×

Lil Nas Breaks Into Two-Woman Race at the Grammys

In the beginning, the 62nd Grammy Awards looked set to be an inevitable showdown between two of the hottest new stars of 2019: Lizzo vs. Billie Eilish. In a way, it could still be. When the nominees were announced Nov. 20, Lizzo scored the most, with eight. In second place: Eilish, who landed six.

But what’s that over there, choo-choo-ing over the hill to Grammy gold? It’s the Lil train that could — and did. Rapper Lil Nas X, the newcomer many in the hip-hop and critical community had dismissed as a 20-year-old pop novelty, ascended against all odds toward the top of the Grammy heap, tying Eilish by pulling in six nominations.

Suddenly, a Grammy season that was supposed to be a contest for two wound up becoming a three-pony race, featuring a trio of rising stars many of us hadn’t even heard of at this time last year. Lizzo, 31; Eilish, 17; and Lil Nas X couldn’t have more different sounds — or back stories  —  but they will go head to head to head in three out of the four biggest categories: record of the year, album of the year and new artist.

Meanwhile, Lizzo and Eilish also will take their Grammy rivalry to the song of the year face-off, which is looking like a musical testament to the enduring power of the female voice. Only one nominee  —  “Someone You Loved” by rising British singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi  —  was delivered by a male artist. The other slots are dominated by songs sung by three ladies on the verge of greatness (Billie Eilish, H.E.R. and Lizzo), a stylish art-pop star with critical acclaim and a cultish following (Lana Del Rey), two of the biggest female performers on planet pop (Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift), and a country legend who’s shot to superstardom and fallen back to earth only to soar again several times over the past 4½ decades (Tanya Tucker, a four-time 2020 Grammy nominee).

The Jan. 26 Grammys should be a great night for new voices, as they dominate the 2020 nominations. Sadly, that means vintage is pretty much out of style this year. Tucker aside, there’s very little presence for lead artists who were already big stars in the previous century. Would-be nominees Bruce Springsteen, 70; Sheryl Crow, 57; and Madonna, 61; weren’t just snubbed in the major categories; they were left out of the nominations altogether. That means it will be up to a handful of artists  — Tucker; Barbra Streisand, 77; Willie Nelson, 87; Reba McEntire, 64; and John Williams, who, at 87, earned his 68th and 69th nominations  —  to rise up for the old guard lower down on the nominee list.

The major categories are looking to be virtual bloodbaths, but the must-see showdowns aren’t just up there. Hip-hop has long had issues with homophobia and toxic masculinity, yet Tyler, the Creator’s “Igor,” a song cycle about a love triangle featuring a man, his male lover and his girlfriend, is an unlikely front-runner for best rap album. And over in country song, the aforementioned Tucker track is waging a battle it’s definitely poised to win.

More Music

  • SZA, Justin Timberlake Drop ‘The Other

    SZA and Justin Timberlake Drop First Song From 'Trolls World Tour'

    SZA and Justin Timberlake released “The Other Side,” the first song from the upcoming “Trolls World Tour” soundtrack. Of course, Timberlake’s Grammy-winning 2016 hit “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” from the first “Trolls” film, was one of the most massive hits in a career filled with them, and like that song, this one involves co-writer Max [...]

  • YGRolling Loud SOCAL, Los Angeles, USA

    YG’s 4Hunnid Label Strikes Joint Venture With Epic Records (EXCLUSIVE)

    Compton rapper YG today unveiled a joint venture between his 4Hunnid label and Epic Records. The Sony Music company will exclusively release, distribute and market new music from the rapper’s Los Angeles-based independent label. The first release from the partnership is scheduled to come from Compton female rapper Day Sulan, who was featured on YG’s [...]

  • Chrysalis Records Re-Launches, Signs Laura Marling

    Chrysalis Records Re-Launches, Signs Laura Marling in Partnership With Partisan

    Chrysalis Records — the iconic record company that was home to artists ranging from Jethro Tull and Blondie to Billy Idol and Huey Lewis and the News — is re-launching as a front-line label and releasing new music for the first time in more than two decades. British singer-songwriter Laura Marling is the revived label’s [...]

  • BTS

    Howard Stern, Show Listeners Call Staffer 'Racist' for Linking BTS and Coronavirus

    Remarks about BTS made on “The Howard Stern Show” are being called “racist” by both listeners and the show’s host. During the February 24 episode of the SiriusXM staple, Howard Stern —  a notorious germaphobe — brought up growing concern over the deadly coronavirus with his cast of comedic cohorts. The topic turned to BTS [...]

  • Jeremy Renner

    John Ottman Hosts Jeremy Renner, Michael Keaton, More at 'Aiding Australia' Benefit

    Film editor and composer John Ottman, who won an Oscar for “Bohemian Rhapsody” in 2019, hosted members of the film, television and music communities at the “Aiding Australia” charity dinner and concert held at his West Hollywood home on Sunday evening (Feb. 23). The benefit raised funds to help in the recovery of fire-ravaged Australia, [...]

  • Music Streaming Revenue placeholder

    RIAA Study Shows 2019 Music Revenue Increased 13%, Subscription Income Up 25%

    A study just released by the RIAA shows bad and worse news for sectors of the recorded music business like physical media sales and digital downloads … but better and better news for streaming. And that’s the only news that matters when it comes to revenue for the music industry in the United States. Streaming [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content