Grammy predictions update: Taylor Swift (‘Lover’) on the rise for Album of the Year, but can she really catch Billie Eilish?

Taylor Swift only got one Grammy nomination for her last album, “Reputation,” so the Gold Derby readers who have given us their predictions for 2020 were understandably skeptical about her followup “Lover” even when it was announced that it would be released in time for Grammy eligibility. However, in the ensuing weeks the album has been on the rise. Now we think she’s a likely nominee. But can she topple longtime front-runner Billie Eilish (“When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go”)? Check out the latest Grammy odds right here, and don’t forget to make or update your predictions here now that all four general field categories have been updated.

On July 1, Swift’s “Lover” ranked 13th in our predictions with 100/1 odds. By August 1 she moved up to 12th place, but still with 100/1 odds. Then “Lover” was released on August 23, and by September 1 she was up one more notch to 11th place with 52/1 odds — but she was still well outside our predicted nominees. However, by October 1 she had ascended all the way to sixth place with 22/1 odds. That’s where she sits as of this writing, and since the Grammys now have eight slots up for grabs in their general field categories, that puts Swift right in the thick of it.

She’s still got a long way to go, though. Eilish has been the Album of the Year front-runner since we opened our predictions center back in the spring, and she remains on top with 15/2 odds. There’s good reason to believe the recording academy may go with the teenage newcomer over the established favorite. When it comes to the Grammys, sometimes past success can actually work against you.

Swift won Album of the Year for “Fearless” in 2010 at the age of 20, which made her the youngest winner in history. Then she won again for her pop crossover “1989” in 2016, which made her the first woman to win that award twice as a lead album artist. But “Reputation” wasn’t so lucky when it was eligible in 2019, even with eight slots available in the general field.

At a time when the Grammys were coming under fire for advantaging (usually white) pop/rock artists like Swift, Beck and Adele over acclaimed hip-hop music from artists of color like Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar and Jay-Z, it’s possible the recording academy wanted to avoid the potential backlash of awarding Swift an unprecedented third prize in the top category. The final decisions in the general field are made by nomination review committees, who have the power to overrule the popular vote even if Swift had enough support to make the top eight on the strength of her chart-topping popularity alone.

But “Lover” earned Swift some of her best reviews, and it has already spawned more top-10 hits than “Reputation” did (“Me!” and “You Need to Calm Down” peaked at number-two, and then the title song climbed to the number-10 spot). She claimed Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards for “Calm Down” over the summer, so she has already improved her awards fortunes with this album compared to “Reputation.” Maybe Grammy voters will decide to welcome her back into the top categories, even if they’re still hesitant to give her another win so soon.

Be sure to make your Grammy predictions so that record executives and top name stars can see how their music is faring in our Grammy odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until nominations are announced. And join in the fierce debate over the 2020 Grammys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our music forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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