Olivia, Olivia, Olivia:
Our 2022 Grammy Predictions

Our best guesses for the biggest music awards show of the year revealed. 

by Ben Boddez

As the year winds to a close, the time to hand out gilded statues to Hollywood’s finest is right around the corner. And even though there’s bound to be a number of questionable selections as usual, every year we still hope that the Grammys manage to get it right, helping to either cement a deserving big act’s legendary status or broaden the reach of some underrated rising stars. As the Recording Academy’s picks often seem to have a blend of both commercial success and critical acclaim, here are our best guesses for what will be revealed on November 23. Remember that the eligibility period, for whatever reason, spans from September 2020 to September 2021.

Album of the Year

Ariana Grande – positions

Chris Stapleton – Starting Over

Doja Cat – Planet Her

Lil Nas X – MONTERO

Megan Thee Stallion – Good News

Olivia Rodrigo – SOUR

Taylor Swift – evermore

Tyler, the Creator – CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST

The last two winners of the biggest prize of the night were a teenage superstar who exploded into the public consciousness overnight – Billie Eilish – and the omnipresent awards darling Taylor Swift, who picked up the record-breaking third Album of the Year trophy for a female artist. Both factors could once again be at play. With the younger viewer base becoming more and more disillusioned with awards shows, you have to imagine that the committee is itching for Olivia Rodrigo to make multiple trips to the podium and jack the ratings up – luckily, it’d be rather deserved, too.

Will win: SOUR

Should win: SOUR

Dark horses: Drake – Certified Lover Boy, Bo Burnham – Inside (The Songs), St. Vincent – Daddy’s Home, Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga – Love for Sale, H.E.R. – Back of My Mind

Record of the Year

Brandi Carlile – “Right On Time”

Doja Cat & SZA – “Kiss Me More”

Dua Lipa – “Levitating”

Justin Bieber, Daniel Caesar & Giveon – “Peaches”

The Kid LAROI & Justin Bieber – “Stay”

Lil Nas X – “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”

Olivia Rodrigo – “good 4 u”

Silk Sonic – “Leave The Door Open”

Often a parade of some of the year’s biggest hits with a couple critical darlings thrown in – Brandi Carlile is our pick to mingle with the superstars in the Big Four categories this year – recent winners have included Adele, Childish Gambino and Bruno Mars, whose masterfully produced track with Silk Sonic should easily snatch the trophy but might drown under a Rodrigo sweep. Billie Eilish will be going for the three-peat after “bad guy” and “everything i wanted,” but we have her more likely to appear in the Song category. 

Will Win: “good 4 u”

Should Win: “Leave The Door Open”

Dark Horses: Ariana Grande – “positions,” BTS – “Butter,” Ed Sheeran – “Bad Habits,” Glass Animals – “Heat Waves,” Chris Stapleton – “Starting Over”

Song of the Year

Olivia Rodrigo – “drivers license”

Taylor Swift – “willow” 

Billie Eilish – “Happier Than Ever”

Kacey Musgraves – “Justified”

Brandi Carlile – “Right On Time”

Silk Sonic – “Leave The Door Open”

Dua Lipa – “Levitating”

Doja Cat & SZA – “Kiss Me More” 

Often a confusing distinction to remember year after year, Record of the Year is for the song itself, but Song of the Year is a songwriters’ award. While there’s often quite a bit of overlap between the two categories, expect some more ballads and poetically-driven tracks to sneak their way into this category. While Silk Sonic might have the best-produced hit of the year, who could deny a song about teenage romance that made everyone from kids to grandparents openly weep? 

Will Win: “drivers license”

Should Win: “drivers license”

Dark Horses: H.E.R. – “Fight For You,” Giveon – “Heartbreak Anniversary,” Ed Sheeran – “Visiting Hours,” Lana Del Rey – “Let Me Love You Like A Woman,” Chris Stapleton – “Starting Over”

Best New Artist

Arlo Parks

Gabby Barrett

girl in red

Glass Animals

The Kid LAROI

Olivia Rodrigo

Polo G

Saweetie

The category with the most arbitrary rules, it’s often impossible to predict which artists the Grammy committee will judge to have “establish[ed] their public identity” during the eligibility period, sometimes nominating artists who have been releasing music for years before nabbing a bigger hit than usual. Still, Rodrigo repeating a Big Four sweep like fellow teen sensation Billie Eilish did two years ago feels almost inevitable. Let’s hope she’s not affected by the curse that seems to follow most of this category’s winners. 

Will Win: Olivia Rodrigo

Should Win: Arlo Parks

Dark Horses: Måneskin, 24kGoldn, Clairo, Tate McRae, Walker Hayes

Best Pop Vocal Album

Ariana Grande – positions

Doja Cat – Planet Her

Lil Nas X – MONTERO

Olivia Rodrigo – SOUR

Taylor Swift – evermore

The Pop Vocal Album category is often filled with Album of the Year nominees, so it’s no surprise if we see some of the same names pop up repeatedly. If Rodrigo is truly to sweep the night’s biggest categories, it’s highly likely that she takes home another one here – though she has some of the best-selling albums of the year to compete against. 

Will Win: SOUR

Should Win: SOUR

Dark Horses: Billie Eilish – Happier Than Ever, Justin Bieber – Justice, Miley Cyrus – Plastic Hearts, Lorde – Solar Power, Lana Del Rey – Chemtrails Over The Country Club

Best Alternative Album

Arlo Parks – Collapsed In Sunbeams

Clairo – Sling

Halsey – If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power

girl in red – if i could make it go quiet

St. Vincent – Daddy’s Home

Often one of the greatest categories of the night simply because they opt to shove so many disparate things together, the field is being stormed by a bigger star than usual this year in Halsey, whose team-up with Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor has deemed her eligible in the eyes of the Grammy committee and might take it on name recognition alone. Still, we might be looking at a historic all-female field, and there are some pretty great projects in the mix. 

Will Win: If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power

Should Win: Daddy’s Home

Dark Horses: Julien Baker – Little Oblivions, Japanese Breakfast – Jubilee, Joji – Nectar, Sufjan Stevens – The Ascension, Gorillaz – Song Machine, Season 1: Strange Timez

Best Rock Album

Black Keys – Delta Kream

Bruce Springsteen – Letter To You

Foo Fighters – Medicine at Midnight

Greta Van Fleet – The Battle at Garden’s Gate

Paul McCartney – McCartney III

When it comes to the Rock category, the Grammys often love parading out larger-than-life titans instead of the genre’s rising stars – much to the chagrin of the genre’s fans. This year, two of the biggest projects from living legends Springsteen and McCartney racked up some stellar reviews as well. Still, Dave Grohl and his band have been Grammy darlings for decades now, and they just might pick up a record-extending fifth victory in the category. 

Will Win: Medicine at Midnight

Should Win: Letter To You

Dark Horses: Machine Gun Kelly – Tickets To My Downfall, Weezer – Van Weezer, The Killers – Pressure Machine, Kings of Leon – When You See Yourself, AC/DC – POWER UP

Best R&B Album

Alicia Keys – ALICIA

H.E.R. – Back Of My Mind

Jazmine Sullivan – Heaux Tales

Prince – Welcome 2 America

Yebba – Dawn

We’re caught between two of the Grammys’ absolute favourite things to do: give out a posthumous award, or give yet another trophy to H.E.R., who racked up thirteen nominations before even dropping her debut album earlier this year. A nominee in her own right two years running, the victory should really go to Yebba’s stunning tribute to her late mother. 

Will Win: Back Of My Mind

Should Win: Dawn

Dark Horses: Leon Bridges – Gold-Diggers Sound, Salaam Remi – Black On Purpose, Bootsy Collins – The Power of the One, Tinashe – 333, Snoh Aalegra – TEMPORARY HIGHS IN THE VIOLET SKIES

Best Rap Album

Drake – Certified Lover Boy

DMX – Exodus 

J. Cole – The Off-Season

Megan Thee Stallion – Good News

Tyler, the Creator – CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST

Often criticized for their narrow-minded view of the genre in a world where its innovators consistently push the limits to new heights, we can only hope that most of the nominees aren’t over 40 like they were last year – even though it was great to see Nas pick up his long-overdue first Grammy. The late DMX is another legend without a golden gramophone who could ride that narrative to glory, but last year’s Best New Artist winner Megan Thee Stallion dominated pop culture in 2021 and will likely take it. 

Will Win: Good News

Should Win: CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST

Dark Horses: Nas – King’s Disease II, Kanye West – Donda, Kid Cudi – Man On The Moon III, 21 Savage & Metro Boomin – Savage Mode II, Polo G – Hall of Fame

Best Country Album 

Brothers Osborne – Skeletons

Chris Stapleton – Starting Over

Dan + Shay – Good Things

Eric Church – Soul 

Mickey Guyton – Remember Her Name

Chris Stapleton has been nominated in this category every time he’s dropped an album, has already won twice, and his latest has more radio hits than he’s ever had before. We won’t be complaining if he takes home another one – Stapleton is one of the most talented vocalists on the planet, and his country-soul belts on his latest can shake any listener to the core. Other past favourites and performers populate the rest of the category. 

Will Win: Starting Over

Should Win: Starting Over

Dark Horses: Morgan Wallen – Dangerous: The Double Album, Sturgill Simpson – The Ballad of Dood & Juanita, Chris Young – Famous Friends, Keith Urban – The Speed of Now Part 1, Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram & John Randall – The Marfa Tapes

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