2021 Grammy contenders: These are top artists and albums that may get their due next year

The 2021 Grammy Awards eligibility period started earlier than ever before, September 1, 2019. So who will be nominated for top prizes, and who will win when trophies are handed out? Scroll down for our list of artists and albums to watch for, updating throughout the season as new albums drop.

The eligibility period for the Grammys used to be October 1 through September 30, but they changed things for the 2020 awards. The Oscars decided to move up their calendar so that their awards ceremony landed on the first week of February, which is usually the Grammys’ turf. So the Grammys decided to move up their telecast into January, and they moved back their eligibility cutoff by one month.

Now the eligibility period is September 1 through August 31, so before the 2020 Grammys even aired we already had potential 2021 contenders all over the charts, like Post Malone‘s “Hollywood’s Bleeding,” Camila Cabello‘s “Romance” and Harry Styles‘s “Fine Line,” all of which were released in the fall of 2019. Alabama Shakes front woman Brittany Howard even earned a couple of 2020 Grammy nominations for her single “History Repeats,” while the rest of her album “Jaime” (released September 20) is eligible to compete in the current kudos cycle.

The nominees in the top four general field categories — Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist — are not decided strictly by a popular vote of recording academy members. Final decisions are made by nomination review committees, which were called into question after former academy president Deborah Dugan was put on leave and accused the organization of rigging the competition. So there’s potential drama behind the scenes as well as on the Grammy stage. Who do you think will make the cut?