Grammys Album of the Year predictions: The Beyonce vs. Adele rematch we’ve all been waiting for

Having gone to artists running the gamut from The Beatles to Billie Eilish, the Grammy for Album of the Year is one that every artist wishes to win. It’s one thing to be recognized for a particular song, but being honored for the best body of work of the year can often mean much more, especially to artists who truly focus on the art of creating a complete cohesive album. This year the biggest story is the rematch between Adele and Beyoncé, but there may be some possible upsets brewing.

Adele’s “30” is definitely one of the front-runners here. Her Grammy track record is perhaps the most impressive of any artist ever; she has only lost three awards out of 18 previous nominations, and she went undefeated for both “21” and “25.” This year could be a little different, though, considering that “30” wasn’t necessarily the cultural phenomenon that those previous two albums were. However, it is still one of the most successful albums nominated here. It also received mass acclaim upon its release, so voters might want to award her for delivering a record that was both commercially and critically successful. Still, perhaps its biggest disadvantage is that a lot of people might not want to reward Adele for a third time over artists who haven’t won this award, especially with an album that didn’t quite rise to her previous heights.

This is where Beyoncé comes in, being the odds-on favorite according to Gold Derby’s combined predictions. “Renaissance” definitely checks all the boxes needed to win Album of the Year. It is critically beloved, inventive, and a new creative direction for Beyoncé; it’s commercially successful; and, unlike Beyoncé’s “Lemonade,” it has multiple pop hits. Beyoncé does have to face a possible vote-split with Mary J. Blige’s “Good Morning Gorgeous,” which could siphon away some R&B votes. Still, “Renaissance” would be a great winner not only on its own merits, but because it would finally bring Beyoncé this prestigious honor, long overdue. And being overdue often factors into who wins too (consider past veteran champs like Steely Dan, Ray Charles, and Daft Punk), and could especially affect the race now since Beyoncé’s last controversial Album of the Year loss was to Adele. Will the Grammys really let her lose to Adele again?

There’s also the biggest artist of the year, Bad Bunny, nominated for his smash record “Un Verano Sin Ti.” The question remains as to whether the Grammys will embrace a record that’s not only fully in Spanish, but that is urban. The album might also skew too young and alienate older voters in the Recording Academy. Those voters could, on the other hand, go for something like ABBA’s “Voyage,” which could upset if older voters want to recognize the legendary group, especially since they’ve never won a Grammy (see above re: overdue factor).

However, sometimes the Grammys do unexpected stuff. This is why you probably should keep an eye out for Americana darling Brandi Carlile (“In These Silent Days”). She is a consistent nominee, having contended in the general field almost every year since 2018 racking up seven wins in a span of five years. Carlile’s biggest advantage over her peers is that she doesn’t have anyone to split the Americana or country votes coming her way. Since she’s nominated in rock this year too, those voters might go for her over artists like Beyoncé and Adele. However, the rock vote could also go for Harry Styles, whose “As It Was” is a Record and Song of the Year front-runner. Styles’s album “Harry’s House” isn’t the most acclaimed, but its nomination for Best Engineered Album means it will have some extra support from the more technical branches like production and engineering.

The other nominees here might have to sit this one out. Perhaps the lack of other hip-hop nominees could work in Kendrick Lamar’s favor, especially since he is one of the most acclaimed artists in the lineup. However, rap albums have a bad track record here, and “Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers” didn’t have the commercial or cultural impact of his last album, “Damn.”Meanwhile,  Lizzo’s “Special” is not really considered the Album of the Year by many and might do better in the singles categories for “About Damn Time.” And Coldplay (“Music of the Spheres”) should truly be glad they’re even nominated.

I’m going to lean towards Beyoncé here: the acclaim “Renaissance” received might be too big to ignore, especially over an artist who has already won this twice. Watch out for Carlile, though.

Will win: Beyoncé, “Renaissance”
Likeliest upset: Adele, “30”
Dark horse: Brandi Carlile, “In These Silent Days”

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Grammy odds for Album of the Year
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