The Recording Academy has finally announced that the 59th GRAMMY Awards will be held on Sunday, February 17, 2017 and the nominations on December 6th. They also announced major changes in the eligibility, voting procedure, and in three categories.
Streaming-only releases are now eligible meaning an album like Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book can now be nominated whether or not it gets a physical release. The previous ban on streaming-only was what prevented Drake’s “Hotline Bling” from being submitted.
Voters many now vote only in 15 categories, as oppose to 20 in previous years. This was done to encourage members to vote in the fields they are more knowledgeable of. And this was probably done in response to the “#OscarsSoWhite” controversy.
The Best New Artist category was amended to allow artists who have released at least five singles (but not more than thirty). This can be regarded as a second amendment to the “Lady Gaga rule” (she was first ineligible for not having an album then again for already being nominated).
The other major change was in the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration category which had been re-named to ‘Best Rap/Sung Performance’ to allow rapping/singing songs that are not necessarily a collaboration. This is the category for Drake.
Those where the Academy announcements but now let’s look at the predictions:
The two albums considered locks for the prestigious Album of the Year (AOTY) were —for the last six months— 25 and Purpose but since the surprise release of Beyoncé’s Lemonade, a new contender has arrived. Queen Bey’s last two albums made it to the final line-up and there is no reason why her platinum-certified visual album would not make it. The album featuring elements of blues, country, rock, and gospel music would attract voters outside of the urban fields.
Whether Beyoncé can finally win AOTY is still debatable however she can easily grab 10 to 12 nominations: Lemonade for AOTY and Best Urban Contemporary Album; the single “Formation” is a shoo-in for Song of the Year (SOTY), R&B performance and song, and music video; the single “Sorry” is currently at Best Pop Solo; and she could even get her first nomination in the rock field with the Led Zeppelin-sampled song “Don’t Hurt Yourself” featuring Jack White as well as Best American Roots Performance for the country/blues song “Daddy Lessons”. The entire Lemonade could also be up for Best Music Film.
The other act who made a surprise release last month was the veteran British rock band, Radiohead. A Moon Shaped Pool had been a critical darling and considering Radiohead’s record (3 awards and 18 nominations), they could easily get into the AOTY race taking the so-called ‘rock/alternative’ spot. The band had been nominated there thrice for OK Computer (1998), Kid A (2002) and In Rainbows (2009).
Even if they don’t appear in the general field, their album is a lock for Best Alternative Music Album and the song “Burn the Witch” for either Best rock performance or pop group/duo and music video.
Drake, one-time winner and constant nominee since 2010 released Views, his fourth studio album to both critical and commercial success and could land him on his first own AOTY nomination. This nomination might be trembling but the Toronto artist is looking forward multiple nods; “One Dance” for Record of the Year (ROTY) and pop duo/group performance; “Work” with Rihanna could also land him on ROTY and the revamped best rap/sung performance; “Pop Style” for rap performance and song. His mostly-sung Views might be relegated to Urban Contemporary and end up competing with Queen Bey. However his competition at Rap Album is also though with Kendrick Lamar’s untitled unmastered. and Chance the Rapper. “Hotline Bling” is still eligible but may no longer be relevant.
Timberlake returned to the music scene with his new “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”, a funky song that resembles last year’s winner “Uptown Funk” and produced by AOTY winners, Max Martin and Shellback. Chances are Timberlake will be back in the general field after his last album failed to do so. He is also a lock for Pop Solo
The Swedish popstar can now secure her Best New Artist nomination thanks to the rule change. Her second studio album is yet to be released but the massive success of MNEK’s “Never Forget You” is enough for a ticket in the new artist category.
Check HERE the predictions for the general field