NEW YORK — L may typically stand for “loser” but artists like Lizzo, Lady Gaga, Lil Nas X and Lewis Capaldi are likely to score big next week when the Grammy nominations are unveiled, with expected nods in key categories, from album of the year to record and song of the year.
The Associated Press breaks down who might score multiple nominations on Wednesday, including performers whose names don’t start with the letter L.
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
It’s the year of the newbie. Billie Eilish, Lewis Capaldi, Lil Nas X and Lizzo — though she really doesn’t count here (her debut came out in 2013 people!!!) — should make splashes in big categories, with a 99.9% guarantee for best new artist. Eilish, who has one of the year’s top-selling albums with her debut, is a shoo-in for album of the year, along with song and record of the year for “Bad Guy.” Lizzo should also score bids for the big three with her major-label debut, “Cuz I Love You,” and her super-successful two-year-old song “Truth Hurts” — yes, the Grammys let it qualify for its 2020 show (talk about bending the rules).
Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Old Town Road” set a record for most weeks at No. 1, making it a strong possibility that the unlikely duo will score nods for record and song of the year. And Capaldi is a perfect candidate for song and record of the year: Not only did his debut ballad, “Someone You Loved,” top the Billboard Hot 100 chart, he’s a big-voiced British singer, and we know the Grammys have a weak spot for those types (see Adele and Sam Smith).
As far as best new artist goes, those likely to join Lizzo, Lil Nas X, Eilish and Capaldi would be four others from this group: Rosalia, Morgan Wallen, Juice WRLD, Megan Thee Stallion, Lauv, Summer Walker, Jimmie Allen or Ari Lennox.
A STAR IS BORN AGAIN
Though Lady Gaga won two honours for “Shallow” at this year’s Grammys, the soundtrack for “A Star is Born” is in contention for categories like album of the year and best pop vocal album at the 2020 show.
Several songs from the soundtrack were submitted, and could result in nominations in the pop and American Roots fields.
An album of the year win for Gaga — who won an Oscar for “Shallow” — would be her first after competing for the prize three times with 2008’s “The Fame,” 2009’s “The Fame Monster” and 2011’s “Born This Way.”
THE OBAMAS: GRAMMY FAMILY
Michelle Obama is on task to join her hubby as a fellow Grammy winner.
The former first lady is likely to earn a nomination for best spoken word album for her book, “Becoming.” Barack Obama won best spoken word album twice — in 2006 for “Dreams from My Father” and in 2008 for “The Audacity of Hope.”
Other winners in that category include Jimmy Carter, Carrie Fisher, Joan Rivers, Betty White, Maya Angelou, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who won in 1971 for “Why I Oppose the War In Vietnam.”
TAYLOR SWIFT: LOVE HER OR NOT?
Taylor Swift made history as the first woman to win album of the year twice with her own albums — but now the question is: Can she even score an album of the year nomination?
Swift’s newest album, “Lover,” was released a week before the Grammys’ cutoff date, so it’s eligible. But some question if that could happen since her 2017 album, “reputation,” didn’t earn a bid for the top prize, and none of its songs earned nominations. Its sole nomination was for best pop vocal album, but lost to Ariana Grande’s “Sweetener.”
Though two songs from “Lover” reached No. 2 on the Hot 100 chart, the songs haven’t made a splash like singles from her first five albums — so nominations for song and record of the year, or even best pop solo performance, go could either way.
One nomination that is likely: best music video for the LGBTQ-friendly hit “You Need to Calm Down,” a video featuring high-profile celebrities like Billy Porter, Ryan Reynolds, Ellen DeGeneres, RuPaul, Katy Perry, Laverne Cox, and the cast of “Queer Eye.”
The Billboard charts may let Lizzo and Lil Nas X call themselves rappers, but the Grammys’ rap committee have said “bye Felicia” to the breakthrough acts. Lizzo and Lil Nas X submitted their major hits — “Truth Hurts” and “Old Town Road” — to the rap categories but they were both pushed to the pop genre. “Truth Hurts” will now compete for best pop solo performance, while Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus’ song may be nominated for best pop duo/group performance (it didn’t qualify for country either). Lil Nas X’s debut EP, “7,” was also kicked out the rap category and could earn a nomination for best pop vocal album.
J. Cole’s “Middle Child” became a Top 5 pop hit this year and could earn nominations for best rap song and best rap performance. It could even compete for record of the year.
Tyler, the Creator, DaBaby, Meek Mill, Megan Thee Stallion and 21 Savage could also earn rap nominations, including best rap album.
Beyoncé has two albums gunning for Grammy nominations, “Homecoming: The Live Album” and “The Lion King: The Gift.”
She submitted songs to both the R&B and pop categories, and she’ll likely earn a nomination for best traditional R&B performance for “Before I Let Go” and best song written for visual media for “Spirit,” from the “Lion King” film where she voiced the character Nala.
In other R&B categories, including best R&B song and best R&B performance, it’s hard to say if she’ll be nominated: Sometimes the R&B committee won’t nominate her since she’s won 18 R&B Grammys and they want to make room for others to win.
More likely contenders include Ella Mai, Summer Walker, Ari Lennox and H.E.R.
Well, Chris Brown technically had a comeback when he won best R&B album at the 2012 Grammys — three years after his assault on Rihanna.
But Brown could have another chance at Grammy gold this time around: His hit with Drake, “No Guidance,” has spent five months in the Top 10 on the pop charts and his 30-track album, “Indigo,” is still in the Top 10 of the charts and is streaming extremely well.
The best pop duo/group performance category will be stacked this year.
The Jonas Brothers marked a major comeback, and will likely be nominated for the No.1 hit, “Sucker.” Another guarantee is Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello’s “Senorita,” which could even score nominations like record or song of the year.
Other likely nominees are “Old Town Road,” Swae Lee and Post Malone’s “Sunflower,” Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber’s “I Don’t Care,” Sam Smith and Normani’s “Dancing With a Stranger” and a live version of Panic! at the Disco’s “High Hopes.”
Another loaded category will be best music film, with Aretha Franklin’s “Amazing Grace” as the front-runner.
Other nominees should include Beyoncé’s “Homecoming,” “Springsteen on Broadway,” “Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese,” the Clarence Avant doc “The Black Godfather” and Ron Howard’s film on opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti.
DYNAMIC DUO: MAREN MORRIS and BUSBEE
Maren Morris, who won album of the year for “GIRL” at the CMA Awards this week, is a likely contender for album of the year at the Grammys.
It would be a sentimental win for Morris, a Grammy favourite, since her longtime producer busbee died in September at age 43 from brain cancer.
Busbee co-produced 11 of the 14 songs on “GIRL,” giving him enough credit to also earn a Grammy nomination for album of the year alongside Morris.
Morris has earned nine Grammy nods throughout her career — winning best country solo performance for her hit “My Church,” which busbee co-wrote and co-produced.
OTHER ALBUM OF THE YEAR CONTENDERS
Ariana Grande, whose “Thank U, Next” album launched multiple hits, is a likely contender for the top prize. Khalid’s sophomore album, “Free Spirit,” was a streaming juggernaut and could also compete for the show’s biggest honour.
Kanye West’s new gospel album won’t qualify for the 2020 Grammys since it was released after eligibility. But the big question is: Will the Grammys let the pop-star-rapper qualify for gospel Grammys in 2021?
Currently, West’s “Jesus Is King” is spending its second week at No. 1 on Billboard’s gospel albums chart, while his 11 of his songs have taken over the Top 11 spots on the gospel songs chart.
WWJD: What would Jesus do?