The 2021 Grammy race for Best New Artist may be wide open following last year, when newcomers like Billie Eilish, Lizzo and Lil Nas X dominated the charts and took over these awards. They all came away as winners, bit it was Eilish who claimed Best New Artist in a historic sweep of the top four general field categories. So who’s next?
Scroll down for our current top 20 contenders for Best New Artist, ranked in order of their racetrack odds. Those odds are based on the combined predictions of Gold Derby users who have given us their forecasts here in our predictions center. We’ll be updating them throughout the season as contenders move up and down between now and the awards, so check back to see how your favorite artists are doing. And you can make or update your own picks as often as you like before nominations are unveiled.
This category is known to favor solo female artists, including noteworthy names like Bette Midler (1974), Cyndi Lauper (1985), Mariah Carey (1991), Alicia Keys (2002), Adele (2009), Dua Lipa (2019) and of course last year’s champ Eilish, among many other women who have taken home the title. This year there are many who could follow in those footsteps including rapper Megan Thee Stallion, critical darling Phoebe Bridgers, country breakout Gabby Barrett and chart-topper Doja Cat.
Of course, not every artist who becomes a superstar has won this prize. Modern icons like Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar lost Best New Artist but went on to much bigger and better things. And not all winners of this award can count on lengthy careers. Look no further than Milli Vanilli, who won in 1990 only to have their award rescinded when it was discovered that they did not actually sing any of their own vocals. That was the first and thankfully only time such a controversy struck this contest.
Do you agree with our odds? Who’s not in our top 20 (yet) that you think we’re underestimating? Check out our list below.