Brandi Carlile

It's worth noting that for four consecutive years, Record and Song of the Year went to the same song. They split last year, giving Record of the Year to Billie Eilish and Song of the Year to H.E.R., and I'm predicting they're going to split again this year.

Song of the Year rewards songwriting rather than production, and any time a songwriting award is being given out, it would be unwise to totally count out Brandi Carlile, one of the greatest songwriters of our time. But the little-heard "A Beautiful Noise" is unlikely to prevail, and while "Right On Time" is gorgeous, it doesn't seem to have the wind in its sails quite like some of these other songs do.

It's a shame that Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey were iced out of this category, as both wrote songs far more substantial than some of what's on this list. But alas, this is likely between Eilish and Rodrigo. I wouldn't mind a H.E.R. upset for "Fight For You," a great song that won her an Academy Award last year, but that's a long shot.

Despite Eilish having the better song, this is one category where "drivers license" is likely to pull out a win.

Will Win: "drivers license," Olivia Rodrigo
Should Win: "Happier Than Ever," Billie Eilish