Predicting winners of 64th Grammy Awards

The 64th Grammy Awards show is on Sunday March 27 with artist nominations for Olivia Rodrigo, Cardi B and Justin Bieber. Photo courtesy of Spotify

By Emma Weidmann | Staff Writer

The 64th Grammy Awards show will air on April 3 and is stirring up buzz of who will win in the biggest categories as always. This year, the Grammys recognizes recordings released between Sept. 1, 2020 and Sept. 30, 2021. Here are my predictions for only a few of the 84 categories.

Record of the Year

This category is one of the most sought after. Like most categories, this award will likely be won by an artist with the most name recognition that also charted the best. Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever” stands a fair chance, although it peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” peaked much higher, spending five weeks at No. 1. Justin Bieber’s “Peaches,” Doja Cat’s “Kiss Me More” and Olivia Rodrigo’s “drivers license” all have a good shot at bagging this award based on chart position and name recognition — it comes down to which is the best song. In my opinion, the best of all these is “Peaches” by Justin Bieber featuring Daniel Caesar and Giveon. Its blend of R&B with Bieber’s pop roots is seamless. It made for a perfect song of the summer last year and was the standout on an intensely mediocre album. I see it winning record of the year.

Best Pop Vocal Album

Only five albums are nominated for this category, including “Justice” by Justin Bieber, “Planet Her” by Doja Cat, “Happier Than Ever” by Billie Eilish, “Positions” by Ariana Grande and “Sour” by Olivia Rodrigo. All of these artists are powerhouses, so name recognition is negligible when predicting the winner of this category. “Justice” by Justin Bieber lacks cohesiveness and panders to the audience with an out-of-place recording of Martin Luther King Jr. placed right before a song about Hailey Baldwin. It isn’t Grammy-worthy. “Happier Than Ever” charted highly, but did not sell as many albums as Eilish has in the past. “Positions” was lackluster and a little boring, so Olivia Rodrigo is set to sweep the floor as she is nominated in six categories. I believe the Grammy will go to “Sour” by Olivia Rodrigo.

Song of the year

The Grammy for song of the year will go to Olivia Rodrigo for “drivers license.” One might wonder the difference between this award and record of the year, and why I would predict this song for song of the year, but not for record of the year. The difference is that song of the year has to do with writing and composition, while record of the year focuses on the recording itself — the production, mixing and engineering. “drivers license” has emotional and vulnerable lyricism as well as a famous chill-inducing bridge that makes it worthy of this award over the other nominees.

Best New Artist

Of all the nominees in this category, by far the most recognizable names are FINNEAS and Olivia Rodrigo. Both artists had relative popularity before September 2020, but Olivia Rodrigo’s rise from minor Disney actress to bonafide pop princess was swift and definitive. With the release of the single “drivers license,” which sat at number one for nine weeks, followed by her debut album “Sour,” Rodrigo is in the best position to win her very first Grammy.

Album of the Year

For the same reasons I chose “Sour” by Olivia Rodrigo to win best pop vocal album, I predict it to do just as well in this category. It may just be one of the best debut albums for a pop artist in decades and catapulted Rodrigo to mainstream, global success. Other albums in this category, like Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever,” underperformed compared to past works, and include random bossanova tracks that subtract from the cohesiveness of the album. “Sour” has nothing of the sort. It is 30 minutes of angsty, teen punk-pop perfection.

Best Rap Performance

As much as I think that “m y . l i f e” by J. Cole featuring 21 Savage and Morray should be the rightful winner in this category, I think it’s more likely that a song that charted higher and has more mass appeal will actually win. On that note, I think “Up” by Cardi B will receive the Grammy for best rap performance. It spent 16 weeks on the charts, meaning it had a broader and more consistent audience.

Best Country Song

Possibly the worst song ever is nominated in this category. “Fancy Like” by Walker Hayes should not win this award, mostly because it name-drops an Applebee’s menu item. Its pop instrumentals stray far from the country genre, and nobody could possibly convince themselves that it’s a better song than the other nominees. It simply doesn’t measure up to “Cold” by Chris Stapleton and “Country Again” by Thomas Rhett. Generally, country music has begun to sound less and less like the genre it once was. Thomas Rhett has a long record of Grammy wins, and “Country Again” is a soulful, wonderful country song true to its roots. My money is on “Country Again” for best country song.