The List: Predicting the 2020 Grammy Awards

Andy Downing
Lizzo performs at the American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

The Grammys take place on Sunday, Jan. 26, so before watching Aerosmith, Camila Cabello and Blake Shelton perform a tribute to the late Juice WRLD (you know it’s coming), we thought we’d take a crack at predicting who might take home the gold.

Album of the Year

Bon Iver: i,i

Lana Del Rey: Norman Fucking Rockwell!

Billie Eilish: When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

H.E.R.: I Used to Know Her

Ariana Grande: thank u, next

Lil Nas X: 7

Lizzo: Cuz I Love You

Vampire Weekend: Father of the Bride

Who will win: Lizzo. This just feels like her year.

Who should win: Lizzo. And we can’t say it’s not deserved, even if Joel might feel different.

Who should have been nominated: Nobody released a better album this year than Jamila Woods in Legacy! Legacy!, which still sounds like an artist establishing one of her own.

Record of the Year

Bon Iver: “Hey, Ma”

Billie Eilish: “Bad Guy”

Ariana Grande: “7 rings”

H.E.R.: “Hard Place”

Khalid: “Talk”

Lil Nas X: “Old Town Road”

Lizzo: “Truth Hurts”

Post Malone: “Sunflower”

Who will win: We’re predicting a Lizzo sweep in the major categories.

Who should win: “Old Town Road” is arguably the most culturally important song released this year, which means the Grammys are almost certain to overlook it.

Who should have been nominated: Big Thief’s “Not” was the first song that made me sit up and pay attention to a band that, at least up until this point, has bored the living hell out of me, and that should count for something.

Best New Artist

Black Pumas

Billie Eilish

Lil Nas X


Maggie Rogers


Tank and the Bangas


Who will win: Lizzo. Duh.

Who should win: Arguments could be made for Billy Eilish and Lil Nas X, both of whom are actually new artists. Even though Lizzo has been kicking around the scene for years, though, Grammy voters refuse to acknowledge that some careers actually predate their knowledge of an artist.

Who should have been nominated: The punks in Fontaines D.C. gave music a needed kick in the pants with its ferocious 2019 debut, Dogrel.

Best Rap Album

Dreamville: Revenge of the Dreamers III

Meek Mill: Championships

21 Savage: I Am > I Was

Tyler, the Creator: IGOR

YBN Cordae: The Lost Boy

Who will win: Meek Mill. An album named Championships isn’t designed to come in second.

Who should win: Tyler’s IGOR continued his bold artistic reinvention, but odds are voters hold his rowdier musical past against him.

Who should have been nominated: Simply named British rapper Dave (just Dave, thank you) delivered the year’s best, most searching rap album in the overlooked Psychodrama.

Best Rock Album

Bring Me the Horizon: amo

Cage the Elephant: Social Cues

The Cranberries: In the End

I Prevail: Trauma

Rival Sons: Feral Roots

Who will win: Who cares. Looking at this list generated two thoughts: 1) In the Grammys' eyes, at least, rock really is dead; and 2) PromoWest is going to bring Cage the Elephant back in 2020, aren’t they?

Who should win: Don’t caaaaaare.

Who should have been nominated: Almost literally anyone else. How about Fontaines D.C.? Or PUP? Or Sharon Van Etten?

Best Alternative Music Album

Big Thief: U.F.O.F.

James Blake: Assume Form

Bon Iver: i,i

Vampire Weekend: Father of the Bride

Thom Yorke: ANIMA

Who will win: Thom Yorke. He has the history that appeals to the voters, and Radiohead has long been a Grammy favorite.

Who should win: Probably Vampire Weekend, though I’d cut at least four songs from the album.

Who should have been nominated: Bob Mould has never released a bad album, and Sunshine Rock continued his winning streak.