The best names in music gather on Sunday to honor their own at the Grammys, now in its 64th edition, with pop juggernauts joining jazzman Jon Batiste as the leading nominees.
This year, the gala takes place in Las Vegas for the first time after organizers postponed the original event on Jan. 31 due to an increase in Covid-19 cases and then moved it from Los Angeles to the U.S. gaming capital.
The field is wide open – especially after the Recording Academy once again expanded the top four categories, this time to include 10 nominees, in an effort to improve diversity.
The timing of the Grammy Awards just a week after Will Smith stunned the world by beating Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars adds an extra layer of unpredictability to what is already usually one of the more bizarre nights on the showbiz price circuit.
Justin Bieber will compete for eight trophies at the ceremony hosted by host Trevor Noah late at night, as will R & B favorite HERE and singer-rapper Doja Cat.
Grammys darling Billie Eilish is in the running for seven awards. The same goes for Olivia Rodrigo, a former Disney Channel actress who exploded on the pop scene last year with her breakout hit “Driving License.”
The 19-year-old Rodrigo got the expected nod to her highly acclaimed debut album “Sour”, and is almost a shoo-in for best new artist – she is up against Eilish’s brother Finneas, rapper Saweetie, experimental pop act Japanese Breakfast and others.
Like Eilish in 2020, Rodrigo has the ability to sweep across the top four categories, which would make her the only third artist to do so.
But it is Jon Batiste – the jazz and R&B artist and bandleader who won an Oscar last year for his soundtrack to the Pixar animated film “Soul” – who has the most chances for Grammys gold, with 11 nominations, including in two top Categories.
The longtime musical director of the popular “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” Batiste in recent years has emerged as a voice for social justice and protest.
The black artist, born into a prominent music dynasty in New Orleans, will mainly compete on the strength of his album “We Are” and its uplifting single “Freedom”.
The dormant nomination leader is also ready for awards in areas that span genre and medium, including R&B, jazz, American roots and modern classical, along with nods to best music video and his composition work on “Soul.”
Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, the beloved 95-year-old crooner, have great chances to add to their Grammys series – their album “Love For Sale” received six nominations.
– Rodrigo, Eilish, Lil Nas X perform –
Kanye West received several nominations for her album “Donda” – and will meet the longtime nemesis Taylor Swift in the Album of the Year category, where she has her only chance for Grammy gold for “evermore”.
Swift did not submit “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” – her 2021 remake of her 2008 album – for Grammy consideration, after winning four awards for the original in 2010.
The rap categories include West along with Nas, J. Cole and Tyler, the creator – but not Drake, who withdrew his two nominations in December without explanation.
Earlier, the Canadian hit list tops had accused Recording Academy, which he has long sparred with, of putting his music in the rap categories because he is black.
Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion will compete in the category Best Rap Performance, the only field where the artists behind the big “WAP” are in the running.
The Korean pop juggernauts BTS scored one nomination in the pop categories for the big commercial hit “Butter” – less than expected for the massively popular boy band that has struggled to make inroads at the Grammys.
But BTS is scheduled to perform the night that was seen, for its staging as the actual awards, like Rodrigo, Eilish, Batiste and HERE along with Lil Nas X.
West, who has five nominations in total, had reportedly been removed from the performance lineup due to his sometimes worrying behavior, but some sources said he could still join the lineup at the last minute.
The Mercurial West has for weeks aired personal attacks on comedian Pete Davidson, who dates West’s ex-wife Kim Kardashian.
The 44-year-old megastar was also ruled out on Instagram for 24 hours after insulting Grammy host Noah, who had said West was “becoming more and more belligerent in how he tries to get Kim back.”
mdo / sst