Predicting the Unpredictable: Grammys 2023

by Christopher Ehlers

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Saturday February 4, 2023
Originally published on February 3, 2023

Predicting the Unpredictable: Grammys 2023

The Grammys are really hard to predict. Like really hard. Whereas other voting bodies like the Motion Picture Academy, Television Academy, and Hollywood Foreign Press Association tend to have more predictable voting patterns, the Recording Academy is a veritable free for all. And with recent pushes for more diversity, the awards have become even harder to predict.

Nevertheless, here's how I think it'll all shake out.

Album of the Year

ABBA, "Voyage"
Adele, "30"
Bad Bunny, "Un Verano Sin Ti"
Beyonce, "Renaissance"
Mary J. Blige, "Good Morning Gorgeous"
Brandi Carlile, "In These Silent Days"
Coldplay, "Music Of The Spheres"
Kendrick Lamar, "Mr. Moraly & The Big Steppers"
Lizzo, "Special"
Harry Styles, "Harry's House"

For ABBA, Mary J. Blige, Coldplay (why?!), Kendrick Lamar, and Lizzo, the nomination is the prize, no matter how great Lamar's album was (which is pretty great). Brandi Carlile is kind of on the periphery here. She's beloved in the industry and "In These Silent Days" is a gorgeous album, but it neither feels like an album of the moment nor like she has any momentum in her favor. Her win here is conceivable, especially if frontrunners Adele, Bad Bunny, Beyonce, and Harry Styles split the vote, but it's a longshot.

In a perfect world, Bad Bunny would win for what was the year's biggest album. But without more nominations for him this year, it's hard to see much support among the Academy. He'd be a far mightier competitor if his name showed up under Record and Song Of The Year, which it didn't.

For a while, I was ready to predict that Harry Styles would take this. His album goes down easy. It's well-liked by all age groups. It's well-made. But truthfully, it's a bit snoozy. Despite a couple good tracks, the album's second half kind of runs out of steam.

So yes, it does appear as though we have another Adele and Beyonce showdown on our hands. Adele's "25" memorably beat Beyonce's "Lemonade" in this category six years ago. Both deserved it and both have stood the test of time. But this year we see "Renaissance," a dance album that finds Queen Bey at her sexiest and most confident, up against "30," a devastatingly beautiful album about falling in and out of love and desperately trying to put yourself back together. It's Adele's best album featuring her best vocals and her best writing. It is not Beyonce's best album, and I see many voters struggling to relate to lyrics like "get yo money, money, cunty, hunty." Adele's "30" is her "Lemonade," and it's so beautifully crafted that it ought to bring Adele her third Album of the Year win.

Will win: Adele, "30"

Should win: Adele, "30"

Record Of The Year

ABBA, "Don't Shut Me Down"
Adele, "Easy On Me"
Beyonce, "Break My Soul"
Mary J. Blige, "Good Morning Gorgeous"
Brandi Carlile feat. Lucius, "You And Me On The Rock"
Doja Cat, "Woman"
Steve Lacy, "Bad Habit"
Kendrick Lamar, "The Heart Part 5"
Lizzo, "About Damn Time"
Harry Styles, "As It Was"

This award goes to producers, engineers, and mixers, not the song's writers. But recently, the Grammys for Song and Record of the Year have gone to the same song. If Adele wins Song of the Year, you can expect her to also take Record of the Year. But if Taylor Swift takes Song of the Year, Record of the Year is wide open since she isn't nominated. It's hard to imagine that this isn't a three-way race between Adele, Steve Lacy, and Harry Styles, but almost anyone but ABBA, Brandi Carlile, and Mary J. Blige could win this. It's truly up for grabs.

Will win: Harry Styles, "As It Was"

Should win: Bad Bunny, but he was stiffed here, so I'll have to go with Adele.

Song Of The Year

Gayle, "abcdefu"
Lizzo, "About Damn Time"
Taylor Swift, "All Too Well (10 Minute Version)"
Harry Styles, "As It Was"
Steve Lacy, "Bad Habit"
Beyonce, "Break My Soul"
Adele, "Easy On Me"
DJ Khaled, "God Did"
Kendrick Lamar, "The Heart Part 5"
Bonnie Raitt, "Just Like That"

DJ Khaled's nomination here is a joke. While it's nice to see Bonnie Raitt's name—her first nod for Song of the Year—it's not a great song. The real race here is between Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, Adele, and even Steve Lacy. Lacy's song is inexplicably adored and he could upset here. Harry Styles has a great chance of winning this, especially if he also takes Record of the Year. It seems to me that this must be a race between Taylor Swift and Adele. Adele has won this award twice before, for "Rolling in the Deep" and "Hello," whereas Taylor Swift has surprisingly never won this award. Swift's 10-minute version of "All Too Well" is a masterclass in songwriting and completely puts all the other nominees in this category to shame. But I see two things working against it: Swift fatigue and the fact that "All Too Well" was written a decade ago. Will people care? Maybe.

Will win: Harry Styles, "As It Was"

Should win: Taylor Swift, "All Too Well (10 Minute Version)"

Best New Artist

Omar Apollo
DOMi & JD Beck
Muni Long
Samara Joy
Tobe Nwigwe
Molly Tuttle
Wet Leg

For a long time, it looked like Latto had this sewn up. But her one hit, "Big Energy," failed to score any major nominations and it's unlikely that she'll win on the strength of one song. There has been a groundswell of support for Wet Leg recently, which could indicate that the winds are blowing in their direction, but many are predicting Maneskin for reasons I cannot begin to understand. Omar Apollo should win this easily, and he might still. But I'm sticking with Brazilian phenomenon Anitta.

Will win: Anitta

Should win: Omar Apollo