The Weeknd is now an Oscar-nominee for co-writing the song “Earned It” from the film “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and he also has three Grammy nominations for it: Best Visual Media Song, Best R&B Song and this award, Best R&B Performance. Does he have the edge in this race?
This award was handed out from 1958 to 1967 and then resumed in 2011 to consolidate the separate categories for female, male, duo/group and urban/alternative performances. Since then it has gone to two solo artists (Corinne Bailey Rae for “Is This Love” in 2011, Usher for “Climax” in 2012) and two collaborations (Snarky Puppy and Lalah Hathaway‘s “Something” in 2013, Beyonce and Jay-Z‘s “Drunk in Love” in 2014). As those winners also represented an even mix of male and female acts, it’s hard to identify any strong trends among the last four years of winners.
Having nominations in the general field never hurts in this or any other genre category at the Grammys, though even that isn’t a guarantee. While Beyonce was an Album of the Year contender when she won last year, Miguel‘s “Adorn” was also up for Song of the Year in 2012 when he was bested by Usher.
Nevertheless, the Weeknd looks like the frontrunner since he has more nominations (seven) than any of his rivals in this category, including bids for Album of the Year (“Beauty Behind the Madness“) and Record of the Year (though his Record bid is for a different song, “Cant Feel My Face“). For that matter, the three nominations for “Earned It” alone are more than most of the other artists he’s up against.
Tamar Braxton contends for “If I Don’t Have You,” which is her only nomination this year but her second in this category following a bid in 2013 for “Love and War,” which she lost to Snarky Puppy and Hathaway. But Grammys run in her family: her older sister Toni Braxton won Best Female R&B Vocal Performance four times among her seven career victories.
Rounding out the category is “Planes” by Jeremih featuring J. Cole. This is Jeremih’s only nomination, but J. Cole has two other bids: Best Rap Album (“2014 Forest Hills Drive“) and Best Rap Performance (“Apparently“).
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Photo credits: The Weeknd by Matt Baron/REX; “Fifty Shades of Grey” by Universal Pictures