What to watch for at the Grammy Awards: The biggest winners (and losers) of ‘music’s biggest night’

Music’s biggest night is coming Sunday.

And it comes at an interesting time, to say the least.

The newly installed president and CEO of the Recording Academy, Deborah Dugan, was ousted earlier this month, just days before the ceremony. She responded by filing a sexual harassment and discrimination complaint.

Expanded nominee lists brought more diversity into top categories. Young artists such as Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X are making a bigger splash than seemingly ever before.

Amid all that, there’s going to be a host of performers, including Lil Nas X, Gary Clark Jr., John Legend, Cyndi Lauper, Aerosmith, Eilish, Lizzo, The Jonas Brothers, Ariana Grande, H.E.R., Bonnie Raitt, Run-DMC, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, Tyler, the Creator and Meek Mill.

It should all translate into an exciting and engaging telecast.

Before the big night, I took a look at the four top categories to pick out who is most likely to take home Grammy gold (and who is most deserving, whether they win or not). I also looked at the whole slate of nominees to predict the night’s biggest winners and losers.

Record, album and song of the year: What’s the difference?

What’s the difference between album of the year, record of the year and song of the year? It can be confusing. Here’s an explanation:

Album of the year: An album award awarded to the artist and/or producer of the best full album.

Record of the year: A song award awarded for the best performance and/or recording of a song. Given to the performer and/or producer.

Song of the year: Also a song award, but specifically for songwriting. Awarded to a songwriter, who may not necessarily be the song’s performer.

Eligibility

If you’re wondering why some songs from 2019 (and even 2018) are nominated and others aren’t, we can explain.

It’s all about eligibility.

The Grammys have specific eligibility requirements, and unlike other awards shows — *cough* the Oscars *cough* — their window isn’t a calendar year.

Eligible music had to be released between Oct. 1, 2018, and Aug. 31, 2019.

Grammy eligibility is usually October through September, but the window was shortened to accommodate an earlier-than-normal awards show. (It’s usually in mid-February.)

And that’s not to mention the requirements for best new artist, which are somewhat far-ranging. This year’s category features Tank and the Bangas as well as Lizzo, both of whom released their first albums back in 2013. They’ve been around awhile. The category is, by definition, a little subjective, requiring “a breakthrough into the public consciousness.” So even if someone has success, they still have to meet the Recording Academy’s definitions to be nominated.

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