2021 Grammy odds for Song of the Year: Early front-runners include Billie Eilish, Fiona Apple, Maren Morris …

The next Grammy Awards aren’t until next year, but the eligibility period is already starting to wind down. The cutoff date is August 31, 2020, which means we’ve already heard most of the music that will be considered for the upcoming event. So we recently opened our predictions for Song of the Year, and hundreds of Gold Derby users have already placed their early bets. Who’s out front?

Song of the Year is distinct from Record of the Year: Record honors the artists, producers, engineers and mixers for the recording itself while Song goes strictly to the songwriters. But there’s often a lot of overlap between the two categories. Three times in the last four years the two awards went to the same song (Adele‘s “Hello” in 2017, Childish Gambino‘s “This is America” in 2019, Billie Eilish‘s “Bad Guy” in 2020), and the fourth time the awards still went to the same artist — in 2018 Bruno Mars won Record for “24K Magic” and Song for “That’s What I Like.”

But there are usually differences. We tend to see a lot of singer-songwriters nominated here, while some of the biggest, most heavily produced hits that populate Record of the Year don’t always do as well in the writing category. So while The Weeknd‘s “Blinding Lights” is the current front-runner in both categories based on the combined predictions of our users, other songs that aren’t in our top eight for Record of the Year are stronger candidates here.

That includes Maren Morris‘s “The Bones,” which was a number-one country hit that peaked at number-12 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, which is her highest charting country song to date. She previously reached the top five with her 2018 dance pop crossover hit “The Middle.” That song was nominated for Record and Song of the Year, though Morris wasn’t one of the songwriters of that hit. She did co-write “The Bones,” though.

Then there’s Fiona Apple‘s “Shameika,” which charted on Billboard’s Hot Rock Songs and Adult Alternative Songs charts, but not the Hot 100. But that’s okay. Apple’s album “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” was so critically adored that it could muscle its way into top categories on the strength of its acclaim alone. Just look at Brandi Carlile‘s “The Joke,” which scored Record and Song nominations in 2019 without ever making it onto the Hot 100, and neither did Lana Del Rey‘s “Norman F*cking Rockwell” when it was nominated for Song in 2020.

And defending champion Eilish has a strong chance of returning with “Everything I Wanted,” which she released as a standalone single after the success of her album “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” “Everything” didn’t make as big a splash as “Bad Guy,” but it still reached the top 10 on the Hot 100.

The other contenders we’re predicting for Song of the Year nominations are also among our current predicted nominees for Record of the Year. In addition to “Blinding Lights,” there’s Dua Lipa‘s “Don’t Start Now,” Post Malone‘s “Circles,” Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande‘s “Rain on Me” and Harry Styles‘s “Adore You.” But we’ve got a while to go before the Grammy nominations come out at a date still yet to be announced (last year’s noms were announced on November 20, but the coronavirus pandemic has affected the timelines for multiple award shows). Who do you think will make the cut?

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 nominees are announced. And join in the fierce debate over the 2021 Grammys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our music forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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