The 2019 Grammy Awards will look slightly different than previous years, with the Recording Academy expanding the awards’ biggest four general categories -- album of the year, record of the year, song of the year and best new artists -- from five nominees to eight, in an effort to better reflect the many entries in the main categories and the diversity of the music community the Grammys are meant to celebrate.
These changes will likely make the list of Grammy contenders even more diverse than 2018’s nominations, when all five tracks nominated for record of the year came from artists of color, as did four out of the five nominees for album and song of the year.
However, the 2018 Grammys telecast was a different story. The awards were criticized for snubbing hip-hop artists in the night’s main categories and for not giving female artists enough time on-screen during the performances and televised awards, with Grammys president Neil Portnow making a controversial comment after the show about women needing to “step up” to gain more recognition.
With Portnow stepping down after the 2019 Grammys, and the Recording Academy making various efforts in the months since the 2018 Grammys to make sure the awards are more inclusive -- including the category changes and the formation of a task force of artists and executives -- it’s clear that gender and racial diversity will be a priority during this year’s awards.
Read on for more predictions about what will happen when the 2019 Grammys nominations unfold on Dec. 5.
Album of the year
Who will get nominated: Beyonce and Jay-Z are both frequent Grammy nominees, so they’re seemingly shoe-ins for their 2018 collaborative album “Everything Is Love.” The night’s more obvious potential nominees also includes Drake for “Scorpion,” though the rapper has had some drama with the Recording Academy in the past, publicly criticizing the awards for their lack of diversity and declining to submit any music last year.
Taylor Swift is a perennial Grammys favorite, so her “Reputation” album will likely appear score an album of the year nod. And after huge years for Ariana Grande and Cardi B, a nomination for their “Sweetener” and “Invasion of Privacy” albums, respectively, seem like shoe-ins.
Who should get nominated: Beyond the aforementioned artists, Janelle Monae’s “Dirty Computer” is a critical favorite that will hopefully get some love from the Recording Academy. So is Kacey Musgraves’ “Golden Hour,” which deserves to be recognized in the night’s general categories, not just the country music fields.
Song of the year
Who will get nominated: A songwriter’s award, the Grammys’ song-of-the-year category is often awarded to emotional, sweeping anthems -- think Adele’s "Hello" or Ed Sheeran’s "Thinking Out Loud," both past winners of the award -- though Bruno Mars won the category with the slinky “That’s What I Like” last year. If the category’s previous winners are any indication, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s “Shallow” from the “Star is Born” soundtrack would be a clear front-runner, as would Ed Sheeran and Beyonce's "Perfect," especially since Sheeran has won the award in the past.
A hip-hop song has never won in the song of the year category, so while Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” and one of Drake’s many 2018 singles -- probably “God’s Plan” -- will likely get nominated, their chances of taking home the category are less clear. Other pop contenders could include Taylor Swift’s “Delicate,” Ariana Grande’s “No Tears Left To Cry” and Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You.” Ella Mai’s “Boo’d Up” has the potential to earn the singer her first Grammy nomination.
Who should get nominated: Kacey Musgraves’ “High Horse” would be a worthwhile addition to this category, and Demi Lovato’s “Sober” is just the kind of moving ballad that normally gets recognized for song of the year, as is Carrie Underwood's "Cry Pretty."
Record of the year
Who will get nominated: Bruno Mars also took home this category last year, with his track "24k Magic," Expect to see some overlap between the song and record of the year fields, particularly with "This Is America," "God's Plan," "Shallow" and "Perfect." As opposed to the song of the year category, the record of the year award recognizes the performers and producers of the track, with the Recording Academy often awarding it to a big pop hit that made a splash that year. Following that logic, Cardi B's "I Like It" will also likely score a nomination, though the similarly-bilingual hit "Despacito" failed to win the record of the year trophy last year.
Who should get nominated: Troye Sivan’s divine “My My My” never got the commercial play it was capable of, so seeing it in among the record of the year contenders would be well-deserved justice.
Best new artist
Who will get nominated: Cardi B and Ella Mai will likely get at least a few nominations in the night’s other main categories, so they both seem preordained to get best new artist nods as well. Troye Sivan and Dua Lipa also had breakthrough years in 2018, so their names will likely land on the list, as could Bebe Rexha, who landed on many listeners' radars with her Florida Georgia Line collaboration "Meant to Be."
Who should get nominated: Margo Price, Hayley Kiyoko, Jorja Smith and Years and Years were among the many young stars that impressed us in 2018 who maybe don't have the name recognition to score a best new artist nomination -- though, with the category's expanded field, this may be their lucky year.