The pop field at the Grammys is consistently stacked, including as it does some of the biggest pop hits each year. This year the crowded field has a wide range of artists, from veterans to 2021 breakouts, competing for recognition. Let’s take a fresh look at Best Pop Solo Performance.
In my last pop field preview, I mentioned that this category seemed like a safe bet for Olivia Rodrigo; this has not changed. But now she has two new hits she could enter for consideration. “Good 4 U” might ultimately be the track her team submits here, since pop voters have been swayed by summer hits as of late (like Harry Styles‘s “Watermelon Sugar” last year and Lizzo‘s “Truth Hurts” the year before). Still, Rodrigo would definitely still be in the lead with “Drivers License,” and one could make the argument that even “Deja Vu” could still grant the newcomer a victory.
Another relatively new star, though not to the Grammys, is Lil Nas X. “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” is arguably the biggest hit eligible by someone whose name isn’t Olivia Rodrigo, and the track has received acclaim for its bold queer themes. The song would make Nas a two-time pop field winner; he won previously for “Old Town Road” in the Duo/Group category with Billy Ray Cyrus. He will likely be joined by the singer-songwriter who beat him for Best New Artist that year, Billie Eilish. I am expecting her to submit “Therefore I Am,” her biggest hit off her new album “Happier Than Ever” thus far, but knowing how beloved she is (seven wins in the last two years), any submission would likely make the cut.
Familiar favorites will probably round out the lineup. Ariana Grande rarely misses for the pop field, so you can expect her number-one hit “Positions” or top-three single “34+35” to make the cut (unless Grande submits “POV,” which is loved by her diehard fans but wasn’t as popular overall). Another pop favorite is Ed Sheeran, who’s enjoying success with his comeback single “Bad Habits.” Sheeran won the category twice before with “Thinking Out Loud” and “Shape of You,” making him the only person besides Adele to win it more than once. Other past pop contenders who could get in are Taylor Swift (“Willow”), Dua Lipa (“Love Again” or “We’re Good”), and Justin Bieber (“Anyone” or “Hold On”).
Finally, some artists who could surprise us due to recent popularity are The Kid LAROI for “Without You,” Doja Cat for “Need to Know,” and Camila Cabello for “Don’t Go Yet.” Long shots in the category who have an outside chance include Demi Lovato for “Dancing with the Devil,” Shawn Mendes for “Wonder,” and reigning champ Styles for “Golden.”
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