Grammys 2022: Early handicapping of who will be the year’s most nominated artist

With the 2022 Grammy Awards gradually approaching and the eligibility period nearing its last month (the deadline is September 30), who will be the most nominated artist this year? Achieving that can be both a blessing and a curse. The last two who topped the tally did well for themselves. In 2020 Lizzo racked up eight nominations, winning three. Then in 2021 we saw Beyoncé pick up nine nominations, especially impressive considering she didn’t even release an album that year; she ultimately won four awards and thus became the most awarded woman in Grammy history. However, Kendrick Lamar only won one award at the 2019 Grammys despite getting seven nominations, and Jay-Z and Rihanna both went zero-for-eight in 2018.

As for this year, a few artists have the potential to be this year’s most nominated. Olivia Rodrigo is a likely bet in most if not all categories she submits to, so she could get at least six noms (the top four general field races, plus Pop Solo Performance and Pop Vocal Album). A Best Music Video nom would not surprise me, especially if one her hits gets the coveted Best Direction prize at the VMAs (often a good sign for the Grammys), so that could be a seventh. And if Rodrigo’s team submits something to the rock field (namely “Brutal,” which made it on the alternative charts), would it be that shocking to see her get in? Finally, she’s eligible for her work in “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” in the Best Visual Media Song category. So Rodrigo is looking to score up to 10 noms, though realistically I would bet on the first six as safe bets, with BMV as a likely seventh.

Another artist who could score big is H.E.R. If she once again gets general field noms with her album “Back of My Mind” (Album of the Year) and her single “Damage” (Record and Song of the Year), then that’s already three easy noms. Add to that her almost assured R&B field dominance, where she could not only get into Best Progressive R&B Album, Best R&B Song, and Best R&B Performance, but also in Best Traditional R&B Performance for her Oscar-winning song “Fight For You” or her track “Hold On,” which she performed on “SNL” last year.

And speaking of “Fight For You,” it will likely get into Best Visual Media Song, as could “Hold Us Together,” which she wrote for Disney’s film “Safety.” “Hold Us Together” could even sneak into Best Contemporary Christian Song/Performance for its remix with Christian artist Tauren Wells. On top of all that, H.E.R. is apparently working on a reggae album, which could potentially drop before the eligibility period ends. If all of that happens (and knowing how much the recording academy loves H.E.R., it could) then she would be looking at 9 to 11 noms, considering she’s also eligible for Best Music Video (though that seems unlikely for now).

Another cross-genre nominee could be defending Album of the Year winner Taylor Swift. Besides noms across the general field for her album “Evermore” and single “Willow,” she could land noms in both the country and pop fields, as well as Best Music Video, which could add up to a grand total of 10 noms as well. However, Swift hasn’t received a country nomination since 2017 for her songwriting on Little Big Town’s “Better Man,” and her last three latest submissions in the field (Sugarland’s “Babe,” and her tracks “Soon It’ll Get Better” and “Betty”) were all snubbed. But there’s no nomination review committee anymore to get in her way, so we’ll see if Swift will get back in, or if country voters might’ve just moved on from Swift-mania.

Moving on to another past Album of the Year winner, Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak are also looking at a handful of nominations for their collaborative work as Silk Sonic. While we’re still waiting for the actual album to come out, Mars and Paak are obvious bets to dominate with their single “Leave the Door Open” in the general field, Best Traditional R&B Performance, and Best R&B Song. We should expect a more contemporary-sounding Best R&B Performance contender as well, or even a possible Best Pop Duo/Group Performance entry. Add to that Album of the Year and Best R&B Album if the album drops in time, as well as Best Music Video, and you’ve got the potential for somewhere between six and nine nominations.

Naturally, maximizing nominations can be advantageous for cross-genre artists, especially since it shows that an artist has appeal across multiple voting blocs. But as noted above it’s not always a guarantee when it comes to win. The record for the most nominations without a win in one night (Paul McCartney with nine in 1966) has been held for quite some time. It would be a shame to see anyone suffer a similar fate.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article mistakenly listed the Grammys eligible period as ending on August 31 instead of the actual September 30.

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