Olivia Rodrigo‘s “Drivers License” has been the Grammy front-runner for Record of the Year and Song of the Year since we opened our predictions center, but no one knew if her full debut album “Sour” would live up to the promise of that initial hit. It looks like it definitely did, and after a steady climb she has now risen into the top eight in our odds for Album of the Year. As of this writing she ranks seventh with 20/1 odds based on the combined predictions of our users.
“Sour” had high expectations, preceded as it was by three top 10 singles, two of which debuted at number-one (“Drivers License” and “Good 4 U”). No new artist had ever achieved that before the release of their debut album. Then when the album came out it was rated highly by critics (83 on MetaCritic) and debuted at number-one on the Billboard 200 with the biggest week of any album this year so far. So with that coveted combo of critical and commercial success, is she a lock for a nomination in 2022?
In previous years, maybe not. When the final nomination decisions were made by secret nomination review committees, big hits would often be surprisingly snubbed, like The Weeknd‘s “After Hours” this past year. But given the controversies that have surrounded the Grammy voting system, the recording academy has done away with those committees, allowing voters at large to decide the nominees without anonymous intermediaries exerting their influence.
That’s probably good news for a popular, mainstream album like “Sour” with a high profile and great reviews. Rodrigo is also helped by the academy’s frequent bias towards pop and rock music over R&B and hip-hop recordings; her music is reminiscent of past general field Grammy winners like Taylor Swift, Lorde, and Billie Eilish, so we already know voters like her style — or at least, styles like hers. All that could add up to a sweet windfall for “Sour.”
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